Monday, September 1, 2014

Political Corruption

John Hasnas writes:

When retiring as Senate majority leader in 1994, George Mitchell, who left the Senate with the highest reputation for integrity, gave an exit interview to National Public Radio. To explain what made the long hours and aggravating work worthwhile, he recounted how, because of his position as majority leader, he was able to get the Clinton administration to reverse an order requiring the federal government to purchase recycled paper—presumably, a measure that would serve the common good—in order to protect the jobs of workers in paper mills in his home state of Maine. He then related how, a few weeks later, a mill worker came up to him “shaking with emotion” to tell him how much saving his job meant to him and how that moment was “indelibly imprinted on [his] mind” and was what “makes all the aggravation worthwhile.” 
All Things Considered: An Exit Interview with George Mitchell (NPRradio broadcast, October 17, 1994).

I doubt that the use of all recycled paper would really be i the public good but Mitchell did not claim that it was not in the public good. He implied that he did what he did in order to save the jobs of his constituents and though this might sound good at first glance once one thinks about it one should realize that it is imoral and corrupt. Is it not corruption to take from all to give to those who can vote for him with no other reason but they can vote for him?

What about those congressmen who have military bases built in their districts? Even if it matters little for efficiency where the installations are built wouldn't it be more moral to put them where the most need is?

In fact the most tender mercies of our politicians are corruption and rather than hide it they are outspoken about it.

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