Letter sent to the New York Times – and HT to my buddy Mike LaFaive for alerting me to the Mason quotation:
In light of yesterday’s ouster of Arlen Specter (R/D-PA) from his long-held seat in the U.S. Senate (“Specter Defeat Signals a Wave Against Incumbents ,” May 19), it’s instructive to recall the words of one of America’s greatest founders, George Mason :
“Nothing is so essential to the preservation of a republican government as a periodical rotation. Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens.”
Of course, in today’s world, ‘retired’ political grandees never share proportionally in the burdens their political escapades have loaded on the general mass of the people. Nevertheless, it’s a happy event whenever voters reject long-‘serving’ politicians. Given that the land will inevitably be haunted by the specter of politics, it’s better that this haunting be done by neophytes than by experienced politicians.
Donald J. Boudreaux