“Suppose you were an idiot,” Mark Twain once quipped, “and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” Like Twain, libertarians tend not to think highly of elected officials. We view them as corrupt, in cahoots with interest groups, and obsessed with politicking instead of governing.
And, as Twain quipped, dumb. Oh, so, dumb. Who can forget Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) fretting aloud that an island might tip over if too many soldiers are stationed on one side of it? And how about Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who freaked people out by claiming al Qaeda had camps near the U.S.-Mexico border? Does a week go by without one of the 535 members of our national legislature popping off inanely? Probably not.
Indeed, as Twain’s quote indicated, Congress never has been filled with Solons, to say nothing of Erasmuses. Even our much revered Founders made some seriously wrongheaded decisions. (See the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, to cite only one example among many.)
But stupidity in our national legislature is a feature of representative democracy….(Read more)