"There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers." ~ Richard Feynman
A Gangrene of Politicians
Grrr. I don't even want to write the word anymore. At least I can do it like this: p********n. It's probably the worst insult I can imagine, worse even than "soccer mom in an SUV, blocking the intersection while babbling on her cell phone."
Dr. Jack Wheeler invented a collective noun for those, um, "people"--a "scum of politicians." It's funny, but it's an insult to scum, which must have some useful purpose, unlike those Lying Black Things Who Lust After Power and Money, and who have no useful function whatsoever.
I meditated upon calling them a "hooker of politicians," but even that is an insult to hookers. Hookers at least go away after you pay them, unlike politicians, who stay around with their ameboid pseudopodia out for more taxpayer money.
A "weasel of politicians"? If I was a weasel, I would hire a weasel lawyer (but I repeat myself) and file a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all weaseldom.
A "molest of politicians"? Now, that's getting pretty close, but even that is an insult to child molesters, who harm billions less people than politicians. Although, I don't think the Michael Jackson Fan Club (currently known as NAMBLA) are going to sue anyone for besmirching their reputation.
How about "an ooze of politicians"? Well, at least ooze can't sue anyone. But "ooze" is a bit vague. It certainly would make a great title for a B-movie--"The Ooze from Washington , DC " (HERO: "Yay, we disintegrated it! Nothing left but an insincere smile!").
Finally, I decided on "a gangrene of politicians." That's the perfect name for, ugh, "them."
Gangrene has no use at all. It's an infection that eats away at a healthy body. And that certainly describes politicians and politics, which eat away at society and civilization. People who truly understand the nature of the State (which excludes 80% of the people who post at Free Republic ) know that it is, as Tom Ender wrote, "Like a leaking septic tank the insidious effect of the State's aggression is similar to a bacterial infection -- sepsis. The State's aggression seeps throughout society like sewage infecting formerly healthy voluntary contractual regions and communicating the disease of coercion."
Yep, that certainly describes politicians, politics and the State--an infection, like gangrene.
I can't think of one first-class thinker or writer who ever had anything good to say about politics or the State. Certainly, some third-rate thinkers, like Karl Marx, did, but he knew about as much about economics and political science as a Chihuahua does about quantum physics.
Probably the greatest American novelist, Mark Twain, had this to say, "There is no distinctly native American criminal class . . . save Congress."
How about Groucho Marx? "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it and then misapplying the wrong remedies."
Or Thomas Sowell: "What is history but the story of how politicians have squandered the blood and treasure of the human race?"
Or this, from the libertarian science-fiction writer James P. Hogan: "The personal qualities necessary for attaining office are practically the opposite of those demanded by the office itself. The trouble with the damn system is that it selects for the skills needed to get elected, and nothing else. A test that you can only pass by cheating can't possibly select honest people."
Or Paul Jacob: "Our current political system ensures not that the worst will get on top . . . but that the best will never even apply."
Then, of course, the great H.L. Mencken: "The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office."
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. In a sentence: The State is not only not your friend, it is not only your enemy, but unless stopped, it is, like gangrene, an infection that will ultimately kill you.
Someday, I hope, people will give up their belief in the State as a Good Thing. It's more of the Devil than it is of God, since its nature is to displace all religion and con people into thinking of it as a God. Thinking of infection and gangrene as a god that will protect us and supply all our wants? That's even more bizarre than anything H.P. Lovecraft ever wrote!
I cheer myself up with something else Sowell wrote: "You have to have a sense of humor if you follow politics. Otherwise, the sheer fraudulence of it all will get you down."
And that reminds me of one of the funniest descriptions of politics there is, by Tim Barber: "Giving a politician access to your wallet is like giving a dog access to your refrigerator." (P.J. O'Rourke wrote that "Giving power to politicians is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.")
So, you should say to politicians what you say to your dog: Down, boy.