When I watched Friedman’s tirade
on those hypocrites (I suppose he meant journalists, politicians and ordinary mortals likewise) who use the managers as scapegoats for the general plight in Germany, when I watched this I had the short vision of him dressed in priest’s vestment.
Aside from the fact that Friedman is possibly the biggest hypocrite himself since I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a small business moonlighting, he does make quite an interesting point. The political class, conservatives and social-democrats similarly, almost leaped on Zumwinkel and the other managers who proved themselves guilty of tax fraud, and literally stabbed them to death with their admonishing forefingers. And it is one thing if the media does this, because at least I still expect them some sort of watchdog for democracy and solidarity, but Friedman is right: it leaves a bad taste to see them doing their dirty business.
Nevertheless there’s something else which raised a thought in me listening this sermon: he implies the politicians are somehow separated from us. Like a separate political caste which you have to be born into to rule the rest. Of course, it isn’t exactly like this… but what I experienced when I observed friends becoming politicians was similar, though. There are somewhat crucial rites of passage you go through when you become a politician. And I don’t mean the obligatory booze guzzling nights.
It’s the way you obtain majorities inside the party. Certainly not in an idealistic exchange of arguments but by exchanging favors and using your contacts. Which is of course the way politics always worked and probably will do so forever… and which has absolutely nothing to do with democracy. Anyways, through these rites most of my friends became determined and quite successful professionals and consequently lost their ideals. So what’s the point?
The point is that Friedman could be right: even if you’re not born a politician, you’re (in)voluntarily made one of their caste and thus probably loose your right to use the admonishing forefinger.