A “Meddling” Government Directed by “A Few Players”
Justin’s post brought the word “meddling” to mind. And that made me remember this from Tocqueville:
The nature of despotic power in democratic ages is not to be fierce or cruel, but minute and meddling. Despotism of this kind though it does not trample on humanity, is directly opposed to the genius of commerce and the pursuits of industry.
Reading from that same chapter, further down, Tocqueville wrote this:
When the bulk of the community are engrossed by private concerns, the smallest parties need not despair of getting the upper hand in public affairs. At such times it is not rare to see on the great stage of the world, as we see in our theaters, a multitude represented by a few players, who alone speak in the name of an absent or inattentive crowd: they alone are in action, while all others are stationary; they regulate everything by their own caprice; they change the laws and tyrannize at will over the manners of the country, and then men wonder to see into how small a number of weak and worthless hands a great people may fall.
Of course, back then, he also observed, “Hitherto the Americans have fortunately escaped all the perils that I have just pointed out…”
This post makes a point of something which I think is known innately by people attracted to politics. Many would think of it as power without responsibility. An inept politician may face the possibility of not being returned to office,and will never qualify for a better job. But, criminal, or civil, liability is unknown. Ignoring actual corruption, who has ever heard of a politician, or regulator, faced with prosecution for a particularly egregious bit of law which has done great harm without any public good? It is simply, “Oops, I blew it, let’s move on. We have important business facing us”.
BREAKING NEWS: President O has just confirmed that the DC earthquake occurred on a rare and obscure fault-line, apparently known as “Bush’s Fault”. O also announced that the Secret Service and Maxine Waters are continuing an investigation of the quake’s suspicious ties to the Tea Party. Conservatives, however, have proven that it was caused by the founding fathers rolling over in their graves.
Warrington, you are my favorite commenter here.
Thanks form your wisdom and sense of humor.
msteven, thankyou. I appreciate the thought and effort put into many comments here. I seldom have that much time so I just toss an anecdote form my own experience, and try to put the “fun” in fundamentals.