Politics as a Profession

The American Spectator - 6/10/2010

Angelo Codevilla's examination of the American political class in The American Spectator of July this year will surely take its place among the seminal texts of American conservatism. It brings into clear focus the great danger to the American settlement that has arisen during the course of the last century -- which is the slow, steady confiscation of political decisions by a self-defining elite.

The cost of those decisions is borne by the people; the benefits accrue to the elite and to those who share its lifestyle. As a result the American political process is beginning to resemble the political process in Europe, where only unimportant matters are discussed in elected legislatures, and where the real decisions are taken behind closed doors, among members of the political class. This class includes a few elected politicians, or at any rate politicians who have at some point been elected to some office that may or may not still exist. But elected politicians form only a small proportion of the elite, most of whose members are in any case unelectable. Far more important are the upper echelons of the bureaucracy, the "captains of industry," the trade union barons, the favored members of the professoriate, and the people who, for whatever reason, are owed favors by the ruling party.

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