In a recent post, I tried to make the case that these are not serious times, at least not in Western Civilization. We are not taking serious problems seriously, thus simple problems are turning into enormous messes. I think one symptom of this environment is that political scandals are getting more ambitious and brazen. I haven’t figured out a cause and effect yet, but I think that they are linked somehow.
There were a lot of scandals during the Clinton years, but you’ll recall some of the bigger ones:
- The Waco raid
- Having sex with an intern in the Oval Office
- Cattle futures
- Presidential pardons
- Use of Lincoln Bedroom for fundraising
- Travel office firings
The Waco raid resulted in the killing of people that Janet Reno found distasteful. That’s pretty serious. Although, if Bill Clinton had any idea that the Branch Davidians would have responded the way they did, I would bet my house that he would have stopped that raid before it even started. He didn’t want a major mess like that. Which helps make my point about the rest of the Clinton scandals: They really were just the Clintons trying to get rich, get sex, or to feel powerful.
Don’t get me wrong – horrible behavior for anyone, despicable behavior for a president. But they weren’t history-changing events and they weren’t intended to be. They were just the Clintons doing whatever they wanted.
But more recent scandals seem more brazen, more significant, and more widespread (involving more people and more layers of government).
- Fast and Furious
- Clinton Foundation – selling influence for personal gain
- FBI (Comey) finding that Clinton had broken laws, but deciding not to prosecute during campaign
- DOJ and FBI attempting to keep a Republican out of the White House
These scandals seem to me to be fundamentally different than the Clinton scandals. These are intentional efforts to influence policy (Fast and Furious) or even attempts to change the nature of our government and thus the course of history (Comey’s decision not to prosecute obviously illegal behavior and our current headlines of the DOJ and FBI trying to influence an election). If the last two items on that list are anything remotely similar to what they appear to be, I think they might be the most incredible political scandals in US history. Perhaps I’m missing something here, but they are huge. Why is this happening now?
Of the five branches of government in our current system, I think that the media is the most powerful branch. The second most powerful branch is the administrative state. (After that, I would say Judicial, Executive, and Legislative, although those are of similar influence, and so far behind the other two that it probably doesn’t matter much which is on top of the other.) What concerns me about these more recent scandals is that they involve not just some small-time shyster who wants to be serviced in the Oval Office but rather are cooperative efforts (although not necessarily carefully coordinated efforts – they have similar goals and detailed coordination is not generally necessary) of our two most powerful branches of government – the media and the administrative state. This is extremely concerning.
So, three questions:
- Do you agree with my premise that American political scandals are rapidly becoming more ambitious, brazen, and widespread (involving more people of influence)?
- Why is this happening now? Is it due to the non-serious nature of our current society, or is there some other factor?
- What can be done about this? Because if we don’t fix this, the “statists” or leftists will have such an enormous advantage that elections are likely to become a mere formality.
Mark Twain said something like, “If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.” If these scandals continue, he may be right. These modern scandals are influential, powerful, and always on the cause of the left. This is serious stuff. And we are not taking it seriously. This is a serious problem.
Please tell me I’m wrong.Published in