Centralized Power Is a Corruption Magnet

The reason we have so much corruption is that centralized power makes such corruption possible and profitable.

central power corruption

From the Of Two Minds blog:

I confess that reading Francis Fukuyama’s latest cri du coeur in Foreign Affairs,America in Decay: The Sources of Political Dysfunction made me think Mr. Fukuyama has either been reading or channeling Of Two Minds.com , as his brutal assessment of America’s terminal political dysfunction reflects many of the themes I’ve been hammering on for the past 9 years.

Unfortunately for his readers, Mr. Fukuyama stops short of identifying the key dynamic in America’s dysfunction: the exhaustion of Central Planning and centralized government as a “solution” for every ill. Despite his failure to cross the goal line and put truly incisive points on the scoreboard, Mr. Fukuyama does the nation a valuable service in cogently describing the dynamics of our terminal political dysfunction.

Fukuyama describes the inevitable end-game of money capturing the political machinery of the central state: every big-bucks lobby/constituency has veto power over Federal policies and budget priorities. In effect, every lobby can veto any initiative that crimps their power or share of Federal swag.

As a result, any serious reform that causes financial-political pain is soon reduced by entrenched interests to a toothless public-relations shell: the shell will still carry an idealistic-sounding label (“financial reform,” etc.) but the machinery of governance is unchanged.

The problem in America is not whether Republicans or Democrats are in power — they each have their unique brand of toxic corruption — the key problem is centralized power itself. No men… NO men… are trustworthy enough to wield the amount of power now resident in DC.

[See also, “If Men Were Angels They Wouldn’t Be Perverts in Government.”]

Charles Hugh Smith nails it, again.

Only highly centralized governments can be so easily captured by free-spending lobbies. Consider the challenge of entrenched interests to influence government functions at the county level rather than the Federal level. Lobbyists would have to fan out to hundreds of counties, each of which has a complex thicket of local interests and constituencies who might resist big-bucks private interests.

But with the vast majority of power concentrated in Federal agencies and budgets, entrenched interests only need to buy a few key legislators and spin the revolving door between corporations and the agencies that regulate them to groom pliant regulators.

Our Founders knew a big key was a “moral and religious” people (the only kind for which our form of governance was made, as one said), and decentralized power which put each citizen very close to the seat of authority for his location.