Not wanting to give up the subject entirely, instead of thinking about how wrong our politicians are behaving, I thought about why they would behave in a manner so detrimental to our country and their constituents.
I’m not the first to note that the answer is simple: power. Keeping and amassing power. This much in inarguable.
What do they do with power? You can do two things with power; use it or give it to someone else. You can’t just sit on it forever. Like the wind, power doesn’t exist until it’s in motion. Even a threat of some action is wielding power.
What do they usually use power for? Why, to keep or grow their power, of course. This is the most direct method, but there are many variations. Politicians often use their power to maneuver sweetheart deals for themselves, or to raise taxes to grow government (which increases their power.) They may help one company by hurting another with regulations, with the expectation of large donations down the road.
Why would someone give power to someone else? The expectation of more power (money) coming back to them in the future. They are investing power. Politicians “steer” legislation all the time to help their big donors, which in turn help keep them in office.
OK. So not earth-shattering news there. But I just wanted to explain what lead me to think about the next level. Can we understand this power flow, on a macro scale? Can we use it to help understand some of the positions politicians take?
Let’s take one item that’s always bugged me: Why do liberals and progressives (including those infesting the republican party) seem so infatuated with communism in general? Countries such as Russia, China, and now Cuba. Politicians seem reluctant to criticize, eager to buddy up to, and more and more often taking positions that help them for no real return.
I believe the answer is simple, and viewed from the perspective of power, explains a lot. Everyone that has or wants power and control can admire the communist system on some level. Even if just in a “perfect world” scenario where every worker worked as hard as they could and every government official was completely altruistic, intelligent, and had common sense. But mostly, communism is the ultimate in centralized power. That’s why politicians secretly (and a few not so secretly) admire it. They don’t want to attack it verbally or policy-wise because, in truth, they want America to move more towards that type of system. This would garner them even more power.
On an individual basis, each politician’s true feelings will vary. A true conservative will understand that the world is far from perfect and communism has been a demonstrable failure every time it’s tried. But still that little bit of longing for absolute control may cause them to temper their reactions to, for instance internal crack-downs on political dissidents within Cuba. The scale gets tilted towards “being tolerant” of communist countries’ antisocial behavior. We’ve all seen it happen.
Why would politicians actually give power to communist countries? Special trade deals, removing sanctions, civilian and military contracts, and even tariff subsidies. More embassies and paving the way for increased tourism? Because they get personal deals, future donations, and especially donations from the US corporations that benefit.
In future posts, I’ll be fleshing out this idea. By applying it, I’m beginning to understand why people are doing what they are doing. And it’s not limited to politicians and government. It explains a lot of big business decisions, and even interpersonal relationships. Anywhere where people are acting to increase their own power, wealth, and status without consideration for how it is affecting others. Or our country.