by Paul Eidelberg
“Now there’s a Mensch—one of the elect.”
This notion survives to this day, despite our democratic times. That’s what the “elect” used to mean. We choose a mensch to represent us because he’s one of the “elect,” a worthy and honorable adult. We readily give a mensch our vote because he’s not only trustworthy, but also because he’s intelligent and experienced in public affairs.
Of course, we can’t expect such good fortune in the United States any more. Congressmen enter and stay in office for various extraneous reasons, above all, big money or campaign financing, but also because of seniority rules, biased media, and voters who don’t know the difference between a mensch and mule.
Israel has no shortage of mules. Their election is facilitated by a parliamentary system that compels citizens to vote for party lists rather than individual candidates. This magnifies the number of mules that enter the Knesset and eventually become cabinet ministers. Who said democracy is a self-correcting system of government?
Israel’s current President retained his Knesset seat decade after decade because, in addition to having an invulnerable place on his party’s list, he never had to compete against a rival candidate in a constituency election. Einstein would have called this monotony insanity.
But never fear: that Israel has survived under its anti-menschen or peresitic political system indicates that Israel is idiot-proof, hence governed by supra-rational laws. Thank God!