Friday, September 29, 2006

Reducing Government Corruption in America

Derek raised a whole bunch of issues in his comment to my last piece. I will try to eventually get to all of his points, but I want to start by addressing government corruption in the United States.

First of all, just as it is impossible to be human and not sin, it is also impossible to have any government without some corruption. I have to constantly fight and battle my own nature in an effort to minimize my sinfulness and I believe voters and participants in government also need to constantly fight and do battle with government institutions and legislators in order to minimize government corruption.

Americans are blessed with a Constitution that provides a built-in structure for minimizing corruption. The three branches of government and the distinction between federal and state responsibility automatically helps to minimize and control corruption. American government institutions, even with all our wealth and power, compares very well to all other forms of government throughout the world.

However, America has evolved away from a country founded on the principle of a relatively weak central government to a country with a strong central government. By returning to the original intent of the founders, more decisions and regulations would reside at the state, county, and city level and fewer at the national level. This would effectively bring the providers of government services closer to the consumers of government services and to the taxpayers who fund government services. Close proximity of the government to the governed would go a long way in minimizing corruption.

Another factor in government corruption is the size of government. Shrinking the cost and size of government, would reduce the incentive for unscrupulous power brokers to buy influence from unscrupulous politicians and less opportunity for unscrupulous politicians to be bought.

The size of government in a democracy is a function of the character of the governed. When the governed make demands on government, the size of government will increase. When the governed choose self reliance, the government will shrink. At this point in American history, the lack of character of the governed in choosing bigger government over self reliance is adding to the likelihood of corruption. In other words, we get what we deserve.

Finally, I think there is a difference between the two major parties in America. There are plenty of unscrupulous elected Republicans, but it is hard for me to name a single elected Democrat who exhibits personal and public integrity. Of course, most of us would have different definitions of integrity, but I would still like to have at least two major political parties in America where most elected members exhibited real integrity. The only way to get there from here is to always vote for integrity and refuse to vote for anyone without integrity regardless of party, regardless of promises, and regardless of how the important issues affect each of us individually.


Anonymous said...

As far as I know, my Democratic Congressman, Mark Uhall, displays personal and public integrity.

David M. Smith said...

Thanks Rick,

I haven’t heard of Mark Uhall before. I will keep an eye and ear open for him.

Buz said...

If we all stopped voting for dishonest candidates most offices would be empty.

In at last the last five elections, many Americans have not been voting for a candidate, but against the other one.

Yes, yes, I know that my candidate lies, cheats, and sleeps with ten-year-old boys, but your candidate murders helpless old people and eats the flesh of young children. I certainly can't put someone like that in office. I must at least burn down his campaign head-quarters, maybe I should shoot the people bussed in to vote.

This is what politics has degenerated to in America. How may "stars" have threatened to move or HAVE moved to another country since Bush was elected. ?And if our heros are leading us to flee the country, how can we stay, unless we topple the govt.?


Anonymous said...

Hi David -- I meant Udall. I'm not saying he's anything special. I'm sure I disagree with him on stuff. But I've never heard anything to suggest he lacks integrity.

I guess that all politicians have to be dishonest to some extent, because most people like to hear what they want to hear. Best, Rick

David M. Smith said...

Hi Rick,

I would never define integrity as someone who agrees with me. In fact, one aspect of integrity is a willingness to engage in honest and honorable disagreement. I expect intelligent people to have disagreements with me as I do with them.

I question the integrity of politicians who attack the motives of their opponents as opposed to the actions or positions of their opponents. I also question the integrity of a politician who takes inconsistent positions. For example, the PCUSA and many Democrat politicians are adamant that a woman should have an unrestricted right to choose to have an abortion but citizens should not have a right to choose to own a gun. Perhaps neither should involve personal choice, but if personal choice is important to one issue, it is also important to the other issue.