All that said, however, there is one way in which House of Cards relentlessly and continuously undermines the left-wing narrative, whether it intends to or not. In its heightened way, it shows the government as exactly what it is: a power center, inspiring all the soulless perfidy and amoral ambition that any power center is prone to inspire.
This is devastating to left-wing philosophy, because the central flaw of leftism is not its ceaseless cynicism about business, individualism, religion, or the common man—it’s that its cynicism evaporates into unicorn-and-rainbow stupidity when it comes to government. Insurance companies are too greedy to handle health care, but not the government. Individuals are too reckless to own guns, but not the government. Religion is too corrupt to preach morals, but not the government. The people are too foolish to know their own good, but not our old friend Uncle Government. It’s no wonder some conservatives think leftists are all evil tyrants. It’s easier than believing they could really be such knuckleheads.
America’s Founders did not put check-and-balance brakes on government because they idealized the people. They knew the people all too well. But they also knew that it is in government that power tends to coalesce; that it is in power that men and women become most corrupt and abusive; and that it is corruption and abuse that eat relentlessly into the walls and rafters of the cathedral of liberty, until the entire structure collapses like . . . a house of cards.