I’m reading Bryan Burrough’s The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of The Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes. Burrough quotes a 1962 Nation article about Texas oil millionaires meddling in politics:
He believes his riches were in no way the result of luck but of his own foresight, courage, and initiative–all made possible by the American Way of Life. […]
Although he may never have got as far as high school, he is an authority on textbooks, the tariff and winning football formations, the Constitution, geophysics, currency inflation, and how to get rid of warts.
He is fond of writing letters to office-holders and potential office-holders advising and/or threatening them about the course they should follow. Given half a chance, he will, out of his accumulated wisdom, drop homilies, maxims, aphorisms, texts, proverbs and parables for the benefit of his fellowman, whom he professes to love dearly.
Fifty years later, it’s still true about businessmen, and an increasingly accurate description of politicians themselves.