Federalist No. 2 has been a really interesting read, and I look forward to Nos. 3-5 which continue discussion of this issue of union vs separation. One of the things I find so fascinating is that I agree with the argument, that union is preferable to a looser confederation of the states such as regionalism, some of the premises are not as true in our nation today as they were in the 1780’s
. . . notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people–a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs . . .
Rather than a people that are united in the ways described above, more and more of our nation descends from ancestors that were not common to the Americans of the 18th century, there is a growing schizm in our language as immigrants – especially latino immigrants – cling to their native tongue rather than join in the conformance to a common language, while the majority of our citizens profess some Christian belief system that majority continues to shrink and we have expanding proportions of many belief systems even outside the Abrahamic traditions that are dominant in nearly all the world.
The lack of unity in these things is not nearly as worrisome as the recitation of what naturally happened after the First Continental Congress convened and made recommendations to the various states:
. . .the memorable Congress of 1774 . . . recommended certain measures to their constituents, and the event proved their wisdom; yet it is fresh in our memories how soon the press began to teem with pamphlets and weekly papers against those very measures. Not only many of the officers of government, who obeyed the dictates of personal interest, but others, from a mistaken estimate of consequences, or the undue influence of former attachments, or whose ambition aimed at objects which did not correspond with the public good, were indefatigable in their efforts to pursuade the people to reject the advice of that patriotic Congress.
This degradation of officers of government from being servants of the people to beginning to serve their own interests was noticed within a few years. How ready are we for a cleansing when there has been over two centuries for such attitudes and actions to become ingrained in the psyche of our officers of government.
Before our nation was founded, the American people were confronted with politicians advocating division:
. . . politicians now appear, who insist that this opinion is erroneous (that the prosperity of the people of America depended on their continuing firmly united), and that instead of looking for safety and happiness in union, we ought to seek it in a division of the States into distinct confederacies or sovereignties.
Today we have no such politicians professing that division is preferable to unity, but we have two very powerful parties that encourage us to take sides in a war against our fellow Americans. They have in common the trait of offering an us-against-them mentality to all who would enter their respective parties.
Is unity preferable to division among the people? Yes, but it need not be a union of universally held beliefs and perspectives. What we really need is a union of universally applied civility and a common striving for the good of the nation and the defense of the constitution upon which our nation is based rather than slipping to the baser instinct to pursue personal gain in the public arena and victory at all costs through the politics of division.