Just in the interest of advancing the conversation, I’ve pulled a comment from the BIG THINK thread by our own C.J. Wolfe. I want to make clear that I think there’s a lot to Anti-Federalist and Tea-Party Criticism, but you do have this objection characteristic of the students of Jaffa:

It’s not surprising to me at all that Deneen would see the Tea Partiers as fellow travelers. They are the 21st century equivalent of the Antifederalists, an older group Deneen is a big fan of because of their communitarian-sounding criticisms of the US Constitution.

Harry Jaffa pointed out to me how often members of the Tea Party trot out the 10th Amendment- and do so incorrectly. On several different occasions, Tea Party leaders have said the 10th Amendment reserves to the people and the states powers not “EXPRESSLY” delegated to the United States. That’s the classic Antifederalist slip of the tongue, one that if true would eliminate the implied powers Marshall claims in McCulloch v. Maryland and any semblance of a strong Federal government. The word “expressly” can be found in a very similar provision of the Articles of Confederation; a 10th Amendment with that word in it is what the Antifeds wanted but didn’t get. It is a very significant “tell” with regard to the Tea Party, in my view.

Articles by Peter Lawler

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