Vetting Candidates by the Constitution, Criterion One: Faction

The primary purpose of any elected official is to protect the liberty—the ability to choose—of the constituents.

The greatest threat to liberty is man’s own base nature operating in faction.  According to James Madison, the source of faction is man’s own nature, “The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man…” [Federalist #10] therefore all men are capable of faction.

The Purpose of Faction Is Domination Over Others

Madison defines faction as:

a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.” [Federalist 10]

Madison also explains that while faction can reside in our right of endowed liberty through freedom of conscience and opinion, the most common source is the base nature of man that attempts to normalize greed, covetousness, theft under the guise of righting some social wrong regarding the various and unequal distribution of property.

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 and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts. But the most common and

The Source of Faction is Man's Depraved Nature

durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views.” [Federalist 10]

Since the source of faction is the depraved nature of man, we should not be surprised to learn that a candidate has a history of faction. However, to disregard faction would be both a foolish threat to continued civil society as well as the future continuance of liberty for all members of the community.

Faction is a serious and disqualifying characteristic at all times and in all situations of public life. To give solace and encouragement to the base nature of man is equivalent of inviting the encroaching source of all manner of oppression and tyranny into civil society.

Because our nation has strayed from its founding principles the activities of faction are not only present in all aspects of civil society, but have been legalized via all sorts of legislation, regulation, and our tax code. However, if we are to affect change to set the nation on course by applying these unifying constitutional principles we must refuse to overlook faction in all aspects of civil society and particularly in elected representatives. To knowingly elect a threat to the civil liberty of other members of the same community is akin to despising your own liberty, your own birthright as an American.

Apprising a Candidate’s Affiliation With Faction

  • Does the candidate’s business/private life indicate a history of seeking preferential treatment due to some perceived social injustice that accompanies race, gender, ethnicity, etc.?

    Government Set-Asides

  • Does the candidate campaign use the rhetoric of faction such as Madison described in Federalist 10 – “A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project…”?
  • In conducting private business, does the candidate pursue and honor the principle of the free market of competition or does the candidate pursue an effort of petitioning elected representatives, unelected regulators/bureaucrats, legislative members and committees for preferential treatment for their own business or for special hindrances for their competitors?
  • Does the candidate belong to, contribute to, or receive honors from clubs and associations of faction whose stated goals are to right certain perceived injustices by pursuit of preferential treatment? Is that pursuit of preferential treatment accompanied by a goal to punish, fine, or deprive their adversaries of their civil liberties?

    Factions At Work

  • Does the candidate campaign through faction divisiveness—pitting the well-being of one group of the community against the well-being of another group?
  • If the candidate has private business with the institution of the state, is the taxpayer respected with the best service at a competitive price, or viewed as a non-represented customer obliged to pay whatever the bill demands?

We must accept responsibility for the current state of our nation because we get the representation we elect to office. If we hope to return to constitutional, republican government, we must elect representatives who respect those principles.

We must appreciate that candidates of faction are particularly unqualified to serve as as elected representatives because they are first slaves to their own nature and that makes them unable/unwilling to guarantee to protect the liberty of all their constituents, as well as the rest of the citizens of the nation.



  1. Bob Hilliard says:

    This message is right on target. This is the primary vetting standard to be set, as our Constitution will not hold up under immoral representation.


  1. On Factions says:

    […] Keep reading. […]

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