Bunker Mulligan "Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." ~Mark Twain

November 25, 2003

Years ago, when I was

Filed under: Society-Culture — Bunker @ 7:03 pm

Years ago, when I was in school, we read parts of the Federalist Papers; or perhaps it was all of some of them. I don’t remember for sure. Regardless, it was a part of everyone’s education, along with memorizing the Preamble to the Constitution. Like everyone else, I couldn’t understand why we had to read and memorize such things. I guess my generation grew up to be teachers for the next generation, and decided students shouldn’t have to learn such things any more, so these things are seldom taught in our schools. At least, that is my impression from all that is written about the education system in the US today.

Well, I started reading the Federalist Papers again last night. The copy I purchased is edited by Mary E. Webster, and is “translated” into modern English. The Library of Congress has the Papers on line. The is also a version of the Anti-Federalist Papers on line. While the FP were written in support of adopting the new Constitution, the AFP were…well, you know.

Anyway, FP #1, General Introduction, was written by Alexander Hamilton. It is interesting to me that many of the issues we deal with today were present then:

“It would be wonderful if we based our decision only on the best interests of our society, unbiased by less noble interests unconnected with the public good. Although we may ardently wish this, it can’t be seriously expected. The Constitution offered for consideration affects too many special interests and changes too many local institutions not to expect discussions on subjects other than its merits. Views, passions and prejudices unrelated to discovering the truth and meaning of the document are expected.

Funny thing about special interests. Just about everyone in this country has them.

I find it amusing and painful to hear some politician bemoaning the influence of special interest groups, followed by a rousing cheer from NOW, AFL-CIO, NRA, or whatever group he happens to be speaking to.

Are you a member of the Chamber of Commerce? A union local?

Do you contribute to any tax-exempt organization?

Do you support someone simply because they have the same skin color you have, or have the same ethnic background?

Were you born before 1938?

Do you have leukemia, heart disease, diabetes, ALS, psoriasis?

Have you lost a limb or the use thereof?

Are you gay or lesbian? Unsure?

Do you support abortion on demand? Do you think abortion should be outlawed?

Are you homeless? Uneducated? Lazy? Stupid? Smart? Confused?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, and a thousand more, YOU are part of a special interest group.

1 Comment

  1. Well said, Mulligan. “Special Interests” are just people, like everyone else.

    Comment by david — April 2, 2004 @ 8:51 pm

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