Hamilton: Art Fails as Politics

(I originally posted this at The American Catholic and I thought the culture Mavens of Almost Chosen People might find it interesting.)


The United States have already felt the evils of incorporating a large number of foreigners into their national mass; by promoting in different classes different predilections in favor of particular foreign nations, and antipathies against others, it has served very much to divide the community and to distract our councils. It has been often likely to compromise the interests of our own country in favor of another. The permanent effect of such a policy will be, that in times of great public danger there will be always a numerous body of men, of whom there may be just grounds of distrust; the suspicion alone will weaken the strength of the nation, but their force may be actually employed in assisting an invader.

Alexander Hamilton, “Examination of Jefferson’s Message to Congress of December 7, 1801” (1802)

I have rather liked the musical Hamilton, although I have understood that it bore only an accidental relationship to the history it purported to represent.  However, at Reason Nicholas Pell has a scathing review of Hamilton, and he makes some good points:

Some are irritated about the people who aren’t white playing white people, but I’m not. The whole production plays so fast and loose with the truth that it’s hard to pick any particular piece to criticize, there’s a reality correlation approximating that of the Weekly World News. At the top of the list, though, has to be casting Alexander Hamilton as some sort of proto-multicultural progressive. That’s either stupidity or mendacity, take your pick. Hamilton was, if anything, the most aristocratic of the Founding Fathers, the closest thing to a Colonial Tory. You know that electoral college you’ve been gnashing your teeth over for the last couple months? Guess whose idea that was?

Go here to read the rest.   Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the thing and who starred as Hamilton, recently auctioned off tickets to the play as a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood.  Mr. Miranda can of course embrace any politics he wishes, but he obviously bought into the KoolAid that saw the success of Hamilton as evidence that America was turning to the Left.  In that reading of the political tea leaves, he did emulate the political acumen of Hamilton who led the Federalists into a political wilderness from which they never recovered.  Whenever Art mixes with contemporary politics it usually is bad for the Art and has little impact on politics, as Art has ever been the tool of all types of regimes down through the ages, but rarely, and then only fleetingly, its master.

Published in: on March 6, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Hamilton: Art Fails as Politics  
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