The “Founding Fathers” never imagined a person would enter politics and stay there for the rest of their lives. Nor did they ever imagine that anyone would make a career out of politics, or use politics as their primary profession throughout their lives. Turning to the “third world,” we often hear the cry of inequality. The rulers live in palaces, while the man in the street lives in rags (literally). While the average person in South Africa under Mandela made, perhaps, a dollar or two a day, Nelson’s wife had hundreds of pairs of shoes.
How are they related? These are just two instances of the people who make the rules refusing to live by them.
Supporters of “climate change action,” don’t live the way they expect the rest of us to live; they have huge carbon footprints. Congress passes a health care law they expect everyone else to live under, but they refuse to live under it themselves. Law enforcement officers press for tighter gun control, but they don’t go unarmed. Politicians and movie stars want to ban guns from private hands, assuming the hands of their bodyguards aren’t “private,” of course. The politicians who scream the loudest about “income inequality,” are the same ones who take six or seven million dollar vacations a year, eat only the finest foods, host personal parties with headline stars on the public dime, and play golf constantly.
In every corner of our culture, the old saying, “the cobbler’s kids have the worst shoes” has been turned upside down — today the cobbler’s kids are the ones with the designer shoes the cobbler would say are too good for the general public.
Why does all this matter?
Because those with the widest and deepest influence should always eat their own dogfood — especially in the realm of politics. The more impact your decisions have on a larger number of lives, the more important it is for you to live by and under those very same decisions. When the person who makes the rule knows they won’t have to live by it, they’re glad to bend things to favor themselves or their friends. If you know you can afford a million dollar electricity bill, it’s easy enough to support policies that will double the cost of electricity to make a couple of your buddies as rich as you are (or richer!). They’ll pay you back in the end, right? So what if a couple of hundred families who are on the brink of financial ruin go under — it’s not impacting your life directly, so you don’t even see it.
If the only impact a rule will have on you is whether your checkbook is fatter or slimmer, you’re always going to choose the fatter checkbook.
If we want to get out of our current slide towards totalitarianism, we need to stop looking for honest leaders — because no-one is completely honest. We need to stop looking for the perfect society — because no society is perfect. We need to stop looking for perfect equality — because equality will never be truly equal.
Instead, we need to start here: make our leaders obey the laws they pass, and live within the systems they impose on the rest of us.
We need to begin by eating our own dogfood, and making our leaders eat the dogfood they feed us.