In short, Hamilton’s fatal flaw is its focus on emotions rather than substance. In this, it is emblematic of the wider progressive Left. No wonder, then, that progressives have so enthusiastically embraced Miranda’s opus: It holds a mirror up to their values and makes them feel that much better about themselves. Forget the fact that the American Revolution wouldn’t have occurred had men like Jefferson and Adams not worked tirelessly at getting Colonial leaders united behind the declaration of our nation’s independence; they were merely self-involved politicos out to feather their own nests and keep upstart immigrants such as Alexander Hamilton from becoming successes in their own right! Forget any serious discussion about the balance of powers between the states and a federal government; it was snobbery that kept Jefferson and Madison from working with Hamilton to concentrate power in the central government.
If that weren’t enough, Hamilton plays into just about every leftist trope, starting with the flipping of the racial script: Every major character, save for King George, is played by a person of color. The show does drive-bys on issues such as immigration, takes swipes at leftist-notions of inherent privilege, and buys into the mythos that important decisions are always made by elites in back rooms. More importantly, it perpetuates the idea that emotion and motivation are far more important than the substance of political philosophy, economics, and the rational assessment of public policy.
Hamilton is also a “happening”: To see it live is to feel feel as though you are a part of something much greater. I admit to being very overwhelmed by the musical immediately upon the curtain falling, and it took my wife hours after leaving before she really came to grips with her emotions (as I said, she’s one of the two Hamiltoniacs in our household).
This is precisely what born-and-bred activists such as Miranda want — and why the activist left has essentially canonized Hamilton. Nicholas Pell was correct — the show is an ample target for criticism from those who love liberty,history, and performance artistry that is supposed to be steeped in both. But his critique missed many of the reasons Hamilton needs to be critically examined. In the end, the problem with Miranda’s work isn’t that it’s bad — it’s great theatre — but that, like the Left from which it sprung, it promotes flash over substance.