reading the federalist papers

I am ashamed that it has taken me this long to finally begin reading the Federalist Papers (having watched the latest episode of mad men I have no better study break from preparing for my qualifying exams). My favorite so far is Federalist No. 10 (who’s punchline is that we should not try to stop factions from forming but rather try to mitigate their effects). In it James Madison gives a compelling defense of liberty, regardless of its consequences:

Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment (sic) without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

It is no wonder that most Americans (at least those that I have interacted with in New Haven and out here in Palo Alto) have such a deep-seated respect for the founding fathers.

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