By Nathan Barton
“Power corrupts. And absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – Lord Acton
Today, we take government corruption for granted. Indeed, government corruption has been a feature (NOT a defect) of government since Nimrod started his little empire in Mesopotamia 4,000 years ago or so. Government has power, and therefore corruption. But it has, frankly, just gotten worse since then. AND a lot more pervasive, subtle, and harmful.
Today, at least here in the Fifty States, government doesn’t just corrupt itself and the other governments which infest our beautiful land of former liberty and bravery. Government corruption is so ubiquitous and so bad that anything and anyone that comes in contact with it is corrupted by it as well.
And who, in these Fifty States today, does NOT come in contact with government at some time in some way? In trying to limit the power of government, we have created many levels and kinds. Adding up to a burden that is intolerable.
Consider “public” schools:
Although more and more people privately school their children or teach them at home, the vast majority of children in this country attend public (government-run, tax-funded) schools. At least until they drop out. But even private-school teachers and students (and parents) are constantly getting mixed up with government. Even home-schooling parents and students find themselves regulated, inspected, and harassed by government agencies.
And when privately- and home-schooled children go to college? Even if they are in “private” universities, they are still constantly in contact with various government agencies. (Yes, even in a school like Hillsdale which does not accept government grants and student loans.) They must register for Selective Service and Social Security and more, or face fines and other penalties. They must pay government taxes on virtually every purchase they make – even in states which do not have a retail sales tax. For their food, their lodging, even their textbooks and supplies.
And once out of school? In the workforce? They must live within limits established by government for their professions, their homes (owned or rented), their recreations, even their religious life. They are constantly observed and often detained by traffic cops, by parking wardens, by this or that bureaucrat for permission to drive their own cars, save their money in banks, own a home (rent from the government, more than likely), and everything else.
And for some of us, the contact is even more daunting and common. My own occupation means that I may deal with government agents five or six times an average work day, and must constantly keep their opinions, attitudes, rules, regulations, interpretations and general mental state in mind. I constantly have to carefully choose what I say and how I say it, lest I mistakenly admit to some action deemed a crime, or tick them off so that they apply the letter of the law, the regulations, and the ever-changing interpretations of those laws and regulations, to me and my clients.
I am far from alone. Doctors and medical professionals of all sorts. Realtors. Teachers (even NOT in “public schools.”) Truck drivers. Hair dressers. Barbers. Tattoo artists. Sellers of food. Of gasoline. Of flowers. Of medicines. Electricians. Plumbers. Builders.
And each and every contact is contaminating me, and all of us. Corrupting us, tainting our decisions and actions – and even thoughts.
I cannot make recommendations based on economics and engineering alone, but must take into consideration every nuance of government policy and of the whims and attitudes of government officials.
Teachers may teach only what government allows – even in private schools. They may only say things that are approved, whether it applies to a child’s behavior or that of their parents. Or about government.
The same applies to many other professions.
(I know a tour bus driver who was fired by a private company because he did not follow the tour company’s government-approved script for explaining the geology of the area (including national and state parks) through which he drove.) Why did the tour company have the script? Because they were kowtowing to their clientele, all too many transnational progressives, for one thing. But more to the point, because the tour company has to have a federally-issued permit that allows them to guide tourists in federal parks and monuments.
Every one of these many-times-a-day contacts with government means exposure to the corruption of government, government agencies, government employees, and contractors to government. It is insidious and growing.
I recently had a client ask why we had to do something in a particular way: a way dictated by both federal and state law, regulations, and the county permit issued upon recommendation by state agencies. Even though it didn’t make sense. Even though it was costly and time-consuming. “When we cover it up, who will know if we did it exactly that way?” I was asked.
This is corruption: falsifying a report that says we did something, when we really didn’t do it. Just as thousands of bureaucrats do thousands of times a week. The client’s frustration with government has led an otherwise moral, kind, and honest person to at least consider doing something that is wrong – immoral. As I am tempted daily.
How can we end this? By ending government – mandatory, involuntary, powerful government. At all levels. I frankly can see no other option. If we roll it back a bit, as the Founding Fathers did in the 1770s, it just starts growing again. If we wipe out the corruption in one way, evil human minds create other methods and means. And it expands. It gets so bad that we envy the tyranny of King George III back in 1775, even as compared to the tyranny (compassionate conservatism) of George II, which in turn we envy compared to the last decade.
Enough is enough.