The First Sign Of Corruption
posted at 4:39 pm on December 7, 2009 by Doctor Zero
The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means. – Georges Bernanos
The Climagate scandal is a perfect illustration of this statement. Modern society provides plenty of other examples. The extensive corruption of our political system is one of the strongest arguments against the ongoing fusion of government and industry. People of all political persuasions are generally willing to conceded that too many politicians are corrupt. I have always wondered how intellectually serious liberals can reconcile this with their desire to increase the power of the State.
I suspect the answer lies in the belief that this new crop of statists will be honest, unlike all the generations before them. This is a dangerous delusion. Corruption festers in every large organization, but politics are more vulnerable than business… and when the two merge together, they become particularly toxic.
Political corruption is easily camouflaged, and often debatable. Since politicians live to debate, nailing them down on charges of corruption often feels like trying to pin down a drop of water with a staple gun. If a politician sponsors legislation that would truly benefit the public, but would also make him personally wealthy, is he corrupt? We would certainly view him as more corrupt if he tried to conceal his personal benefits… but if he was scrupulous about disclosing them in advance, it’s unlikely he would be able to pass the legislation, especially if he faced determined opposition.
Consider the current example of Senator Max Baucus, who took his girlfriend on taxpayer-funded junkets overseas, and has been trying to secure a U.S. Attorney position for her. She might be a splendid candidate for U.S. Attorney, as Baucus will doubtless continue to argue. That doesn’t make her nomination smell any better. It also won’t make an overtaxed electorate, shivering in the cold shadow of trillion-dollar deficits, feel any better about paying for her luxurious jet-setting romance with the Senator..
The Republicans proved themselves sadly capable of shoving their noses in the treasury during their last years in power, and were punished by the voters for it. The corruption of the Obama Democrats is truly breathtaking. Virtually nothing this Administration does is conducted in a honest, open manner. Everything from the “stimulus” bill, to Cash for Clunkers, to frantic attempts to buy House and Senate votes for the government’s health care takeover, is wrapped in pork and glazed with payoffs, cooked with a secret recipe that you can’t see without a subpoena. Some of this corruption is enabled by the Democrats’ largely accurate sense that the media will not hold them accountable for it, certainly not with the same vigor they would pursue Republicans. The raging rapids of taxpayer cash surging through Washington are a factor as well. Reckless deficit spending has made purchasing a representative or Senator the only investment guaranteed to increase in value.
At this scale of government, corruption is endemic. It doesn’t make that much of a difference which party sits on top of that much power. With the rare exception prosecuted by law enforcement, there is little immediate risk of penalty for dirty politicians. It takes years to get them voted out of office, and their local electorate might not be eager to displace a powerful, long-term incumbent with a new representative… especially if the incumbent has brought a lot of money home to the district, in addition to lining his own pockets. Big Government even corrupts the voters.
Bring all of these factors to an even higher level of centralized power and money, and it’s easy to see why the global warming movement – the birthing cry of world government – is so incredibly corrupt. The amount of money and power tied up in this movement is staggering. In fact, as they become increasingly desperate to fight off a public outraged by the Climagate revelations, the global warming cult might make the case they’re “too big to fail” – cutting off the billions of dollars poured into the global warming hoax would cost thousands of jobs, and destroy the corporate barnacles that grew around the shadow of climate change legislation, such as Al Gore’s carbon credit sales. The transnational elite planning to divide the wealth of nations through climate-change hysteria is even less accountable than Barack Obama’s corrupt Democrat Party. As Mark Steyn memorably put it, where would we go to vote these guys out of office?
At the heart of the Left’s indulgence of political corruption lies the mistaken conviction that “public service” transforms politicians into exemplars of civic virtue, or that political office attracts a large percentage of such civic-minded individuals. In reality, the political class is even more greedy and selfish than wealthy businessmen… because they spend much of their time in the company of such wealthy men, and believe themselves entitled to riches and luxuries. Max Baucus doubtless attends a lot of campaign events sponsored by rich supporters who can afford to fly their girlfriends to Europe for a romantic getaway, and he believes himself morally and intellectually superior to these men – the remorseless logic of statism demands it. It only makes sense to place politicians in control of industry if they’re better than the industrialists they control, after all.
The mythic ideal of Cincinnatus, the selfless citizen-legislator who reluctantly leaves his farm to serve the Republic, is incompatible with the combination of endless incumbency and gigantic amounts of government power. We are foolish to place our trust in a system that requires an impossible level of virtue from politicians to function as designed. A limited government can better protect the economic health of its citizens by policing corruption from the private sector, under the direction of term-limited representatives who will never become worth the risk of buying off. The larger government becomes, the more its arrogant ruling class believe themselves worthy of royal treatment… and the more justified they feel about lying to the public for their own good. That is why the climate change elite gathered in Copenhagen this week is outraged that anyone would dare question their right to save a foolish world from itself, by lying through its teeth in a bid to seize power.