Monday, September 14, 2009

Corruption as the Enemy

I think the distinction needs to be made between cleaning up corruption (a subset of "waste, fraud, and abuse") vs eliminating (followed by not creating any more of) systems that foster such problems.

Corruption (and/or waste, fraud and abuse) can and does happen with any system, public or private, large or small.

The problem is when any system (public or private) gets to be so big that they can't be challenged, from within, or from without.

I think my thinking on this subject is consistent, but I don't think we agree entirely, so you be the judge.


I think we are approaching a point of no return, or at least no return other than of the apocryphal variety in that...

We can still challenge elements within our government. We can still challenge non-governmental elements in our society such as the press, religious organizations, trade unions large corporations, including banks, and those hard to classify things like Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, and the Federal Reserve. And... so far, the interests of all of those organizations don't coincide, so we benefit to the extent that they don't all work together against us (of course they would all claim to be working for us, but sensible people know that they work for themselves first and in hard times the aspects of their activities that benefit "us" go by the wayside.) That fact, that they don't work in perfect unison, is what still allows them to be challenged at all. But how effective are those challenges really? Especially when they come from an individual, or a single newspaper, or talkshow host, all small by comparison to these mega-entities.

In any event the extent to which these organizations are at cross-purposes is diminishing. With big businesses that are "too big to fail", and bailouts of organizations that have made what, in hind-sight at least, seem to be stupid decisions. The carcasses of these organizations (GM and Chrysler at least) are handed over not to creditors who took risks, but to labor unions that took no risks (and may have had more to do with causing the failures than anyone else).

In religion... While the Pope continues to oppose abortion, the mid-levels of the Catholic church continue to support candidates that favor it. Call it soft-genocide, getting rules enacted to make abortions more commonplace (for the undesirables) while us Catholics (nudge-nudge) keep acting like rabbits. Islamists are this way too, but you'll notice the Pope continue to make overtures to Islam, claiming that Muslims are "saved" . Even in the Adventist church there are overtures to Islam in what seems to be an effort to overcome stalled growth. Lets bury our differences and work together as "believers" in a world of "non-believers". Protestants of the mid to late 1800s would not find any of this surprising (predicting that the Papacy and labor unions would be our downfall), nor would they find surprising the trends that follow, even if they didn't have the terminology at hand to express their concern.

Moving on to commerce... GE is everywhere. Almost invisibly present in every aspect of our lives. Invisibility has its advantages. Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, just to stick with the tech sector I'm familiar with, continue to grow in influence and all operate in a closed system of proprietary formats and software patents that I think are both dangerous to liberty and outright bad choices for consumers. These companies as well as the few "good guys" (it's all relative) such as Google who support open standards and "data liberation" also face regular government scrutiny, but it all seems to be for show. A fine here or there, and in the end there is no break-up of the companies, and no real change in their policies of patents on concepts hardly more original than 2+2=4, or patents on how you arrange your waiting room furniture. Everything being done by government now, whether it is ridiculous software patents, higher taxes, and particularly more complicated tax regimes, only cement the standing of these large businesses, which is why the heads of these companies almost universally support Democrats. Great! More Rules! Keeps out the riff-raff!

So, is the trend obvious yet? Bigger is better! Individual liberties gone in favor of big government, big business, big insurance, big health-care and in every place you look power moving from the small to the big and from the big to the bigger. From individual, to local governments, to states, to the federal, and finally to New World Order we keep hearing about. Ecumenicism is the disease, and we all seem to be already infected, waiting for symptoms to show. Achooo!

The world, in its entirety, is becoming "too big to fail" and at the same time setting itself up for almost certain failure. I wonder: if we can achieve some set-back in our recent political direction, will it not be merely a perturbation in these trends rather than a true change of direction?

We need a whole new generation who values liberty down to the individual level and I wonder if that is even possible until individuals are once again responsible for their own survival and group activity is once again viewed as a voluntary approach to solving problems.

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