Magazine article The American Conservative

Letters

Magazine article The American Conservative

Letters

Article excerpt

MADISON'S MISTAKE

Ralph Ketcham's superb review of Kevin Gutzman's James Madison and the Making of America ("What Madison Meant", February 2012) left me sad for Madison and our country. In his exchange with Patrick Henry, Ketcham quotes Madison stating "I go on this great republican principle that the people will have the virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom" to the offices of government. Putting such trust in the people into the indefinite future marks the very wise and idealistic Madison as also somewhat naïve.

What we have 200-plus years later-though the trend probably started much earlier - is a rapidly declining country at the mercy of continuous clashes between two evenly-divided populations and parties with opposing views and values about seemingly everything. Party dominance is ostensibly the main goal of todays leadership. Looking at the state of political affairs in the United States, Mr. Churchill might have concluded his famous declaration about democracy with a comma, adding except for democracy in the United States.

SIRMANCELAYIR

Fernandina, Fla.

LISTEN TO MR. MICAWBER

Theodore Dalrymple regularly produces some of the most interesting, literate, insightful commentary available today, and your cover article was one of that kind ("Hard Times Again", January 2012). It's great to see his work appearing in The American Conservative.

One of the best passages in the article was not a quote from Dickens or a comment on his prescience. It was Dalrymples own wry, spot-on analysis of the economic prescriptions we're being offered today. …

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