Elegy for a Republic

Edwin Yoder reviews Gordon Wood's Revolutionary Characters in the summer books issue of The Weekly Standard. The piece gets at some of the elegiac qualities of Wood's book (which I highly recommend):

There is a note of sadness here, for Wood seems to believe that our present political habits would appall his gentlemen revolutionists. In their view, if republicanism was to gain a foothold in a world hostile to it, the great danger was the tendency of a polity to gravitate toward the "fiscal/military state": a style familiar in that monarchical world. Such states made war to justify standing armies, maintained armies to excuse high taxation, and generated bloated public debts to attach influential creditors to them. Sound dangerously familiar?

That probably sounds, if anything, dangerously unpatriotic to the good Americans who read The Weekly Standard.  Aren't we the arsenal of democracy, after all?

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