Sunday, November 29, 2009

The accoutrements of power.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I believe it was Socrates who first wrote;

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
I would argue that the correlation is coincidental and not causal.

There are powerful wo/men who are not corrupt.

Some because of their virtue, and others because
they know that they can't get away with it.

It is not the power that corrupts.
It is the ability to abuse power without consequence,
that corrupts.

It can be made impossibly difficult to get away with being a corrupt and or incompetent public servant.

Getting away with corruption and incompetence,
will not be ended by those who benefit from their self exception from accountability.

Nor will it be ended by a small handful of honest politicians and public servants; no matter how good and brave. A small number have always been there, and they never got it done.

Corrupt and incompetent public servants are powerful because they control large amounts of power. It is not their power. It is our power. We gave over control of it to them, because they told us that that is the way government works.

We no longer have control over the spending of our power and resources.

The simple proof that you have lost control over power and resources that are fundamentally your own;

is for you to ask a public servant to answer legitimate questions about the use and abuse of your power and resources,

and have them tell you "no comment".

"No comment" is not an acceptable answer to a legitimate question about the public interests and resources.

Chicken and the egg; which came first?
corrupt and incompetent men and women who created a system under which they cannot be held honestly accountable for their corruption and their incompetence, or

a system without standards or accountability that
corrupted good men and women?

The question is moot.

Either way, the solution is the same.

You commission honest auditors who will follow the public interests and resources, looking very deliberately, for incompetence and corruption. And if they find any, they will report it to the public record, not to the corrupt and incompetent, expecting them to actually hold themselves accountable for their corruption and incompetence.

Because we have no choice but to "trust" public servants with control over our power and resources,

it is reasonable to expect them to hold themselves accountable to a higher standard of conduct than the one they wrote for themselves; the law,

the lowest, and loosest standards that we can enforce;
except on the powerful.

Whatever that higher standard is determined to be,
it includes having to tell the truth. It includes the expectation
that legitimate questions will be answered candidly, forthrightly,
and honestly.

And if they are not, there will be a system under which the least powerful can hold the most powerful, honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence.

Trust runs a distant second to honest accountability,
in protecting the public interests from corruption and incompetence.

We will not be given back control over our power.
It will not be legislated back.
It will not be regained by election.
It will not be returned by the courts.
There is no branch of government that will return control over public power and resources, to the public.

It will be taken back only by revolution.
More of us than them,
taking back control over our power and resources,
even against their will.

We have justification for a revolution.

All we are lacking is revolutionaries,
all of whom died out, apparently,
generations ago.

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