Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

02 June 2013

The Corrupting Influence of Excessive Power

It is finally becoming apparent to many Americans that the Obama administration is corrupted to its core.  That it would be the case was clear to me when he was still a candidate for President in 2008.  One had only to consider his stated purposes which were incompatible with good government, listen to his criticism of the U.S. Constitution, see the pattern of his attempts to hide his personal history, and to study such of that history as was available to a reader willing to actively seek information about him.  His ideals were a con.  They were unattainable or they were undesirable to the rational man.  He probably only believed in some of his stated values even himself.  In many ways he conned himself.

With time, the transgressions of this administration against good governing have mounted.  The failures to prosecute voter intimidation, Fast and Furious, the grants to sham energy companies run by campaign donors, the bailouts for labor unions, the arbitrary exemptions to ObamaCare provisions, the infringement of freedom of religion in ObamaCare rulings, the long known, but only recently much discussed, IRS vendetta against smaller government groups, the lies about Benghazi, the statement of his brain and forever adviser, Valerie Jarrett, that after the election they would really go after their enemies on the right, the massive voter fraud, and the recently revealed infringements against freedom of the press, all tell a story of corruption at the core of Obama's administration.

Great power corrupts greatly.  This is not just because people of less than the most sterling character are tempted to misuse that great power.  It is even more because that great power cannot be exercised even by the best intention without ignoring a solid fact about man's nature - individuals are very complex and highly differentiated.

Laws must be applied equally and universally.  There are few actions of man that can be regulated by equal and universal law without causing harm to many individuals, who are inherently not equal and not universally facing the same circumstances from the same base of experience with the same capabilities and values.

Those charged with enforcing excessive bodies of law will also become frustrated in time with the mess they can hardly deny they have created.  Criticism is eventually piled upon them.  Many such rulers lose any ideals they may have had and simply become child-like in their determination to have their own way.  To be sure, excessive law has been so dominant in our society now for so long that those most likely to scramble to the top in the quest for power rarely ever use ideals as much more than a con game to collect votes to get the power they seek.  Obama is clearly such a person.

Getting rid of Obama as soon as possible is not an adequate solution.  There are many, many politicians eager to get their chance to exercise excessive control over the myriad individuals of our society.  Some may be more corrupt than Obama and many will be less corrupt.  That corruption is bad, yet it is also the most dramatic indicator that big government has its faults.  Even people paying little attention to understanding government will at least notice these more obvious instances of corruption.

What we really need is for people to acquire the much more fundamental understanding that there are few instances in which laws of a universal and equal nature can be beneficially applied to the richly diverse individuals of our society.   Good government tries first to do no harm.  No one deserves to be harmed by government, save those who are using force or fraud to harm others.

The Utilitarian idea that good government acts to provide the greatest good for most people always fails for many reasons.  Most fundamental is the one I pointed out above that people are complex and highly differentiated.  Government cannot know each of us and what is good for each of us in any broad way.  Indeed, what is good for each of us is constantly changing in our own life.  How on Earth is a mere politician or bureaucrat going to know what is best for each of us, when it is hard for us to know that?

It is also important to note that even if every government law were good for 51% of the people, the many such laws would almost certainly mean that at best we will be helped 51% of the time and hurt 49% of the time.  Most of us can surely do better than that making our own decisions in the private sector.  But it is actually worse than this.  This is because big government falls under the control of factions or special interests to a very large degree.  The laws of such big government will favor them at the expense of most of us most of the time.  Many people live in a fantasy world in which they are convinced that they can chose such an upright politician that he will prevent these special interests from tilting the playing field in their favor.  This is actually the most unlikely of outcomes.  It would even be unlikely if most of the politicians were well-intended, which is a most unlikely case itself.

As we have seen most dramatically demonstrated with Obama, he is not only venal, but he is also an incompetent manager of the government.  Indeed, he is not alone.  Throughout the Executive Branch, the managers are largely incompetent.  The House of Representatives and the Senate are mostly filled with incompetent managers eager to create more and more unnecessary and harmful laws to prove that they are doing something.  Meanwhile, they fail to read the bills they pass, they fail to review and correct prior bad laws, they pass off their deliberative duties to bureaucrats, they fail to protect and defend the Constitution, they use inside information to make investment killings, they extort companies into making political contributions to them, and they reward their political donors with all sorts of special favors.  Then we have a host of federal judges who do not understand or choose to disregard the Constitution.

These many failings are no surprise.  They are exactly what the wise man expects of big government.  Governments do not want to be limited by a constitution and they surely do not wish to be good governments.  Only a People strongly imbued with a strong principled belief in limited government devoted to the protection of every individual's right to life, liberty, property, the ownership of their own bodies, minds, and labor, and the pursuit of their personal happiness will ever enjoy the benefits of good government.

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