From BloombergNews.com 4/21/15:
Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul says the author of the forthcoming book “Clinton Cash” briefed him on the book and that its allegations are “alarming.”
The book by Peter Schweizer purports to show that donors to Hillary Clinton’s family foundation and groups that hired her husband for speaking engagements received government favors while Clinton led the State Department, the New York Times reported Sunday.
“I’ve promised not to reveal all the details, but I think people are going to be blown away by the details in this book and how they link the Clintons into this enormous exchange of money from foreign countries, from donors to companies and that it’s all swirling around,” Paul, a Kentucky senator, said on Fox News’ Hannity on Monday. “It reminds me of people using the system to enrich themselves and I think it looks unseemly and I think a lot of Americans are going to agree with me.”
Once again: Why is anyone surprised?
The Clintons are powerful politicians — two of the most powerful in the land, for obvious reasons.
Of course people that the Clintons hire want and obtain special favors. It would be almost impossible for them not to receive special favors, particularly from the Clintons. The Clintons are not known for being ethically scrupulous. The country has, to date, almost given them a free pass on just about everything they do.
But more than that: Any government official who is given power he or she should not have in the first place will naturally take advantage of that power. It’s only a question of degree, and how conscious that process is. But it will inevitably happen.
The real question here is not whether Hillary Clinton is ethical enough to be president. She isn’t, but that’s not the main point. Nobody in national office for the period of time she and her husband have held such office can be trusted. Maybe the Clintons are less trustworthy than most. A case can certainly be made for that. But then what’s the alternative? Keep giving power to government officials they should not have — and then expecting them to be ethical and rational with that unwarranted power, once they have it?
In any free and prosperous country on the scale the United States became, it’s inevitable that its leader will be tremendously powerful. That’s not a bad thing, so long as that president (or Senator, or Secretary of State) is checked by the restraints placed on him or her by the U.S. Constitution. That’s the thing that Americans have permitted their government to evade for decades. Corrupt political hacks inhabiting an office created by the likes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are what you ultimately — and inevitably — get once you stray far enough from the Constitution that created the office, as America sadly did.
Imagine, for example, that the United States government had never been permitted to interfere in the private U.S. economy, in the first place. Taxes would be minimal, and regulation would be nearly nonexistent. Political corruption would be minimized, because presidents, ex-presidents, and ex-presidents’ wives who become Secretary of State or U.S. Senator would not have power to peddle or influence in the first place.
If you didn’t have government handing out subsidies to private or foreign companies to begin with — rationalized as “economic development” or “humane concern” — then corruption on this scale would not be possible. Of course some level of corruption in government would always be possible. The Clintons would never have been poster children for integrity or trustworthiness in any context. But in a free society unencumbered by government intervention in and control of the private economy, the Clintons would never have been in politics. They’d have to satisfy their lust for power some other way, or perhaps have used their intellects to pursue real, productive enterprises.
I don’t have the slightest bit of respect or admiration for the Clintons, as you can tell. But what business do any of us have in expecting anyone better, given what we improperly and naively empower our government to do? I am sick of hearing people fixate on the Clintons’ corruption without providing any reference to the underlying cause of that corruption: Wrong ideas.
The primary wrong idea is that government should be so involved in the lives of corporations in the first place. Wrong. Private businesses should be left alone to sink or swim on their own willingness or ability to please their customers. Those who do a great job will make billions. Leave them the hell alone. In the process, they will keep pleasing their customers — or not, in which case others will fill the void in the marketplace. Nothing should be against the law except for the obvious violation of contracts or the sale of fraudulent goods or services. We need courts of law, and perhaps legislation at times, to address these issues. But that has nothing to do with the kind of power we have allowed politicians to accumulate by letting the government go outside of these strict boundaries, as it has been doing for all of our lifetimes (even those of us in our 80s or 90s).
When a body develops an ugly or unpleasant symptom, it’s considered an indication of something more fundamentally wrong. It’s the same with a society. The Clintons are ugly symptoms — the last result — of a society that has lost its way legally, morally, and philosophically. No, I’m not talking about gay marriage or abortion here. I’m talking about actual morality: The idea that people are free and responsible for pursuing their dreams, never using force or government to manipulate or expand on those dreams in any way.
Back in the 1990s, when Bill Clinton was President, somebody I knew made the comment that he loved the television series, very popular at the time, called The West Wing. (I never watched it.) When I asked him why he liked the show so much, he replied, “It’s the Clinton presidency, with their ideals — but actually living them.”
I get the idealism, but I also understood instantly: The ideal here is wrong. There is no “ideal” in using government to forcibly live up to what you consider right or good. That’s the “idealism” of fascism, Marxism, Communism, and the like.
Politicians like the Clintons are particularly good at cashing in on that alleged idealism, saying the right things to those who want to believe, and who are perhaps naive enough to believe in their idealism when actually it’s nothing more than good old-fashioned shake-down tactics. A lot of people keep on pulling the levers on Election Day for them, because it beats the alternative: Facing up to the fact that their ideals are simply wrong.
The only ideal worth fighting for is the exact opposite of what the Clintons (or any of their contemporaries) stand for: The idea of limiting government to its original Constitutional functions, and moving in that direction as quickly as possible. We could start by ending all corporate subsidies to all domestic and international corporations immediately. Get the government completely out of the business of business. Lower their taxes and end the regulations, only prosecuting businesses for fraud when warranted in a court of law. This will reward the right companies for the right reasons, and end the ones who thrive on the political favors of politicians like the Clintons (or their equivalent on the other side of the partisan aisle.)
Yes, I am well aware there’s no near-term chance of this happening. But I challenge anyone to propose a better alternative. Capitalism/freedom or ruling elites like the Clintons. The choice is yours; but if you keep making the wrong one, you’ll have to live with the consequences.
Separation of economics and state would put politicians like the Clintons out of a job. No worries. They can obviously take care of themselves just fine.
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