… is from page 314 of Thomas Sowell’s 2002 collection, Controversial Essays:
The kinds of people we need in government are precisely the kinds of people who are most reluctant to go into government – people who understand the inherent dangers of power and feel a distaste for using it, but who may do so for a few years as a civic duty. The worst kinds of people to have in government are those who see it as a golden opportunity to impose their own superior wisdom and virtue on others.
DBx: So true. If you possess the power to coerce, it’s so much easier to compel people to do your bidding than to persuade them to do voluntarily as you suggest. This ability to coerce cannot help but corrupt those who possess it. Career politicians, therefore, are utterly irredeemable, for theirs are careers of coercing others.
This insight from Sowell is nicely complemented by this insight from H.L. Mencken.