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A Libertarian's Library


Reprobates



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April 14, 2012
Don Boudreaux, writing in the Café Hayek Blog offers a rather interesting view of politicians. He writes:
I do not recall ever, as an adult, failing to be mystified whenever I encounter another adult expressing confidence in politicians – confidence either in an individual politician (say, confidence in Ronald Reagan or in Barack Obama) or confidence in politicians as a group. Successful politicians – and particularly those who are successful on national stages – are, with exceptions too few to matter, master con artists.

Whatever is the reason why so many grown people respect holders of political office is, as it has always been, beyond my comprehension. I just don't get it. Practitioners of no other profession are accorded more honor, respect, and (most importantly) power while at the same time being held to such low standards of ethical behavior. Actions that, when committed by the family dog, properly elicit scolding or muzzling or even eviction from the premises are, when committed by an elected official, greeted with oohs, aahhs, applause, and re-election to powerful office.

I cannot encounter a politician's image or words without being repulsed. Nor can I encounter any of the incessant instances of publicly expressed admiration and respect for politicians without being (on good days) befuddled or (on most days) sickened.

Bob Higgs feels much the same way as I do. Here's a slice of his latest post:
So, the questions naturally arise: Why does anyone place any confidence in anything a politician says? Why does anyone expect anything but deception and predation from these dishonest reprobates? Why does anyone seek social improvement or economic salvation from the programs these ne'er-do-wells devise and implement? Why, indeed, do people continue to tolerate politics at all? (This last question presupposes, of course, that those who wish to use the political process to commit a de facto crime—that is, an act that, if committed privately, would be seen as plainly criminal—will be entirely in favor of politics because using the government as their agent-perpetrator offers a way to legalize their crimes. My question pertains to the noncriminal element of the population.)
Why indeed.

Click here to go to the original source.

Warren Smith is a resident of Beaufort County, NC and retired member of the Chicago Board of Trade. He was active as a wheat and corn trader, while serving as a member of the exchange's board of directors and as a governor of the Chicago Board of Trade Clearing Corporation. Mr. Smith is a Libertarian and believes that the entrepreneurial capitalism, supported by individual rights and responsibilities, private property, division of labor, free trade and the rule of law is the best method for producing both peace and prosperity. Government should be limited to protecting people and their property from force and fraud.
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    Boudreaux and Higgs
    April 15, 2012 | 10:07 AM

    Funny enough, Robert Higgs can't live up to his own standards in the same column - he approved other comments but not mine. (Good thing I take screencaps):

    http://i.imgur.com/8VrgP.png

    Let's see how Warren Smith handles his own moral dilemma - will this comment get approved?

    Invisible Backhand
  2. reply print email
    re: Reprobates
    April 15, 2012 | 12:29 PM

    I have no way of knowing Professor Higgs heart. I can only assess the merit of his words. Hopefully, I have done so while avoiding committing the ad hominem falacy.

    Warren Smith
  3. reply print email
    Mistaken inference
    April 15, 2012 | 07:25 PM

    I have nothing to do with approving or disapproving comments at the site where my comment was posted, so the complaint is completely mistaken.

    Robert Higgs
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    Are you certain about the regime there?
    April 15, 2012 | 10:40 PM

    "I have nothing to do with approving or disapproving comments at the site where my comment was posted, so the complaint is completely mistaken."

    This statement defies believability. If you had your own blog, on the other hand, you wouldn't have any regime uncertainty about who was running it.

    At any rate, I am genuinely interested in the how the author of the post can reconcile the conundrum raised.

    Invisible Backhand
  5. reply print email
    Libertarian library
    April 16, 2012 | 01:53 AM

    Thanks for the article. For info on people using voluntary Libertarian tools on similar and other issues, including free Libertarian e-books, please see the non-partisan Libertarian International Organization @ www.Libertarian-Internation​al.org' target='_top'>http://​www.Libertarian-Internation​al.org , ...

    Ralph
  6. reply print email
    Confidence in politicians
    April 21, 2012 | 05:15 AM

    Although rare, politicians with a strong moral base (including more honesty than the average guy) Do exist. I have known only one whose honesty was verified by time and experience in his incumbency. He was a firefighter who ran for and served as a city councilman for one term. Various nefarious political agents tried to catch him taking a bribe in a sting operation designed to discredit him. All they netted was video of the firefighter angrily refusing to be a part of "this filthy scheme" and shoving the money back toward the agent. Because he really WAS honest and listened to what common folk brought forth to redress their grievances, he made many political enemies. These enemies did their worst to punish the honest politician, committing many crimes in the process, and of course none of the perpetrators was ever caught or punished. At the end of his term, he was immensely popular yet refused to run for another term. He explained that while serving the people, he had descended from a modestly-comfortable middle-class lifestyle to a debt-ridden, impoverished one. His boat was stolen (and never recovered); his insurance company refused to cover the loss; his house was repeatedly vandalized and the repair costs ate up the firefighter's savings; many governmental agencies used their power to make his life miserable... So he refused to serve a second term. Even after his many enthusiastic supporters raised a huge fund for his campaign, he said just return the money; I won't run. And he didn't. Thus ended the political career of the only verified honest politician of whom I am aware.

    Sandy
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