The Prince, written by Italian author and statesman Niccolo Machiavelli, described the tactics used by rulers to maintain power and control. Political expediency is elevated above morality and ethics to gain power and maintain authority. Machiavellian tactics are characterized by cunning, deception, expediency or dishonesty, and these tactics may be employed subtly or unscrupulously.
The modern day political arena fully encompasses Machiavellian tactics which are employed in the electoral, legislative, and executive processes. A politician’s first priority is winning elections. To win elections politicians cajole, lie, deceive, manipulate, and evade. Politicians omit facts to distort truths. Politicians make promises. Politicians use poll tested words and phrases to elicit responses from a Pavlovian electorate drooling at the thought of getting their guy elected to office, and hoping that this time will be different, and the electorate is once again disappointed and dejected.
Once elected to office, politicians keep or break promises whenever necessary to satisfy their own ambition and avarice. The enticement of government benefits, programs, subsidies, grants, tax advantages, etc. are made available to the largest group of voters in exchange for their vote or to those people that can swell the politician’s campaign coffers. Indeed, politicians offering benefits to the poor or middle class at the expense of a less numerous class of voters is used to secure votes from subservient constituents. Likewise, politicians offer subsidies, grants, or tax advantages in exchange for significant campaign contributions.
In both scenarios, politicians are simply selling political influence for personal gain. Morals, ethics, and laws are damned. What was promised to you in the electoral process is violated in the legislative process unless it serves the politician’s purposes – to stay in power and get re-elected.
Government is now a bloated leviathan sucking the life, liberty, and freedom from one segment of society and redirecting it to government centric preferences, favored political organizations, fat-cat donors, and government created dependents. The government connects its life source – productive citizens – to the central planners and dependents through a rotting umbilical cord. Life’s simplest and most basic decisions are controlled by the ruling class, central planners, and millions of bureaucrats imposing draconian rules and regulations upon the very citizens they are supposed to represent.
The illusion of freedom and liberty is bought and sold using Machiavellian tactics. Irrespective of rationale or logic and with contempt for the limitations of power placed upon politicians, they believe they are empowered to use the force of law to take from some in society and give to others in society.
Do not listen to the sophistry. Do not believe their explanations. Politicians lie, deceive, and speak with forked tongues.
Truth is so passé. Morals are relative. Laws don’t apply to them.
Furthermore, the media is complicit as they are nothing more than a propaganda tool, espousing opinion and subjective news laced with half-truths, lies, deceptions, and omitting information to further the agenda of the ruling class. It’s nearly impossible to wade through the fabricated stories or find the hidden stories that remotely represent truth and fact. While television and traditional print media are heavily left leaning, talk radio has a substantially bigger right leaning or conservative element. Both sides are guilty of propagating false narratives on us.
Undoubtedly, the majority of stories contain a small nugget of truth wrapped in innuendo, opinion, unnamed sources, and omissions. To distinguish fact from fiction often requires hours of personal time. Most people don’t have the time or the inclination to invest in the charade. It’s simply easier to remain ignorant or only pay attention for a few hours every election cycle.
Lastly, politicians create a public facing persona. Some may call equate this to “rock stars”. Some call it the cult of personality. But, much time and effort is put into the politician’s persona for public consumption. How the politician looks, dresses, walks, speaks, and even the narrative around their life story – whether true or fabricated. In fact, many have speculated the country would not have elected President Roosevelt knowing he was in a wheelchair. Likewise, President Kennedy’s 1960 victory over Richard Nixon was attributed partially to television.
Some voters simply look at the public facing persona and support candidates for that reason. Even random characteristics such as skin pigmentation or gender sway some voters. Politicians use these things for political advantage. Sadly, voters buy this garbage.
In my opinion, voters simply want someone to lead them not to represent them. Too many voters want the government to take responsibility for their lives rather than the voter taking personal responsibility for their decisions. Politicians recognize this and capitalize on it. Politicians use Machiavellian tactics to sell an image, an ideal to an unwitting yet complacent and apathetic public. The people refuse to recognize politicians for what they are; humans. Politicians are not Gods. They are not super humans. There not not to be idolized, worshiped, or fawned over. They are merely human and are no better than you or me.
In return politicians give assurances to voters that all is well. That the economy is recovering when its not. The financial markets are sound but the financial markets are rigged casinos. The banks are too big to fail. Favored industries, labor unions, and others are bailed out. Unemployment is falling when it’s rising. Inflation is under control when it’s really 5-10% greater than what’s reported. Prices are stable when they are rising. Corporations and profits are blamed instead of government greed and incompetence. Businesses move overseas because of greed and profit rather than burdensome taxes, rules and regulations.
In other words, someone else is to blame for all this. But it is never, never, never the politician or government’s fault. In fact, in most cases it is their fault and that fault is covered over with lies, deceptions, half-truths, and omissions.
I liken these times to controlled chaos. Everyone knows something is wrong. Something is amiss in our union. In fact, it has been for a long time. People yearn to believe that all is well and all will be well. They ignore all the facts and data around them. Instead of putting their toes in the sand the people put their heads in the sand.
It reminds me of the ending of the movie Animal House. After the fraternity has wreaked havoc on the small college town and people are running around frantically, the character played by Kevin Bacon says “Remain calm! All is well.” Well, all is not well and Machiavellian style politics are being used to convince you otherwise.