He mostly leaves out the "God" aspect, substituting "king" instead, but the point is pretty much the same: people instinctively want their governing body to act as God. Like all of his musings, this one is eminently worth reading.
In my adult life I've become acquainted with thousands of men, from all walks of life and all the nations of the world. I've gotten to know perhaps a hundred of them very well. That's enough, I think, to form a sample of Mankind sufficiently representative for some tentative conclusions about human quality.
In brief, most people are fit to govern their own lives, if only barely, but nothing more. A few plainly aren't even up to that; if not looked after by wiser and more capable others, they'll kill themselves ignominiously and, quite likely, take a few innocent bystanders with them. But there are a very few whose wisdom, ability, and passion for justice are demonstrably great enough that others should take their advice, even if they find it humiliating to hear and painful to follow.
One of our fondest secret wishes is that a person of that kind should rise to the rule of our nation, free of encumbrance by legislatures, judiciaries, and regulatory bodies with contrary inclinations. The wish, though unarticulated, is so strong that we attribute monarchic powers to our presidents, permit them far more latitude than the Constitution grants them, and hold them accountable for every rise or fall in our national fortunes.
Though he'd never admit it, the typical American voter goes to the polls every four years to elect a king.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Fran on "Playing King"
Fran Porretto has an excellent post along the lines of my previous post "Playing God" over at his website: