A recent “she’s awesome because everyone hates her” hagiography in Rolling Stone about the newly minted Congresswoman and current political it-girl Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, written by leftist screech owl Matt Taibbi, proved the old saw that even a blind squirrel can find an occasional chestnut. Taibbi observed,

The average american politician would lose at checkers to a zoo gorilla.

He then went on to elaborate that most are there because a moneyed interest put them there, to fulfill a rent-seeking endeavor, and that they’re to be silent and look sober for C-Span the rest of the time. He then segued into explaining that AOC’s supporters (only about 16,000 votes in the primary, but lets not quibble) sent her there in spite of the moneyed interests. While he correctly noted that “[t]hat doesn’t make anything she says inherently more or less correct,” he then pretzeled his way to the conclusion that, because she’s not of moneyed interests, she can speak truth-to-power, and advocate for all the good and popular proposals that those moneyed interests have been beating back for decades, and that’s why she’s deemed such a threat.

In this, he totally defenestrates both the opening premise of his piece and the logically correct inference that nothing about her election supports concluding she’s not the norm. While AOC has offered us ample evidence to suggest that, if not dim, she’s certainly ill-informed and ignorant, I’m not here to pick on her today.

Instead, I want to ask the rhetorical question of Matt and others who support the progressive agenda:

If the average American politician is an idiot, why in the world are progressives so obsessed with giving them more power, more money, and more control over their and our lives?

Taibbi’s observation isn’t even unique or ground breaking. Mark Twain figured it out over a century ago.

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself:

Thanks to the internet, I could quote thousands of utterances by politicians, high and low, that range from gross ignorance to utter, jaw-dropping idiocy, and thanks to the tireless meme-generators on social media, I merely have to refresh my feeds to find new ones every day.

Yes, indeed, politicians are, with rare exception, elected and re-elected because they managed to line up the right sort of support (or were anointed) and get the correct party affiliation, not because they are stellar minds who have the knowledge, wisdom, and experience to run a benevolent and efficient government. So, why would anyone who understands this trust them with the incredible power that is big government? How can the reality be jibed with progressivism’s, and resurrected socialism’s, premise that central planners will do a better job at running things than individual citizens interacting freely and with minimal government interference?

Why, if politicians are idiots, do people hang their hopes and desires on them??

I’m a libertarian for many reasons, philosophical and practical. Among the most powerful of the latter is the conclusion that politicians are, indeed, mostly not of the Best-and-Brightest, that the few who are rarely manage to get good things done, and that even the sharp ones have motives that are far more selfish than altruistic and noble.

I can understand that someone who hasn’t figured this out might look to put his or her faith and stock in the hands of a charismatic promise-maker, but someone like Taibbi, who’s come to the eyes-open realization, really should know better.

I’m left wondering how those who can figure this truth out continues to support big government. I can only conclude that such folks are either not terribly bright, either, or that they themselves are selfish, cynical, and more interested in power than in positive results. Either way, I trust them as much as I trust the checkers-playing politicians, which is to say, about as much as I trust gas station sushi.

Milton Friedman’s question to Phil Donahue comes to mind:

[T]ell me where in the world you find these angels who are going to organize society for us.

The few politicians I like are outliers, even in their own parties. Thing is, they’d be the sort not to organize society for us, but rather to do the bare minimum required to facilitate our organizing it for ourselves. Progressives got their golden child when Obama got elected, and promptly witnessed all the power that they had accrued in that wave frittered away despite (well, because of) his efforts. They rage against his successor, a man who seems to validate Taibbi’s observation on a daily basis, but they still insist on an agenda that invests ever-more power in government.

The only rational conclusion is that they don’t give a shit about the people, despite their assertions that they are the ones who care. They merely want power. Angels, they are not. Power, they don’t deserve.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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