U.S. Presidential Campaign: Vile Politicians, Evil State

by David E. Shellenberger on March 24, 2016

Politics is important only as a reflection of a country’s follies and as a lesson in the need for liberty – life without rulers. The current presidential campaign reveals American pathologies and reinforces the need to reject the state.

To decry the quality of candidates is to miss the fundamental problem. Vile and vulgar politicians come with the state; they are but symptoms. The state is evil, does evil, and attracts evil.

When politicians remove their masks of false civility, they display their true nature — they are thuggish. And even masked politicians make no effort to disguise their pursuit of criminal power. Vile people seek this power, and vile people are usually vulgar.

The fact that so many people support any of the candidates reflects poorly on the country. A powerful state corrupts character as it provides entitlements and privileges to those it favors. Politics replaces effort, power replaces fairness, and servility replaces strength.

People made small by the state seek the help of the state. Having capitulated to the bullying state, they ask the state to bully others for their benefit. Politicians offer criminal solutions to their supposed problems.

The candidates do not argue for freedom. Freedom is controversial except as the claimed benefit of liberty-stealing wars. Rather, they compete over who is willing to do the most evil, as too many people applaud.

Who will deport the most immigrants? Who will most harshly limit immigration? Who will most stringently restrict trade? Who will most raise taxes? Who will give away the most services? Who will be the most reckless and destructive in the counterproductive wars? Who will engage in the most egregious religious persecution?

The candidates promise plunder through taxation, spending, labor protectionism, and trade protectionism. They appeal to envy and economic myths and fallacies. And they encourage and exploit nationalism, fear, and bigotry.

The state cultivates the worst qualities in people and channels their basest desires. Odious politicians use the darkness.

See the darkness — the servility, the envy, the ignorance, the fear, the cruelty, the hatred. Where is the spirit of freedom, the respect for rights? Where is the quest for knowledge, the search for wisdom? Where is the courage, the empathy, the compassion? Where is the character?

Hope will not come from the state, and it will not come from politicians. It will come from individuals who offer a vision of a better world.

The invitation to liberty is an invitation to dignity. Dignity requires the exercise of conscience, and conscience requires rejecting the state.


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