February 24, 2021 Reading Time: 4 minutes

I would like to see all candidates for elective office in the United States become Mandalorians (not to be confused with Manchurian candidates) in appearance and code. Sure, it would be great if they could take out a dozen droids or Imps without breaking a sweat too, but maybe those candidates should serve in the military instead.

What do I mean by Mandalorian in appearance and code?

Like Mandalorians, politicians should keep their masked helmets and armor on when in public. That way, voters cannot discriminate for, or against, them on the basis of their race. Or age. Or physique. Or faces. Pretty boys and girls like Gavin and Kristi get cut too much slack because they are “easy on the eyes” while poor fuglies like Mitch and Ted get lampooned just because they resemble turtles or vampires. Hate on them for their irrational policy positions, people, not their looks.

It is said that one of our greatest presidents, Honest Abe, would not have been elected if more voters had seen how ugly the man was. Thankfully, far more people read his sublime prose than the lines on his frankly weird face. He probably wore that big hat to distract attention from his mug! Lincoln was so ugly that he made fun of his own looks, once reputedly rhetorically asking that if he was a “two-faced” politician why would he have on the face he was wearing?

But, I can hear critics of Mandalorian politicians bellow, how can we tell if a politician is lying or not if we cannot see hizzerher face? Well everyone saw Andrew’s face when he was lying about his Covid policy record but only a few sounded the alarm at first. (In case you have been living under a rock on Nevarro, here is the latest on that quickly escalating scandal.) Andrew was caught only because he lied about something that many people care passionately about, the lives of their loved ones. Politicians lie about less salient issues all the time, which is why we need a faster and more stringent FOIA system and why we are all sickened by the demise of unbiased investigative journalism like the New York Times used to publish.

Wouldn’t it be great if politicians didn’t lie to their constituents, or impose costs on them that they do not suffer themselves? That is where the Mandalorian code comes in. Andrew would already be out of the guild. In fact, all of the lockdown governors would be gone because “This is the way.” Mandalorians, like Omar Devon Little in The Wire, have a known set of rules that they live by, or else. 

To some extent, the content of the code is immaterial. What matters is that there is a clear, known set of rules that members of the group follow, with serious repercussions if they do not. That makes interacting with members of the group more predictable and hence less dangerous, even if the code justifies violence.

When it comes to political leadership, clearly some codes are better than others. Omar only robbed drug dealers and would never put his gun on a “civilian” not in “the [drug] game,” and Din Djarin (“The” Mandalorian) would have to try to return baby Yoda to his people even if he wasn’t an adorable little critter with mysterious powers. Americans, though, probably want a less lethal code for their politicians.

What you learned in kindergarten would be a good place to start: don’t lie, cheat, or steal, be kind to others, and clean up your own messes, or, better yet, don’t make messes to begin with by implementing policies the outcomes of which cannot be predicted and may not be known for years or decades. (Looking at you, lockdowners.)

If only some brilliant people (RIP Cokie, I remember your Founding Mothers!) had laid down a more specific code … oh wait, I’ve heard tell of some dusty parchments, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution (and state constitutions), and the Federalist Papers that establish a code and explain it in quite a bit of detail for those who purport not to understand.

The problem with America’s Constitutional Code is that it really isn’t self-enforcing. It may be a stretch to say that politicians can break the code with impunity but the fact that they even float long since exploded ideas like making DC a state is, well, as embarrassing as breaking the “Sunday morning truce” that Baltimore drug dealers reputedly maintained for decades

This country has a lot of problems right now so it would be nice to know that a code renders some possibilities off the table so policymakers and the public can concentrate on constructive, rather than destructive, solutions. If politicians cannot follow a code on their own, they are more unpredictably dangerous than any drug robber or Mandalorian following a strict code with consequences. The American people need to find a way to impose a binding code on politicians because “this is the way” to a more prosperous future for all.

Robert E. Wright

Robert E. Wright

Robert E. Wright is a Senior Research Fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research. He is the (co)author or (co)editor of over two dozen major books, book series, and edited collections, including AIER’s The Best of Thomas Paine (2021) and Financial Exclusion (2019). He has also (co)authored numerous articles for important journals, including the American Economic ReviewBusiness History ReviewIndependent ReviewJournal of Private EnterpriseReview of Finance, and Southern Economic Review. Robert has taught business, economics, and policy courses at Augustana University, NYU’s Stern School of Business, Temple University, the University of Virginia, and elsewhere since taking his Ph.D. in History from SUNY Buffalo in 1997.  

Selected Publications

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