Posts Tagged ‘self-seeking behavior’

When United States presidents blatantly lie

February 26, 2013

From kindergarten upwards children across the United States are taught to revere the presidency – to view presidents as akin to Gods. In itself, this reflects a terrible error of judgment about mankind. There are no Gods among men. All human beings are flawed and prone to moral failure.

Given the false adulation proffered by so many Americans to their president, serious repercussions follow when the supposed God blatantly lies to the people. For, if the Gods lie and those lies are exposed, honesty is debased across a wide segment of the population. And when a population at large feels morally free to lie, serious economic and social problems arise.

The first presidents of the United States – George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were well aware of this. They were justly revered as Founders of the new Republic, men who had earned true honor through courage and valor given to few individuals. Unfortunately, such a commitment to the truth has been gravely dishonored among more recent presidents – far less worthy of the position than those revered predecessors.

Richard Nixon lied blatantly about Watergate, was caught out in that lie, and ejected from the presidency. Ronald Reagan lied about Iran-gate, was caught out in that lie, and forfeited the remainder of his presidency to ineffectiveness. Bill Clinton lied about sexual misbehavior in the White House, was caught out in that lie, and ended his presidency in moral disgrace. Barack Obama lied blatantly about the source of the spending sequester, was caught out in that lie, and will suffer the consequences for the remainder of his second term.

Not one of those presidents considered the wider implications for American children of lying for their own perceived self-advancement. Shame on all of them, not least for the bad example that they set for their own offspring.

The reality of the upcoming US presidential election

September 1, 2012

Many Americans believe that four-yearly presidential elections recommit the people to their representatives, that majoritarian outcomes in some sense reflect the general will of the people.

This view is naive nonsense.  Presidential elections are battles between two entirely self-seeking mimimal coalitions battling to win majority support from the real selectorate.

In a constitutional republic, the nominal selectorate comprises all adult citizens who have not sacrificed the right to vote (as a consequence of felony convictions). Ultimately, the nominal selectorate plays virtually no role in the outcome of the election. Its numbers are so large that their individual votes are indecisive. The self-seeking candidates know this full well and essentially ignore the nominal selectorate.

Crucial to electoral success are voters who chance to reside in states deemed marginal by polling data. Moreover, most of those voters are also deemed to be irrelevant. Specifically, individuals who are expected to turn out to vote and who are committed to one candidate or the other, will not be targeted by the vote-harvesters.

The real selectorate is composed of a relatively small number of Americans. Those who reside in marginal states, who are either undecided whether or not to vote and/ or who are undecided between the candidates. In an information-technology economy, the candidates and their would-be winning coalitions know who you are and will go after you relentlessly.

Good news for most of you in the Deep South,  in much of New England, in New York, and in California. No visits for you by the two candidates, and no advertisements blaring every five minutes into your eardrums. Now if you are a likely independent in Virginia,  Ohio,  Michigan or Florida, your post-Labor Day nightmare is about to begin. Both Freddies will be back again and again, crawling all over you while you sleep, while you work, and while you play. And I can assure you that their attention does not come from love, but exclusively from self-interest.

The downside is that you will be bombarded until you are all but out-of-your-mind with targeted advertisements. The upside is that you just may receive  a few of the political  goodies promised by the winning coalition –  at least if the winning coalition still values your support after they have taken the White House.  And I would not bet the outhouse on such good fortune.

The candidates desire to keep their winning coalitions as small as possible. For they will receive the private payoffs from victory – the huge goodies that really take the stuffing out of any economy. If they can maintain a small winning coalition with a substantial selectorate, they will breathe easily in their nights in the White House. For then, should loyalty waiver within the coalition of essentials, they have access to many inter-changeables who can take their place. There is nothing like many inter-changeables to keep the winning coalition loyal. For if disloyal essentials quit the coalition, they then cannot expect to return to power in any rearranged coalition.

Oh yes!  The leader of the winning coalition has one prime objective that he pursues relentlessly subject only to political survival: to line his own pockets with as much discretionary wealth as he can extract, and to use that wealth to pursue his own self-interest, be it in the form of money, sex, fame,  revenge or ideology.

Public choice never pretended that politics was a bed of roses. A pair of pigs wrestling  for control over the pigsty in the mud and excrement that makes up their natural environment, is a more realistic perspective from which to watch this repulsive struggle for power!


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