August 1, 2011

Why Are So Many Idiots of the Week Politicians?

Idiocy

My Idiot of the Week series has certainly contained people who are not politicians. Religious leaders, media personalities, celebrities, government agencies, and even ordinary people who do stupid things have been represented. However, it is clear that politicians have been "honored" far more than any other group of people. Why? Given that this blog focuses primarily on atheism, why would politicians be overrepresented here?

I think that I probably feature politicians the most because I expect more from them. We should all expect more from them because we elect them to work for us. In contrast, I expect very little from religious leaders, and they usually do not disappoint. I would be shocked to hear Pat Robertson make a coherent statement about much of anything. But I am even more surprised to hear someone who is competing for office to insist that they do not believe in evolution.

Besides the different expectations, there is also the difference of power. While religious leaders can and often do real harm, it is politicians who wield the real influence. Rick Warren may desperately want theocracy, but someone like Michele Bachmann or Mitt Romney is in a much better position to bring it about. When those in power display idiocy, we should all be worried.

A third reason concerns the spectacle of political hypocrisy. Religious leaders certainly do hypocrisy as well as anyone; however, hypocrisy on the part of politicians is more likely to be amplified by the presence of the media. I know full well that individual pastors can be extremely hypocritical, but they usually don't have TV cameras in their faces when doing so.

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