Thursday, November 06, 2008

Nolo episcopari

Another good article from First Things about the inevitability of power corrupting those who wield it too long.
Washington: the only President who was ever offered a lifelong throne and turned it down for a temporary desk in a bureaucrat’s office. Almost to a man, his successors have been offered that same desk and have mistaken it for a throne. The current occupant, however sincere, is no exception (nor does it matter what month this is published or what year you read it). Roosevelt II–as H.L. Mencken aptly called FDR–actually tried to get a throne for himself, or the next best thing in a democracy, a permanent presidency. He came frighteningly close to succeeding before death intervened. The Onion’s book Our Dumb Century contains a headline I contributed to sum up this absurdity: “Roosevelt’s Remains To Run For Fifth Term.”