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Why Decent People Avoid Politics

Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek has a good post about why decent people avoid politics. He writes:

Decent people avoid politics not because they have anything to hide; not because raising money is a challenge; and not because they don?t care about the public issues of the day.

Instead, a decent person refuses to split verbal hairs and play the other word games that politicians typically play. A decent person cannot bring himself to pose with countless babies and smile and goo-goo and pretend that there’s nothing in the world that he’d prefer to do than to spend his days kissing infants and toddlers. A decent person refuses to pose as an expert on all issues of the day. A decent person is repulsed by the prospect of pretending, day after day, to care as intensely about the lives and well-being of vast swathes of strangers as he cares about his own life and well-being.

Decent people simply cannot bring themselves to behave in public the way most politicians behave.

All this is good rhetoric, but I think he is missing a vital point. A person risks loss of privacy and the possibility of being held up for public ridicule. Politics is a risky business. I may have interesting opinions about how to govern, but I am unwilling/unable to suffer the risks or sacrifices in terms of time and resources. Let’s not demean our politicians. It’s one thing to suggest that politicians hedge their bets by ambiguous language or flipflop positions or that they compromise core principles. It’s another thing to imply that politicians enter politics simply for self-aggrandizement.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Antonio 5/31/2009, 4:56 pm

    Decent people is just a theoretical construction based on what is supossed to be. And it means nothing but a subjective and uninformed approach to a social division, as valid as nice people or white people or green pepople or tomatoes or tomatoes.

  • Len 6/20/2011, 12:42 pm

    Actually there’s no such thing as “politics”, it’s called a “reality” which affects your REAL life.
    So if you choose to live your life with your head in your a$$ it’s called differently: “a coward”.

  • Anne 7/23/2011, 3:02 am

    Through three years of trying to get politicians to take some interest in the most important issue of consumer injustice across Australia, I am totally disheartened. When consumers build or renovate, they have no protection. Even worse, consumers have no voice and politicians refuse to meet, let alone listen or consult with them. Every year, consumers lose Billions of dollars, robbed by unscrupulous builders and a system that protects and supports them, but no one cares, certainly not the pollies. Sadly money rules the world. Those who donate to the political parties have all the power and influence. The vested interests really rule. And those of us who know this is wrong and who care have no influence to change the system. How did it get to this? Very depressing

  • Mike 9/17/2011, 5:26 pm

    @Anne…”How did it get to this???” because we are humans and not computers…..there is no such a thing as no corruption, no politics. And if you want to know when everything commenced, you have to go back a long time ago to the invention of the Financial System.

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