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Me, Über Alles: The Maddening Reason Politicians Break Their Own Lockdown Rules – OpEd

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There’s hypocrisy, damned hypocrisy, and the actions of statist politicians. 

Most of us have seen the pictures or heard the stories. Governor Gavin Newsom, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Diane Feinstein and other leftists have been caught blithely breaking the very COVID-1984 restrictions they self-righteously visit on the citizenry. In the case of Denver mayor Michael Hancock, he recently flew to Mississippi not an hour after warning city residents to “avoid travel, if you can.” I guess he couldn’t.

This has left a lot Americans wondering if these posturing pols actually believe their own coronavirus rhetoric. Many no doubt don’t, at least not completely. Also, whatever they believe, they quite surely lack the discipline (not a big word among leftists) to adhere to any program. What would we expect, after all, from people whose only consistent credo is “If it feels good, do it” other than convenience-driven behavior? Yet there’s another, mostly unknown reason for these statists’ hypocrisy. 

Studies have shown that leaders, no matter the time or place, tend to be worse than the people they lead. A major reason for this is that politics attracts power-mongers (along with the narcissists and sociopaths).

Power lust is alien to most people. Oh, they can understand lusting after sex or food or money, as virtually all of us have related urges (just hopefully not to a disordered degree). Though it’s a rarer defect, however, people can lust after power in just the way a robber baron may crave money; a nymphomaniac, sex; and a glutton, food. But most people can’t relate to this problem — and generally don’t even consider its existence — because they’re not saddled with it; instinctively projecting one’s own mindset and priorities onto others is a common error. 

(If only this weren’t so, people might be more on guard against the power-driven, known as “megalomaniacs.”)

Now, megalomaniacs are overrepresented in politics because, of course, that’s the realm in which you can most directly exercise control and power. These people love it, “need” it and live for it. At risk of seeming frivolous, I think the following nine-second Star Wars clip well epitomizes their mindset.

(If Gavin Newsom actually had the above ability, he could at least make himself useful and remedy his state’s rolling blackouts.)

So how does this relate to COVID hypocrisy? Well, one way to enhance your sense of power is by flouting rules everyone else must follow

It’s even more of a rush if you imposed those rules on them in the first place. 

It can make you feel special, above it all, like an elite, master of all you survey. Rules are “for the little people,” as the supercilious suppose, so you can feel like a big person if you’re beyond rules, beyond limits, beyond constraints. 

These politicians are beyond reason and rectitude, though, tragically. A truly great leader knows he should share the sacrifices he asks of his people, but our power-mongers will have none of that. The point, however, is that they’re not necessarily just weak and willing to violate their own rules. Often, they revel in doing so.  

Leaders’ increasing exhibition of blatant hypocrisy is also a sign of a declining republic. In a healthy one, this is less possible because politicians are held accountable. But to whatever degree a pseudo-elite establishment places itself beyond voter discipline (e.g., via rigged elections), it can in the same proportion place itself beyond the voters’ government-imposed burdens. 

Megalomaniacs will never stop exercising irrational control over you because control is the goal, an end unto itself. They inflict their torments not just with the approval of their own consciences, but at the urging of their most animalistic desires.

Selywn Duke

Selywn Duke

Selywn Duke is a columnist and author.

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