Political Hubris

By Paul Gable

Political hubris, that overweening pride, arrogant self-confidence and absolute contempt for opinions other than their own is running wild in politicians.

Not only on the national level, although that is harmful enough, but also at the local levels of government.

I received an email from a friend of mine this week talking about this very thing.

A friend of his was attempting to get in touch with a member of the Horry County legislative delegation about a matter in which the delegation is directly involved.

The friend was having difficulty even leaving a message for the politician, so my friend, who had known the politician all of his political life and had not only voted for him but also had contributed to each of his campaigns, volunteered to help.

When my friend contacted the politician’s office, he was told to send an email detailing the issue, then, the politician would, essentially, determine if the issue was important enough to even respond to.

The politician’s time, in his own mind, was so valuable that he couldn’t be bothered to speak directly with most constituents on most issues that concerned them.

Political hubris is not only a problem on so many levels, it is a problem that many experts are now calling an acquired disorder.

Political hubris is considered to have five unique symptoms – “conflation of self with the nation or organization; use of the royal ‘we’; an unshakable belief that a higher court (history or God) will provide vindication; restlessness, recklessness and impulsiveness; and moral rectitude that overrides practicalities, cost and outcome.”

Think about those and try to think of the last time you heard a politician speak on some issue or the other who wasn’t affected by most or all of the symptoms.

Many Americans are tired of politicians in general. You only have to look at the current Republican Presidential polls to see three political outsiders – Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina outdistancing most or all of the career politicians running for the office.

However, and maybe this speaks volumes about American politics and the American voter, Trump, Carson and Fiorina are all plagued by their own form of hubris.

Have we really gotten to the point where we want only those divorced from reality to lead the nation, state or local government?

It seems so.

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