In the vein of Thomas Frank’s book, “What’s the Matter With Kansas” that illustrates how people tend to vote against their own self-interest, we find that often the worst people to serve in elected office are placed there by voters who are more captured by a manufactured ideal than with common sense ideas.
Each election seems to sustain an inoperable government constantly engaged in gridlock. Could some voters be fostering a kakistocracy?
I discovered a new word today
kakistocracy – government by the worst persons; a form of government in which the worst persons are in power.
I know. This description could fit anyone’s subjective view of the government they didn’t vote for. Unfounded criticism by intolerant people however does not make it a kakistocracy.
The worst persons in government are those who have been aided in getting elected by wealthy special interests who set their goals to legislate conditions that enhance those wealthy special interests, often to the detriment and in opposition to the general will of the people.
They conceal their true colors through cromulent patriotism and identifying with christian values. Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to justify sending young men and women to their death in unnecessary wars and shipping jobs to cheaper foreign labor markets.
They justify the genocide of Palestinians under their misguided view that the God of the Bible condones such atrocities to fulfill an apocryphal prophecy a single person expounded on some 2000 years ago. The worst among us continue to utilize this alarming logorrhea to perpetuate the annihilation belief of humankind that has a history of failed prophecy over the last 1700 years.
Now think about this and where we are at on the federal and state levels. We have people elected that have little to no political savvy. They often have campaigns heavily funded by corporate special interests. They are unwilling to compromise to address the needs of a broad spectrum of the electorate and many often reference the Bible to guide their actions as elected officials government, not the Constitution, established law or even real science.
In the meantime, infrastructure in this country deteriorates, our privacy rights are violated for the thinnest of reasons and the rich among us get the greatest attention as the middle class diminishes. The witch hunt in Texas led by the religious right to dismantle Planned Parenthood in that state has reached a level that’s been assessed as “unprecedented”. But first let’s shut down the U.S. government because of some bogus belief that tax payer funds go to support abortions. They don’t.
It’s not that these people are stupid. They’re not. But their supporters are fixated on an ideal that is more archaic in contemporary society where multiculturalism is the norm and communication technology disseminates a variety of views.
They in fact were elected because they made exaggerated claims about emotional issues that appealed to a poorly informed public. Claims in part that reflect an earlier social structure in America that highlights only the positive aspects of “free markets” while ignoring many of the failures that developed as wealth started to concentrate in the hands of a few and opportunity to experience the so-called American Dream began to vanish.
Who are these “worst persons” leading our country? My vote would go to those who represent the worst extremes of libertarianism and religious fundamentalism. Jeet Heer over at the New Republic points out that the typical libertarians are white males. Many “[p]roclaiming … a philosophy of individualism, with no overt celebrations of either patriarchy or racism, [but who still end] up being monochromatic and male.” They make up about 11% of the electorate but their representative influence within the GOP has hamstrung the Party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Eisenhower, preventing government to address many of the critical issues we face as a nation.
They tend to yearn for a more simpler, gentler time when they were dominant and not confronted with “uppity blacks” or sassy women, though many work to conceal this disparaging image. “To a significant degree, libertarianism is a philosophy that exalts a world where white men enjoyed enormous freedom, but other groups were even more marginalized than they are now.”, Heer informs us.
Libertarianism has become an anodyne for many white conservative men who find themselves in a century far different from the one when the roots of libertarianism were being formed.
Kevin Drum at Mother Jones condenses Heers work down to the fantasy aspect of this 21st century revision of an earlier ideology
“Hardcore libertarianism is a fantasy. It’s a fantasy where the strongest and most self-reliant folks end up at the top of the heap, and a fair number of men share the fantasy that they are these folks. They believe they’ve been held back by rules and regulations designed to help the weak, and in a libertarian culture their talents would be obvious and they’d naturally rise to positions of power and influence.”