“Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.
This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.
Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
It (party) serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.”
Does this look familiar?
George Washington was concerned about excessive partisanship in his 1796 farewell address.
Have we and our elected officials become the Gilbert and Suliivan caricature below?
” I always voted at my party’s call, And I never thought of thinking for myself at all. I thought so little, they rewarded me By making me the Ruler of the Queen’s Navee!”
This time around let us make sure to Think for ourselves and Vote!
What’s your take?
P.S. The above post is a departure from normal discourse on the market and the media. I believe it is a departure worth taking. I will return to my normal topics in my next article.
2 thoughts on “A prophecy from 1796”
Absolutely one of your best posts – worth serious consideration, now and going forward.
Thank you Marty. The reason it was one of my best posts is that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton Wrote most of it. I wish I could enlist that type of talent on my usual posts. Probably would be good for building at audience.
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