It seems to me, anti corruption laws are only as good as their enforcement, and if the same corrupt politicians enforce those anti corruption laws on themselves, those laws are as good as worthless. If self policing worked then why do we have police? Why not just have everyone pledge to follow the law and be done with it? Wouldn’t that be far less expensive than having a standing police force? Especially now that the police have become so militarized. The cost saving would be huge! But of course that is absurd, people cannot self police, and that applies more to the elite than to the average citizen.
The world is awash in corrupt governments. Story after story is written in the unbiased press calling attention to it. Hectares of forests have been cleared to produce the paper necessary to print the articles. All to no avail. Before Ukraine collapsed into chaos every news organization on the planet reported the endemic corruption in Ukraine’s government. Africa has suffered more than any other continent under government corruption with South America a close second. The US is suffering with the most corrupt, by every measure, government we have ever had, bar none, and Europe is close behind. Corruption, it would seem, is a quality of all governments.
Corruption in government is the single most effective way to determine if a nation’s economy will thrive or fail. The most corrupt governments universally have the lowest standards of living, for the people, but the highest for the elite. This is one of the few universal truths there are. Africa was a bread basket until the colonial powers were overthrown today Africa is a basket case. The the governments that rose up after the colonial era were riddled with corruption. The elite became richer than rich while the people became poorer than poorer. The standard of living in the US has gone up on average every half decade except for the 1930s and today. The single closest attributes of the FDR administration and the Obama administration is the endemic despotic corruption.
There is not one historical example of a corrupt nation that had a rising standard of living. The economies of South America are the perfect example of this in action. In South America, and Africa for that matter, all capitalism is crony capitalism. I have a friend that lives in Guatemala. I mentioned to him one time, we could buy land there, and grow valuable timber using modern silvicultural practices. He laughed hysterically. He told me only certain people can own land and make a profit there. I was aghast at the implication. Any economist worth his salt will tell you crony capitalism is not capitalism at all, but a form of redistribution, from the people to the wealthy. In the case of crony capitalism, all the market mechanisms that grow the pie and provide an invisible hand, are turned upside down. Crony capitalism, that can only survive in a corrupt country, is a zero sum game. One person’s gain is another’s loss.
All the laws the elite pass to eliminate corruption are simply used to crush political dissent. Law is supposed to protect the property and lives of the citizens, but when government is corrupt, law has a different purpose. Law is used as a bludgeon to protect the prerogatives of the elite in power. Obama has shown this in living color. He uses the IRS to punish his political foes, he wiretaps reporters, he rules arbitrarily by executive fiat, he bestows billions of dollars of crony welfare to his allies, and the list goes on and on… As Obama has corrupted the US government we have seen a steady decline in the wages of the people while the lot of the politically favored elite has skyrocketed.
Where government is corrupt violence and crime are rampant. Confucius recognized this thousands of years ago and taught about this propensity of the elite to his disciples. He rightly pointed out that people follow their leaders, if the leaders are corrupt then the people will follow and be corrupt. If the leaders are virtuous the people will follow and be virtuous. The concept is simple, but in practice the leaders will always be as corrupt as they can get away with, dragging the whole of the nation into corruption. The Duke of Lu asked Confucius how he could get the people to stop lusting after each other’s wives, refrain from theft, and so forth. Confucius told the Duke of Lu he could stop doing those things himself and lead by example. Confucius and his disciples had to flee Lu state shortly after.
It is human nature to test limits, seek comfort and avoid pain. Bastiat said, “Now, labor being in itself a pain, and man being naturally inclined to avoid pain, it follows, and history proves it, that wherever plunder is less burdensome than labor, it prevails; and neither religion nor morality can, in this case, prevent it from prevailing.” When and where the elite having the ability to plunder the property of the people, without consequence, they will certainly resort to plunder, especially as their plunder destroys the economy, lowering the property available for plunder. The problem of corruption is epidemic in the world and we people have no immediate power to stop it. Even the vote is undermined by fraud and abuse.
But is all lost then? No, because there is a way to limit the ability of the elite to abuse their power. Constitutions were designed for just this purpose. A constitution is to limit the power of government not expand it as the new class has dishonestly argued. That the elite have so perverted the nature and reason for Constitutions is a testament to the propensity of the elite to corruption. I would say, lets use what has proven to work in the past on the people, and apply it to government. That is police the government. Not with a police force the elite have dominion over, that leads to Eric Holder’s using government to punish political foes, not at all, make an independent police force that has the power to act, buttressed by a Constitutional amendment granting such power. Police that can actually force the elite to follow our Constitutions and their own laws. I call it a Fourth Branch and have titled it a NUMA after Numa Pompilius the lawgiver of Rome. Only when government is effectively policed, can we as a human race escape the bonds of government corruption and start to live as we were supposed to… in liberty and prosperity. Until then we face an ever lowering standard of living until we are nothing but slaves.