Hi Elliott,

I know you tweeted about Madison yesterday and I looked up The Federalist Papers : No. 58.

Looking at the text below and based on what I read, it seems to me that the conventional take on Madison's tyranny of the minority is misplaced. Madison believed in governing by the majority and would be appalled by the filibuster.

"It has been said that more than a majority ought to have been required for a quorum; and in particular cases, if not in all, more than a majority of a quorum for a decision. That some advantages might have resulted from such a precaution, cannot be denied. It might have been an additional shield to some particular interests, and another obstacle generally to hasty and partial measures. But these considerations are outweighed by the inconveniences in the opposite scale.

In all cases where justice or the general good might require new laws to be passed, or active measures to be pursued, the fundamental principle of free government would be reversed. It would be no longer the majority that would rule: the power would be transferred to the minority. Were the defensive privilege limited to particular cases, an interested minority might take advantage of it to screen themselves from equitable sacrifices to the general weal, or, in particular emergencies, to extort unreasonable indulgences. Lastly, it would facilitate and foster the baneful practice of secessions; a practice which has shown itself even in States where a majority only is required; a practice subversive of all the principles of order and regular government; a practice which leads more directly to public convulsions, and the ruin of popular governments, than any other which has yet been displayed among us."

As noted in Ronald Brownstein's article in the Atlantic, there are questions on whether Biden is doing enough to address these issues.

I'm in a pessimistic mood right now. I believe that President Obama was correct in saying "democracy is on the ballot" in 2016, and we got it wrong. I'm afraid there is no going back from Trump.




Expand full comment

We're going to a safer bubble but we sure wish we could get out of this country - Costa Rica? Ghana? Canada? Scotland?

Expand full comment