Political Monopolies

by Jon Rodriguez

The Kennedys, the Bushs, the Clintons, and the Daleys: only a few of the existing political dynasties in U.S. politics. The ubiquity of these names in the modern political arena is enough to have the founding fathers rolling in their graves, however, the millions of voters who have kept these names in power certainly don’t seem to mind their legacy. The arguably aristocratic presence political dynasties have in American politics was to be explicitly avoided when men like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison wrote this country’s founding documents. The Federalist Papers continuously defend the constitution’s ability to destroy an oligarchy through factions. Federalist #57 argues specifically that term limits are designed for the very purpose of abating an oligarch’s influence.

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In the same way that the U.S. government has decided to vilify monopolies in the “free” market, individuals considered “career-politicians” are accused of creating a false dilemma of choice for voters. The government, itself, has restricted the continuous practice of it’s most tenured employees. To a certain extent, one’s experience in politics works against them in getting elected. In no other profession would one worry about having too much experience when applying for a job.

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If politics were a business, e.g., a clothing brand,  these legacies would represent the fortune 500 companies of their market –consistently providing an in-demand product at a lucrative value. After reaching a 90% market share, however, their contribution to the economy would suddenly/magically/without reason become destructive and limiting to the market. The millions who chose to bring this company to prominence would be accessory to crime.

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At the end of the day, regardless of how effective a leader may be, the best politicians are given the same opportunity to lead as the worst, as far as term limits are concerned. This is something American voters have come to consider fair. At America’s outset, the founders’ fear of political domination by the few urged them toward the ideological glorification of the minority/individual (in the form of The Bill of Rights) and somehow simultaneously led to the concentration of power being held by congress –the collective/majority (in the form of the separation of powers). Seeing as how it was the infringement of the rights of the minority that led to the American revolution, it is not difficult to see their interest in protecting minority rights.

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This is not an argument in favor of political dynasties. It is a statement about the complete incompetence of government and its collective efforts to do good anything in the form of a bureaucracy. It is the government telling the individual that they do not know what is best for themselves.It is the very restriction in freedom of the minority that the founders sought to end.

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