I’m sure I will surrender to temptation and do a couple of posts with Weinergate jokes, but I want to begin on a higher note and make a serious point about Washington’s latest scandal.
Big government means that politicians have a lot of power over the lives of ordinary people. This is bad for all sorts of reasons, but one of the problems is that it means that people who like to wield control over others are drawn to Washington.
And to add injury to insult, these people who like to boss around the rest of us don’t seem to have positive characteristics that offset their personality flaws. I’ve joked during TV interviews that I wouldn’t trust politicians to mow my lawn, so why would we want to give these buffoons more power over our lives and our economy?!?
Here’s what the always-quotable Mark Steyn said in National Review.
…by its nature Big Government will attract strange people drawn to “public service” for the boundless opportunities it offers the otherwise untalented for unearned perquisites and gratifications of one kind or another. …The bigger the state gets, the more the modus operandi of its princelings will tend to the Weinerian.
And here’s part of what my Cato colleague Gene Healy wrote for the Washington Examiner.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a good old-fashioned political sex scandal. They’re entertaining, and they may even be edifying — reminding us that self-styled “public servants” are often less responsible, more venal, and just plain dumber than those they seek to rule. …Maybe it’s Weiner’s onetime status as a rising left-wing star that’s made liberal journalists queasy about the pile-on. When sex scandals and partisan loyalties collide, partisans get pious and prissy, lecturing us about America’s “unserious” political culture. But one of the few perks of being a libertarian is that you get to enjoy twice as many scandals. Politics is one big smorgasbord of schadenfreude, and I feel sorry for my Republican friends who root, root, root for the Red Team so ardently that it hampers their enjoyment of the wonderful GOP sex scandals of recent years. …H.L. Mencken thought government as practiced in these United States was “dishonest, insane, and intolerable.” But that never stopped the sage of Baltimore from enjoying what he called “incomparably the greatest show on earth.” In Mencken’s version of American exceptionalism, this great nation had elevated politics to “the plane of undiluted comedy” because “we have clowns in constant practice among us who are as far above the clowns of any other great state as a Jack Dempsey is above a paralytic.” So have a guilt-free laugh about Weinergate. Not only are political sex scandals great fun, they serve an important social purpose. They remind us that we should think twice before we cede more power to these clowns.