By Sanford Levinson
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Extra info for An Argument Open to All: Reading "The Federalist" in the 21st Century
He wrote it to express his skepticism about the shift in the military’s mission from war ﬁghting to nation-building. But one can certainly wonder if Publius’s insights, coupled with Dunlap’s concerns, might not be worth very much taking into account today. Perhaps “standing armies” themselves are less the real danger than the development of a political culture that emphasizes the ubiquity of threats coupled with a loss of faith in civilian values and leaders in favor of the discipline and values of the military.
The key point is to avoid taxation at all. Yet even as one resists the paying out of taxes, there is equal incentive to strive to maximize one’s inﬂux of money. To the extent that government tax policies, and consequent expenditures, almost inevitably have “redistributionist” tendencies, there is ample cause for discord. Some of this discord involves individuals or social classes—the “haves” against the “have-nots”—but some can involve states themselves. The late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan often brought up the extent to which states like New York received far less in federal programs than did other, smaller states, which beneﬁted mightily from disproportionate power granted them particularly in the Senate (and therefore to some degree in the Electoral College).
Huntington noted that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was no more, destroyed by the secession of groups rejecting rule by “foreign” Russians. And even a full decade ago he noted as well that Great Britain has become considerably more “devolved” particularly with regard to Scotland. One suspects he would not have been surprised to learn that nearly 45 percent of Scottish voters would in 2014 support secession from the Union with Great Britain that was formally established in 1707. ’”3 Thus Huntington suggested that we should not blithely assume that even the post–Civil War United States would maintain itself into the indeﬁnite future.