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The Two Faces of Hamilton

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Hamilton: An American Musical has entertained thousands of Americans since it opened in 2015. Alexander Hamilton has become the Founding Father, and no one on the Left or the Right dares criticize this most American of all Americans.

The bedazzled crowd views Hamilton as the ambitious and intelligent immigrant born out of wedlock looking to pull himself up by his bootstraps. He was a “dreamer,” an abolitionist, a war hero, and while flawed, the personification of the American spirit. He is the everyday American hoping to succeed, the hipster that has everything but the shaggy beard and man bun, a man ahead of his time in finance and the levers of power. We live in Hamilton’s America, both in art and fact.

This is nothing to celebrate.

We can certainly admire his rags to riches story and his service in the cause of independence, but the real Hamilton also lived a life of lies, and those lies have led to disastrous consequences for the United States. Put simply, Hamilton lied and the Constitution died. The musical’s playbill should have Hamilton wearing a mask because the real Hamilton, the man behind the mask, screwed up America.

Hamilton favored an elected king, senators for life, a central government with virtually unlimited power, and the reduction of the states to mere corporations of the central authority during the Philadelphia Convention in 1787. He turned around one year later and told a dumbfounded New York Ratifying Convention that he never said that while at the same time anonymously publishing the same lies in the Federalist essays.

He then went back one year after that and advanced a political agenda that—surprise, surprise—included vastly unconstitutional executive powers, a central government with virtually unlimited power, and the reduction of the states to mere corporations of the central authority. Who didn’t see that coming?

Hamilton’s gift of implied power—powers not explicitly named in the Constitution but assumed to exist due to their being necessary to implement the expressed power—and executive overreach have created the modern American monarchy replete with executive orders, executive agreements, and presidential proclamations. And Congress passes laws without ever considering if the legislation is constitutional. As Nancy Pelosi once infamously quipped, Obamacare is constitutional because we say it is. Get that, citizen? Your implied powers overlords have spoken. Shut up and take your government run health care.

It seems Hamilton continually shreds the Constitution from the grave. When John Roberts issued his majority opinion in the 2012 landmark decision of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, he cited Hamilton’s defense of a tax in the 1791 case of Hylton v. the United States. That’s a conservative citing Hamilton’s expansive view of taxation to uphold a clearly unconstitutional law. Hamilton has never quit dazzling Americans with his smoke and mirrors show.

Hamilton would not have wanted it any other way. To him, the states were the drag on the American political system, the fly in the ointment of good, efficient government. Only the central authority could be counted on to solve problems. Every time the Congress rams another unconstitutional pill down the throats of the American public, we can thank Hamilton for the pharmaceutical recipe.

Constitutional conservatives should be running from Hamilton’s legacy, yet they seem to be drawn to it like moths to fire.

Don’t like unconstitutional spending? Blame Hamilton.

Hate oppressive taxation? Blame Hamilton.

What about crony capitalism? Hamilton is to blame there, too.

Even issues like same-sex marriage, legalized pot, transgender bathrooms, abortion, and a host of other social issues where both liberals and conservatives disagree can be traced right back to Hamilton’s dream of eliminating the states.

Hamilton was no “federalist” in a pure sense. Every issue had to be national in scope.

This has allowed the general government to run roughshod over original intent of the Founding Fathers.

This is why Americans are so angry.

As long as “your guy” or “your party” are in power, things are fine, but once they are out of power, who is going to stop the other party from using the same unconstitutional methods to derail everything you wanted?

The Left is finding that out the hard way right now.

In the end, this isn’t about Left or Right, but how to effectively govern 320 million people in different regions with different cultures. Most in the founding generation knew this was not possible with only 4 million people to govern. Hamilton and the other nationalists (who were the minority of the founding generation) disagreed and believed that the United States could be governed from the top-down in a one-size-fits-all scheme that ultimately destroyed the federal republic as established through the American War for Independence. The Constitution did not change that, only Hamilton’s deceptive machinations.

If we truly wish to “Make America Great Again,” power must be decentralized, and to do that, we must exorcise Hamilton’s demonic possession of the American political consciousness and return to a “think locally, act locally” mentality.

That, more than anything else, would rob the general government of its stranglehold on American politics.
Hamilton: An American Musical is fun, but it’s a fairy tale based on the greatest myth in American history, that Hamilton somehow represented the real American creed and that Hamilton’s general government was the government the framers and ratifiers of the Constitution wanted. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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