CONLIN: Here’s The American Way For Dealing With Politicians

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John Conlin Contributor
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If you and I were designing a new accounting and financial control system for a business we would probably have many steps, but none would depend on the honesty of any employee.

We would never design something that worked only if everyone were honest. In fact, we would do just the opposite. We would design it so that it worked even if people were dishonest and trying to steal from us. That would be an effective system.

Taking this same common sense thinking and applying it to politics shows the only logical, lasting, and safe method is to assume all politicians are self-serving swine and design political systems accordingly.

Sure, many (most? some? a few?) politicians probably aren’t swine – just like most employees aren’t crooks – but that doesn’t mean we should design systems that work only if everyone is as clean as the driven snow. That is the path to failure and heartache. In business it leads to the loss of money. In politics it leads to the loss of freedom and our way of life – and the loss of plenty of money too.

Taking this logical reality to its conclusion means greatly limiting and controlling the power of these same politicians – regardless of one’s political beliefs. This is basically what the Founding Fathers of this country tried to do with the design of the Constitution – explicitly limiting the powers we the people give to these politicians. And of course, recognizing the ultimate power comes from us – free citizens – not the politicians who are elected not to lead us, but to represent us in very limited areas.

The Founders knew tyranny up close and knew that power – and its close friend, money – can corrupt many. And a lasting system where free people run their own lives and their government couldn’t be built depending on the good graces, honesty, and integrity of those who seek elected office.

Thus, build systems as though every single politician is a swine.

But we have strayed – abandoned with glee? – from this wisdom. Government has become almost unbounded in its power and reach. Rather than a nation of free people that has a government, we have unwittingly become a government that has a nation.

Government, and the politicians who steer it, must be limited. They must be limited in the money they can take from the citizenry.  Some believe – and not without merit – things started going seriously downhill once the 16th Amendment was passed – establishing Congress’s right to impose a federal income tax. And of course, abandoning the gold standard meant the federal government could just print money whenever they had the desire – which they have joyfully embraced to the tune of a mind-numbing $32,000,000,000,000 national debt.

Government and politicians must also be limited in power and scope. It might be shocking to many, but most of the modern activities of government are unconstitutional. We must remember, good intentions aren’t good enough. The road to hell really is paved with good intentions.

Without these limitations government becomes what it is today – a ravenous, uncontrollable, self-perpetuating beast which sooner or later destroys all. And rather than a virtuous circle, this becomes a whirlpool which draws all down.

James Madison said it well

“If Men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and the next place, oblige it to control itself.”

But just like our hypothetical financial control system, one can’t build effective systems that depend on the honesty and integrity of those who participate in the system.

We can see where this has led. Government’s control over the governed has grown exponentially and its obligation to control itself has been abandoned.

Sadly, the result of this is also an increase in the number of swine who desire to become politicians. It becomes a self-perpetuating “swine generator”.

Unfortunately for us, this also leads to the forever blood wars our politics have become — a never-ending struggle to control and direct this power and money. This only empowers the swine who feed these emotions to further increase their power via the tribalization of the citizenry.

It is clear. The only logical and rational choice for free citizens who wish to remain free is to assume all politicians are self-serving swine and to limit them accordingly. Going back to the Constitution would be a good place to start.

John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change. He also holds a BS in Earth Sciences and an MBA and is the founder and President of E.I.C. Enterprises, www.eicenterprises.org, a 501(c)3 non-profit. He has been published in American Greatness, The Federalist, The Daily Caller, American Thinker, Houston Chronicle, Denver Post, and Public Square Magazine among others.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.