The Political Life Revealed
In his book, The CIA as Organized Crime, Douglas Valentine has the following sentence describing American officials in Vietnam: “Megalomaniacal warlords intriguing against one another to control the political environment is the dynamic that defines America’s hidden corridors of power.” [p. 247]
However, if the word “warlords” is dropped and the word “persons” is inserted, this is a good description of American politics generally. And it is reminiscent of Benjamin Franklin’s critique of the presidency at the constitutional convention in 1787. But, even more so, it could be taken as a description of not just America’s politics but of politics everywhere and at anytime. This is the political problem: The political arena, the political life, appeals to, seduces the megalomaniacal. The political problem isn’t simply any particular “ism,” like capitalism, or communism, or socialism, although they each have their problems. Rather, it is the character of the political arena itself, of what might be called the political life.