Politicians: How Outraged Should You Be?
By Bryan Caplan
You all know what Brad DeLong thinks about George Bush. Well, that’s what I think about politicians in general.
Even so, politicians almost never make me angry. I expect them to be atrocious, and I’m rarely disappointed. When I hear about the latest scandal, I often remember this passage from Moliere:
And it’s no more a matter for disgust
That men are knavish, selfish, and unjust
Than that the vulture dines upon the dead
And wolves are furious, and apes ill-bred.
Now unlike Moliere’s Philinte, I do think that human beings, politicians included, can do a lot better. My problem is that I’ve simply gotten used to the idea that they won’t.
In contrast, my colleague Don Boudreaux has spent much of this election season crusading against politicians’ inane statements and bad behavior (see here, here, here, and here for starters). And whenever I read Don’s attacks on politicians, my emotional reaction is “You said it!” He’s speaking truth to power, and it’s a pleasure to spectate.
Even so, I’m not tempted to flatter Don with imitation. But perhaps I should be. What do you think?