… is from page 157 of the 5th edition (2015) of Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics :
However, politicians’ success does not depend on their learning the lessons of history or of economics. It depends far more on their going along with what is widely believed by the public and the media, which may include conspiracy theories or belief that higher prices are due to “greed” or “gouging.”
Politicians – contrary to their self-conceit and to how they are generally portrayed by the media – are not leaders in any real sense. They are cheerleaders who, standing behind the crowd with a bullhorn, assures the crowd that its instincts and emotions are correct and sacred. Using his or her bullhorn, the politician then urges the crowd on to do – or to give the politician and his or her friends the power to do – what the crowd’s base instincts dictate. ‘Leading’ from behind in this way, politicians receive the crowd’s thanks and applause, even when, as is very often the case, politicians urge the crowd on to self-destruction – a self-destruction that involves the crowd being urged fatally over a cliff while the cheerleading politician, standing behind it, manages to remain safe and secure as he or she avoids tumbling to destruction.