Politics > Political Life in Society > Social Responsibility: CG1 > Politicians Aren't Stupid

Quotes: Politicians & Politics

Robert Prechter

Extracted from: Robert Prechter, The Elliott Wave Theorist, August 15, 2008 p.7

"Politicians are so stupid"

This is another belief that is totally wrong. How many times have we all read a letter to the editor from someone who calls government actions “stupid”? They say government-created lending institutions were a “dumb” idea; FEMA’s waste of half a trillion dollars after hurricane Katrina was due to “ineptitude”; the war on Iraq is idiotic”; the state-controlled educators are "incompetent"; the military is “mismanaged”; the subsidy of ethanol is a “colossal failure”; the Fed is "foolishly" inflating; the welfare system “doesn’t work”; the immigration department “can’t do its job”; the war on drugs is a “failure”; and so on.

All of this is completely wrong.

Over the past 40 years, members of the House of Representatives have enjoyed an average re-election rate of 94 percent! What is stupid about that? Obviously, politicians are not wasting a dollar or mismanaging anything.  Government is designed to serve the people in it, and for that purpose it works great. The public gets fleeced, cheated, punished, crushed, but that’s just a side effect.

The favor-trading process, in which special interests fund campaign coffers in exchange for pet legislation, is a form of unnatural selection that weeds out those who are unwilling or incapable of predictable, reliable and discreet power brokerage, which is a rare, delicate skill. People who can rob their fellow citizens blind, throw their money down rat holes, plague them with endless rules and punishments and simultaneously get their victims to confer upon them society's highest level of respect are in an intuitive way geniuses.

Members of Congress may be short-sighted, dishonest, corrupt, pragmatic, hypocritical, immoral or amoral, but they are not stupid. They know exactly how to influence voters, hand out tax money and manipulate the political system to enhance their personal, social and financial status while making it look as if they are upstanding citizens trying their gol-darndest to provide services. And the public buys it. So which group is stupid?

The view of Napoleon Bonaparte, 1769–1821:Closed "In politics, stupidity is not a handicap."

Pungent Comments

Some Quotes roughly aligned according to Arena

Arena for Commitment Quotes
7 Communal Needs The welfare of the people is the ultimate law.  Cicero (106 BCE–43 BCE)
6 Moral Institutions There is no surer sign of decay in a country than to see the rites of religion held in contempt. Niccolo Machiavelli (1469–1527)
Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.  Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948)
5 The Public Interest Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy. Groucho Marx (1890–1977)
4 Societal
The whole art of politics consists in directing rationally the irrationalities of men. Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971)
3 Official Decisions Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable. J.K. Galbraith (1908–2006)
2 Rule of Law When men are pure, laws are useless; when men are corrupt, laws are broken. Benjamin Disraeli (1804–1881)
The law, in its majestic quality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under the bridges, to beg in the streets and to steal bread. Anatole France (1844–1924)
1 Group Power Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. Abraham Lincoln, US President 1861–65.

Originally posted: August-2009.

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