Saturday, January 13, 2007

We Should be so Fortunate

Year by year the onset of the silly season seems to arrive earlier and earlier. The candidates for the presidency are flocking to establish their "exploratory" committees with the actual election nearly two years away. One of the most interesting individuals to add his name to the slate is Dr. Ron Paul a nominally Republican member of Congress from Texas. Dr. Paul last ran for President as the Libertarian candidate in 1988 but plans to seek the Republican nomination in 2008. He is a rather prolific writer on the subject of his political philosophy which of all the candidates to date most closely approximates that of ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ. An archive of his positions is here . Our favorite however, is the one reproduced below:
Scandals Are a Symptom, Not a Cause

by Ron Paul

"The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse."

~ James Madison

The Washington political scandals dominating the news [ ...]may be disheartening, but they cannot be considered surprising. We live in a time when the U.S. government is the largest and most powerful state in the history of the world. Today's federal government consists of fifteen huge departments, hundreds of agencies, thousands of programs, and millions of employees. It spends 2.4 trillion dollars in a single year. The possibilities for corruption in such an immense and unaccountable institution are endless.

Americans understandably expect ethical conduct from their elected officials in Washington. But the whole system is so out of control that it's simply unrealistic to place faith in each and every government official in a position to sell influence. The larger the federal government becomes, the more it controls who wins and who loses in our society. The temptation for lobbyists to buy votes – and the temptation for politicians to sell them – is enormous. Indicting one crop of politicians and bringing in another is only a temporary solution. The only effective way to address corruption is to change the system itself, by radically downsizing the power of the federal government in the first place. Take away the politicians' power and you take away the very currency of corruption.

Undoubtedly the recent revelations will ignite new calls for campaign finance reform. However, we must recognize that campaign finance laws place restrictions only on individuals, not politicians. Politicians will continue to tax and spend, meaning they will continue to punish some productive Americans while rewarding others with federal largesse. The same vested special interests will not go away, and the same influence peddling will happen every day on Capitol Hill.

The reason is very simple: when the federal government redistributes trillions of dollars fromWe some Americans to others, countless special interests inevitably will fight for the money. The rise in corruption in Washington simply mirrors the rise in federal spending. The fundamental problem is not with campaigns or politicians primarily, but rather with popular support for the steady shift from a relatively limited, constitutional federal government to the huge leviathan of today.

We need to get money out of government. Only then will money not be important in politics. It's time to reconsider exactly what we want the federal government to be in our society. So long as it remains the largest and most powerful institution in the nation, it will remain endlessly susceptible to corruption.

We wish Dr. Paul the best of luck in the forlorn task of advancing the restoration of individual liberty


Francis W. Porretto said...

I was Dr. Paul's New York State campaign manager in 1988, when he ran for the presidency on the Libertarian ticket. He's a genuinely good man, and I wish him all the best, but the Republican power structure utterly despises him and wishes he'd disappear. We're not likely to hear much about him, and not for very long, at that.

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

I too am now a "small l" libertarian for the same reasons as yourself. His is obviously a forlorn cause for the reasons you present. In this case I am reminded of the aphorism "Hope springs eternal within the human breast."