Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Iraqi politics as Mr. Madison’s war

What should guide the new political regime in Iraq? It should be Henry Adams’s definition of politics: "the systematic organization of hatreds," according George Will. Good, as far as it goes, but Ken Masugi recommends this addition from Federalist 55: "As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust: So there are other qualities in human nature, which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence. Republican government presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form. Were the pictures which have been drawn by the political jealousy of some among us, faithful likenesses of the human character, the inference would be that there is not sufficient virtue among men for self-government; and that nothing less than the chains of despotism can restrain them from destroying and devouring one another."

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