Free Markets, Free People

Political charlatans and the damage they’ve done – is it reversible?

Thomas Sowell discusses the rash of political charlatans we’ve been plagued by over the recent decades.

He blames them for the condition we’re in, policy-wise.  But he puts equal blame on “we the people” for continuing to support them and their policies:

Political charlatans are not the whole story of our social degeneracy on many fronts. “We the people” must accept our own share of the blame because we voted these charlatans into office, and went along with their ever-increasing power over our lives.

When it came to charlatans taking ever larger amounts of our own money to finance ever more big government programs, we stood still like sheep waiting to be sheared. We remained as meek as sheep when they turned schools into places to propagandize our children to grow up accepting more of the same.

All the while we had the power to vote them out. But we couldn’t be bothered to look beyond their magic words. Even now, many are too absorbed in their electronic devices to know or care.

Most voters, it seems to me, are like magpies – distracted by shiny things and never able to see the danger that exists in reality.  Sowell uses “the legacy of slavery” as one of his points of discussion.  I’m going to add a lengthy quote that pretty succinctly tells the story of how we allowed political charlatans to distract us with a problem that seems to not have existed and used it to gain greater control over our lives while, in fact, making the “problem” worse”

Here again, rhetoric distracts attention from questions about logic or evidence. The “legacy of slavery” argument is not just a convenient excuse for bad behavior, it allows politicians to escape responsibility for the consequences of the government policies they imposed.

Although the left likes to argue as if there was a stagnant world to which they added the magic ingredient of “change” in the 1960s, in reality there were many positive trends in the 1950s, which reversed and became negative trends in the 1960s.

Not only was the poverty rate going down, so was the rate of dependence on government to stay out of poverty. Teenage pregnancy rates were falling, and so were rates of venereal diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea. Homicide rates among non-white males fell 22 percent in the 1950s.

In the wake of the massive expansion of the welfare state in the 1960s “war on poverty” program — with the repeatedly announced goal of enabling people to become self-supporting and end their dependence on government — in fact dependence on government increased and is today far higher than when the 1960s began.

The declining rates of teenage pregnancy and venereal diseases in the 1950s both reversed and rose sharply in the wake of the 1960s “sexual revolution” ideas, introduced into schools under the guise of “sex education,” which claimed to be able to reduce teenage pregnancy and venereal diseases.

Black labor force participation rates, which had been higher than white labor force participation rates in every census from 1890 to 1960, fell below white labor force participation rates by 1972 and the gap has widened since then. Homicide rates among non-white males reversed their decline in the 1950s and soared by 75 percent during the 1960s.

None of this was a “legacy of slavery,” which ended a century earlier. But slavery became the rhetorical distraction for the political magicians’ trick of making their own responsibility for social degeneration vanish into thin air by sleight of hand.

Now you can point to many negatives the “War on Poverty” brought us … Sowell highlights the big ones.  But the most important changes were two-fold.  One: it created more dependency on government (and it helped tear the nuclear family apart among the poor) and it created an illusion that government (which mostly meant “Democrats”) cared more than any other institution.

The political charlatans had created a false problem and a false narrative which has had disastrous results in the long run.  But those changes it created were manifestly worth it according to certain of the political class, because it increased their power.  And the narrative that has been built about this program (and the “legacy of slavery”), along with the narrative that has created the “cult of the victim”, has hidden the huge problems created by government intrusion and instead has created a myth which says “more government is good government”.

So you end up with an entire segment of the voting public duped by this “shiny” narrative and either too lazy or too incurious to look below its surface.  That’s the formula for political success on one side and national decline on the other.

The question, then, is how do the defenders of liberty catch the attention of the voting magpies and help them catch a clue? Facts apparently don’t matter.  And alternate narratives don’t seem to stick.

If you can answer that question, you’ve hit upon a way to help save this country.  I’ve been trying to come up with a way for 40 years.

I wish you luck.


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14 Responses to Political charlatans and the damage they’ve done – is it reversible?

  • Don’t ya just love how our fellow countrymen keep managing to disappoint?

    There was solid and simple logic involved before we extend the franchise to anyone who could survive to the election after their 18th birthday – anyone who could manage to acquire and keep ‘property’ had to have some kind of clue or they’d quickly become ineligible to vote. People with a clue are overall more likely to identify, and be wary of, charlatans.

    Magpies self select out of that kind of scheme, and foolishly inclined descendents also end up self selecting out, so there’s limited danger any dynastic family can stand forever on the shoulders of one of their sharper ancestors.

    Even a literacy test might be better than what’s going on now, perhaps not coincidentally those stopped about 40 years ago….
    I don’t see much excuse for not having a literacy test when there’s real free public education available to all citizens and illegal citizens.

  • I think the issue is the corruption of the 4th estate. The ideological nepotism creating the largest group thing institution in any industry. Combined with the realization that they can control the public by controlling what information they see.

    Just imagine if we brought the gun rights discussion to the fore only after someone uses one for self-defense successfully. Or even if that happened 50% of the time. Or even just 25%. You wouldn’t get this treatment like you’re discussing something that only happens in an action movies.

    • group think.

    • Even Carson’s explanation as to what is probably the best course of action.

      It reminded me of an expert on abduction/rape who said that if you get into the car, you have a 50% change of ending up dead.
      If you run, there is a 10% chance the abductor would persue you, a 10% chance would the abductor would have a gun to shoot at you, a 10% chance he might hit you … for a 0.1% chance of death.

      Of course, nobody talks about how to handle a potential hostage situation, except the military and police. If these recent victims had some training, perhaps a few more would be alive.

    • Human nature has not changed, there are (still) only three estates, and the media is clearly part of the 1st estate, that’s why there’re known as the Cathedral today…

  • I compare these “low information voters” to my cat.
    He seems so intelligent until along come … A BUTTERFLY.

  • Alan hit on the solution- the franchise must be limited.

    If you thought “The Martian” or “Piss for Equality” was real, you’re too stupid to live, much less vote.

    If you need a “safe space” or trigger warnings, you’re too stupid to vote.

  • Makes one almost wish for an EMP if only to winnow out the magpies.

    • In that scenario regrettably the magpies will eliminate a lot of non magpies because, like the zombies they practically are, their sheer numbers will be overwhelming for about 2 weeks after the food and water has run out for all practical purposes on the scale required to keep them fed.
      Not to mention the many idiots who’ll immolate and asphyxiate themselves and others as they rediscover fire trying to heat, light and cook.

      After that nature will take it’s very unforgiving course as people discover that their arugula and other food does not in fact originate in little containers in super markets and worse yet there’s no water up there on the 2nd thru 100th floors anymore except what blows in through the broken windows during rainstorms.

  • When more and more folks see this …

    An Ohio man made a strange, and not-so-wise call to police last Friday to tell them that he was “too high” on marijuana. Police arrived at the 22-year-old man’s home at approximately 5:20 p.m, according to WJW. There, they found him on the floor “in a fetal position,” surrounded by, “a plethora of Doritos, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish and Chips Ahoy cookies.”

    …as their goal in life, it’s no surprise that there is a downtrend.

    • But he did self select! Course it will be necessary for you to pay for his rehabilitation.
      Will that be check, cash or credit card?