Till we reach that point of social improvement, we’re guests on a ship of state doomed by widespread, systemic corruption and the collapse of ethical standards and the guideline of law.
Political corruption isn’t difficult to define: in complete confidence leveraging the power of one’s position in the State for private gain. This covers the spectrum of using State power for personal gain from freebies, allurements, sweetie deals, acquiring expert information, revolving doors between economic sector and state positions, influence-peddling, offering tax breaks, aids, allows, etc, bloated speaking fees and so on, in an almost endless abundance of personal monetary gains generated entirely by one’s position of power within the State– the legislative and regulative federal government, central bank, military and judiciary– gains that are masked from public disclosure and scrutiny.
One example is employees in building-planning departments taking kickbacks from applicants to bypass prolonged authorization reviews. Cash modifications hands independently to get some state-issued benefit.
Public trust in institutions, the rule of law and basic fairness are all weakened by corruption. This is why even the hint of impropriety should be quickly investigated and the outcomes revealed.
But there is more to corruption than simply investigating improprieties. The larger questions are:
1. Is corruption an unusual incident or has it become service as usual, i.e. endemic, embedded, considered approved as “the method things work”?
2. Is there any sense of sincere embarassment or wrong-doing when those reaping personal gains from their positions in the State are openly exposed? Or do the guilty disclaim any ideas of sin or shame for betraying the general public Trust?
3. Exist 2 completely different Standards of Justice, Criminality and Penalty, one applied ferociously to the public and another applied with the lightest of feathers to insiders, monetary elites and the politically influential?
I send that all three conditions hold true: corruption is now BAU, service as typical; there is no sense of shame or misbehavior when the corrupt are exposed, and there are two judicial standards, one for the bottom 99.9% and another for insiders, the well-connected, the influential, the politically safeguarded and the super-wealthy, what I call America’s Aristocracy or Royalty.
Consider the cover-ups and obstruction of justice swirling around the household of POTUS the President of the United States: “Outright Political Corruption”: The Rot In America’s Democracy Explained In Under 1000 Words.
In a nation that regarded the Public Trust as spiritual, even the tip of impropriety at this level of federal government would have sparked an instant and thorough-going investigation, and calls for resignation and indictment.
Instead, nothing occurs except the BAU of Corruption: the usual cover-ups, wrist-slaps for lower offenses, absolutely no admission of guilt, absolutely no screen of shame, zero penalty.
Regardless of a flood of partisan weeping and gnashing of teeth, SCOTUS is equally without embarassment. That the greatest levels of the judiciary are blind to the impropriety of accepting gifts from super-wealthy “friends” whose interests extend deep into the dockets of the Supreme Court is proof of simply how low the sanctity of the general public Trust has sunk.
Then there’s SCROTUS: the Supremely Corrupt Royalty of the United States, the corporate bigshots, the lobbyists, the billionaires, the politically prominent, the economically connected, and all the elites that are secured from repercussion and therefore untouchable.
Think about the thousands of corporate fines imposed for fraud and other criminal offenses: Business Settlements/Fines from the early 1990s to the present, put together by Jon Morse. All wrist-slaps, as no corporate leaders served any jail time. The fines are simply a expense of operating for Corporate America’s Royalty.
I’ve addressed the systemic rot of corruption in America for many years: No Wrongdoing Here, Just 6,300 Corporate Fines and Settlements (May 2015)
Corruption Is Now Our Lifestyle (October 5, 2020)
The corruption of the rule of law and the resulting decay of the Public Trust are not partisan concerns. America’s wealthy and effective improve themselves in a sandbox of corruption, regardless of their affiliations.
I’ve typically referenced historian Peter Turchin’s work. His most current book, End Times: Elites, Counter-Elites, and the Course of Political Disintegration, describes the characteristics that are dismantling America’s future. Chief amongst these is the main effect of systemic corruption, skyrocketing wealth-income inequality. Hope in “End Times”: Peter Turchin’s analysis of our coming collapse might help us avoid it:
For all its breadth and depth, there’s an easy message at the core of “End Times”: At the heart of our issues, Turchin writes, is “a perverse ‘wealth pump’ … taking from the bad and providing to the rich,” and we have to find a method to turn it off.
The core of corruption is the maximization of private gain over serving the Typical Great and Public Interest. When power is looked for mainly for personal gain, the social fabric decays and deciphers.
Critic and author Christopher Lasch described the decay of the social order when pity has vanished. In today’s America, there is no sense of sin, guilt, pity or satisfaction. Any level of corruption is tolerated and excused, the majority of perversely, “for the good of the country.”
Lasch’s last book, The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy (1996) lays bare the moral and political corruption of America’s elites. The years given that have confirmed his analysis.
My own modest contribution to the subject, International Crisis, National Renewal focuses on the requirement for a social revolution that significantly transforms what is economically and politically appropriate to the population. A tipping point must be reached where systemic corruption and its result, destabilizing inequality, are no longer acceptable.
Till we reach that point of social improvement, we’re passengers on a ship of state doomed by rampant, systemic corruption and the collapse of the Public Trust, ethical requirements and the guideline of law.
What’s blatantly incorrect is dismissed as normal. This encapsulates America’s collapse.
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