Some lessons must be learned over and over and over again. In the political realm, that equates to relearning the basics at least generationally – if not more frequently – if we wish to preserve our constitutional republic. Fortunately, the Age of the Virus has made that process considerably clearer, and the motivations of our elected representatives have become much easier to discern.
Since Americans have ceded the running of the federal government over the last 100-plus years to a “professional political class,” it is incumbent upon each new generation to understand what motivates those who chose careers in government. [Note: The Founders would almost certainly consider “government career” to be an oxymoron, as they envisioned citizens periodically doing the people’s business and then returning to private life.]
First of all, a primary rationale for the existence of the professional political class has been that the functions and missions of day-to-day government have grown too complex for average citizens to properly monitor – let alone comprehend – and a dedicated class of “experts” should be empowered to manage the nation’s affairs. That is their raison d’être. Twenty-five-plus trillion dollars of debt later, as well as an unnecessary nationwide lock-down perpetrated by largely authoritarian Democrat governors on the basis of recommendations from so-called medical experts (all federal employees!) using flawed models, it is fair to say that the “professional political class” has passed its “sell by” date.
Had we not forgotten the basics about the political class – that is, what motivates them – Americans would have known better than falling for their messages of security and prosperity in exchange for a loss of our freedoms that has been the siren song of state governments in particular over the past three months. And those basics get down to the psyche of members of the political class.
First of all, some definitions:
Psyche: psy·che | \ ˈsī-kē | n.
The totality of elements forming the mind, specifically, in Freudian psychoanalytic theory: the id, ego, and superego including both conscious and unconscious components
Id: the one of the three divisions of the psyche in psychoanalytic theory that is completely unconscious and is the source of psychic energy derived from instinctual needs and drives
Ego: the one of the three divisions of the psyche in psychoanalytic theory that serves as the organized conscious mediator between the person and reality especially by functioning both in the perception of and adaptation to reality
Superego: the one of the three divisions of the psyche in psychoanalytic theory that is only partly conscious, represents internalization of parental conscience and the rules of society, and functions to reward and punish through a system of moral attitudes, conscience, and a sense of guilt
To understand the psyche of the political class requires cognizance of their primary motivations and how the three elements reinforce those motivations listed here:
- Motivation #1: Remain in office
For careerist politicians, that means that their primary goal is to be reelected. For the unelected bureaucracy, that means practicing risk aversion in all things in order not to be fired (admittedly getting fired is difficult these days, but not impossible). This is the subconscious motivation that underlies the id of those in the political class. Instinctively, all of their decisions, actions, and public statements are aimed at achieving these ends, with everything else being secondary and of little importance.
- Motivation #2: Remain in political power
Power in a political sense is positional and statutory and involves the use of patronage, the dispensing of federal monies, and especially making arbitrary political decisions ostensibly on the behalf of Americans in general (but in reality, on behalf of their own crass self-interests – in particular, as relates to Motivation #1). A key element of power also includes achievement of fame and celebrity status (or notoriety) resulting in adulation by the masses and easier access to human vices (e.g., sex, alcohol, drugs, and their various permutations and combinations). Careerist politicians are highly motivated to achieve and wield political power, as many believe they are fulfilling their ”rightful roles” as America’s leaders. For example, Hillary Clinton was said to have remarked to Dick Morris that she believes “God put her on the Earth” to be president. An analysis of Hillary’s ego and superego, as defined above, would explain much about her public statements and activities since 8 November 2016.
And these two are the only motivations that matter to the political class. Everything else is a distant third and entirely negotiable in achieving the ends of these two motivations. Spend the country into oblivion in exchange for the votes necessary to be reelected over and over? No problem! Actually solve the country’s problems? No, that’s too hard; better to kick the can down the road and use the issue/problem to raise campaign contributions. Enact rules that maximize the reelection chance of incumbents and/or the political class over outsiders? Of course! Exploit non-profit organizations and use foreign monies laundered through them to undermine traditional American culture and the US Constitution in order to achieve political goals that include destruction of the American republic? Yessir! Use the awesome surveillance powers of the federal government to spy on political opponents in order to defeat their candidacies and/or derail their political agendas once elected? A must! Leverage corrupt political appointees and federal bureaucrats to undermine an administration’s policies? Goes without saying! Exploit the testimony and recommendations of “federal experts” to keep the US economy shut down indefinitely without regard to the impacts on regular Americans while pursuing a clear-cut political agenda to defeat a hated political enemy in the Oval Office? An imperative! Make common cause with external enemies in order to both obtain foreign “sellout money” and also to defeat common political enemies? Absolutely!
Do the aforementioned actions seem just a little bit familiar, given what we have witnessed during the Age of Trump? Notice how the egos and superegos of the political class play in to these questionable actions.
What kind of “internalization of parental conscience and the rules of society” exists in Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and, most particularly, Adam Schiff? Their parents taught them to be corrupt crooks, serial liars, knaves, and thieves? They could care less about the “rules of society,” as they have made careers in undermining basic American institutions and the US Constitution. And what kind of “a system of moral attitudes, conscience, and a sense of guilt” do elected Democrats (and their RINO enablers in Congress) have? Certainly not anything related to Judeo-Christian ethics. Their god is money coupled with power; their false idols are the likes of little tin god Obama (whom they protect at all costs); they curse behind closed doors and occasionally publicly (especially at their political enemies); the only reason they “keep the Sabbath” is for political appearances sake (do you really think that life-long abortion-backer Pelosi is true to her Catholic religion?); does Schiff “honor his parents” and how they raised him by being a congenital liar; are all those poor people dying due to the virus in nursing homes there of their own accord or someone politician’s policy (and how many lives have been sacrificed in pursuit of Middle East fool’s gold over the past 20 years?); how many in the political class are adulterers (start with the Clintons and then think about the members of Congress in the sexual harassment database that has yet to see the light of day); if only we could completely audit the wealth accumulated by long-time members of Congress in order to ascertain the depths of their corruption and theft of taxpayer dollars; bearing false witness against President Trump is apparently a required characteristic for all Democrat members of Congress these days; and lastly, these people covet the wealth and power of Americans who earned their fortunes honorably in the private sector. The likes of Hillary Clinton have been grifters their whole lives because their envy is a core part of their superego. By the way, we have just determined that most of the political class have violated not just a few, but rather all Ten Commandments.
“The organized conscious mediator between the person and reality.” The political class have created their own world and their own reality to suit their needs and to facilitate achieving the goals associated with their two motivations. Many commentators have remarked that Washington, DC is a “world unto itself” that has its own rules of both professional and personal conduct. Occasionally, they will let slip what they think of the rest of us. We “cling to our Bibles and guns.” They certainly don’t and would confiscate both if they could get away with it because both are impediments to their achieving perpetual power in America. We live in “flyover country.” This pejorative shows the disdain with which our coastal elite who comprise the bulk of the political class hold other Americans, especially those who live away from the East and West coasts. And my personal favorite, in which egomaniac Hillary Clinton screeched in 2016 that half of President Trump’s supporters belong in a “basket of deplorables.”
“You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right,” Clinton said, drawing laughter and applause as she addressed about 1,000 donors at an LGBT for Hillary fundraising gala in New York City, “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it.” Adding that Trump had “given voice” to many of those elements through his campaign rhetoric and retweets, she continued that, “some of those folks—they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”
People like Hillary, as well as most of the political class, have forgotten what little they ever knew about reality outside Washington, Judaeo-Christian morals, and basic common decency and civic virtue. Everything can and will be subordinated and compromised to achieve their political ends. “Public service” is a misnomer and merely a campaign slogan falsely used; these people serve themselves, first and foremost.
A final consideration of ego entails the political class’s inherent avoidance of political risk whenever possible (avoidance of political risk is important in Motivation #1 – to be reelected ad infinitum). This is why important decisions are now staffed by “independent commissions,” and so-called experts are used to justify public policy decisions, as well as serve as to shift accountability if (and usually when) the policies enacted fail to achieve the stated goals and objectives.
How does their psyche play in the Age of the Virus? A key political tactic that has evolved over the years is the fixation of blame, which involves shifting blame to others (when guilty), blaming opponents regardless of the facts, and avoiding blame whenever possible. We have seen elements of all three in play by the political class over the past three months, including contradictory claims. For example, the President has been lambasted non-stop for “doing nothing early on” to deal with the virus outbreak while at the same time he has been accused of being a “racist” for taking early action on banning flights from China in late January. Lately, we have witnessed Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) and other Democrats blame President Trump for New York’s and the country’s virus-related deaths when Cuomo’s own policy of moving infected patients into nursing homes resulted in many deaths.
Lastly, it is important to observe the egos on display as the political class seeks advantage and also to avoid blame and accountability. Accountability should be accorded directly to elected politicians, not unelected bureaucrat (we can do something about the former at the ballot box!). The Democrats have been exploiting the virus in order to achieve their political goal of defeating President Trump in November since their impeachment gambit failed in early February. Their continued clamoring for extended lock-downs is aimed at destroying the American economy, and they believe their electoral chances greatly improve if the economy remains stifled through governmental policies enacted by authoritarian Democrat governors.
The use of “experts” like Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, and other federal bureaucrats is a double-edged tactic being employed by the political class. Those experts provide the technical justification for draconian and authoritarian actions implemented in Blue states by Democrat governors, as well as shift political accountability for those public policy actions taken to the unaccountable experts themselves. The Democrats would call that a “win-win” – except that many physicians, medical practitioners, epidemiologists, and other scientists outside the federal bureaucracy are putting the lie to the “expert recommendations” made by Fauci et al.
To understand the political class, their psyche and what motivates them to action must be fully understood. In 2020, the psyche of the political class is on full display in all of the gory detail: crass political calculation devoid of any semblance of morality (superego), operating from with the artificiality of DC as opposed to facing the reality and basic common sense of the rest of America (ego), and the unconscious urge to remain in office at any/all costs (the id) without regard to consequences to the nation. All are displayed in unmistakably bright and gawdy colors for this generation of Americans, and in perhaps in starker relief than in bygone decades.
I hope that Gen X, the Millennials and Gen Z are paying particular attention, as the future of the country will eventually be in their hands!
Stu Cvrk served 30 years in the US Navy in a variety of active and reserve capacities, with considerable operational experience in the Middle East and the Western Pacific. An oceanographer and systems analyst through education and experience, Stu is a graduate of the US Naval Academy, where he received a classical liberal education. This functions as the key foundation for his political commentary. He threads daily on Twitter on a wide range of political topics, such as the military, foreign policy, government, economics, and world affairs.