Rob Ford, the "disgraced" mayor of Toronto, still enjoys an order of magnitude more public approval than the US Congress (I know, I know, apples to oranges). This despite rock-solid evidence that he's smoked crack while in office.
There was, in Tudor England, a habit of old that on the Twelfth Night (as popularized by Shakespeare's eponymous play) of Christmas, the night before Epiphany, peasants and nobility would swap roles, the former dining on... well, I'll let Dan D'Amico explain:
If you get the baby (or the bean, or whatever local variant you like), you get to pretend to be a lord until sunup. @danarchism's right on the money; cultural, social... human capital is the name of the game. This festive celebration obliged feudal constituents to adopt some variant on the very sort of sympathy championed by Adam Smith in his Theory of Moral Sentiments. If only for a day, the (un?)lucky peasant would have to don the pantaloons of the lord of the manor and hear the petitions of the governed. It was a great, rollicking joke with a great rollicking punchline and a great rollicking serious message embedded within. Using my Pete Leeson spectacles, Twelfth Night was an institution that, as cheaply as contemporary political technology allowed, permitted greater social stability.
And then there's this guy:
The gentleman behind the wheel is Deadmau5. He is a musical whiz, a Giorgio Moroder for the opening act of the 21st century. And he puts up a 30 minute video of him tooling around with his crack-smoking mayor.
Rob Ford governs as if every night were Twelfth Night. AND THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE FOR IT.
Politics minus governance equals politainment (plus ζ, some residual). Three cheers for the City of Toronto to have the courage to admit that politainment is valuable. The grimmest moments in human history were characterized by politics taken too seriously.
I'm none too fond of transactional theories of the state. The analytical fiction of the social contract suffers from Arrovian impossibility problems, and no written constitution can ever hope to bind an active sovereign ruling a clamorous constituency. Despite my reserves, I do still believe that voters basically get what they ask for, within a standard deviation or so. And in Toronto, they've asked for some non-standard deviance. And it seems they've gotten exactly what they want.
Long live the king.
In EE terms, this tests Toronto's Ford on the Shughart/Thomas scale, and I think it finds in favor of euvoluntary institutions. If anything coercion flows in the opposite direction. Conventional morality, conventional politics would have this guy (or Marion Barry before him) out on his ear. Yet buoyed by popular support, he thrives in office. Huzzah!