Ever wish you could go back in time, your knowledge of the present intact, and show ’em how it’s done?
There’s a new biography of Alexander Hamilton. Author Ron Chernow describes Hamilton as being a ”messenger from a future we now inhabit.” Even as he laid out a visionary model for the American economic system that we easily recognize today, Hamilton also set the fledgling political infrastructure firmly on a path towards today’s DC-centered
two parties + professional bureaucracy. And this disadvantaged immigrant did so while embroiled in great scandals. No wonder the American system succeeds so well in our time — it was created by someone who would feel right at home.
But this time-travel simile has hardened a feeling that’s been chilling me. I think we’ve pretty much gotten things working the way they were set up to. There are serious problems to be sure, but they are not problems that the American system was meant to overcome. So now what? Who from the past has acted as a messenger from our near future? What
prophet had tuned in on the needs and circumstances of the twenty first century? With Hamilton recognizably put in his place, I feel somewhat visionaryless for the future.