What Elections Have Become

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.”


My only real disagreement with this is that politicians are NOT like you and me. If most people were like most politicians, the world would be inhabited solely by scoundrels, thieves and incompetent liars. Clearly, the world is populated more by a combination of brilliant geniuses, above average bright people, and average people who generally work hard and mean well. This is NOT what inhabits Washington D.C. or the seat of any other government. Government was supposed to consist of the best and brightest who took some time out of their careers to help keep the peace, keep the military and police forces operating, and also see to it that government otherwise stayed out of the personal lives–and pocketbooks–of the people. What we have instead, nearly 250 years into the American experiment, is the exact opposite, as so eloquently summarized by H.L. Mencken.

The day that the majority of people become as morally bad and intellectually incompetent as their governors, Senators and Presidents will be the day that those selfsame governors, Senators and Presidents have nothing left to loot or redistribute. It will ultimately be up to the people to decide just how far those governors, Senators and Presidents will be allowed to go, before they say, “Enough!”