Abuse of Power Should Come As No Surprise

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So. It appears as if maybe what will take down BoJo is a bunch of smallish gatherings in violation of his government’s lockdown rules from the first year of the pandemic. It does make me wish that someone had surveyed the people of the UK over that year, asking something like Do you think that high government officials, billionaires and other powerful individuals are following the government lockdown rules? Absent such a survey and its actual result, I would guess the answer would be something like… oh, 25% responding yes? Maybe 20%?

Or a more specific question: do you think the Prime Minister has attended one or more social events in the last month that violates an applicable pandemic restriction? Tho’ for a question like that, of course, some people would say no, even if they thought he had, reasonably interpreting the question as really asking if they disliked the man.

Basically, though—I find it difficult to believe it comes as a shock to anyone that the wealthy and powerful don’t exactly follow the rules. I don’t think that’s a particularly partisan thing, either. I wasn’t surprised when Nancy Pelosi did, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Ned Lamont did, either. It’s certainly a little different in the UK where they were laws, rather than guidelines, with potential criminal penalties, but still.

I mean, it’s outrageous that wealthy and powerful people break laws and social norms with impunity, yes. This is a problem with concentration of wealth and power, and it’s absolutely something that should be part of our politics. But I find it difficult to be shocked, shocked to find that there were social gatherings in Downing Street.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

1 thought on “Abuse of Power Should Come As No Surprise

  1. Michael

    Wasn’t part of the point of the previous US administration to numb us to everything? If we are overwhelmed with an endless barrage of dishonesty and corruption and bigotry and violation of social norms and violation of mores and morals, then we lose our ability to be shocked into action by any particular event. And we certainly lose our ability to be shocked into collective action by any particular event, because why would enough of us agree that one particular horror stands out from the rest as worth focusing collective energy on? This isn’t a new playbook, and Boris Johnson certainly seems to enjoy performing his role in the UK production.

    From the other side, decades of faux outrage in our media over nothing (a TAN SUIT?!?!?) numbs us to that as a response.

    It feels hard to feel surprise at any bad behavior at this point, but it still feels worth condemning the bad behavior and even occasionally pretending to shock if we want to eventually reclaim standards.


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