A reader laments that “moral politicians” haven’t got much chance of getting elected in this country.
A “moral politician”? Isn’t that like a peaceful mugging?
I agree with H.L. Mencken, who wrote that an election is (paraphrasing) a kind of advance auction of stolen goods. Or, as Lenin put it: A vote over who does what to whom.
This idea that one can (morally) deprive someone else of their liberty or their property by voting to do so. That actions which, if done by an individual, would be regarded by most normal people as criminal in the moral as well as the legal sense, somehow lose their moral repugnance and become morally legitimate when they are done via the ballot box.
It is a kind of derangement, if one has any morals. Or at least, morals that aren’t subjective and situational.
If it is wrong to steal, then (logically) it is also wrong to have someone steal on your behalf. Worse, arguably – because it’s evasive theft. The type of theft people convince themselves isn’t theft because the goods – so to speak – just sort of appeared in their possession.
But theft does not become something other than theft because you didn’t actually do the physical work of stealing but rather employed another person to do it on your behalf.
It becomes cowardly theft.
People who are squeamish about killing animals for food but enjoy a good steak. I paid into Social Security! (Actually, no. The government stole from you and now proposes to steal from others to redistribute the stolen goods to you.)
There are those who believe in “limited government” – but this idea is . . . paradoxical. It is “limited” – how?
By a “constitution,” it is claimed. Which, it is said, defines and thus limits the powers of the government; describes what it may – and may not – do.
The United States has a Constitution and its government has (effectively, functionally) unlimited power, de facto as well as de jure. Is there anything at all the government has not asserted the power to control, regulate or tax? What area of our lives is entirely free of any control by the government, whether in fact or in principle?
I cannot think of one – and yet there is this notion that we have a “limited” government, bound by a “constitution.”
Arguably, because it never could.
The Constitution of the United States is full of caveats about the “limitations” of government, which serves the purpose of unlimiting it.
If, for example, there are some forms of theft which are “ok,” then it is hard to understand how any form of theft can – in principle – not be “ok.” It is only a question of justifying the theft – usually, by voting to commit it.
The only defense against such theft is for theft to be agreed a moral wrong as such – and not open to being voted on, or regarded as not-theft when called by some other name (e.g., “taxation” or “contributions”).
That is the only way to “limit” government. By prohibiting it from doing X, Y and Z, without qualification, because qualification inevitably leads to parsing – to the government interpreting the extent of its own limits, which always leads to the end of limitations on what it permits itself to do.
Consider every right supposedly defined as “off limits” to encroachment by the Bill of Rights. Is there one that has kept the government on its leash? In fact, the government has simply interpreted each of these supposed limits on its authority in such a way as to eliminate those limits.
If, for example, the Fourth Amendment had any potency as a limit on the government, Americans would not be compelled to submit to any search (however cursory) absent a judicial warrant and probable cause – which the amendment clearly states are necessary prerequisites to a search. But there is also the qualification that searches be “reasonable.”
And so we are subject to searches at random, absent judicial warrant and even the pretense of suspicion that a crime has been committed. In fact, the now-ubiquitous warrantless/probable cause-free searches presume guilt – and place the burden upon the presumptively guilty party to establish his innocence.
So much for that “limitation.”
And the rest.
Any government which is the arbiter of its powers is the farthest thing imaginable from “limited” government. And it is the very essence of naivete to pine for an “honest” politician when the every essence of politics – in the context of a government whose powers are unlimited – is to increase the power of politicians, who achieve that end by becoming the arbiters and redistributors of the lives and property of other people.
People who have no legal defense against immoral transgressions against their liberty and theft of their property – so long as duly voted on, according to the law.
. . .
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