Faction: The Underlying Cause of Anger and Hatred in America

Anger and hatred are recurring themes in commentaries exploring the fragmentation of American society. The growing prevalence of political faction is a principal, yet often unacknowledged cause of this fragmentation. Efforts by America’s founders to control factions in perpetuity, via both direct and spontaneous means, appear to be failing.
The founders understood the potentially disruptive power of faction within a democratic republic. They took seriously the philosopher Thomas Hobbes’ pejorative characterization of faction as representing “a city within a city … an enemy within the walls.” Accordingly, they sought to constrain the political phenomenon that Adam Smith described as “the clamorous

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