Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Just Kick ‘Em Out (?)

Originally posted on July 1, 2015

I know a nice lady who suggested that we should "rise up and dump the tea into the harbor. Kick out everyone in Washington and start all over." Well, I considered this and please forgive me, but I do have a suspicious bone in my body.

The problem is that the people who would then run for office would be just as corrupt or stupid but they would claim to be more honest than the last bunch. They would claim it, but they wouldn’t be any better! If the masses wanted to “clean house,” they assume that there’s a magic in definitive action, but there isn’t!

Politicians running for office may cross their heart and swear to be good, but in fact they’re either fools or knaves. You see, the problems they would face are very complex, really. Politics in fact requires many compromises and rather clever and creative weaving of opposing interests.

We should consider that any political candidate who makes the task seem simple might well be the kind of person who end up being ineffective because they’re such “pure” ideologues. They might be as bad or worse than the ones they “kicked out.” Faced with the real complexities of governing, there is the real danger of feeding off the public trough for as long as they can get away with it, do as little as possible, for as long as they can get away with it, and no one catches on until they’ve filled their pockets. They may be consciously sincere, or not so much. The point is that if we want simplicity, we may well get the government we “deserve,” because in fact government is very complicated, even for the truly idealistic. The folks who promise to do it right are, because of the shallowness of their appeal, may well be the very folks who will steal us blind! Nor is honesty the only criterion! A dumb innocent will quickly become the dupe of a more clever colleague. No one knows any way of ensuring politician’s honesty!
This lady complained about taxes, as if we could indeed run a government with zero taxes. So the question really is who gets taxed and who doesn’t. And the folks with the most money hire the cleverest lawyers that make seemingly plausible arguments why they shouldn’t be taxed. The lady herself is a really nice person who harkened back to the good old days, ignoring the reality that what was good for some was terribly oppressive to others. What some call the good old days in American history were laced with horrible prejudice for minorities, oppression of the majority working class, violence, and tumult.

In summary, I was intrigued, but not surprised by this simplistic thinking among apparently intelligent people. This is the problem with democracy. It is the worst form of government, as Winston Churchill observed—except (as he noted) for anything else!

One Response to “Just Kick ‘Em Out (?)”

  • David B. says:

    I do think it would be clever if we could force all politicians to take some sort of standardized psychology test and the publish the results, like:
    Ability to Compromise: B+
    Anger Management: C-
    Righteousness: A-
    and so on
    (not that this would ever fly, but it’s fun to dream)

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