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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hubris, Today Twice Displayed

Another of the benefits of taking seemingly useless Classics as a minor in college is that you get to have several invaluable principles permanently imprinted on your brain. One is "moderation in all things," while another has to do with hubris, which I most often heard defined as being "overweening pride," as explored several times over in the surviving Greek dramas of 2,500 years ago.

This week, in the deeds of S. Palin, the Republican VP candidate, and M. Bloomberg, the already two-time mayor of New York City, we are seeing that that principle is still as alive and well as ever it was in the eras of Oedipus, Agamemnon, and other Greek "heroes" who ran afoul of their own hubris and paid for it.

Though New York voters long ago voted for term limits to be imposed on the mayor's office, Bloomberg has succeeded in persuading his city council friends in setting aside that law so that he can run for a third stay in office.

This is bad news, no matter how good a mayor he has been, and no matter how it turns out. But of course I have the highly unpopular idea that quotas have a place in politics more than merit, since the main idea should be equal participation in the administration of government by representatives from all the different groups that make up a jurisdiction's populace. Merit, which is not often seen in politics anyway, should come in an unwilling second to the quota consideration, and allowing someone to serve with no term limits only invites in the circumstance that power corrupts. Plus it is good for the body politic that the experience in office gets spread out over a lot of people, instead of just one or two of a favored few. It would be a good thing if the aggravations were shared as much as are the perks.

Though he was a slaveowner, G. Washington still had two good ideas. One was to reject all attempts to crown him as the king of the newly created U.S.A., and the second was to firmly reject becoming President for a third term, and I believe that only the totally dire emergency of the onset of Stage 2 of the Endless World War persuaded FDR to run for a third and then a fourth time.

Meanwhile S. Palin is obviously taking her early press notices -- though not the more recent ones -- seriously, to the point that a percentage of Republicans are seeing her as having the potential to be nothing less than the future leader of the party, while the other percentage is sickened by this idea. And actually you have to wonder how an organization that is so in the grip of hidebound types could ever accept having a woman, any woman, on that throne. The latest sign of this development and the state of her own hubris is that, dissatisfied with how the campaign has been operated (it is probably not nearly bloodthirsty enough for her), Palin is thought to be ignoring the advice of the aides that the McCain camp has assigned to "handle" her, so that in fact she is getting so that she can't be handled at all. (Thus the sexual aspects get hopelessly intertwined with the power notions after all!)

I only observe all this with detachment, as my sympathy with the Republican party is even less than it is with New York City. The most important thing about all this is, instead, once again seeing how the ancient Greeks definitely knew whereof they emoted, and their verdicts, through such an enormity of time and change, are still as good as gold.


Blogger LeftLeaningLady said...

The facts remain, that in the early years of our country, POLITICS was not a career path. It was something you did as your civic duty, like jury duty, and then went back to your real life. I wonder how much better our country would be if there were no politicians? Only people doing their duty?

6:37 PM  

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