In an America where so much of what passes as political-economic discourse is thoroughly Jeffersonianism, what are the most fundamental characteristics of Hamiltonianism?
Hamiltonianism stresses that political-economic power belongs to the Union–the American people, whose Sovereignty is enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution. The President of the United States is only the first servant of this Union. The Self serves the Union through their State or the Federal Government and everyone pursues their Vocation out of a higher sense of Duty and Honor. Everyone is assigned their Social Rank based on their ability to serve the Union. All Social Ranks are open to those committed to the Union, regardless of their wealth and ancestral bloodline. True wealth comes from the fulfillment of Meaningful Work that uplifts and ennobles the Union, which can only be achieved by going beyond Capital and Debt.
Contemporary America has Hamiltonians on both the “American Left” and “American Right.” Our Left-Hamiltonians and Right-Hamiltonians may have their own interpretations of Hamiltonianism, but they nonetheless share the same opposition to Jeffersonianism. Their consensus is quite simple: Americans deserve a political-economic life that binds them to a shared National Consciousness, characterized by a National Essence and National Identity. Even so, our Left-Hamiltonians and Right-Hamiltonians lack the leadership to guide today’s discontentment toward our mutually shared set of goals.
As it stands, we remain on the fringes. Hamiltonianism’s long-awaited return to the center of American political-economic life is not going to happen anytime soon by winning State and Federal elections and appointments to the Supreme Court. No, we need to build the organizational infrastructure to create the conditions in which coalitions between Left-Hamiltonians and Right-Hamiltonians can occur. Research institutes, think tanks, media publications, academic chairs, advocacy groups and so forth must be established.
This was the proposal outlined by that Right-Hamiltonian Michael Lind in “How to Transform US Politics—and How Not To,” a recent article he wrote for the Left-Hamiltonian Compact Magazine. However, it would be naïve and ignorant on the parts of Left-Hamiltonians and Right-Hamiltonians to revisit the New Deal. We can no longer revive the New Deal any more than we can revive Bretton Woods. We should go beyond the New Deal and Bretton Woods to build a new-old legacy that we can be proud of. The same is also true about the need to go beyond the Neoliberal consensus of the Jeffersonians in the Democratic-Republican Party, something that even Lind himself acknowledges within his article.
The question that I am forced to ask is whether it is possible for Hamiltonians on both the Left and the Right to take over the Democratic-Republican Party. Lind appeared to suggest that dissenting Congressmen and Senators in the Congress of Parliaments are open to Hamiltonianism. Anything beyond that is too far-fetched for me to believe. What I can agree with Lind on is that Hamiltonians should work toward building the new political-economic consensus that must replace the Neoliberal one that the Jeffersonians had created as part of their Empire of Liberty.
Should Hamiltonians form their own party or work to reform the electoral process? Should we bother entertaining that question when we do not have the required organizational infrastructure to influence the direction of contemporary American political-economic life?
Personally, I believe that Hamiltonians on both the Left and Right should work together at creating the organizational infrastructure. All contradictions should be resolved or transcended by consensus. Restoring the Federalist Party is a longer-term goal that can be subordinated by more immediate and long-term goal of building the institutions that would challenge the prevailing Neoliberal consensus. We can worry about winning elections later.
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