The NY Times “explains” the Midterm results. “The next Senate was just elected on the greatest wave of secret, special-interest money ever raised in a congressional election. What are the chances that it will take action to reduce the influence of money in politics?”
In the manner of all “clever” rhetoricians they are expert at asserting their conclusion as a “given” in formulating their “question”. But wait a minute Mr. Trendy Times man, hold your horses.
Why is it presumed that the influence of money in politics is something we ought work towards reducing?
Federalist # 10 addresses this. *…[T]he most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors and those who are debtors fall
under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government. . . .
It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. *
YET the NY Times presumes that a “Common Good” is thwarted by the influence of INTERESTS. How is The Common Good established? IS IT IN VAIN to await the ENLIGHTENED Statesman? YES!
So without a recognized Enlightened Statesman to weigh the various interests what are we to do? The various “special interests” are… VARIOUS. (Duh!)
To use an idea from Physics: each interest can be considered a VECTOR. (A Vector is a direction and a magnitude.) Each special interest seeks government to help them in specific ways. In Representative Republics the various myriad vectors are summated. How? By forming alliances with those interests that share some of the same legislative goals and which do not have any strongly opposing goals. IT IS THE FINAGLING among interested representatives that succeeds in producing the best approximation of the common good.
In addition, MONEY is necessary for the magnitude component of the vectors.
In other words, all the legislative ends desired by an interest group are not held in equal strength. Money signals the importance that is given each particular interest.
If interests are symbolized by ABC… and abc indicating interests of major importance and minor importance and + and – equals pro or con the interest then one interest group whose vector contains A++ b- C— might be amenable to compromising with a different interest whose vector contains A+, b+, c+. Both share a strong desire for pro-A, they disagree on b and c but these are not as strong as the shared desire for A.
Campaign contributions precisely reflect the perceived magnitude of the vectors of each interest.
“Oh but what about the unconnected citizen?” asks the Glib Lib. To the degree that a particular citizen is concerned about AB or C then he will support the candidate closest to his perceived interests. AND DESPITE ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD the Politician MUST still get a majority of votes! Indeed people are easily manipulated by cynical marketers. But only to the degree that a person is not interested in the issues might he be swayed. But one need not be a rocket scientist to perceive one’s immediate interests and vote accordingly.
Finally there is the Constitution. The less the Government has power to impose or forbid activities the less it offers to lobbyists. Lobbyists and Money are directly related to Government Power. IF ONE WISHES LESS MONEY IN POLITICS, WEAKEN AND CONTAIN THE GOVERNMENT!
Back to Federalist #10: “There are . . . two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests. “
Here the author has remarkably foreseen Fascism, Communism and Totalitarianism. The choice is between true representational republicanism and one of the flavors of Totalitarianism.
Money in Politics is merely the obverse of Politics in Money. “Politics in money” is the intrusion of majoritarian government into the private economic affairs of otherwise free people.