Quote Of The Day
David Brooks has fired up Radley Balko. And I highly recommend you go read Radley’s whole piece… It’s worth it.
One bit that I found particularly poignant, regarding why democratic politics, in particular, is not worthy of blind deference:
Politics—the quest for power because you’re sure that you, more than others, know what’s best for everyone else—has always been a profession worth ridiculing, going back to the satirists who found plenty to ridicule in the earliest democratic institutions in Rome and Greece. But here in America we have a political process—another institution subject to 236 years of fine-tuning—that’s particularly cartoonish. The set of skills it takes to get elected and achieve success in politics are not only the sorts of traits you’d never want in the people who govern you, they’re actually character flaws. They’re sorts of traits decent people try to teach out of their children. To be successful at politics, you need to be deceitful, manipulative, conniving, and mostly devoid of principle. (Principled politicians are rarely remembered as “great legislators.” And historians bestow greatness on the presidents most willing to wage war, accumulate power, and exceed their constitutional authority.) The most successful politicians sell voters on their strong convictions and principles, and then, once elected, they do as they’re told, so they can accumulate power and status within the party.
We make a big question over “which candidate we’d rather like to have a beer with” as if it’s a qualification for office. But I’ll tell you one thing — I don’t like drinking beer with pompous self-absorbed assholes. I’m certainly not going to blindly follow them.