Category Archives: Uncategorized

Interlude: magic philosophical wands

Before we present James Madison’s novel and surprising solution to the mischief of factions, I want to digress from Federalist #10 to respond to a possible objection to my harsh treatment of Finnis’s common good theory of law. In short, … Continue reading

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Madison’s metaphor

Can we cure ourselves of our factious spirit? Alas, as James Madison teaches us in the fifth and sixth paragraphs of Federalist #10, any attempt to address the root causes of factions is going to end in disaster. Either we … Continue reading

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Dollars versus do-gooders

We have thus far diagnosed the main causes and dangers of factions, but before proceeding to possible cures, I want us to carefully examine the eighth paragraph of Federalist #10, the one that famously begins “No man is allowed to … Continue reading

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Madison’s diagnosis

In our previous post, we reformulated James Madison’s broad definition of “faction” and restated the litany of dangers that such factions pose to the rule of law. Here, we will diagnose the main causes of “this dangerous vice.” Simply put, … Continue reading

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“This dangerous vice”

As promised, we shall now begin our review of Federalist #10, one of the many erudite essays James Madison penned in 1787 and 1788 in support of the Constitution during the tumultous ratification process. Madison devotes essay ten to the … Continue reading

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“To the People of the State of New York”

Thus begins James Madison’s essay Federalist Paper No. 10, and thus begins my extended detour into factions, law, and politics. This classic essay is addressed to the people of New York because it was first published on 23 November 1787 … Continue reading

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Source of legal duties: common good redux (review of XI.8 & XI.9)

Professor Finnis concludes Chapter XI of NLNR by asking (and I paraphrase), What is the ultimate source of our invariant obligation to obey the law? That is, what is the source of legal duties? Is it God’s will? The legislator’s … Continue reading

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