Career politicians aren’t in their profession by chance. Most of them are good at it. They either have the natural skills required or they have cultivated those skills over years of observation and practice. As a general rule, professional politicians have a higher than average social IQ. That is, they excel at relating to people and speaking to individuals and groups in ways that are familiar and well received. They are not only comfortable speaking, they are also persuasive and convincing.

Most politicians are well educated. Law is a profession common to many successful politicians. Training in law is a natural fit for the career of a politician because it often involves convincing others of a particular argument. Politicians use their innate skills and their professional training to pursue a specific career and, like most people, they want to stay in their career as long as possible. They do this by becoming very good at certain things. At election time, when they play for all the marbles – keeping or losing their jobs – it is easy to see their skills on display. Chief among those skills;

Creating Division Amongst People

Within minutes of being declared winner of an election every politician will take to the podium and give a “We must come together in unity after this divisive campaigning.” What he really means, of course, is “Let’s stop all criticism now that I’m in power.”

The plea for unity is a rare admission of possible culpability in the relentless fear-mongering the politician just spent millions of dollars stirring up. The permutations of division nearly defy calculation but skilled political consultants and handlers can sift through the data to find the real nuggets of discord to be exploited by politicians in order to raise money and garner votes.

Rich vs. Poor: This fear can be operated in both directions. Tell the poor that the rich got rich by cheating the poor and adding nothing of value to society. Tell the rich that the poor are going to rise up and take everything they’ve worked hard for. Never – repeat never – mollify the situation by explaining any mutual benefit to each other or that there is a spectrum of wealth wherein most people can be said to be both rich and poor in relative terms. No votes there.

Business vs. Consumer: Most people don’t own a business, therefore there are more votes to be garnered by vilifying business in general. Talk about “profits” with the same tone and derision used for the words “rape” or “child molesting” and people will be swayed because they think they should be on the right side of something so immoral. Never – repeat never – mollify the situation by explaining that every modern comfort and advancement in voter’s lives is provided by profit-seeking companies. From the comfortable mattress they sleep on to the clothes they wear to the computer they used to rant online about the other politicians, people’s greatest advantages in life are generated by for-profit enterprises from one-person operations to multinational corporations. Again – more votes can be garnered fomenting discord and resentment than by fostering mutual understanding. Politicians need the votes and money not goodwill between their countrymen.

Immigrants vs. Natives: This one works in every country. “The guys across the border are lesser people than we are. Let’s keep them away.” This policy has the added benefit of stirring up resentment of the immigrants already inside the country. This too can be exploited. (See Rich vs. Poor, above.)

There isn’t a company or wealthy individual who could dream (or have any need) of creating so much division and discord among so many millions of people. Politicians stand alone in their record of encouraging dislike of others.

Fomenting Fear

The stated purpose of having a political State (“the Government”) is to protect citizens from attack from bad people inside the country and bad people outside the country. More recently, the State has also promised to protect people from financial poverty when ill, old or both.

In a political campaign all of the above are threatened to disappear. The other politician is going to destroy your pension. You’ll be destitute! The other politician is going to take away the benefits that keep you fed and sheltered. You’ll be homeless! The other politician is going to let violent crime run rampant. You’ll be a victim! (Implying violent crime by immigrants is known as a ‘twofer.’) The other politician is going to let foreign countries dictate to us. You’ll lose your entire way of life!

Unless you want to live under the thumb of the (rich/poor/business/immigrants/foreign governments) in crime-infested poverty and lose your entire way of life to squalor you better vote for me and not that other son-of-a-bitch and his colleagues.

Once in power, and after the “Let’s stop this bitter criticism and fear-mongering” speech, whoever is elected sets to work doing the other thing politicians are really good at:

Destroying Everyone’s Wealth

No matter what Western country you live in your money is losing value. Every major currency is losing value over time. What one-thousand units of your local currency (dollars, pounds, euros, yen, etc.) bought you twenty years ago it will not buy you today. A kilo of sugar is still a kilo of sugar but today you need more of your local currency to buy it. You can thank a politician for that.

Whatever money you have left after the initial round of income taxation, it is under attack from new and creative taxes. Increasing sales and value added taxes, property taxes and fees for operating cars, phones and televisions are constantly eating up what used to be discretionary income.

Duties imposed on imported goods mean your ability to save money by diversifying your purchases has been cut off. Cheaper alternatives are blocked by you paying the difference to the State in the form of import tariffs. More of your wealth eaten up.

If all the above isn’t enough, politicians have authorized additional spending financed by borrowing in your name. Your future income has been promised to someone else as payment for money a politician spent today.

Your present wealth is usurped and your future wealth is promised to someone else. Have a nice day.

Thanks For Nothing

Now you can go thank your politicians for being so smart and educated. You live every day with unnecessary fear and diminished wealth. Just like they said you would!