Saturday, March 22, 2003

Trust the President.

This quote from Salon (via Tom Tomorrow) has been nagging at me:

At some point, you have to trust your president! You have to believe that he knows something we don't!

Similar sentiments were expressed in the afore-linked "We're Good People" article, and by various warbloggers in the past. And to be honest, it scares me.

Quite apart from the sanity of trusting in the knowledge of a guy who is so clearly ignorant of the world outside of (a wealthy subsection of) the USA, it's also a dangerous meme to have loose in a democracy. Why? Because it's really a demand to have faith. Asking why we should trust our political leaders or believe in their secret knowledge will run you up against this straight away - we just should, they just do, there is no reason beyond the initial premise that the leader is right, therefore they must have a reason. Otherwise, if they're falliable, then where does that leave us?

(The answer to the above is left as an exercise to Americans, who will have to live with the consequences of their stupid president's stupid decisions for the next twenty or thirty years).

The idea that we should have faith in our politicians is literally laughable in any democracy outside America. But I've said before that their presidency is more of an elected monarchy anyway, and I guess this is just another example of it.