Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Political Experience

We've been hearing a lot about experience in the last month of campaigning. Certain candidates argue that they have the experience one needs to perform competently in the Oval Office.

Hugh Hewitt argues speciously, as he often does, that only a candidate that has experience as an executive (such as Mitt Romney, Hugh's pick, who was Governor of Massachusetts) is prepared to be President. Senators need not apply. If his candidate were a Senator, Hewitt's lawyerly mind would find other arguments.

Hillary Clinton has been touting her experience against the inexperienced Barack Obama, even though she has only been in the Senate a few years longer than Obama. Hillary Clinton wants to have her cake and eat it too: she wants people to think of her time as "co-President" with her husband as experience, but she doesn't want to make that argument explicitly as it would be howled at by the VRWC and possibly even the MSM. Poor Hillary! How frustrated she must be by America's freedom of speech.

The concept of political experience as a good thing is BS. Who would you rather trust as President, someone who upheld laissez-faire capitalism but had never served in office or a socialist who had spent his life in government?

Candidates should be judged by their principles, not their resume. The confusion comes from judging politicians by the standards of businessmen.

As Ludwig von Mises teaches us in his brilliant little book, Bureaucracy, government workers and businessmen are fundamentally different because their purpose differs. The purpose of businessmen is to make a profit. When judging a job candidate in the free market, experience is important; if a candidate has demonstrated the abilities an employer needs to make a profit, then he is likely to hire that person over the inexperienced candidate.

The purpose of government, however, is not to make a profit, but to hold power. In a deteriorating mixed economy such as our present one, in which the state grows and liberty withers daily, the more experience in government a candidate has, the less that person should be trusted with more power.

The very idea that political experience is good is based on the premise of statism. Statism holds that it is good for the state to control the lives of its citizens. To this end, those who have demonstrated experience with power will likely perpetuate power.

A life spent in government indicates a failure as a human being. It shows a love of wielding power over other people. There's something psychologically sick about someone who would spend his life basking in the fear and obedience he inspires in those who beg him for favors. The professional politician is someone who gets off on being surrounded by bootlicking sycophants. He does not trade value for value in human relationships, but engages in the twisted mutual appeasement of fear that comes with power relationships.

Power relationships lead to corruption. The politician is surrounded by people pleading with him to use his power to dispense favors to them. How is he to judge who should receive the favors? The businessman's decisions are made by the standard of profit and loss; corrupt deals serve the politician as a faux standard of where the state's resources should be allocated. The lobbyist who delivers votes or money receives the favors from the state.

Anyone who has spent any time in power over the last century has presided over the growth of the state. By the standard of liberty, he has experience failing; his failure is political, economic and moral. A businessman with experience shows an ability to make a profit. A politician with experience shows a love of power.

1 comment:

EdMcGon said...

This explains why none of the candidates excites me. A few intrigue me, but that's as good as it gets.