For millions of TV viewers around the world, Netflix original series House of Cards has done for politics what Game of Thrones has done for medieval fantasy literature. Fans who ordinarily dread campaign season, presidential debates, and Congressional drama are now sucked in to the twists and turns in the career of fictional US politician Frank Underwood and his Machiavellian approach to the business of politics. The show has no obvious moral, or clear political message, and is an interpersonal TV drama and thriller series more than anything. However, there is something to be said for the show’s behind-the-scenes portrayal of modern politics. It shows us an unsettlingly credible world of untrustworthy, self-interested, careerist political actors who care more about themselves than the public. Even if none of its characters have admirable ideologies or goals, House of Cards has taught TV audiences to look at politics in a new way.
In this short video from Learn Liberty, at the Institute for Humane Studies, Prof. Steve Horwitz shows us how the show’s depiction of American politics might unfortunately be more realistic than meets the eye. Horwitz takes us through three primary lessons that House of Cards has to teach its audiences, showing how turbulent modern democracy really is.
Should we always be sceptical of politicians?
Do they really trade favours so selfishly?
Can we avoid this, or is it in the very nature of politics to attract these kinds of people?
Watch the video below to find out!