Fifty years ago, it might have been somewhat reasonable, or at least defensible, to assume that legislators were well intentioned and themselves victims of unintended consequences. Today, with the wealth of literature on political economy, and with the world’s best economists, historians, and political philosophers at their disposal, one can no longer make the case that legislators are either well-intentioned or surprised by unintended consequences. It may be that the ideology of power and control blinds, but these are otherwise educated people, and the default position must be that they know what they’re doing, or that they willfully ignore what they are setting in motion. In either case, what they are promoting is wrong and often immoral.
People who are involved in politics are emotional cripples of some sort who are working out their psychoses on the public at large.
As the State’s power and reach have swelled, ‘special opportunities’ have emerged for those who crave power and control over others. The worst elements of society, the ruthless and the corrupt, the parasites, the manipulating and the scheming; all now have a place in which to exercise their ambitions. The greatest of these special opportunities is concentrated in the president. Candidates for the office absurdly campaign as deliverer and protector, savior and redeemer of the people. After winning election, and inevitably corrupted by the grandeur and authority of the office, poisoned by the ‘will to power,’ they might even come to believe it themselves. Great power is a heady liquor. Those who consume it are soon overtaken by its exhilarating effects.
But what is to be said of the character of the people, who vote them in? And here we must confront the corrupting desire of everyone to live at the expense of everyone else, as Bastiat put it; an ignorant, corrupt population electing power-hungry politicians who respect no boundaries, feeding off one another. This is not a case of good intentions gone awry, something that is perhaps amenable to education, but the mob rule that the founders feared.