With a falling heart I’ve watched our descent into the slimy, sewage, gutter-filled reality of what politics has devolved into. With Roy Moore’s electoral loss yesterday, weaponized accusations will be standard fare going forward, the left will double down on using heavily financed outside political groups in order to snatch victory. For those who believed that elections should be about merit, not impossible-to-verify accusations and dark money, politics going forward will only become worse.
It is important to remember that at the end of the day, only winning matters. The vast majority of politicians are deeply flawed human beings, with many of them being utterly despicable, disgusting, morally bankrupt and rotten people. It should surprise nobody that personal enrichment and the narcotic effects of wielding power and influence are the primary motivating factors behind most of those seeking elected office. While “cheap” and dirty political shenanigans have a long history, what we are now seeing is the perfection, weaponization, systematization and evolution of the political smear.
Roy Moore’s loss can’t be pinned at his personal failings and unlikableness. Many prominent political figures are slimy and nasty figures, without suffering the loss of power based upon their own immorality. In ethics and morality, reciprocity is key. If you hold yourself to a higher standard than your opponents, you will lose in the long-term. The unfortunate reality of our world is that there is no universal justice or comeuppance for bad behavior. Failed humans might suffer negative consequences, but they might also profit handily from their deeds. It is up to us to create a societal order where virtuous acts are rewarded and encouraged.
People respond to incentives. Among the many mistaken and false lessons learned on the back of Alabama’s election result, one of the lessons learned by the left will have long lasting impact. Smears work. “They go low, we go high” is a nice phrase to shield yourself behind, while you throw as much dirt as you can on your opponent and reap the unjustly gained rewards. Never forget the amount of money involved in politics. Lobbying is one of the most profitable endeavors that businesses can engage in (sadly). The return on investment can sometimes be ridiculously high if they can alter the shape and direction of regulations. What is a little unfair electioneering compared to vast sums of money to be harvested?
We are now beyond the time when the thin veneer of merit based elections could still be somewhat argued for. All that now remains is the naked and raw pursuit of aggressive political power. The power to punish one’s enemies, rob disfavored constituents, and the power to mould the direction of our civilization. As Bannon famously said: “Victory begets victory”. First the disgusting truck-ad in Virginia and now extremely questionable allegations against Moore. The lesson is easy to grasp. Fear-based identity politicking is persuasion gold. Politics has lost its thin veneer of civility. Its true form stands uncovered, a zero-sum race to the bottom before the combination of the national debt, unfounded liabilities, and the logical conclusion of identity politics/social justice madness must reach its inevitable conclusion.
We now stand in the middle of democratic politics where vice in campaign strategy has become a self-defence necessity. Just like Trump’s flaws can be excused by the virtue of preventing war-monger Hillary from wreaking havoc on our collective future, politics going forward must be nasty, brutal and vicious in order to avoid the disaster of having worse outcomes. When you look back a year from now on the dirty, flea infested campaign that inevitably will come, remember that this path was chosen willingly by humans with agency. Influential people within the realm of politics chose this path, and the common voting masses didn’t gainsay that decision. Enjoy what will come, for what follows after that can only be even more misery inducing.