By Robert W. Hoffert
Booklet by means of Hoffert, Robert W.
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Extra info for A Politics of Tensions: The Articles of Confederation and American Political Ideas
These two visions share some important congruences of sources and consequences that are not adequately reflected in the preceeding discussion. However, it is precisely because the American political consensus is based on such a complex and multidimensional tradition that it was necessary to identify and separate artificially purified representations of the major elements that form its tense mixture. In one sense, these models are helpful precisely because they are not representations of what we most typically find.
Political authority should be moral and positive, reflecting a strong public-spiritedness. Thus, it must be an authority that expresses the community's majoritarian preferences. Any government that is not fully majoritarian must be severely restrained in its authority. The majoritarian spirit is best served when participatory involvement is encouraged within the spontaneous life of the community. Government, typically, should be simple and direct, unencumbered with elaborations of technique and strategy.
The majoritarian spirit is best served when participatory involvement is encouraged within the spontaneous life of the community. Government, typically, should be simple and direct, unencumbered with elaborations of technique and strategy. And the efficacy of persuasion through benevolence and trust in a well-ordered community substantially diminishes the need for coercive power or cunning. These two visions of democracy - individualistic and communal - have been presented as purified abstractions.