Monday, November 28, 2005
Click here to read my summary of the 10th Federalist Paper
Madison asserts that the central problem posed by factious interests is that, in the clash of opponent factions, the public good may be overlooked; thus policy may be set according to mob rule as opposed to the interests of justice and protecting the rights of all citizens. He also posits that it is the influence of faction, not raw governmental form, which further leads to doubt of those in the public sphere and concern over the state of civil rights. Madison then contends that, since the interests of varying groups cannot be practically unified, the effects of faction must be controlled for; this, he proposes, must be done by limiting the ability of majority factions to dominate others and railroad government into preserving their own interests. The republican scheme, wherein a large number of citizens elect a small number to represent them in the halls of governance, is recommended as an effective means of control. In this case, variant public perspectives may be distilled into a cohesive agenda that bears the public good as its highest interest; this relates to the concept of agenda-setting as a means of determining policy choices. Additionally, Madison suggests that the breadth and diversity of the citizenry are much to its benefit in avoiding factious violence, as a greater variety of interests might preclude the possibility of an imperious majority, yielding instead a plurality that cultivates public benefit.