some Comments on the Topic of George Santos
Some Comments on the Topic of George Santos
George Santos lied about his entire life in order to trick the electorate into supporting him. But, does anyone doubt that nearly any politician would gladly do the same if he or she thought they could get away with it?
This is a problem that goes way beyond Santos. This is a problem with human nature, specifically the nature of the type of human who is attracted to a political system where some slick talking can get you into a sweet position of great power — power which enables you to attract a lot of private money and influence by steering legislation and taxpayers’ money to bring great financial reward to donors who play ball and great financial harm to non-donors who don’t, or just enables you to have a lot of fun forcing the weak to obey and beg for your mercy, whatever floats your boat.
For the most part, people who run for political office are not the best among us, they are the worst.
How do we end government corruption and influence peddling? How do we end the problem of government abusing the power we give it to do good, instead using it to do good for itself at the expense of the people they claim to serve? The answer is not as difficult as it may seem: take away what they have to sell. Transfer that power to those with the incentive to minimize harm.
If you listen to people in government, they will tell you with absolute albeit self-serving assurance that without them doling out rules and punishments, evil companies will engage in recklessly harmful behavior, but that they, like mommy and daddy dispensing justice and fairness, will ensure everything those companies do will be safe, good and effective. But, that is the opposite of the truth. Government will rarely if ever succeed in that task, because it does not have the incentive.
Government’s role of regulating businesses and ensuring health and safety can effectively and cheaply be performed by consortia and a battery of private inspection, watchdog and insurance companies, all of which do have the incentive to be sure an industry is performing well and remains profitable and healthy at a minimum of harm and financial liability. Evil and harmful acts cost everyone in the industry money — that is, if the government is not running interference for it. With proper incentive-based regulation, value and excellence flourish.
Far from making things better, government usually makes problems worse in several ways, some of which are by allowing competing regulatory agencies to strictly enforce pointless and conflicting rules (unless bribed to look the other way, of course), by enforcing minimum standards of performance, which result in universal mediocrity as the incentive to provide varying levels of performance for varying price flattens and the minimum also becomes the maximum, and by preventing people from suing companies that harm them, so long as the companies obey the regulations they themselves were allowed to help draft in return for campaign contributions. Over time, this works to the advantage of the politically well-connected large corporations, making them ever larger and more powerful, as while the burden of endless pointless and wasteful policies their politician friends put in place may be merely a minor expense to them, they can have a crippling effect on the myriad mom and pop stores, slowly driving them out of business and leaving their sad customers no alternative to the mega store. Not to mention that, as we have seen so often in recent years, such power over private companies can be used to intimidate them into doing things such as spying or suppressing speech, which would be unconstitutional for the politicians to do directly.
No, George Santos is not the problem, any more than cockroaches are the problem with running an unsanitary hospital. Thinking it is possible to use threat and extortion to create goodness is the problem, in no small part by ignoring the fact that the power of threat and extortion — the only tool government has — can too easily be abused and will therefore powerfully attract those who would gladly lie, cheat and steal for the opportunity to get their mitts on it. Libertarians have understood and been preaching this mantra for decades. Now that the scam is becoming ever more brazen, hopefully others will see it as well.
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