Wednesday, January 30, 2008

On Political Corruption

The idea is frequently floated that the Republican Party in the U. S. is more corrupt than the Democratic Party. While vehemently denied by Republicans, it would make little sense for the situation to be otherwise.

Corrupt individuals put power and profit before ideology. Does it not stand to reason that such an individual would, therefore, align himself/herself with the party in power? Simply put, political success breeds and attracts the corrupt. In recent decades the Republican party has been largely ascendant in American politics. As a consequence, there has been no shortage of those paying lip service to conservative values, simply to gain the political power such demonstrations give access to.

As the political winds shift, we can expect the corrupt to seek shelter in whichever party dominates. Jefferson and Adams walked out on the Congress of the Confederation because they saw the process being subverted by the wealthy and powerful. Those more common citizens, whose blood, sweat and tears had built the revolution's success, were being quietly coopted out of having a real voice in the nation's future. Little has changed in the intervening centuries.

Finally, this is not a new or unique phenomenon; it predates recorded history and exists in all political cultures. Democracy has the potential to hold corruption in check. Unfortunately, the performance of the electorate rarely rises to the task. More often they view their clearly corrupt representatives with the same eye as Franklin Roosevelt did Anastasio Somosa when he said, "He may be a son-of-a-bitch, but he's our son-of-a-bitch."

In the beginning . . .

The stirrings of change are afoot. In the United States, in the political arena, the level of discourse continues its pitiful degradation, playing to the detached repugnance of the electorate. Election '08: The stench of things to come.

On a brighter note, around the world Open Source Software persists in its advances against exhausted proprietary models. In contrast to the political realm, Open Source continues to improve and gain momentum.

These, then will be the primary topics of this blog, along with the occasional cultural, sociological, or religious digression. I hope you find it entertaining and perhaps a bit enlightening.