, from the Heritage Foundation, initiates a compelling discussion of the ways in which the public worker unions in Wisconsin resemble nothing so much as the kind of faction James Madison discusses in Federalist 10
. While their members sport t-shirts emblazoned with the slogan "This is What Democracy Looks Like"--as if to suggest that they are the embodiment of a free and open society--they are, in fact, a singular danger to popular government.
Shaw suggests that James Madison would disapprove of those wearing the union t-shirts and, of course, he would. But in point of fact, I think Madison might actually have offered to pay for some of their screen-printing costs. That slogan is perfect. Of course, Shaw is correct to point out the differences between Madison's understanding of popular government and that of today's public worker unions. But pure democracy
look a lot like what we've seen in Wisconsin. That's why Madison and the other authors of the Federalist
were so determined that we should not have one! Instead, we instituted a form of government that would protect the rights of the minority by garnering the consent of the people through "reflection and choice." Ours is not a government--or, at least, it was not established to be
a government--where the rule of the stronger interest always carries the day and grinding forces of power politics shape our mores. We were designed to be better than that. Madison points the way.