It seems to me, one result of corruption in government, is that corruption will drive an ever growing crime rate, violence, and lower economic outcomes. The two go hand in hand. The more overt and visible the corruption the greater it impels societal corruption. This happens for two reasons… culture and aping behavior. We adapt to the culture, young people especially so, and we copy the behaviors of our leaders. Young people are especially effected by both culture and politics, which acts as a capacitive effect, storing the culture and ethos of government to dampen swings away from it in the future, good or bad. Which makes corruption and it’s consequences dynamic. All of which shows how important it is to protect government especially, but all our institutions from corruption.
People like to follow the culture, culture makes us secure in our societal role, economic condition and status, it gives us structure. As a result of the good we get from culture we bend ourselves to it. If the culture has the ethos that cheating on a spouse is acceptable, then more people will cheat on their spouses than otherwise would. If the cultural sensibility is that making money is paramount, even at cost of future earnings, the economy will diminish over time, and if the culture is corrosive to the family, there will be less functional families, and all those things imply. The culture can be a force for evil or it can be a force for good. Keeping culture free from corruption then, is extremely important for people who seek societal wealth, security and stability.
We all look to the leaders of our governments, and religions, they provide us with the model to follow in our personal lives. We ape our leaders in other words. If our leaders model virtuous behavior we will follow them, and be virtuous, because that will become the norm. When our leaders break their own laws, lie constantly to us, machinate to undermine elections and otherwise rule in a corrupt manor, the leaders are holding those institutions in contempt, and thus, the people will also hold those institutions in contempt, and will lie, steal, and cheat their neighbors in every way possible. Why would a self interested human being follow laws not followed even by those that made them? That wouldn’t be self interested.
When governmental or any other institution becomes undeniably corrupt the effect on society is magnified by that obviousness. Of course overt corruption is far more destructive than subvert corruption. When it becomes undeniable that a faction is above the law, law looses all meaning and become the evil construct Thrasymachus described in The Republic. Even the most dull recognize the absurdity of following a law no one else does. In this paradigm, most pretend to follow the law to avoid punishment, but all will violate it every chance they get. Creating the need for ever more draconian punishments and surveillance to force the people to follow laws made against their best interest, that those who made the laws don’t even bother to pretend to follow.
Young people coming of age are especially susceptible to the warping effects of corruption in the culture and government. When we are young we are forming our attitude to justice, greed, honesty, envy, humility, egoism, egalitarianism, luxury and sloth. We don’t form those understandings from a vacuum we get them from our environment. People who grow up in a field of lavender will smell of it, their entire life, just as those raised in a cesspool will always have that odor around them. This gives corruption or virtue, and lasting effect on society. Those raised in corruption will carry that corrupt mindset with them their entire lives, those raised in virtue will carry that virtue with them as well. This gives society elasticity. Keeping the swings from corruption to virtue less extreme, but sadly, it also makes ridding our government, culture and society of corruption, a much harder task.
Those who tolerate corruption in government will have a corrupt government. The trick then is to forge a culture that is resistant to corruption and police the elite by draconian measures. By doing these two things we can dramatically lower the crime rate, abortion rate, divorce rate and drug use, while improving our economy and thus our very lot in life would be increased. If those in power are held to every single law, enforced to the letter… on them first, our society would follow and become more virtuous, with less need t monitor us. Corruption is as caustic to civilization as it is toxic to economies. Past time to address it, rationally, by discourse and logic, and abandon the glittering lies that the elite can police themselves.