Senator Paul will come out of his vacation looking pretty good. Given the political class’s endless appetite for self-serving theater, I found myself wondering why President Obama, Mrs. Clinton, or Vice President Biden did not choose to spend their vacations in a similar way, offering to put their skills and abilities to use on behalf of others. And then I realized that this was a deeply stupid question on my part.
What the hell would they do?
What they always do: order people around; feed their own monstrous egos; line their own pockets; lecture and hector everyone else about the vital importance of a morality they neither possess nor respect themselves; and confiscate wealth for redistribution according to their own ass-backwards notions of what’s “fair” and “effective.” I’ll never understand how it came to pass that we accepted this agglomeration of leeches–call ’em the Parasite Class–as in any way necessary to human existence.
They live in their secure, palatial enclaves, enjoying the bounteous fruits of labor they didn’t perform and wealth they didn’t earn–rather than spending most of their daily existence running for their very lives, as would be truly just. They wallow swinishly in the golden sun in luxury vacation spots the rest of us can’t afford and wouldn’t be allowed into anyway, and the only pitchforks they ever see are in the hands of those laboring to feed and support them as their motorcades flash past, rather than being pointed at their flabby, overfed bellies.
Yep, it’s a real mystery, all right.
Unlike Senator Paul, neither the president nor the vice president nor the former secretary of state has anything that one might describe as a useful skill. That’s not quite right: They have skills that are useful…to themselves. As for skills that are useful to other people — you’d be hard pressed to think of one. If you were a poor family in Guatemala, which would you rather have: the services of a pretty good ophthalmologist, or those of an excellent orator? (Never mind that, unlike Senator Paul, President Obama does not speak Spanish — or, indeed, any foreign language.) Imagine dispatching Hillary Rodham Clinton to Calcutta or Joe Biden to Conakry and then expecting them to do something useful. The idea is preposterous.
Politicians do not provide health care. Doctors, nurses, technicians, orderlies, pharmaceutical researchers, medical-device manufacturers, and junior senators from Kentucky volunteering in Guatemala provide health care. Politicians do not feed the hungry — farmers, grocers, long-haul truckers, and Monsanto feed the hungry. They neither sow nor reap. Barack Obama gives the impression of being a man who probably couldn’t change a tire, but we have persuaded ourselves — allowed ourselves to be persuaded — that such men must be central to our lives. The wheat farmer in Kansas or the contractor in Pittsburgh? All they do is keep the world fed and housed.
Politicians can redistribute wealth, but they do not create any. They can attempt to command the energies of those with the ability and inclination to produce valuable goods and services, but as politicians they do not produce. The entire idea of politicians as society’s leadership is an inversion of the real order of things: Government is not here to lead anybody anywhere — it is here to serve us in the important but limited role of coordinating collective action toward such ends as physical security and the enforcement of contracts.
Well, ideally, yes. Constitutionally, yes. But we’ve come a very long way indeed from either of those eminently desirable states.