In The Federalist number 10, one of America’s most revered political writings, James Madison (1751-1836) made the case that suppression of liberty in order to curb the influence of factions was at odds with American principles. Of course, today’s so-called “reformers” would disagree.
Historians and political thinkers since antiquity have noted the alarming readiness of democratic populations to sacrifice individual liberty for a (usually false) sense of security and stability. It’s an unfortunate reality of human nature that transcends political dogmas the world over and manifests in a number of instructive ways, including, of course, campaign finance issues, whereby large portions of the population are happy to give up certain liberties for the perceived security from “special interests” obtained through increasingly restrictive regulations on free speech.
The Federalist number 10, long regarded as one of the greatest of American political writings, was published in several New York newspapers in November 1787 as part of a series advocating the ratification of the constitution by the state of New York. Its author, constitutional architect and future president James Madison articulated for the ages the problems of faction (or what we would now usually term “interest groups”) and its solution in maintaining a large republic.