June 16, 2015

Politics as an Art

By In Articles, Society and Culture

The politician feels as if his purpose in life is to take up the reins of the state; he feels an inner burning to garner control of the state and thus fulfill his destiny of ruling over other men.  The state is a vehicle and the driver’s seat is the coveted prize.  Not all who embark on the weary path of political life will achieve the grand prize. But scattered along the road are incentives: popularity from the Power Elite (if the rules are obeyed), marvelous paychecks (with impressive bonuses for those who follow the orders of their more corrupt superiors), and pensions for life.  Moreover, the thrill of earning a living by acting as a parasite on an economic system that can only grow as a result of voluntary actions between buyers and sellers, producers and consumers, is likely irresistible.  Never having to contribute to society by way of the market process in order to accumulate wealth, the politician is thrilled to observe that, by increasing the amount of loot expropriated from the private sector, he can increase his opportunity to live in excellent conditions perpetually.

Thus, with hopes of glory and expectations of splendid power, the politician hones his craft and aims to perfect the art of duping the masses.

Politics is a niche industry, the specialists of which have mastered, among other things, the art of speaking nonsense to the multitudes.  Such activity, of course, is merely a prerequisite, a polished skill to be acquired on the path toward power.  The politician is an expert in the pursuit of power and his practical aim is persuading the masses that he, more than any of his opponents, is worthy of exercising dominion over some large portion of the society.

In a democracy, the masses must flock the specialists —they must long for the success of the Men in Charge— and therefore, aware that the populace is generally desirous only of being entertained, the spectacle of politics is created.  It has within it, and surrounding it at all times, a media arm whose role is to ensure that the political industry is lavished in sparkling decor, to ensure that the multitudes believe with all their hearts that what goes on in the realm of politics is Most Important.  They must believe that without the politicians, as frustrating as they can sometimes be, civilization itself may have long ago drifted away into the night.  They must believe that the state is the sustaining life-source for any possibility of a future.

Politics then is no game. It is an carefully crafted art.  A delicate balance must be drawn between the real quest for power— for dominion over one’s fellow man— and the artificial appearance of grandiose concern for people and their sacred cows; cows which, we should not hesitate to add, have been heavily subsidized and well-fed by the state’s closest bondservants: the education and news industries.

The populace-at-large, longing with desperate fervor to be led toward the edge of the cliff and foolishly rejecting those who warn of the dangers of clamoring for such “leaders,” could not be in a more convenient place for the political specialists.  After all, controlling a people is fantastically simple if those people pride themselves in their ability to apply their own chains.  Politics as an art consists of “standing by” and “being there” and “going out of one’s way” to provide assistance for those who seek a tighter shackle.  The campaigning aspect of the politician’s career in Democratic Shackling Services is merely the interview process, after which, if successful in bamboozling the hapless voters, he has a grand frontier of four, possibly eight, years of doing whatever he wishes.  He has earned a place among the human race of being above the law, and using such law to plunder those underneath him.

In a democracy, no observation regarding the nature of government and it’s politicians has been better articulated than one by H.L Mencken. “The state — or, to make matters more concrete, the government — consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get, and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time it is made good by looting ‘A’ to satisfy ‘B’. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advanced auction on stolen goods.”

Political professionals, those who have the “talent for getting and holding office,” have become proficient in lying well and appearing to represent the interests of those who, in the politician’s estimation, are central in the possibility of getting elected.  Aware that other political competitors have already cornered one aspect of the voting market, the politician, having no morals or ideals of his own, strives to discover his own niche among the voting population. He has all the concerns of the businessman: image, brand appeal, capital stock, cash flow, strategic vision, and mottos galore.  He must dismiss and ignore his own historical shortcomings and sins, revealed in heated competition by other power-hungry political careerists.  He must at the same time magnify and inflate the the sins of his opponent. In the eyes of the viewers, who are enthralled in this childish circus, the opponent must be cast as Satan himself to be compared to their own True Hero, who, if not voted for, will not get the opportunity to save the world.

Politics, though, is not business.  Business relies on persuading the consumer to give up the money that has in exchange for a good or service that the business has produced.  Politics relies on persuading the voter to give the politician the power to loot a third party for the benefit of both voter and politician.  The historians therefore, being chummy with the state, have long lavished praise on the “active president,” and the politicians who “get the most done.”  If the democratic state is a broker in pillage, then its goal, like any other brokerage, is to focus on volume. The more loot that is transferred from A to B by way of the “political process,” the more the broker can take his cut.  In this way, the democratic system is self-corrupting. The voter gets drunk on his ability to vote himself more of his neighbor’s wealth and the political profession attracts those who lie, cheat, and steal expertly.

Politics is an art to be mastered. The reward is power and there is never enough to go around.

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com