If Politicians are Evil, What Do We Do?
By David Henderson
I’ve been pondering co-blogger Bryan Caplan’s post “How Evil are Politicians?” for the last week.
As always, Bryan states his case well. And I found little in it to disagree with. But for some reason, I didn’t find it compelling. I’ve finally figured out why. To put it bluntly, so what?
Here’s what I mean. Let’s say that you, like me, find Bryan’s argument sound. What do you do about it? I have a strong prior view–Bryan can correct me if I’m wrong–that what Bryan would do about it is not have anything to do with politicians.
But there are two problems with that.
First, politicians aren’t equally evil. In fact, a few seem to be quite good. Would Bryan see no large difference in morality between, say, Justin Amash and Dianne Feinstein? I would.
Second, as I’ve argued here before, I think an optimal strategy for achieving liberty would contain an element of political activism. Some of that political activism could well involve dealing with politicians. Would you get further with politicians if you consciously thought of them as evil rather than holding that in the back of your mind and treating them with respect? I think the latter is more of a winning strategy. Possibly Bryan wouldn’t disagree with this. I don’t know.
I’m not arguing that Bryan should interact with politicians. He reminds us often that he has built a beautiful bubble and I’m not saying that he should step outside it. There’s a good chance that he shouldn’t. But different strokes for different folks.