Why Are Politicians Universally Corrupt?
Dr. Rahe's recent post on China got me thinking; why are politicians universally corrupt? If you're a conservative like me, you probably have a fairly small circle of friends. I choose my friends based on virtue. I don't have a single friend I wouldn't trust with the keys to my house, my checkbook, or my wife (if I had one). Life is difficult enough; why would I willingly surround myself with thieves, liars, scalawags, bums and misanthropes? And yet, even in a democracy, we routinely elect bottom-dwellers to office. We elect people to steal from us and lie to us. How perverse is that?
I'm reminded of the Italian psychologist whose client list consisted entirely of politicians. Following the electoral wipe out in the 90s of the entire Italian parliament, he stated openly and without reservation that every one of his clients had entered politics for the graft. Power may or may not ultimately corrupt, but most certainly the most corrupt among us are drawn to politics. I guess con-men recognize a good scam when they see it.
Are the politicians we elect merely a reflection of the values, or lack thereof, in the body politic as a whole? Two months ago, we declined to elect the most morally upright man in the country to the office of the presidency. Or am I just being naive? In the most recent Dave Carter post I coined the word "misanthocracy" to describe a government motivated by malice toward its own citizenry. Someone help me out here. Why is it the very worst among us claw their way to the top?