Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

This Federalist Takes the Cake

The Food Channel (8 pm, EST) just now featured a substantial Federalist (not just Madison and Hamilton on the colorful cover but some pages of #10 from an original column as well) cake, made to honor a law professor. Justice Scalia wondered out loud how many members of the Federalist Society had actually read the classic. May it be said of these students, following the German saying: "Man ist was er isst." (One is what he eats.)

Why was I watching the Food Channel? When I heard "Federalist Papers," I thought it was on C-SPAN.

Discussions - 10 Comments

Surely you jest- CSPAN would never mention the Federalist Papers, as a majority of the people on it (Congressman and Senators and Presidents) have never read them. If they had, or read Democracy in America, or Adam Smith, or even the Constitution, they wouldn't vote they way they do!

I'm a member of the Federalist Society, and yes, I've read the whole classic. But one need not have read it all to have a claim to understanding the gist.

What is it about Federalist #10 in particular which the Clarmonters find so appealing?

I must admit I am not a regular watcher of the food channel either but sometimes when I am looking for a recipe or strange new ideas in eating I will tune in. The best shows in my opinion are Anthony Bourdain No Reservations, but this is on the travel channel. On the food channel and more to the point of the post, a sort of reality TV show called the Ace of Cakes is interesting enough to catch a couple of times a year. Essentially it is about a specialty Cake Maker who designs really bully cakes. I caught an episode with a ten commandments cake and a Bastille replica a federalist cake seems doable... a federalist 10 factions cake complete with blue dog democrats ripping the heart of of a pelosi faced health care donkey...with Howard Dean's face contorted to mimic the scream is probably dooable for 10k...(one of the "artists" is a former tattoo guy).

According to comments in a strange and protracted debate on freakonomics over the attribution of the saying: "You can't have your cake and eat it to"...the ace of Cakes did a Ben Franklin cake with this saying.

Consensus has it that the saying is older than franklin but that it may have had a different meaning before refrigeration...but I digress.

Most ace of cakes cakes are for weddings or seasonal Mall displays...but there are also specialty cake makers in Las Vegas who put foward some lavish designs(the Bellagio is a good place to look around). A Marie Antoinnete cake with a functional guilotine would probably be in poor taste...

For considerably less money Wal-Mart makes speciality cakes. You can take a digital picture bring it to Wal_Mart and they will design a cake with an edible high mega-pixel icing picture. It seems quite possible that you could take pictures of text, or just scan text and have Wal-Mart make you a federalist of your choice cake replicating every last word.

Actually going the Wal-Mart low budget route with paint shop a digital cammera and some spare time to play around with the sky is the limit on what you could put on a cake.

In light of this backdrop the following sayings take on a certain meaning: "you are what you eat"

"Being forced to eat ones words"

"Let them eat cake"

"A man of his word"

"You can't have your cake and eat it too."

taking the cake...cookies and crumbling...cutting the pie.

John M: it's on how to restrain factions within a republic (ie groups of citizens whose common interest run contrary to the public interest). Since it's only a republic if we can keep it, it's quite pertinent.

Actually, the Claremont argument, post-Martin Diamond, has been to diminish Federalist 10 in favor of the book as a whole, looking at references to republicanism, separation of powers, and the quality of representation, not to mention executive energy, war powers, and the Court. Fed 10 grew in scholarly significance following the rise of Charles Beard's Marxist interpretation--not that it didn't warrant great attention.

Since it's only a republic if we can keep it, it's quite pertinent.

Madison was arguing against it being a federal republic. I'm wondering why anybody (other than the far left) thinks this is a good idea. Madisons inspiration here is said to have been Hobbe's Leviathan.

Madison: "Does the advantage consist in the substitution of representatives whose enlightened views and virtuous sentiments render them superior to local prejudices and schemes of injustice? .. Does it consist in the greater security afforded by a greater variety of parties, against the event of any one party being able to outnumber and oppress the rest?"

There we hear the sentiments of Lawler and the Claremonters in general. The things to be guarded against are "local prejudices and schemes of injustice" against the Jews, I mean, the blacks! Everybody knows the Claremonters are very concerned about the blacks.

The problem with this, as even the brighter Claremonters have begun to grasp, is that it's a lot easier to simply move from local injusice than it is from national injustice, and the national government is no more immune to prejudice and injustice than is any other body of people.

Madison was arguing against it being a federal republic.

Madison: "Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strenghth, and to act in unison with each other . . . the extent of the Union gives it the most palpable advantage."

That sentiment runs throughout the latter part of Federalist #10 and, I think, can be pretty aptly characterized as an endorsement of federalism.

Madisons inspiration here is said to have been Hobbe's Leviathan.

It's also been argued that Madison's inspiration was Hume's Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth, which advocates an extended republic.

Hahaha . . . John M, he said exactly the opposite of what you are claiming (thank you for the quote, Matt).

"Madisons inspiration here is said to have been Hobbe's Leviathan." What a stupid statement. A simple cursory view of Madison's writing clearly shows that he always believed the sovereign people had a right to revolution. See his letter to Daniel Webster. Hobbes, on the other hand left little, if any room, for the people to revolt, and they certainly were not considered sovereign. A Federal Republic has its advantages, which incorporate the sovereignty of the people, while Hobbes government, with a Leviathan at the head, leaves the people in subjection to the will of an omni-sovereign government.

If these two men could not agree on the terms of sovereignty in society what makes you think the structure of their society would be similar?

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