The 19th Century English politician, political philosopher and historian, Lord Acton, said famously that power tends to corrupt and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. While we should take Lord Acton at his word – there is overwhelming evidence going back centuries to show how right he was – we should take his admonition back a step and assume that, while the power itself may corrupt, we the people have no way of being sure of a politician’s character until after he or she has assumed the power we the voters have given him.
For this reason we should assume (1) that the lust for political power is at least a warning of potential corruption and (2) that once in office, that politician could, might and probably will abuse his power for his own ends. This abuse of power begins with the constant effort to ensure re-election and ultimately ends with huge, even obscene, monetary benefits in “retirement” which may include lucrative lobbying opportunities, rich posts in industry, highly paid speaking engagements, investment opportunities (which often begin while the politician is still in office) and other perks too numerous and often too shocking to mention. One should ask how a community organizer from Chicago has tripled his personal wealth while serving the American people as their President.
Politics should not be a platform for anyone’s personal gain. Public service is supposed to be, like serving in the military, a noble, selfless effort to protect and defend our freedoms. Thus, we should always look skeptically at every candidate who presents him- or herself for our vote until we are as certain as we can be that he will do no more than protect, defend and uphold the values embodied in our country’s founding documents and be ever dedicated to continuing their original intent. We must never trust candidates who promise something other than this, as Barak Obama promised to fundamentally transform America, because what else they do when they finally assume the power we have given them may ultimately damage us by endangering our freedom.
FJ Rocca is an independent, conservative writer/blogger of fiction and non-fiction, most interested in the philosophy of American Conservatism. Clarity is more important than eloquence, but truth is vital in human discourse.