Monday, April 29, 2013

"Get Big Money Out of Politics!" -- Only one way to do that...but you won't like it

A friend comments on a story about a corrupt state Attorney General:

Yet another example of why we need to get big money out of politics.

Wrong, of course. My reply:

Getting money out of politics cannot ever happen. An entity with the power the government has to make or break you, to side with you against your competitors or the other way around, to make rules that hurt you or help you, to send you to jail or outlaw your most profitable product, to tax you into oblivion, to demonize you to justify whatever is popular to do to you -- people will spend as much money as they must to control an entity like that. For better or worse.

And they will. And you can say "No, don't spend money to defend yourself" and those are empty words. Worse, you can say "No, don't spend money to seize this power for your own benefit!" and It Is obviously To Laugh. And tell the good not to take power to do good because that power is dangerous; and feel their resentment.

The Founders figured out there is one and only one way to reduce the incentive of the ambitious to seize the power of government - and that is to greatly limit the power of that government. Both the power to do evil, and the power to do good - for they are the same thing, just in different hands. In my hands, good; in your hands--not so much.

The ambitious will scheme into the night and you will not long suppress them. Those of good intentions will complain of limited government power to do good -- not able to acknowledge that power does not come with that kind of restriction in the long run. There is no such thing as "You are authorized to use power to Do Good."

But no... Let's by all means have an all-powerful government that is not limited in the good it can do, but only limited in the misuse of power. Yes, let's do that.

Wake me when you figure out how.

Meanwhile, mercy upon our descendants.


Mac McCarthy

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