I had occasion again to review the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers when I drove Matthew to Texas this summer. We listened to a selection during the drive via librivox.com. It had been some years since my last acquaintance with these authors.
I admit to having a fondness for the Anti-Federalists, not so much because I think the Federalists' plan as written was so bad, but because the predictions of where the Constitution would lead have proved so true. We don't live under the Constitution which was ratified, and haven't for many years.
Without getting further into my observations, I submit to you Anthony Esolen's observations.
If in a republic the government fears the people, in a tyranny the people fear the government. And in America we do indeed fear the government, not simply because, as Jefferson said, the power to tax is the power to destroy. We have reversed the relationship that Cleveland – giving up an opportunity to be a political hero – urged us to maintain. We have allowed the government to support us, and have paid dearly for that support, in money and in real political power. We complain that our representatives do not do as we bid them, but we should recognize the difficulty. Our representatives are almost powerless. They do not pass laws that are succinct and clear and easy to obey. They have legislated into existence a vast system of bureaucracies, leaving all of the messy details of governance to many thousands of unelected and therefore unrepresentative and unappealable officials.
Read the whole thing.
Oremus pro invicem!