"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, November 15, 2010

P.J. O'Rourke on Politics Without Politicians

P.J. O'Rourke has a funny column up with the thesis that the only good election will be when we elect people who aren't politicians:
In a free country government is a dull and onerous responsibility. It is a parent-teacher conference. The teacher is a pompous twit. Our child is a lazy pain in the ass. We undertake this social obligation with weary reluctance. And we only do it at all because the teacher (political authority) deserves cold stares, hard questions, and maybe firing, and the pupil (that portion of society which, alas, needs governing) deserves to be grounded without TV and have its Internet access screened and its allowance docked.
America’s elected and appointed officials ought to be longing to return to their personal lives and private interests. They should feel burdened by their powers, irked with their responsibilities, and embarrassed at their prominence in the public eye. When they say they want to spend more time with their families, they should mean it.
I remember when Bill Clinton was running for the Presidency and he got embroiled in controversy about his draft record (or, rather, his draft-dodging record).   Investigation revealed that as a very young man just out of college he was very attuned to maintaining his "political viability" by not doing anything that would jeopardize his future prospects to run for President.  I remember remarking at the time that any boy who is seriously thinking about being President at that age should be ipso facto disqualified as a sociopath.  

In other words, our political principle ought to be that if you want to be President, you should never be allowed within a million miles of being elected President.   It's probably a principle worth expanding to lower levels of government -- if you really aspire to be a Senator, you're probably an insufferably arrogant loser who couldn't be elected dogcatcher in a sane world.  

Think about it:  don't most politicians remind you of the kids from high school who ran for student body president?  Those were they type of kids we wouldn't let sit at our lunch table.   

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