ed rosenthal
January 26, 2015

Selflessness is the first principle of political life, as described here.   The admirable idea is that a politician should always act solely in the public interest.   But what does that mean?  If a politician is ambitious, he or she will need to raise funds beyond what is necessary to attend events in the district and to run a reelection campaign.   Such activity, while neither illegal nor inappropriate, cannot be considered to be directly in the public interest.   It is not a bad thing for  a politician to be appropriately ambitious.

How should we address this problem?  The very nature of modern politics works against the concept of selflessness.  Full public funding of all political campaigns coupled with a prohibition against donating to other politicians might seem to be the answer, but the enormous cost of full public financing and the Supreme Court's peculiar notion that money is speech make that solution essentially impossible.

Perhaps the best thing to do is to redefine the principle - "When making public policy, a politician should always act solely in the public interest."


A blog about all the arts, including politics
"for 'twere absurd to think that nature in the earth bred gold, perfect in the instant;
there must be remote matter." - Ben Jonson
"I don't know what the question is, but art is the answer." - Guy Conner

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