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Wisdom of the Founding Fathers

Rarely is there a YouTube video that truly captures the spirit of America while providing more clarity about this Country’s true nature. The video produced this week for YouTube by The Common Interest and narrated by Keith Allred reviews, in less than 10 minutes, the most fundamental element of the Constitution. That element, most eloquently expressed in Federalist Paper #10, examines man’s inexorable tendency to form factions. Understanding the nature of man, factions are inevitable, so the challenge typically drifts toward control rather than moderation. The beauty of the Constitution is that it established a government capable of controlling the scope and potential harm that can be caused by any single faction without attempting to control its formation. 

James Madison’s Vision

Even more remarkable, James Madison carried to the Philadelphia Convention a vision of social and constitutional mechanics that would protect liberty while promoting the right to form parties of common and special interests. Demonstrating his understanding of human nature, Madison stated,  “A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex ad oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good.”    

As the United States has grown the number of factions has also grown. But it is this Nation’s very size and diversity that moderates the impact of any one faction or party. So, what is the message for this 4th of July? Very simply, every society has special interests that promote the value of their position, perspective, and contribution. But it is the Common Interest that matters most. When all is said and done, there are two essential questions for elected officials, public managers, and citizens – ‘What is best for the community and the Country? And, given the realities of our time ‘What is in the best common interest of all citizens?’

I encourage you to view the video and share it with colleagues.  It is worth archiving as a key element of new employee orientation.


With over three decades working in and with federal, state and local government, John Luthy understands public agencies.  Known for his real world, straight talking style, he is a leading futurist specializing in city, county, state, and federal long-range thinking and planning. An innovative and dynamic presenter, John frequently speaks and consults on how to prepare public organizations and communities for emerging challenges.  See www.futurescorp.com and select PublicFutures.

One Response

  1. Kudos to you! I hadn’t tuohhgt of that!

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