It will always be fascinating to me how the written word is used to connect brains and facilitate change. Whether it’s the power of the Gospel to change lives–transmitted via letter and encoded in canon–or the open “blogosphere” of the early internet that bypassed the establishment media, little snippets of text seem to resonate with our brains.
I think what we have now is a demented version of that natural attraction. The algorithms that continue to rule our content and the bazillion dollar websites that have captured our eyeballs with their redefined funnels of truth are abusing our desire to be connected via words. But more on that later. We’re here to talk about 200+ year old essays about the government written by John Jay.
Federalist #2 can be summarized in these points:
- We’re all in this together.
- We always wanted to be together, until a few people threw that in to question with questionable motives.
- God has blessed us with amazing resources and we are unified in that.
- We share a common heritage of ancestry, language, religion, principles of government, and similar manners and customs.
- The current government is inadequate in reflecting this unity, and the new Constitution will be better.
So the overwhelming sense of this paper is “unity”. Which brings up a couple interesting contrasts with today.
The Federal government has become huge and dominant over the states. I wonder if the argument for unity has come true in this drift to centralization? Has this top-heavy implementation of what the Federalist Papers advocated for actually resulted in unity?
Jay warned that these calls for disunity were to be treated with suspicion. Today, calls for unity are fewer and further between. Rather than accentuating common heritage of ancestry, language, religion, principles of government, similar manners and customs, we are increasingly called to identify with smaller groups, and find alternate identities. Once we find our identity group, vast volumes of recently brewed philosophy encourage us to be in conflict with other groups. And if the philosophy doesn’t speak to us, then the algorithms will.
Much more to think about. But until then, here’s an AI-generated picture of John Jay making a selfie for Federalist No 2.