Governments are not always overthrown by direct and open assaults. They are not always battered down by the arms of conquerors, or the successful daring of usurpers. There is often concealed the dry rot, which eats into the vitals, when all is fair and stately on the outside. And to the republics this has been the more common fatal disease. The continual drippings of corruption may wear away the solid rock, when the tempest has failed to overturn it.
Often, the American form of government has been put forward as one of the best in the world. With its system of checks and balances, it has at times been viewed as being exempt from corruption. Yet, I challenge any American to take a hard look at the current political climate with honesty. It is not so immune, after all.
You know, the election is over. It is time to let the hype die down. However, it seems that some of us are having a harder time than others to let it all unwind. Politics is not the answer. It never was. It is not now. It never will be.
Some people want to be “for” big business and/or “for” big government. Some want to be “for” or “against” unions. Really? Do you really want to go there?
The commission that investigated the crisis casts a wide net of blame, faulting two administrations, the Federal Reserve and other regulators for permitting a calamitous concoction: shoddy mortgage lending, the excessive packaging and sale of loans to investors and risky bets on securities backed by the loans.
~ “Financial Crisis Was Avoidable, Inquiry Finds”, The New York Times
Sounds a lot like what I said at the very beginning. Blaming either party alone or blaming either big business or big government alone is just plain foolish. It is time to grow up. It is time to stop blaming Clinton, George W, Obama, Wall Street, the Federal Reserve or even the big banks and mortgage companies and face the fact that the entire system is corrupt.
Checks and balances don’t prohibit corruption; they only slow it down. It just means it takes longer for the rot to set in, as it must pervade all of society first. Structure of government does not prohibit corruption, either. No matter what, if the pool of perspective rulers are not righteous, then wicked rulers will be the result.
God’s way of life is not about form and outward show. God’s way of life is about each person individually submitting to the One True King and learning to govern themselves. That is the lynchpin. As long as the subjects of the Kingdom rule themselves willingly, there is no need of a huge bureaucracy that weighs down upon the masses, doling out unfeasible laws and punishing people for infractions for things they didn’t even know were laws to begin with.
In the end, corruption kills empires. When the greed of rulers and authorities take over, then it is greed that is really in charge.
2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.
We are given various types of government throughout history to compare ourselves to, and in every case corruption led to the downfall of an empire. Empires fall because the people at the top become greedy and corrupt. The corruption was precipitated by a loosening of morality that opened the door to the acceptance of bad behavior amongst rulers.
The Roman Empire officially fell due to “multiple causes”, but there are a couple that stand out.
A decline in morals, especially in the rich upper classes and the emperors, had a devastating impact on the Romans. Immoral and promiscuous sexual behaviour including adultery and orgies. Emperors such as Tiberius kept groups of young boys for his pleasure, incest by Nero who also had a male slave castrated so he could take him as his wife, Elagabalus who forces a Vestal Virgin into marriage, Commodus with his harems of concubines who enraged Romans by sitting in the theatre dressed in a woman’s garments. The decline in morals also effected the lower classes and slaves. Religious festivals such as Saturnalia and Bacchanalia where sacrifices, ribald songs, lewd acts and sexual promiscuity were practised….
The power of the Praetorian Guard, the elite bodyguards of the emperor, led to political corruption and grew to such an extent that this massive troop of soldiers decided on whether an emperor should be disposed of and who should become the new emperor! The story of Sejanus, who was the commander of the Praetorian Guard during the reign of Tiberius, illustrates the extent of their power. At one point the Praetorian Guard sold at auction the throne of the world to the highest bidder.
~ “Reason why the Roman Empire fell”, Roman Colosseum (bolding mine)
The French once had a rather sizable empire. King Louis XVI of France was arrested in 1792 after centuries of the rule of the monarchy. This eventually paved the way for Napoleon Bonaparte to rule.
The Second Coalition was formed in 1798 by Austria, Great Britain, the Kingdom of Naples, the Ottoman Empire, Papal States, Portugal, Russia, Sweden and other states. During the War of the Second Coalition, the French Republic suffered from corruption and internal division under the Directory. …Bonaparte, the main architect of victory in the last years of the First Coalition, had gone to campaign in Egypt. Missing two of its most important military figures from the previous conflict, the Republic suffered successive defeats against revitalized enemies whom British financial support brought back into the war.
Bonaparte returned from Egypt to France on 23 August 1799, and seized control of the French government on 9 November 1799 in the coup of 18 Brumaire, replacing the Directory with the Consulate.
~ “Napoleonic Wars“, Wikipedia
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) had corruption so bad that it was a wonder it lasted so long.
When Brezhnev rose to power, the Soviet system was already deeply corrupted. The bureaucracy at this stage was also large and inefficient. Corruption and the black market grew under Khrushchev, as people were less afraid of the state during his thaw.(7) The two problems also grew because of a lack of consumer goods. These issues would increase under Brezhnev, being as he was mainly unwilling to reform the economy. His polices were actually overtly protective of the elites privilege.(8) The Party was still used as a tool, as it was in the beginning by some members for their personal benefit. Ministries and subagencies “grew like mushrooms” and had many bureaucrats with “ill-defined responsibilities”, but very agreeable salaries.(9) The system was huge and unwilling to reform. The Communist Party apparatus became the most gigantic mafia the world has ever known.(10) The elite shopped at special stores, and had luxury cars with drivers. They owned country dachas and took extravagant trips abroad.(11) Like Lenin had predicted, these apparatchiks would also defend these privileges at any cost. They guarded this monopoly of power with a phony consensus and constitution.(12) The actions of the Party at that time were what Lenin had feared. The Communist Party under Brezhnev had become a complete betrayal of Lenins vision of socialism in Russia.
The black market in the Soviet Union was so massive by the 1970s it actually amounted to a counter economy.(28) It not only involved the Party elite, but it engulfed most of the nation. Common people would go through the motions of working in the official economy, but when they wanted goods and services such as clothes, rugs, apartment space, car parts and many other things, they had to turn to the black market.(29) The black market of course, also reflected the obvious problem of corruption not only in the Party but also throughout the entire system. It became a direct outgrowth of the process of privatization within the Soviet system, because most of the goods on the black market were offered by those who had exploited their official positions.(30) People who were not within the Party also exploited their positions. For instance, bribes were generally needed for most healthcare.(31) Soviet corruption cannot be compared to corruption in the West. Corruption in Western nations was optional, while most Soviet citizens would have to “deal” a little to survive.(32) Frustrations would continue to rise within the public, as even with the black market all the items sought after were not always available. Party elite would enjoy their luxuries while the common citizen would lack new clothes, medicine or other goods. This discontent within the public would lead to criticism towards the Party. The strict hand of the regime was starting to lose its power of fear. As most of the population was dragged into corruption and the black market, the very existence of the two undermined the publics morality and sense of law.(33) Crime and corruption therefore would steadily increase, hurting the economy. More people were beginning to lose faith in the Party and it was beginning to show.
~ Essay on “The Growing Problem of Corruption Under Brezhnev”, Eric’s Soviet Collectibles Page, 2002
We are following in their footsteps, including implementing many of the socialistic programs that many European nations have implemented and failed miserably at. In fact, it looks like government corruption in the US is already being compared to ancient Rome.
With public sector salaries and benefits continuing to expand at the expense of Rhode Island’s beleaguered taxpayers and business owners, some policy analysts see a historical parallel with the waning days of the Roman Empire.
The fact that state and local government employees enjoy generous benefits and compensation in comparison to their private sector counterparts, according to a new study, is not surprising. But the fact that Rhode Island is the only New England state where the average wage earnings of government workers exceeds that for all private sector workers does come as a jolt to some concerned citizens. The recently released study from William Even of Miami University and David MacPherson of Trinity University was compiled on behalf of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, the parent organization of the Ocean State Current.
~ Kevin J Mooney, “Public Employee Pay and Benefits Draw Historical Comparison with Corruption in Roman Empire”, 5 December 2012, The Ocean State Current
Before bankrolling special interests like Beacon Power Corp, Ener1 and Solyndra, before uncovering Congressional insider trading, before the GSA scandal, before Operation Fast and Furious, and so on, LewRockwell.com issued an article on “25 Bizarre Examples That Show That the U.S. Government Is Absolutely Brimming With Idiots, Incompetents and Incredibly Corrupt Politicians”. One item:
#23 The “entitlement mindset” that permeates not only the U.S. government but also much of the voting public was clearly displayed recently when a union protester in Wisconsin asked a Tea Party activist the following question: “Why do you have a right to your money?” Of course with politicians such as Howard Dean publicly declaring that it is the “job of the government” to redistribute wealth this is the kind of nonsense that you are going to get.
Right. Unions. That’s political as well. Supporting unions is not only supporting the very causes of off-shoring in the first place (which includes paying too much for shoddy and incompetent work), but it is supporting organizations that were the original terrorists. Union organizers bombed the Los Angeles Times building on 1 October 1910. Twenty employees were killed, but it could have been worse since two other time bombs failed to go off. As you can read on Start Thinking Right blog in “Labor Unions: A Century of Genuine Evil”:
In it’s day, The Times bombing was equivalent to the 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center. It was called “the crime of the century,” and it remains the deadliest crime to go to trial in California history.
“Bomb.” “Violence.” “Murder.” “The equivalent to the 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center.” The “the crime of the century.” “The deadliest crime to go to trial in California history” to this very day. Labor unions. All of those words and phrases go hand in hand together.
A century of evil. That’s the legacy of labor unions.
So, if you are in the Church, you are going to support such a thing? Do you really want to consider yourself “pro-union”? My suggestion is to check where your allegiance really lies!
Unions are just as political as any political party, and they come with a bloody past to boot. They take a worker’s money and gives it away to political causes and organizations that don’t even reflect Christian values. They are more than happy to take your money, but it is an unusual organization that really is there to represent you. They exist to perpetuate their own existence. They would rather close down a Hostess plant than have people working.
Even their premise has evolved to where people are entitled to certain benefits, not because of work ethic, ability or professionalism, but because of belonging to an elite club. Unions were what brought to power the communists and fascists alike, as it is easier to manipulate people by threatening their income than in most other ways.
Unions were the reaction to the greed of companies that treated workers like they were less than the machinery that the industrial revolution made available. Companies were not always that way, either. Henry Ford became famous in part for providing good wages to his workers. However, not all operated that way, and that was just not right. However, unions only temporarily fixed the problem. In the end, greed took over the unions as well, it was just now that the power was on the other foot.
My dad used to tell me some of these things for years, but I didn’t want to believe things could really be that way. After all, this is America! We are a democracy, right? Well, the older I’ve gotten, the less I’m sure about that, and the more I realize that youthful idealism really clouded a lot of what was going on.
Still, it honestly has gotten worse. Politicians have always been snakes that can slither out of your hands, but they used to at least pretend they weren’t corrupt. Nowadays, the arrogance is so great that they don’t even think what they are doing is anything wrong or unusual. Line their own pocket? While you are watching! Lie to the American people? Not only that, but look you straight in the eye the whole time!
Like the saying goes, if you vote for the lesser of two evils, you are still voting for evil. If you openly support unions, you are openly supporting their past and all of their causes.
Politics is not the answer. It never was the answer. It is not the answer now. It will never be the answer. Changing the human heart is the answer. Structure of governments do not matter. They all become corrupt because the human heart is corrupt.
9 “The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
10 I, the LORD, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.
The human heart affects all things, taints all things and makes all things corrupt. That applies to leadership and government perhaps even more than anything else. The human problem is a heart problem, and God is the One with the answer.