Is the Party Over?
"All that is Necessary for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men to do nothing." You may know this as the most famous sentence that Edmund Burke never wrote. It's attributed to Burke all over the internet, in film, on a card for sale in the Dublin Writers Museum, and on a poster I tacked to my wall back in high school. But while the faux quotation sounds the call to gallant effort by individuals, the likely source actually encourages ordinary people to join together for ordinary political objectives. The closest thing Burke ever wrote to the line so often misattributed to him was, "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
It's from a 1770 work titled Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents, and, far from resounding with appeals to individual heroism, this pamphlet is Burke's classic defense of political parties. And yet, 20 years after this defense, Burke effectively left his party. Having provoked the hostility of his fellow Whigs for condemning the French Revolution, Burke accepted exile from them. A few years later, in 1794 (just after Burke retired), his closest Whig allies joined the Tory government of William Pitt, sending the rump of the party into an opposition that lasted 40 years.
Like many in the run-up to the election of Donald Trump, I thought something like this was in the offing for Republicans. Amid summertime predictions that future GOP success would be as unlikely as a World Series championship for the Cubs, I expected that Hillary Clinton's election would spark reform of the Republican primary system. "Bring Back the Smoke-Filled Room," as Jason Riley put it in the Wall Street Journal a week before the election; adopt the Democrats' super-delegate system to thwart the outsiders. Instead, in 2017 Republicans enjoy historic strength in Congress, state legislatures, and governors' mansions, and the smoke-filled room is as unlikely to reappear in primaries as in hipster restaurants.
But if defeat divides and victory unites, Trump's election actually makes it harder for the party to define itself. President Trump has no time-honored party loyalties or friendships. He holds few if any principles with significant purchase in Republican tradition. So who are the Republicans now? In evaluating the historical circumstances that brought Trump to power, political writers have looked back to the rise of Andrew Jackson or the GOP rupture that brought forth the Bull Moose Party. With Bill Galston and Bill Kristol lamenting that our political parties are unsound, and David Brooks predicting that Trump's personality cult will leave the Republican Party in tatters, where does one turn?
Back to Burke, of course. The elements that worry us about a Trump presidency — loyalty and friendship, principle, and challenging historical circumstances — are the same ones that preoccupied Burke as a politician and an architect of the Whig Party.
What's more, if parties are unpopular now, they were far less popular in 1770 when Burke explained the need for them. While others had defended parties in the abstract, Burke's pamphlet applied their arguments specifically to a modern political party (the Whigs under Lord Rockingham). He provided theoretical justifications for the necessity of parties and for the honorable nature of public political loyalties. Most political leaders in his day disagreed. They viewed parties as disloyal to the king — even treasonous — for didn't a party's slate of ministers undermine the right of the royal head of state to choose his own advisors? Or, if not actually treasonous, parties were viewed as factions in Madison's sense of the term: They promoted private interests over national ones. Long after his 1787 critique, Madison did come to accept parties, as George Thomas has explained in these pages (see "Madison and the Perils of Populism" in the Fall 2016 issue). But in 1770, the dominant Anglo-American view was that the legislative branch needed "measures, not men." That is, it needed pragmatic policies, not partisan loyalties. Starting to sound familiar?
Burke considered these critiques folly of a particularly dangerous type. Without party, he wrote, free government would fail. Ambition would remain, and some form of conspiracy — perhaps one headed by a demagogue — would rule instead of party. Surprisingly perhaps, Burke also warned that, without party government, "the people" would lack a sufficiently powerful voice to curb the other branches of government.
Party friendships, principles, and character, as tested by historical circumstance, weave throughout Burke's life, now bending his thought one way, now another. But since his 1770 defense of party emerges from a particular historical circumstance — not simply from a set of abstract principles — let's begin there. Conveniently, the story begins with a crisis over the election of a media-savvy libertine with demagogic tendencies.
WILKES AND LIBERTY
In 1768, John Wilkes won the poll to represent the significant London constituency of Middlesex in Parliament, just over a decade after his first election to Parliament in 1757 (then representing Aylesbury). Since that time, Wilkes had gained notoriety for his pornographic poetry, for his sexual adventurism, and above all for a journalistic attack on George III. He was charged with seditious libel — publishing material that incited insurrection against the king — and was arrested under a "general warrant." Wilkes argued successfully in court that general warrants were unconstitutional, a result which bolstered the rights of the masses, and "Wilkes and Liberty" became the cry of his supporters in Britain and America. Streets and towns were named in his honor. That was not the end of it, however; Wilkes continued to publish offensive materials, and was again charged with seditious and blasphemous libel. This time he was convicted, though in absentia, as he had cleverly absconded to France, where he lived in exile for four years. He came back in 1768 and managed to win his seat in Parliament without being arrested.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the House of Commons refused to seat Wilkes. Soon, riots broke out, and half a dozen people were killed. The voters re-elected Wilkes in February 1769, and the House expelled him again. By April, he had been re-elected a third and fourth time. Keeping up the farce, the House duly refused to seat him each time and ultimately seated the second-place finisher instead. Wilkes had to wait until 1774, when he was made lord mayor of London and was again elected by Middlesex, to occupy his seat in Parliament. When Boswell wanted to propose a dinner meeting between this playboy and the pious Dr. Johnson in 1776, he imagined Johnson retorting: "I'd as soon dine with Jack Ketch" — the traditional name for London's hangman. (The dinner with Wilkes, one of the great scenes in The Life of Samuel Johnson, came off splendidly.)
Many of the Whigs despised Wilkes personally. After all, who wants such a dangerous buffoon — a target of lawsuits and a man known for putting his popularity above the national interest — as a member of his party? But Burke's reaction, which was typical of his entire career, was essentially to say, "Deal with it. There's more here than meets the eye." He realized Wilkes was a demagogue. But under the circumstances of 1769-70, Burke was far more concerned that the royal Court and its ministers would ignore the voice of the people at large (not just Middlesex) and rule through a "cabal" of its own choosing. Party government responded to both problems: It respected the voice of the people while preventing ambitious, individual politicians from co-opting it.
And how did it turn out? As a mere member of the Whig Party, Wilkes had relatively little influence. He never held office in a government and served Middlesex uneventfully for 16 years, mostly promoting his own reputation. He supported Whig policies fitfully, refused to defer to party leaders, and apparently developed no significant party friendships. His parliamentary career is almost completely ignored by historians. In sum, defending his right to sit in the Commons averted a constitutional crisis, while party discipline nullified his parliamentary influence.
The treatment of Wilkes is an example of how party government can minimize damage in a parliamentary system. Is there a parallel in this to our situation? Wilkes couldn't run for prime minister, of course. Still, the GOP congressional leadership can exert considerable power, as they did before Trump's inauguration — questioning appointments, dismissing unconstitutional ideas (prosecuting flag burners, a Muslim registry), and setting out their own legislative and foreign-policy priorities. By continuing to act as the party they are, Republicans can neutralize some of Trump's distinct excesses. As Christopher DeMuth has pointed out, the election-year antagonism between party leaders and candidate Trump makes it easier for Congress to take back its legislative prerogatives from an overreaching executive, even one from its own party. The GOP's expanded power in the states should provide still more constitutional ballast, should the new administration treat state law as so much jetsam to toss overboard.
For Burke, party leaders must be able to recognize the most pressing dangers and opportunities of any given circumstance. They must put constitutional principle above mere partisanship and personal ambition. But undergirding all of this, Burke believed, were the moral resources that gave party leaders the courage to act on principle.
A GENTLEMAN BY ANY OTHER NAME
In censuring the poor ethics of party functionaries, critics often charge that we need to abandon parties. Good governance requires leaders who can detach themselves from political partisanship to work in the national interest. Burke dismisses this charge in the following passage, which anticipates Madison's "if men were angels" discussion in Federalist No. 51:
When I see in any of these detached gentlemen of our times the angelic purity, power, and beneficence, I shall admit them to be angels. In the mean time we are born only to be men. We shall do enough if we form ourselves to be good ones. It is therefore our business carefully to cultivate in our minds...every sort of generous and honest feeling that belongs to our nature...so to be patriots, as not to forget we are gentlemen….
"Gentleman" was a highly contested term in the political writing of late-18th-century Britain, America, and France. It is also Burke's favorite term for the character who possesses the moral foundations of public-spirited party loyalty. In Reflections on the Revolution in France, in 1790, Burke writes, "Nothing is more certain than that our manners [and] our civilization have...depended for ages upon two principles and were, indeed, the result of both combined: I mean the spirit of a gentleman and the spirit of religion." Four years later, Robespierre would say almost the opposite on the floor of the French Convention: "It is no longer a question of forming gentlemen (messieurs), but of citizens." One could hardly ask for a clearer distinction between British and French political assumptions in the revolutionary era.
Burke admits the gap between real political actors and imagined, ideal leaders. "Never expecting to find perfection in men in my commerce with my contemporaries," he had written earlier, "I have found much human virtue." In the passage on "angels," he admits the shortcomings of the ordinary men who exert political rule — deficient purity, power, beneficence, and feeling. Adam Smith had discussed such "feeling" in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which Burke reviewed in 1759. Madison would later call them "faculties" in Federalist No. 10. All three terms — feelings, sentiments, and faculties — were common 18th-century ways of describing human motivation. All three men were describing a capacity that went beyond the purely rational elements of human nature and embraced our emotional, religious, and habitual responses. Along with many other 18th-century skeptics of pure rationality, they believed a certain kind of cultural formation was essential to the formation of a free society, both for "the people" and its leaders.
Not everyone agreed. In the first English "Jacobin novel," Anna St. Ives, published in 1792, Thomas Holcroft specifically rejects English notions of "the gentleman" as the mere leavings of irrational prejudice: "Can you not perceive it is a word without a meaning?" the eponymous heroine pleads to her father, shortly after praising the principled rationality of her low-born favorite. The American historian Gordon Wood brings a version of Holcroft's critique to our shores. He is at pains to tell a story of the early republic in which historical experience made the Federalists' honor and gentlemanly behavior irrelevant.
But Wood admits that the expansion of equality and the decidedly ungenteel behavior of "the middling sorts" posed a problem even for a democratic Francophile like Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson worried that immigrants to America "might lack the necessary qualifications to sustain liberty and self-government," in Wood's words. Whether those "qualifications" fit one to be a gentleman or a certain kind of citizen, yeoman, or bourgeois is then less important than what those qualifications were. In any case, they differentiated a free American or British "people" from a mob.
Of course, the question of "the gentleman" has moved us away from party leaders and toward the people. In a 1769 speech on the Wilkes controversy, Burke noted that, unlike the snooty gentilhomme in Paris, the English gentleman "has no rank above his fellow Citizens." For him, "gentleman" refers to character, not to rank. And Burke himself had no status, no benefactor, and no significant wealth to ease his way to political office when he arrived in London in 1750. Only "his Manners, his affability, his Knowledge, his justice, the popular use of his fortune" mark a British subject as a gentleman, Burke writes. Even "fortune" fails to grant gentlemanly status in Burke's eyes — only its proper use could do that. He expands on this elsewhere, explaining that another value of wealth is the independent judgment it affords. It offers the chance to develop character, in other words, not merely privilege.
Here's an extreme example of "the gentleman" in action: Just days after his bitter May 1791 split with Whig leader Charles James Fox over the question of France, Burke promoted the cause of one of his own most virulent critics, the young Charles Grey, on a bill to give relief for imprisonment for debt. Grey and his comrades had just run the 62-year-old Burke out of his party, yet Burke stood up in the House and spoke of the bill as "highly honourable to a young gentleman (Mr. Grey) of very great abilities, who had taken it up." They had been separated by principle; they were no longer friends. But Burke still supported Grey when Grey was right.
Leaders who have this character will, on occasion, admit political defeat and carry their principles into opposition. Since his party was in office for only about 22 months during his nearly 30 years in Parliament, Burke did this constantly. It was no mean accomplishment. An authority on the Rockingham Whigs, John Brewer, credits them with establishing the principle of "the opposition." The party's constitutionally significant roles in opposition were to restrain the executive and the party in power. They had to represent the minority of "the people" whose principles were in disfavor. In our non-parliamentary system, these roles are sometimes played by the majority as well. Given a strong president of uncertain principles and character, the leadership of his own, majority party will have to intervene should he place himself beyond the Constitution. Moreover, our current situation would be more precarious if there were no parties in Congress. The president would have a much easier way of shaping pliant majorities to do his bidding. Without fear of party backlash, he could more easily use secret combinations, reward dependents with pork, and transgress constitutional boundaries in the name of America First.
Burke's "gentleman" is not a hero. He is a person of mature, independent judgment, whose character is formed by honor, deference, and loyalty: honor that defends national, constitutional principles against factional interests; deference to party leaders over one's own ambitions; and loyalty that gains strength by openly supporting political friends and disdaining conspiracy. We need such men and women as leaders of both parties now, especially under a president who scores low by these measures.
PARTY PRINCIPLES AND THE CONSTITUTION
It may seem puzzling to consider principles last as an aspect of political parties, only after character and the historical circumstances that give rise to party formation. In his excellent history of American parties, John Gerring argues for giving priority to ideology — prosperity, social order, and patriotism for Republicans and equality for the Democrats. Certainly, many of the criticisms of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton focused on the need for parties to return to clear principles.
For Burke, however, the enunciation of overarching principles was not the most significant element of his theory or practice of party — at least not early in his career. Principles are always present, but he never discusses them in the abstract, divorced from specific circumstances. In accepting exile from the Whigs in 1791, Burke explains this approach: "The theory contained in [Reflections on the Revolution] is not to furnish principles for making a new constitution, but for illuminating the principles of a constitution already made. It is a theory drawn from the fact of our government."
Still, "principle" itself occupies a key role in Burke's definition of party: "Party is a body of men united, for promoting by their joint endeavors, the national interest, upon some particular principle in which they are all agreed." Maddeningly, he doesn't say what the Whigs' "particular principle" is.
Of the several excellent studies of the Whig Party during the long reign of George III (1760-1820), all of which deal at length with Burke, none gives a succinct treatment of Whig principles. Leslie Mitchell, who has probably written the most on this subject, admits, "Whigs seemed to hold no common ground...There was no common view about the French Revolution or Bonaparte. Radicals were to be cossetted or shunned." Concluding that "political creed mattered little" to the Whigs, he settles for a description of their temperament: "a preference for change over the status quo...a belief that things could be done better." They threw great parties and had the wittiest conversations. That kind of thing may get you favorable articles in Rolling Stone and nice pictures in GQ, but it cannot sustain a political party. No wonder the Whigs ceased to exist.
It would be easy to infer particular Whig principles from the political cartoons of the day. Better yet, Burke's speeches throughout the American War, when he was the intellectual leader of the Rockingham Whigs, set forth positions that are undergirded by clear political principles. For instance, he suggests that treating colonies (like America and India) with conciliation, generosity, and a bias toward freedom was an essential party principle: "We must govern America, according to [its] nature, and to [its] circumstances, and not according to our own imaginations," Burke warns Parliament. He also suggests that reining in the king's dispersal of money and influence was a core organizing principle of Whig politics: "[P]arliament [must reassert] their ancient, hereditary, inherent right of controlling and checking the public expenditure." Defending constitutional rights, whether this meant the voters' right to choose John Wilkes or the role of habeas corpus in war time, was also critical. "Partial freedom seems to me the most invidious form of slavery," Burke argues.
Ultimately, however, I would label the principle that animates Burke's thought from first to last as "historic constitutionalism," even if he never uses that particular phrase. Instead, he often praises the "mixed government" of Britain, particularly for its intricate balance of political and social forces. This balance, achieved over centuries, includes more than the mutual restraints exerted by king, Lords, and Commons upon each other, as observed by Montesquieu. To those, Burke adds the balance among religious and economic forces, and he further divides economic interests among landed property, trade, manufacturing, and the yeomanry. It is no accident that the final word in the Reflections is "equipoise." Keeping the British ship of state upright, in contrast to the wreckage piling up on the other side of the Channel, was perhaps the central political achievement of Britain during the century after the Glorious Revolution of 1688. This was the great aim and achievement of Whig politics, he believed.
Burke's career makes clear that a healthy political party must be organized around a principle of constitutional significance. This is not for the purpose of maintaining the status quo, indulging nostalgia, or worshiping the past, as many of his critics charged. A good constitution, Burke asserted in 1791, "contains...the seeds of all further improvement," and this assertion is validated by his many reform efforts. The French Constitution did not contain such "seeds," regardless of the idealism of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. As a consequence, it could not sustain true parties. Burke is sometimes criticized for failing to distinguish among sans-culottes, Girondins, Jacobins, and other revolutionary groups. But he never considered them parties. At best they were "factions" whose principles never represented the national interest.
The early history of the Republican Party provides a fascinating window onto this subject as well. The Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision in 1857 had declared unconstitutional the principled basis of the Republican Party — opposition to the expansion of slavery into the territories. Think of the extraordinary lengths to which Abraham Lincoln went to explain the constitutional purchase of that principle, from his debates with Stephen Douglas (defending congressional and presidential powers) to the Cooper Union speech (explaining the Northwest Ordinance's anti-slavery provisions). Consider too the constitutional confusion beneath Douglas's defense of popular sovereignty. These examples may serve as warnings to the parties today: How deeply rooted in the constitutional principle of equality is the Democrats' commitment to identity politics? How do tougher Republican positions on immigration and crime square with their defense of liberty?
In retrospect, one can trace Burke's overriding principle — historic constitutionalism as expressed in mixed government — through his entire career. It is evident that he believed his party accepted this principle under both Whig leaders of his day, the Marquis of Rockingham and Charles James Fox. But Fox would not have described Whig principles in Burke's terms. Under the pressure of the French Revolution, it became clear that he didn't understand the Constitution, mixed government, or contemporary events the way Burke did. On the night of their dramatic split, during a May 6, 1791, debate in the House of Commons, Fox ventured that "watching the [royal] Prerogative" was the principle that had joined the two men as Whigs. In the debate, Fox had linked this principle with the more abstract notion that "the original rights of men were...the foundation of all governments, and all constitutions." Burke rejected this description of Whig principles. As the debate came to its theatrical denouement, he publicly ended his allegiance to the Whigs and his friendship with Fox.
One can perhaps fault Burke's principled rejection of political theory for giving rise to Fox's confusion. On the other hand, Fox was so intellectually lazy that he had read neither Burke's Reflections, published the previous November, nor Thomas Paine's response, the Rights of Man, the first part of which had been published in March 1791. Nor was he aware that phrases like "the rights of men," having recently become sophisticated in the salons of France, had acquired a much more radical meaning than suggested by his use of it in Commons.
The threads of this story may be tangled, but the elements relevant to party are still three in number: principles with constitutional significance, historical circumstances, and a moral character defined by loyalty, honor, and deference.
In the moment of crisis, Whig principles were no longer clear. Events had altered political realities, tearing warp from woof in ways that erstwhile allies could not have foreseen. Burke insisted that the revolution was an existential crisis, while Whig leaders thought its domestic significance was negligible. If Burke had had a more patient character or Fox a more energetic one, the outcome may have been different. And while Burke's case is firmly rooted in Whig thinking, there are Whiggish grounds for Fox's emphasis on listening to the people's voice as well.
THE PEOPLE AND THE PARTY
For Burke, the most important question regarding "the people" and its voice was a practical one: How was the people's voice properly represented? Part of "the present discontents" addressed in Burke's 1770 pamphlet was that the British people had no way of meaningfully expressing their will to the Crown. Seven years later, Burke reiterated the importance of the people's voice in some advice to the young Charles James Fox: "Lay your foundations deep in public opinion." But whatever expressing the people's will meant for Burke, it did not mean simply following the will of "a majority of men, told by the head." Burke never believed that majority rule as such granted political authority.
Following the people's voice also did not mean taking the word of whomever the public chose for Parliament. Every Whig, from John Wilkes to Burke himself, had to interpret public opinion by means of the principles held by other Whigs. And this problem could not be overcome by reforming the frequency of parliamentary elections or making Parliament more representative of the populace. Burke may be faulted for this, but there was little appetite for such reforms until quite late in his career.
How, then, should the people's representatives represent the people? In a 1774 speech at Bristol, after winning a seat in Parliament from that large constituency, Burke famously rejected the notion that he was a mere delegate for the ever-shifting will of the electors: "Parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole....You choose a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not member of Bristol, but he is a member of Parliament." So far, so good. But what Burke doesn't add was of almost equal importance to him: Bristol had chosen a Whig. His view of the national interest (not to mention Bristol's interest) would be filtered through the party's principles and strength.
Was party, then, really a repudiation of "the people"? Far from it. Burke believed that party was the only way to bring the popular voice to the executive. Without party, even good and virtuous people were too weak to be effective:
In a connection, the most inconsiderable man, by adding to the weight of the whole, has his value, and his use; out of it, the greatest talents are wholly unserviceable to the public. No man['s]...unsystematic endeavors are of power to defeat the subtle designs and united cabals of ambitious citizens.
I spoke recently to a former Minnesota state senator about his work in the leadership of his caucus when they were in a slight majority under a governor of the opposite party. In trying to convince senators who were being wooed (he used the word "bought") by the governor, my friend said he often felt like saying to his recalcitrant party allies, "Should we just give the governor the keys and go home?" He had experienced Burke's point: The people of Minnesota as a whole, who had given his party the state Senate majority, would not be represented if individual members allowed the governor to bludgeon them. Party was the people's shield.
Give away effective party rule and we give away our best known means of putting popular government into action. Burke himself provides a convenient summary on this front: "[T]he two only securities for the importance of the people [are] power arising from popularity; and power arising from connection," by which he means party. The first delivers the legislature through election; the second makes the executive listen through effective party discipline. Whether a party is in the legislative majority or minority, the current of public opinion must make itself felt, even in a non-parliamentary system like ours. Otherwise, "the people" dissolves into a vaporous mist.
If all of this is true, why did Burke provoke a crisis within the Whigs? Why did he abet efforts to split his own party? Burke's judgment is clear on this matter: A split is justified only when party leaders have irrevocably abandoned a principle with strong constitutional purchase. If "adhering to the British Constitution [gave his friends] cause to desert him," he is reported to have said during his 1791 break with Fox in Commons, "he would risk all."
And so he did. Burke's closest allies, the "Portland Whigs," accepted his standard, but most initially rejected his appraisal of the circumstances and of their party leaders. It took the execution of Louis XVI, war with France, and the Reign of Terror to overcome their dislike of Pitt and join his government. That process set Fox free as well. As the Duke of Portland prepared to lead a faction of the Whigs over to the other side in 1794, Fox declared that the greatest danger to the constitution was the Tories' temporary suspension of habeas corpus, followed (the next year) by the expansion of government power under the Treason and Sedition Bills.
This wrenching historical chronicle illustrates the limits of judgment that constrain even the best leaders as they weigh contemporary events against party principles. It illustrates a second, equally important lesson as well: Losing a major party could eliminate an effective defender of a major constitutional principle. Burke may have been generally right about his party, but without Fox, Grey, and the remaining Whigs, who would have questioned Pitt's wartime powers?
And how about us? Can we be confident that equality will get the defense it needs without an effective Democratic Party? Alternatively, without thoughtful Republican Party leadership, who will represent the principle of ordered liberty? In a recently discovered essay manuscript, the 27-year-old Edmund Burke asserts, "In every Constitution there are powers which are to balance. There ought to be parties which may nearly balance too." When parties provide this constitutional balance, they are acting out of principle, not out of partisanship. Without it, the Constitution is truly in danger.
Finally, all of this should make us cautious about judging that a party is on an unalterable trajectory of decline. In retrospect it's obvious that the Democrats could dump their 19th-century adherence to white supremacy and that Republicans could abandon their Progressive-era reliance on executive power. But neither was obvious at the time.
Specific party positions will change with circumstances and with the leaders who face them. But Burke's writings and career teach that these changes must occur upon the foundation of the nation's constitution, which he likens to an inherited estate. This ensures that reform begins, his metaphor suggests, with "a sure principle of conservation and a sure principle of transmission, without at all excluding a principle of improvement." And who are the leaders capable of recognizing those circumstances and maintaining those principles? They are known publicly by the "honorable connection" they have made over the years "to carry their common plans into execution, with all the power and authority of the State." Tested loyalty and honor among party leaders gives rise to public trust, Burke writes, and their friendship is a "step toward patriotism."
Our party leaders can choose to act as if Burke's theory and practice is a relic of the past. But if they sacrifice their honor-bound loyalty to each other, a loyalty rooted in deep constitutional principles, we may also discover that they consider free government a mere relic as well.