In a letter to John Adams, Thomas Jefferson once made a distinction between “natural aristocracy,” people who, by “virtue and talents” make good leaders, and the “artificial aristocracy,” “founded on wealth and birth” which is a “mischievous ingredient in government.” The Founding Father would undoubtedly share Via Meadia’s happiness over the recent announcement that Ted Kennedy, Jr will not run for Sen. Kerry’s seat. The Post reports:
Ted Kennedy, Jr. issued a statement Monday saying he will not enter a special election to replace Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of State.
Kennedy, the son of longtime Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D), lives in Connecticut but nonetheless had been among the names being floated as contenders for the seat.
Kennedy said he was “extremely grateful for all the offers of support” of a potential run, and left the door open to running “at another point in my future,” according to the Associated Press.
A Boston Globe report on Kennedy’s decision cited a desire to remain in Connecticut with his family and a possible run in that state in the future.
We at Via Meadia think this is good news, not because of any animosity toward Mr. Kennedy or the Kennedy family, but because the trend toward dynasticism and a hereditary political class is something every red blooded American needs to fight. An elite always wants to convert political power to family power, and one job that lovers of freedom need to take on at all times is to resist the ambitions of pretender royal families. From George Washington’s refusal of a kingship to the Presidential term limits enacted after FDR’s long reign, Americans have a noble tradition of resisting the creation of political aristocracies.
That doesn’t mean we favor knee jerk opposition to every candidate with a famous last name. But if a famous name was a hurdle to be overcome rather than a springboard to power, American society would be a healthier place, and American democracy would be more secure. We wish Mr. Kennedy all the best and hope that, if he changes his mind in the future, the citizens of Massachusetts will judge him on the merits, not elect him because of his name.