Politics Sold To The Highest Bidder

(Repost, from my third Science Fiction Climate Change Novel “Last Week”, in answer to this Tweet by ClimateProgress):

If you’ve wondered why so many politicians deny climate change, science has your answer


Part 22 of my third global warming science fiction novel “Last Week”. Link to Part 01: “Back To Paradise Era”.

Friday, February 10, 2023, 3:27 P.M.

Angel and Satoshi were back from swimming in the hotel pool and relaxing in the sauna. They had grabbed some lunch in the hotel restaurant and then taken their time. Angel was in no particular hurry getting the World saved.

Back in their hotel room, Angel started up the laptop and wrote a short report about the meeting with Senator Nutt on her blog.

“Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting Senator Annalina Nutt, one of the main villains of the global warming crisis in the political World of the 21st Century. I had been looking forward to meeting her. She kindly agreed to the meeting once I made it clear that I would be interested in donating $10,000 to her campaign.

“However, the meeting failed. I was unable to donate that $10,000.

“The reason for that was that Senator Nutt did not believe that I am a Princess from the 24th Century. It is of course hard to understand for someone in your Century. I have to admit that. But I brought her conclusive proof of my story.

“I have brought a device on my time trip to your Century that could not possibly have been built with present technology. It is like if someone right now traveled to 1723, three hundred years in the past, and brought a tablet computer with the whole Wikipedia database installed, and a solar panel for recharging the device.

“Would those people in the 18th Century have to admit that their technology could not build that computer, or that solar panel? Of course they would.

“I showed my device, which we call the ‘Glaring Glasses’ in our Century, to Senator Nutt. I projected a record of how the sea level rise will sink New York in the coming Centuries on her office wall. You can see it right at this post, click on the video to the left. I even let her operate it in gaming mode for a couple of moments.

“But, unfortunately she was unable to understand. She did not even agree to my offer of having an expert of her choice examine the Glaring Glasses to conclusively prove that they must be from the 24th Century. She is just in denial, even in the face of clear evidence.

“Of course she is also in denial of the global warming crisis. I showed her a time lapse film of the historic record of a sea level rise of 60 meters in New York City, leaving only Wall Street as a tiny island. But she just doesn’t want to hear the evidence.

“Which is most unfortunate. Since she does not believe I am for real, we never got to the point of discussing my campaign contribution. I will need to find some other destination for that $10,000 now. Maybe Greenpeace will accept it.”

Angel took a picture of the Glaring Glasses laying on the table of her hotel room with her smartphone and added it to the blog post. It was always a good idea to have some pictures in a blog.

Angel again notified Theo Birnbaum and Roberto Romero over her Twitter feed of her new blog post. She noted approvingly that they had retweeted her earlier Tweet announcing her post about Alexandrina Heathershaw. She also got an answer from Theo, who agreed with the idea of giving that $10,000 to Greenpeace.

“Again, that doesn’t seem to do much of anything,” Satoshi said. “How is that supposed to help win support from Senator Nutt? You might need her for your mission.”

“Of course it doesn’t help win her support. That’s not the idea. If it were possible to get her support for doing something about the global warming crisis with mere arguments, Theo and Roberto would have done that a long time ago. You need to understand how the political process works in the United States of the 21st Century,” Angel said.

“How does it work? I have never given much thought to politics,” Satoshi said.

“Policy is sold to the highest bidder,” Angel said.

“What?” Satoshi didn’t understand.

“It’s very simple. Politicians need to get elected. Elections cost money. What does that mean?”

“Politicians need money,” Satoshi said.

“Exactly. This is the only job where you actually have to pay millions of dollars for the privilege of showing up for work,” Angel said. “So what happens if someone with a lot less billions than you wants to get elected for office?”

“They need some sponsors,” Satoshi said.

“Yes. And would they possibly be more inclined to listen to their sponsors when discussing policy than to some random Princess who just came from the 24th Century?” Angel said.

“Of course they would. It’s human nature,” Satoshi said.

“See? So the simple solution for my mission is to change the way election finance is done. I can then proceed to get global warming solved, once that is out of the way,” Angel said.

“And you will of course have that all done by Monday evening,” Satoshi said. “You really must be crazy. I like it.”

“Actually, no. I was joking. There’s no way to change that in a couple of days. Harvard law professor Larry Lessig has been trying for over a decade, and he didn’t get anywhere. Do you understand why?” Angel asked

“No,” Satoshi said.

“It’s very easy to understand. If it is true that the whole system is corrupt, that policy is sold to the highest bidder, will the people calling the shots now have any interest in changing that? Of course not. If you can buy your laws wholesale from a corrupt political system, the last thing you want is any change in that fortunate state of affairs. So if it is true that money has corrupted the system, it follows that there is no way to change that short of a revolution,” Angel explained. “Anyway, I don’t have time to solve that little problem as well. Someone else will have to do that.”

“So Senator Nutt will never change her evil ways?” Satoshi said. “Why did you bother meeting her, then?”

“Actually, there is nothing wrong with money buying policy, as long as people are buying the right thing. If it is correct that she does whatever her sponsors want, the way to make her enact good law is to become her sponsor,” Angel said. “It is very easy.”

“Yes. I already said I would be happy to contribute $50 million or a similar to such an effort. But you didn’t seem to make much progress with trying to outbid the fossil fuel industry,” Satoshi said.

“That’s because I didn’t try very hard. I was just having some fun at that meeting. Of course I could have asked her if she preferred $50 million in contributions for her, to me giving that money to her next opponent. But that won’t be necessary. My plan is slightly different. It will work as well, without getting in a bidding war with Non Standard Oil. They have rather deep pockets as well,” Angel said.

“What plan?” Satoshi asked.

“I’ll tell you on Sunday,” Angel said. “Your cooperation will be essential for that. But that’s it for today. My mission is proceeding ahead of schedule anyway. Let’s go back to having some fun. You got any ideas for that?”

Link to part 23: Sweet and Sour Pork

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

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