Lions Everywhere

by Don Boudreaux on December 12, 2006

in Politics

In a comment to this post on Congress’s penchant for sucking on consumers’ teats, trumpit says to me:

You amaze me! You loathe the venal pols, yet you give a free pass to
the loathsome, greedy corporations who really control the government.
That is a one-sided and naive viewpoint.

I do not give a free pass to the loathsome, greedy corporations.  Rent-seekers who use the state to enrich themselves at others expense sicken me.

As for the emphasis in my original blog post, Russ Roberts and I agree that, while it’s true that rent-seeking private parties are just as predatory as are the goons they hire to do their actual predation, everyone understands that private business people are in business primarily to earn a living.  No one presumes that business people are motivated chiefly by altruistic, other-regarding motives; business people don’t seriously pose as saints who sacrifice their personal interests in order to promote those of the public; no one calls business people "public servants"; no CEO of a corporation sports the title "Hon."

Politicians, in contrast, do pose as public servants — as special people who routinely sacrifice their own personal well-being for the larger cause of the greater good.  They are called "public servants."

To point out that a lion has sharp teeth is rather pointless; to point out that the lamb is really a lion in disguise is more useful.

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