Are We Being Governed by Our Inferiors?

This will complete my comments on Throw Them All Out—a well-researched book by a well-credentialed author. Tired of politics? So am I. But Plato said, “One of the penalties of not participating in politics is that you will be governed by your inferiors.”

Yes, I know it is much easier to curl up with a good novel or watch a ballgame. But freedom is not free. The right to vote carries responsibility.

We have a president who talks a lot about a fair shake, a misnomer for redistribution of wealth. Whose money is going to be taken? How much? Who gets it and how much? And most important—Who gets to decide?

The answer is unelected bureaucrats and crooked and ignorant politicians.  Think about that before you support Marxism hidden under terms like “a fair shake”.  This has never worked at any place or time in history and never will.

To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, “Those who would sacrifice liberty for a little security deserve neither.”

If we really want a “fair shake” for everyone, how about starting with politicians? Let’s make them live under the same laws that the rest of us have to live under.

OPM (other people’s money) is the opiate of the masses. Congressmen and most bureaucrats believe that OPM is a limitless pit of treasure. But that treasure has to be continuously replenished, and when you force people to pour into the waste pit instead of using wealth to create jobs, the wage earner suffers the most.

Steps we need to take. (Some facts are from the book, opinions are mine)

Step 1. Term limits.  Yes, there are some honest and effective folks who have been in Congress for many terms. But they are scarce.

The system of seniority and doling out of favors makes it next to impossible to defeat an entrenched incumbent.  Term limits might attract more folks to run for office for the right reason—a desire to serve.

Step 2. We must free ourselves of the notion that people elected to Congress are intelligent and competent. “Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” Mark Twain.

Will Rogers

Many run for office simply because they can’t make a living in the private sector. “I don’t know who started the idea that a president must be a politician instead of a businessman. A politician can’t run any other kind of business. So there is no reason why he can run the U.S. That’s the biggest single business in the world.” –Will  Rogers.

Most politicians never have to leave the DC bubble–never have to make a living under the laws they pass. Most never have to work again. And many are just plain dumb. If you don’t believe me, let me introduce you to Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, Maxine Waters and Harry Reid, just to name a few. Would you hire any of these folks if you were running a company that had to turn a profit to survive?

Yet, they have risen to the highest pinnacles of power. How? Many are elected the first time because of family influence or money. A partner in a large law firm once told me they usually select their weakest attorney,  finance a campaign to get him elected, then send him instructions on how to vote.

By sending home pork, these unqualified folks get reelected; each reelection garners seniority and power (committee assignments and possibly a chairmanship), and results in more pork. And the vicious cycle goes on.

Then there is Barney Frank. If you had to name one individual most responsible for the 2008 meltdown, it would be Frank.

There is plenty of blame to go around, but consider this: A. Government forced banks to make bad loans. B. Banks knew they were bad, so they sold them to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the government). C. Some were bundled into marketable securities. D. People placed bets on whether these securities would go bad or not.  E. Big banks found themselves on the wrong side of those bets and we bailed them out instead of letting them take their medicine.

Frank had covered up fraud at Fannie and Freddie and pushed to fund their mounting losses for years. Why? Because the two organizations were filling his and Obama’s campaign coffers. And whose name is on the bill that is supposed to stop (but won’t) this from happening again? Barney Frank.

Step 3 Stop former politicians and their families from lobbying (one third of the senate now has a family member who is a lobbyist).

Step 4 Abolish the tax code and institute the fair tax. I came to this conclusion after three decades of dealing with the code and observing how taxes affect individuals and businesses.

Step 5 Divest ourselves of the notion that politicians won’t tell blatant, bold, arrogant, corrupt, harmful lies that endanger our economy and national security if the lies keep them in office. Most of us know that politicians lie, but I don’t think we can fathom the extent to which some politicians will go.

The litany of lies in the current Libya scandal is appalling.  We have heard lie after unrepentant, unconscionable lie without the slightest twinge of remorse. It has been fairly easy to obfuscate these lies with the help of a pandering media, but it is not so easy to cover up bald-faced lies on simpler subjects.

There were at least four false statements made in the last debate that were quickly debunked by fact checkers. That usually stops them from being repeated. One stands out to me because it is so easily debunked. On the auto bailout argument, Romney said he said one thing in a New York Times Op-Ed and Obama claimed he said something just the opposite. One only has to read the piece to see that Romney was correct. Left and right sources agree on this because no sane person could read the article and come to any other conclusion.

One might forgive a mistake during a high pressure debate, but the president continued to repeat the lie on the campaign trail after being told he was wrong by his own advisors.  What kind of person does that in front of large audiences and cameras?

Most of us have been less than honest more than once in our lives, but the average person can’t imagine telling a whopper to millions of people—whoppers that can cause great harm. Every time I hear Jay Carney tell a lie, I wonder how he looks in the mirror to shave. And what does his mother think?

It seems they are able to rationalize, convinced that the ends justify the means. I can’t fathom that kind of narcissism.

In 1887 Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior:

“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.

A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.

From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.”

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Attributed to Edmund Burke.

So do something.

Jim Ainsworth is author of Go Down Looking.


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