Madison hit the nail on the head. The most durable source of factions has been between those who HAVE PROPERTY and do NOT HAVE PROPERTY. And in this thinking Madison joins a most distinguished philosophical lineage which includes Aristotle, who described the chief factions as existing between the forces of DEMOCRACY and OLIGARCHY, and Machiavelli, who classified mankind into the two humors of THE PEOPLE and THE GREAT.
The purpose of political faction is to obtain control over policy. Control over policy requires control of the government. The greater the scope and importance of governmental action – that is – the greater the sphere of the government’s operations, the wider the scope of policy, the greater and more intense the faction must be to obtain control over the government. The more people need the government, the greater the faction will be. And as the main source of political faction is found between economic interests, the weaker the middle class becomes, the stronger faction will be. Accordingly, political faction cannot be meaningfully ameliorated if the middle class is not meaningfully rehabilitated, and avenues of social mobility into the middle class are meaningfully restored.
The best palliative to faction therefore resides within the restoration of a large, robust, moderate, independent middle class, which will also entail increasing social mobility into the middle class. Insofar as political revolution is concerned, the chief legislative mandate, the principal policy, must be to restore America’s middle class and social mobility. On this essential objective all Americans, except most ruthlessly avaricious, can join hands together.
The Institute’s research has led to one such policy proposal, first publicly elaborated on our blog post here. We have been advised that the Institute’s suggestions have spawned this ambitious project: The Rationist. While the Institute’s mission requires that we maintain official neutrality in policy matters, we will be closely watching these efforts and are eager to see how far the fruits of our research go.