Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Alexander Hamilton and the EU

The latest European Union solution to the problem of making and sustaining a "European Union" is to add to its power to control the monetary policy of the member states, that of controlling their fiscal policy as well. It seems that some of those most enthusiastic about this new solution are turning in part for their justification to one of our own most important founders, Alexander Hamilton.  After all, Hamilton's arguments were crucial and ultimately successful in midwifing the birth of a new country from thirteen previously independent states, weren't they?

But, as Michael Greve points out, the Eurocrats' solution won't work precisely because it isn't Hamiltonian.  Greve makes his case by referring to Federalist 15 where Hamilton argues forcefully against a "government over governments", which is precisely what the EU is.   Instead, Hamilton insists on a constitutional government that precedes from and rules over the people of the larger union.

I'll let the experts decide whether or not Greve's interpretation of Hamilton is correct? But I think it important to point out again that whatever else Hamilton and any of his fellow founders may have argued about the formation of a larger union, they always assumed, because they safely could assume it, something much more important about its likelihood of success.

That is, we were already in 1776, and even more so in 1787, a nation. We were already a people who shared a common language, a common religion, a common culture, a common history, and more. Or, we were at least common enough for the formation of a larger union to have at least a reasonable chance of making it.

Can anyone say the same about Europe and for the European Union?

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