Why aren’t politicians brighter?

Why aren’t politicians brighter? As one gets to know more elected officials, one is struck with how average many of them are in analytical ability. Many seem to be driven by a desire to be liked, to be considered important, to be looked at, and to be heeded. Politics provides an outlet for those who crave approval.

Political parties exist to keep those bright enough to actually solve problems out of office. Those within the party structures rely on being able to provide jobs to their supporters. Anyone interested in actually solving the problems of overspending, for instance, knows that up to half of all people in any agency can be let go in order to reduce expenditures without anyone noticing. So, party leaders don’t want people smart enough to institute efficiencies in office, it’s too disruptive to the patronage system they’ve built up over their careers.

Party leaders pretty well determine who will be nominated for each office. Short of some group of idealists hijacking the party structure, a hard job that takes so long that most involved are usually bought off in the process, we are guaranteed a steady stream of elected officials who owe their elections to the fact that they aren’t bright enough to threaten the system. Most are too busy preening to notice.

Everyone who gets elected wants to get re-elected. They know that credible threats can be eliminated if they don’t rock the boat. “You don’t want to be thought of as a radical.”, they are warned so often that, after a few years, they are telling a new generation of idealists, “Don’t rock the boat.”