Generous pols may have less altruistic motives
When you hear a candidate or an elected politician talk about universal health care, increasing the minimum wage, free college tuition, expanding entitlements, welfare programs, or any other policy where the government provides some funding or service to the community, it’s easy to think about such proposals only in terms of the citizens who may benefit and not look past that to recognize who may also benefit — the same politician promoting such initiatives.
Providing “free” government services can seem very noble on one side, but on the other side it is also a way for selfish and power-hungry individuals to win an election more easily. Greedy, corrupt, and even evil individuals seeking to empower themselves can leverage the force of government to take money from one group (i.e. the rich) and give it to others in hopes of buying the latter’s vote, all the while appearing to be acting out of purely altruistic motivations.
When large segments of the population become dependent on programs offered by the government, these politicians know that their elections, and thus power, are practically guaranteed. Citizens reliant on government programs are less likely to hold the politicians providing them their livelihood accountable when they engage in corruption, and this is how the civil society falls apart. History shows that in the worst cases, tyrannies can arise when the citizens are subservient to the government, rather than the other way around.
Understanding that politicians may engage in this kind of strategy helps us avoid such eventualities, so remember who also stands to benefit when you see those smiling politicians promising “free” stuff before an election. They are giving you something, but they are expecting something else in return — your vote.
ANTHONY HORNE. HENRICO.