Wisdom of the Day

And yet however just these sentiments will be allowed to be, we have
already sufficient indications that it will happen in this as in all former
cases of great national discussion. A torrent of angry and malignant passions
will be let loose. To judge from the conduct of the opposite parties, we shall
be led to conclude that they will mutually hope to evince the justness of their
opinions, and to increase the number of their converts by the loudness of their
declamations and the bitterness of their invectives. An enlightened zeal for the
energy and efficiency of government will be stigmatized as the offspring of a
temper fond of despotic power and hostile to the principles of liberty. An over
scrupulous jealousy of danger to the rights of the people, which is more
commonly the fault of the head than of the heart, will be represented as mere
pretense and artifice; the stale bait for popularity at the expense of the
public good. It will be forgotten, on the one hand, that jealousy is the usual
concomitant of love, and that the noble enthusiasm of liberty is apt to be
infected with a spirit of narrow and illiberal distrust. On the other hand, it
will be equally forgotten that the vigor of government is essential to the
security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well-informed
judgment, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition
more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people
than under the forbidden appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of
government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more
certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those
men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have
begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing
demagogues, and ending Tyrants.

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #1

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