re: Catoites on Hamilton vs. Jefferson

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Catoite Will Wilkerson’s Hamilton worship helps me understand a little better what a “cosmopolitan” libertarian is.

Hamilton was not the moral role model that Wilkerson apparently believes he was. He owned “house slaves,” returned several runaway slaves to their owners, and once purchased six slaves at a slave auction (biographer Ron Chernow says they were for his brother-in-law). He never advocated abolition per se. He was also a notorious adulterer.

He bitterly denounced men like Jefferson who had “an excessive concern for liberty” and denounced the Constitution as “a frail and worthless fabric,” so upset was he that he failed, at the constitutional convention, to have his way with a permanent president who would appoint all state governors and have veto power over all state legislation.

“We need a government of more energy,” he wrote to George Washington. This was his basic political philosophy, along with corrupt, British-style mercantilism on economic policy. Hamilton biographer Clinton Rossiter wrote that “Hamilton had perhaps the highest respect for government of any important American political thinker who ever lived.” He viewed the Constitution not as a restraint on government but as a document to be subverted so as to give rubber-stamp approval to anything and everything the central government wanted to do. “It seems certain,” Rossiter wrote in Alexander Hamilton and the Constitution, that “Hamilton would have affixed a certain certificate of constitutionality to every last tax.” He “took a large view of the power of Congress to tax because he took a large view of the power to spend.” That’s why he personally led (with George Washington) 13,000 conscripts into Pennsylvania to enforce the whiskey tax and wanted to hang two dozen hapless tax protesters. He wanted to send “the right message” to the rest of the country.

Hamilton invented the notion of “implied” (as opposed to actual) powers of the Constitution and advocated the broadest interpertation imaginable of the General Welfare and Commerce Clauses. His political heirs would use this reasoning to eventually destroy constitutional government in America. That’s why leftists and neocons (is there a difference?) today celebrate the fact that we live in what they call “Hamilton’s republic.” It’s also why the title of my new book, to be published on Oct. 21, is Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution.

7:43 am on April 9, 2008