September 23, 2003

A Pack, Not a Herd

When Glenn Reynolds says "A pack, not a herd," is he verbalizing a Freudian view of the populace as Jacksonian/Republican/elephants rather than Jeffersonian/Democrat/donkeys? Even though donkeys and elephants each travel in herds, rather than packs, the homophonic relationship of pack to pachyderm can't be sheer coincidence. Can it?

While the Jacksonian and Jeffersonian traditions led to what we now know as the Democratic Party, the leadership and "activist" membership of the Democratic Party now tends to view its Jacksonian legacy with distaste. The populist primacy of honor, self-reliance, and a willingness (and ability) to defend one's self and one's property are increasingly rejected in favor of an authoritarian elitism whose values seem increasingly at odds with the championing of the individual. When people speak of not leaving the Democratic Party, but having the Democratic Party leave them -- I think this is what they mean. And when someone asked when the War on Terrorism became a Republican issue is when the term Jacksonian suddenly resonated more closely with Republicans than Democrats.

Posted by Charles Austin at September 23, 2003 03:55 PM

Rather interesting, considering that Andrew Jackson was the first President from the Democratic Party! Of course, back then, a Democrat was one who favored narrow limits on federal power, avoidance of direct taxation and federal debt, and a strict construction of the Constitution -- closer to a modern Republican than a modern Democrat.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at 05:58 PM