Scenario 1999: Hamiltonianism in Words, Jeffersonianism in Deeds (Pt. II of III)

Every Ideology is backed by a particular Weltanschauung, bestowing a vision to the adherents that instructs them on what to think about the world. The purpose of an Ideology is to provide a vehicle on how to implement that vision for its adherents. Anyone who has read The Work-Standard (2nd Ed.) on the topic of Hamiltonianism should realize that it is not an Ideology as it is understood in Political Science. As I had been trying to point out in that Treatise, Hamiltonianism is a Weltanschauung capable of hosting a variety of compatible Ideologies. This also accounts for why its longstanding rival, Jeffersonianism, is capable of featuring various Ideologies with their own interpretations.

The Democratic-Republican Party and its Democrats and Republicans are no different, even when it seems like their disagreements demonstrate an inability to govern at times. Think about my designations of the Democrats as the “Madisonian Faction” and the Republicans as the “Monroean Faction.” The most fundamental point of agreement is that America is Socially, Economically, and Politically Liberal, nation and will forever be that way. While the Madisonians ascribe some limited roles for the Federal government and the Union–the American people, the goal is to promote the Social Liberal component. By contrast, the Monroeans give greater emphasis on the Economic Liberal component. Both pivots presuppose that there is a Political Liberalism binding the Social Liberalism and the Economic Liberalism to a shared Weltanschauung. It enables a “Progressive” and a “Libertarian” to promote some form of Liberalization that indirectly benefits the other and vice versa, even when it seems like neither are able to realize this.

Here, the question of factionalism, the subjects of Federalist Papers Nos. 9 and 10, enters the picture. James Madison in Federalist 10 was of the view that it is inevitable for adherents of the Jeffersonian Weltanschauung to branch out into a growing multiplicity of Ideologies as part of “human nature.” Anyone can define their political-economic and socio-cultural perspectives in any way they wish. When enough people begin to espouse specific viewpoints, they become factions. This process is an unavoidable phenomenon that cannot be addressed by trying to suppress them. Rather, the actions of those factions should be controlled to the extent that they cannot dominate the national life.

How are the factions controlled? Madison suggested that their powers and sway over the American people should be balanced against each other. The Representative mode of political governance, Parliamentary Democracy, and its electoral process would ensure that factions do not have any influence beyond their initial boundaries. They can attain power in one State and not have any power elsewhere in the Union. To gain support elsewhere, some undesirable compromises need to be made to reach a consensus. That is the obvious proposal. The less obvious one, which is to be discerned from outside the Jeffersonian Weltanschauung, is how this would affect the perspectives and composition of those factions.

Would the ability to control the factions lead to them adopting some peculiar stances in order to appeal to others? Are the factions driven by something else? Clearly, Madison in Federalist 10 was more adamant about factionalism arising from disparities in “Property-as-Wealth” as opposed to “Property-as-Power,” the latter of which is related to his advocacy of limited government. Disparities in power, not wealth, are what lead to conflict both inside and outside nations. The power to decide how to govern in the interests of the Totality is far more important than the issue of who gains and who loses from those arrangements.  

By contrast, Federalist 9 contains the Hamiltonian Weltanschauung’s perspective on the same topic. In that Federalist Paper, Hamilton believed that factionalism is not a natural phenomenon insofar as it arose from the ambitions of a political minority within the American Totality. To stave off factionalism, he suggested that the factions be able to coalesce around a shared Weltanschauung that would emanate from the Presidency. The Presidency unites the factions under that Weltanschauung from which the various Ideologies of those factions would gravitate around it.

The proposal outlined by Hamilton is a political environment where the factions are mediated not by the electoral process of Parliamentary Democracy or by their powers curtailed by a “limited government,” but through the ability of the Presidency to unite them around shared interests. The common good should take greater precedence before self-interest. The common good in this context means furthering the national interest of the Union.

How do factions cooperate in those circumstances? They would need to find ways to make their Ideologies work to further the interests of the Union as the American Totality. The benefits of one Ideology should support those of another Ideology. The disadvantages of this Ideology are to be canceled out by those of another and vice versa. The real challenge, as Hamilton posited in Federalist 9, is how to create the conditions in which the factions of various Ideologies are capable of rallying around the Presidency in Congress. As I had pointed out earlier, the solution is for the Ideologies and their factions to coalesce around a shared Weltanschauung.

This trend has been on display in American history for the past two centuries. There were Jeffersonians from the Democratic-Republican Party that coopted Hamiltonian methods for Jeffersonian ends, setting the precedent for the Progressives of the 20th century. The Progressives have turned that particular practice into their modus operandi, which reached the peak of its power and prestige during the New Deal and Great Society programs of the mid-20th century. “Fusionism” is another example where it became permissible for Social Conservatives and Traditionalists to align themselves with Economic and Classical Liberals out of some fear of the Soviet Union. What enabled those alignments to occur was some adherence to the Jeffersonian Weltanschauung.

We have also seen this phenomenon play out on the ARPLAN Blog. In the German Reich, the Social-Democrats are aligned with the Liberal Capitalists in opposition to the Marxist-Leninists and Pan-Germanic Socialists. Everyone has their differences, but there is some common Weltanschauung binding the adherents to a shared set of perspectives on what the German Reich should become in the wake of the First World War. The Weltanschauung in question may be derived from Marx and Engels or it could be based on shared understandings of Nietzsche and Hegel. Whichever the case may be, those rare moments of unity should always warrant further investigation.

I am sure that America and the German-speaking world are not the only exceptions where factionalism is coalesced by a particular Weltanschauung. Whatever that Weltanschauung may be, it cannot be an Ideology on its own. It needs existing Ideologies for it to have a platform to express its ideas and values. The question that I would like to address in the next Part is whether there is some procedural basis in which factionalism could be resolved by a Weltanschauung. If so, is there a way to outline a consistent pattern that could be applied to various movements, organizations, factions, and parties of differing Ideologies?

Categories: Philosophy

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