We have created a Santa Claus government. Full of presents for the good little boys and girls. And, let’s face it, Santa isn’t that picky about what constitutes “good” and neither is the Santa Claus government. In fact, quite bad people might even get more presents by breaking various “ethics” laws and rules. But when a government is supposed to be about “blind justice” and “nobody being above the law” and “by the people, for the people, and of the people”, the use of money or influence to get these presents – in the form of contracts or selectively beneficial regulations or grants or subsidies or checks in the mail – is merely theft on a grand scale. Everybody, from left-leaning soccer moms to the most right wing politicians, professes to hate corruption and says they want to end it. Unfortunately, they also tend to be the problem.
If you create a Santa Claus government then you support corruption. If you believe it’s acceptable for government to interfere in people’s lives because somebody voted on it, then you support corruption. If you have no problem with the wholesale theft of production from this and future generations to spend on whatever you think is good for people, or compassionate, or against something you don’t like, then you support corruption. If you think people need to be regulated for their own good, then you support corruption. Without you the government would not have so exceeded its Constitutional restraints or the limits of legitimacy. Without you, there would not be trillions of dollars stolen each year to implement your wishes. You are the problem and the author of the corruption. You are the Santa Claus.
One of my favorite authors is Frank Herbert, the author of Dune and many other intelligent SciFi novels. He discussed this problem and said:
“All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.”
He is right as far as he goes. Because the power itself is often corrupt. The use of force against people that did nothing to deserve it merely because they choose to live or produce in a manner you do not like is wrong. No amount of voting makes it right. Once you the people have created such an illegitimate power, it attracts corruption. It is a law of politics and works without fail. So long as a stint in office means you get to pay off your supporters with billions of dollars of other people’s money, this law will work its unholy magic. So if you support the use of such power, then you ARE the problem. If you bemoan the “big money” in politics but continually vote for people who are in favor of big government, then you are the corruption. So stop it already.
Because the only way to get rid of the corruption that pervades our current Santa Claus government would be to get rid of the 75% or more of the federal budget that pays for unconstitutional or illegitimate programs, or unneeded wars and false security regimes, or for promises to take care of you later. The only way to stifle the impulse to corruption is to limit the power available to the minimum possible. And when it inevitably grows again and shows no signs of being checked, then it becomes time to re-water the tree of liberty.