I’ll just make two points. The first point follows from Harvey Mansfield’s paper and I’ll put it in a simple way. The wisdom of the Founders cannot be reduced to limited government, and it’s a mistake to reduce it in that way. That is, it’s a mistake to take only those parts of the Founders that lean against current trends. The Federalist Papers are complicated: they are in defense of limited government, but they are also in the defense of self-government, which sometimes cuts against limited government. There’s a tension between the courts’ upholding of limited government and a strong populist impulse that rises up to legislate. I think that it is a healthy tension, and I’m probably more on the self-government side of this debate than some of our libertarian friends.

It’s a tension The Federalist recognizes and claims is resolved by the Constitution. One of the...


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