Friday, September 07, 2007

Risky Behavior

It seems like every day that we open up the newspaper or open up a webpage, there is another politician getting caught for something. Whether it is eleven New Jersey officials being arrested for bribery charges or a politician having an affair/soliciting sex/hiring a prostitute. And everyday, many of us wonder why these people in the public eye do it. Don't they know they will be caught?

People applying their own armchair psychology come up with many answers. These people think they are above the law, they are so self-involved that they do not think about consequences, or the power has deluded their judgment. So just to add another theory to the pile, I wonder if these people are just bigger risk takers.

I have great admiration for many people in public office; I think it can be a wonderful job. However, I also think you have to be a brave soul (translate: nuts) to run. Running for public office is a gamble of money, reputation, and more. So perhaps some of the people who are drawn to that kind of risk are the same people who would risk doing "bad" things and crossing their fingers that they will not get caught.

The risk adverse people who over-think their actions are the ones who go to law school (the most stable degree you can have after engineering) or maybe a chief of staff.

1 comment:

James said...

Interesting theory.

Honestly, though, I'd take it in the opposite direction. Maybe it's too cynical a position to take, generally, but I imagine most politicians are (or want to be) calculating, deliberate, and controlled. I imagine this would make them (if they were more rational and careful than they probably actually are) even less likely to do something that would jeopardize their position like that.

But maybe I just have it backwards, and practice never works out the way theory does. But then again, in theory, theory is no different from practice.