PostHeaderIcon Why Can’t They Understand

My mate is a good-hearted soul who assumes that everyone somehow is motivated to do the right thing, and, when they do not do the right thing, it must be that they simply don’t understand. Because of this, she is constantly asking me, in frustration, “why can’t (some politician) understand that (some action) is not achieving the best result?”

What I seem unable to convince her of is that, from their perspectives, they may well be “achieving the best result” and that the lack of understanding is her failure to understand that these people might have a different view of “best result”.

There is no doubt that most politicians are expert at using “spin”, “weasel words” and outright deception to lead voters to think that they yearn for office simply to do whatever said voters want done. And, we the sheeple, in large numbers, continue to buy this line of bull despite decades of results that show quite the opposite. Therefore, I will attempt to analyze what the overwhelming majority of candidates for office really want. I hope you will not give up on this lengthy explanation but here it is: THEY WANT POWER!

Yes, sir or madame, they want power – and they will do whatever they think necessary to obtain then retain that power. You can bet that they will try to convince you that they want that power only to use in YOUR best interest. Yet, it never seems to come out that way does it? Worse, it doesn’t even seem to matter which “wing” they supposedly come from…democrats, republicans, liberals, conservatives… they are all equal in their ability to somehow “fail” to do whatever they promised us.

Now I will grant you that a very few of them actually believe that they are trying to help the common citizen. Even fewer of them actually do try to do the right thing, but it is never enough to make the critical difference is it? Please allow me to attempt an explanation:

I will start by repeating, what ALL candidates really want is POWER. Ignoring for the moment how or why they intend to wield that power, let us agree that power is in and of itself the objective. If you cannot accept this premise, they there is no reason for you to read further.

OK, glad you are still here. So… how does a candidate obtain (or retain) that power? By getting (re)elected. Simple enough, right?

Next, how does a candidate get (re)elected? No brainer… by getting the most votes.

How does a candidate the the most votes? Obviously by convincing the most voters.

How does a candidate convince the most voters? The same way General Motors and Proctor and Gamble do – through effective advertising followed by delivering what they promised (yes, there is an apparent contradiction here but bear with me a moment).

How does a candidate get that effective advertising he/she must have? By spending vast amounts of money.

How does a candidate secure the vast amounts of money needed? By promising, then delivering, to entities that have or control significant wealth. Entities such as very rich families/individuals (George Soros, the Rockefellers, etc.); powerful public entities (labor unions, government employees, political action committees, special interest groups, etc.); crony capitalist corporations (General Electric, etc.). And, a usually insignificant amount from everyday individual voters like you and me.

Given this very simple chain of analysis, is it not easy to see that we everyday individual voters are NOT the candidates most important constituents. This being the case, why would they base any measure of “best result” on anything we want? Obviously, they would not (assuming they want to retain that power). No, they will base “best result” on how well they delivered to those who truly matter – those who get them (re)elected. This is true without regard to political philosophy or political party representation. And, it will remain true so long as we the sheeple allow slick advertising and hollow promises to drive our political choices the same way they drive our choice of laundry detergent.

Troy L Robinson

16 Responses to “Why Can’t They Understand”

  • Bless Saint J9. Be gentle, she is a special lady. My initial reaction to this was to suggest that if you included “prestige” as a subset of “power,” I would agree with you. I do think a fair number of politicos are motivated more by the desire for respect, adulation, and/or wealth, than a need to exercise power for power’s sake. Either motive would support your analysis of the font of repeated electoral success.

    Upon reflection, however, I suppose the desire to impose one’s worldview upon others must underlie the motive of anyone who would willingly prostitute themselves and their families to the ugly process of achieving/retaining political office. A Progressive would wish to empower government to coerce others to support their altruistic worldview, while limiting its role in their personal morality. A Conservative would wish to empower government to coerce others to behave according to their moral worldview, while limiting its access to their wallets.

    Even a libertarian would be seeking power to thwart both, and severely limit the role of government in an individual’s finances or morality. Perhaps the secret to our ineffectiveness, is that most libertarians are individualists without a burning desire to coerce others to adopt our worldview. We just wish to be left alone to live our lives as we choose to live them, and if we could count on them to leave us be, we wouldn’t even bother to explain it to them. Most of us generally regard the Federal government as more or less irrelevant to our daily lives; and as Harry Browne so elegantly illustrated, it is relatively easy to just ignore its existence and get on with a fairly free lifestyle.

    That strategy has worked well for me for the past 30 years as an entrepreneur. I have gone for long periods with the attitude of, “Why vote? It just encourages the bastards”; but I am afraid it is time to pay the piper. If it isn’t too late already, more of us need to pay attention and get involved in the political process, before this country implodes. Like it or not, we need some serious power-hungry libertarians, willing to spin like a pragmatic top to voters and contributors alike, if that is what it takes to get elected and stop the stampede toward tyranny. The alternative is a secessionist movement and/or civil war, with an even higher price tag than our aloofness or integrity. â—„Daveâ–º

    • Troy says:

      I wish I knew how to urge the LP to get more down-to-earth and quit scaring away potential adherents with too much egghead stuff. The GOP leadership, as predicted, simply refuses to get the message or to propose any serious downsizing of government. The time is ripe for the LP to step in and fill the void that the implosion of the GOP will create (assuming we continue to have elections).

      The federal judge in FL has his hackles up over being ignored by the regime. It will be interesting to see what they do next. Clearly, their current strategy is to get as much Obamacare as possible past the point-of-no-return.

      We are in much deeper trouble that the media are willing to let on (even FOX). We currently see legislators in several states hiding out to avoid doing the jobs they were elected to do, we see the federal regime openly ignoring federal court orders, sidestepping the Congress (by urging regulatory agencies to assume power they do not legally have and also through the “czar” system), we see both state and federal treasuries on the brink of default, we see the Middle East coming apart at the seams (and heading toward a consolidated Islamic Republic), we see a looming energy crisis when our own country could be virtually self-sufficient in energy if allowed to be, we see widening voids between the producers and the looters; between public and private workers, and we see our beloved nation becoming more and more a police state every day — with the very real probability of a dictatorship in the near future. All this looks more and more like a voluntary march straight into hell.

      For the leaders of the LP to stay firmly mounted on their high horses while all this goes on is unbelievable to me. I’m beginning to suspect they are all talkers and NO doers.

      Can’t we libertarians understand that one must get a little dirty when cleaning up a mess?


      • We probably need a name change. Not only could we then simply disregard the purist eggheads in the LP, we could shed the public perception that we are all dopers. I can’t count the number of conservatives who have said they agree almost entirely with libertarian philosophy except for the drug issue, and that alone would prevent them ever voting for a Libertarian.

        Perhaps we need a national Objectivist Party, or better yet an “Originalist” party, which focuses on the advantages of free market economics and severely limited government; and eschews even discussing any agenda to empower the Federal government to regulate the non-coercive economic or moral behavior of individual citizens. If we stressed our fidelity to the original intent of our Constitution, with particular focus on the 9th & 10th Amendments, and referred all attempts to get us to take a position on altruistic or morality issues (i.e. welfare, abortion) to candidates for State and local elections, we might be able to attract enough individuals from all across the traditional political spectrum to reign in the Federal government.

        With the nominal Right worried about the Progressive Left’s assault on their pocketbook, and the nominal Left worried about the religious Right’s assault on their personal liberties, they will never trust each other. If we could take both of those concerns off the table as out of bounds for the Federal government, we might be able to put the Incumbrepublocrats out of the national elections business. The killer issues such as abortion, welfare, gay marriage, and drug legalization could and should be left to State and local governments. I like it… thoughts? â—„Daveâ–º

    • Troy says:

      On the subject of imposing one’s worldview on others… this seems to be a trait of most animals. Humans, having language and the ability to reason are certainly better at it than other species though.

      I think the urge to impose one’s worldview is the primary motivation for politicians, for religious leaders, for teachers (especially at the college/university levels), for philosophers and for parents.

      I have no objection to this, and, in fact, consider it a healthy thing, so long as it is done by appealing to reason and to reality. It becomes ugly only when it is done through coercion, lies/deceptions, fear-mongering and the denial of natural rights.


      • Hmmm… I can be passionate in my defense of my worldview; but I have no particular desire to impose it on others. My world would be boring if I could find nobody to debate with. 🙂

        I continue to learn from others that way, often on subjects I would have never thought to even explore. I am happy to share my wisdom with anyone who will invest the time to imbibe it; but if they reject it I usually reckon it their loss and could care less… with your caveat regarding coercion, etc. of course. â—„Daveâ–º

      • Troy says:

        Sorry I was not more clear. In my way of seeing things, attempting to spread the basis of your worldview was once considered a form of education. As for “imposing” your worldview on others… so long as you do it via persuasion, using reason and reality, what you actually end up doing is teaching others HOW you arrived at your worldview. In other words, you are teaching others how you think. Even if they buy into your worldview completely, the ultimate conclusions they reach as they go through life will necessarily be somewhat different from your own because they will have different life experiences and will discover different sources of information.

        To think it somehow wrong to try to spread my worldview is to think I am wrong in the conclusions I have made. While I will allow for that possibility, until proven wrong, I will trust my worldview as if it is the supreme truth. How could I not want to spread such a gift?

  • Don(Whitney) says:

    It’s obvious that your explanation about “power” and may I add mostly “ego” fits with almost all politicians. If it were not for that there would be many libertarians and no two party system(Independents don’t count for they mostly don’t know what they want anyways). Being self employed all my life and recently retired, can I have a better understanding about “big egos” now for everything we say to them, they really do not care. I’m like you. “Leave me alone!” Not much power there only a simple mind wanting to lead a simple life.

    • Thanks for weighing in, Don. All of the regular commenters here are retired also. I hope you stick around and join the discussions often. â—„Daveâ–º

      • Troy says:

        Welcome aboard Mr. Whitney. As for Dave, he is “retired” except for the 25 hours a day he spends running his Montessori school.

      • As for Dave, he is “retired” except for the 25 hours a day he spends running his Montessori school.

        Actually not; it is my partner’s turn. I haven’t even visited the place for about three weeks. I have even toyed with the idea of moving to Texas to flee the irrational mindset that populates this State. Then I see the weather reports from there, ponder the mosquitoes and chiggers of summer, and reckon it is easier to avoid people than environment. 🙂 â—„Daveâ–º

  • shari says:

    This 79 year old grandmother from Texas has decided to jump into this blog and it could be dangerous because until Troy crossed my path I thought a blog was something in a swamp you wanted to avoid unless you had on chest waders and 12 gage thrown over your shoulder, However, he has been gently nudging me to join in so here goes.

    I have lived to see our patriotism derided, our morality despised and our savings devaluated. And where did our intestinal fortitude go???

    • Troy says:

      Welcome to the blog Shari.

      You asked “where did our intestinal fortitude go???” — My answer is that most everything in my intestines eventually goes into the toilet.

      Seriously, I am not sure we lack intestinal fortitude. I highly suspect that a majority of our citizens think things are just fine as they are. And, why not? Most of them don’t pay taxes, a great many of them are given what you and I worked to obtain, are totally irresponsible and are too dumb to see the cliff we are headed toward. How else can you explain the election of Obama and the perpetual re-election of over 90% of congressional incumbents?

      As for our savings being devalued, printing fiat currency is an alternative to taxation. Both take away what you have earned but members of Congress don’t get the blame for inflation like they do for taxation. Inflating the currency is also a good way to cheat those who were foolish enough to loan money to the U.S. government.

      Of course, most of our overall demise is being caused in the name of Equality. Wise people know that Equality is the exact opposite of Liberty but the fools don’t understand that. So, they clamor for Equality, never seeming to notice that slavery is the price they pay for it.


      • My answer is that most everything in my intestines eventually goes into the toilet.

        Toilet? You still have a toilet? Does it flush? Isn’t it politically incorrect to own something the victim class might not have? 🙂

        I see you have been trolling again. Welcome Shari!! Blog has an “L” in it; but keep your kit handy. You shouldn’t need the waders, because we try to keep the BS mucked out hereabouts; but irrational varmints and mush-mouthed charmers do wander in occasionally, so keep that scatter gun loaded. 🙂 â—„Daveâ–º

  • Daedalus says:

    Hello Friends & net neighbors. Following are some of my thoughts.
    I had some major problems with the Libertarians back in the early eighties. They seemed to be a bit myopic vis-a-vis economics. Politics/government covers a lot more than just economics. In fact if we had a “moral” government their involvement in the economic sphere would simply involve adjudication of disputes and protection of us all from force and fraud.
    On the issue of power, every living organism seeks to manipulate its environment for its own benefit. Many arrangements among and between living forms have evolved. Us chickens, being the animals with the capacity to reason, can explore what kind of social/individual conditions lead to the greatest benefit for ourselves. After centuries of thought the concept of individual rights arose. The right to life being pre-eminent. Derivative of this last is the right to property and the right to liberty. Without these latter two the first is impossible. All these rights are really rights to action, and not at somebody else’s expense. Our founders replaced “property” with “happiness” mainly because they couldn’t come to grips with the slavery issue. Slaves were considered to be property. However, the founders set up a government that they hoped would have some measure of stability based on their understanding of human nature. This gets back to control. the government hopefully provides a reasonably stable environment in which we can seek to optimize (control) our life.
    Now to move along a bit. We all seem depressed by the course of recent events so I will throw a little something positive into the mix. Oil as the dominant source of energy is going away. Not to-morrow, but certainly over the next ten years. Natural gas is to be the fuel of the future (at least the next 50 years. The US alone has so much natural gas that self sufficiency is not a problem:
    According to the new report, an updated version of a 2009 paper, the United States’ resources are larger than Saudi Arabia, China and Canada, combined. The report estimates that the U.S. has 163 billion barrels of recoverable oil and enough natural gas to meet the country’s demand for 90 years.
    Read more:
    Flying J is going to put in natural gas at their truck fueling stations to handle the growing fleets of natural gas trucks. UPS has bought an additional 48 heavy tractor trucks equipped to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG).
    This probably doesn’t belong here, but I just wanted to cheer y’all up a bit.

    • Hi, John. Missed you. That is an interesting perspective on power, which I hadn’t thought of. Yes, as humans we all try to shape/control our environment for our own selfish benefit, and I suppose the political realm is a component of our environment. Speaking for myself, I would be content with a social environment where the do-gooders were impotent and everyone would just leave me alone to live my life as I choose to live it. 🙂

      My studies into abiotic oil have convinced me that we will never run out of oil, because the stuff is not fossil fuel; but is produced by chemical processes within the earth itself. That said, LNG is cool too. I once had a truck converted to run on propane and could fill it from the 1000 gallon tank behind my house on my ranch, which avoided the road taxes. It ran just fine. â—„Daveâ–º

    • Troy says:

      On a recent cruise, Jeannine and I were privileged to spend some quality time with Matt Ridley, author of (among other things) “The Rational Optimist”. His viewpoint, and that expressed in the book, are very much like your own (must be a British thing?).

      I know that I often come off like a the-sky-is-falling type in this blog when I am actually optimistic about humanity’s long term prospects. During one of the Reason group’s discussions (on the aforementioned cruise), the question arose — how can so many people be so pessimistic when a chart of human progress (freedom, prosperity, etc.) trends ever upward? I answer this by noting that, magnified a bit, that human progress trend line is actually shaped like an upward slanted saw blade such that within the overall upward trend, there are short periods of downward movement. I note further that these short downward trends are location centric (that is, only some humans in a particular location may be on a downward trend while people in other locations continue upward). I further contend that at this time (today) and in this place (the U.S.A.) we are on a definite, and totally avoidable, downward trend, despite the long-term prospects for humanity in general being very good. For instance, I would guess that the viewpoint of most people in mainland Asia would be quite optimistic right now (North Korea excepted).

      BTW, my pessimism has nothing to do with impending resource shortages. I believe that human ingenuity can solve any problem, once it becomes truly advantageous to do so. Instead, my pessimism has to do with the continuing erosion of personal liberty in the U.S.

      As for natural gas being the fuel of the future… the future needs to begin NOW. I have significant investments in natural gas production that are not paying very well at the moment. And, I need the money today more than my heirs will need it tomorrow!


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