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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Immortal American Politicians

In light of evidence that one of the candidates in the Ukrainian campaign may have been poisoned, it is a good time to consider the seeming immortality of U.S. politicians. The article about the apparent poisoning can be found here.

It is ironic that American politicians generally act as if they are immortal -- while European monarchs did not. In America, politicians are elected for two, four or six year terms. You think under these conditions, Congressmen would be humble servants of the people. Yet, they do as they please because the only penalty the people impose upon them for bad behavior is not being elected -- and even in that case there is a guaranteed pension as well as other privileges.

Historically, European monarchs faced a different set of consequences for arrogance and overreaching. Because they served for life, when the people got upset, there was no middle ground. Either you live with the King or you kill him. This situation led to a certain humility or shall we say commitment to service on the part of the King -- that is completely lacking among American politicians today.

Consider European populist literature on the subject. While the monarchs were commissioning official portraits of themselves, the people were far more interested in plays and plots about the killing of monarchs. For example, the populist appeal of Shakespearean plots based on the killing of monarchs could hardly have gone unnoticed by any ruling King or Queen.

Nothing like that exists here in the States. But, we can be frightened by it. There is a Chestertonian saying, "It is frightening to think how few politicians have been hung." I agree.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

SSC attempts to make a case for monarchy. Unfortunately, there are more than a few examples of monarchs not being so humble or not being so committed to servicing the people. More often, the people suffer in their service to the monarchs. In simple theory, the monarch is the state and the people serve the monarch. In our system, the people are the state and the elected leader serves the people. Yes, in SSC's cynicism, our elected leaders may arrogently ignore this principle and lose ony their next election. But, isn't the loss of the election all that really matters.

8:19 AM, December 08, 2004  
Blogger ssc said...

Publius tries to make a case that I'm making a case for monarchy. No, I am making a case against political elitism. Politicians are no better than the rest of us. Therefore, they shouldn't be encouraged or emboldened -- even by the latest election results.

9:19 AM, December 08, 2004  

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