(Thomas Mitchell/4TH ST8) – The problem with all these wealthy people and Super PACs spending billions on getting certain people elected to public office is not the corrupting power of money, but the corrupting power of power. The problem is not the money. The problem is the power it can buy. Take away the power, primarily in Washington, and the market will dry up.
Washington politicians were never intended to have the kind of power they now have to make or break anyone and everyone. The Founders tried to balance power, to check one branch against another. They were deathly afraid of power.
Perhaps the best expression of this concept came in the driveway Saturday on the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal. Chip Mellor, who heads the Institute of Justice, a libertarian-leaning public interest legal shop most famous for winning the case of Citizens United v. FEC, explained this concept.
Mellor said the money is not the problem. It is the symptom.
“There continues to be the false premise that the problem in politics is too much money, when in fact the problem is too much government for sale,” WSJ quotes him as saying, “these campaign finance laws are really treating only a symptom, not the disease. Until you get to the root cause, which is too much government, you are really not doing anything productive and in many cases you are doing harm.”
Mellor told WSJ he traces his political epiphany to his days as a student protesting the Vietnam War. “It became undeniably obvious to me that both the left, which I was a part of, and the right were really after the same thing, which was power. And I didn’t want any part of that.”
He also recognized that the Supreme Court finally may be undoing some of the problems it created in past decisions. “The Supreme Court is really the culprit in creating a lot of the problems we have today. They gutted provisions of the Constitution that were intended to constrain government or transformed them, like the Commerce Clause, into an affirmative grant of power.”
There is a passage in George Orwell’s “1984″ that sounds like a mad scientist’s cackle of delight in which a character explains the objective of The Party:
“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested soley in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness; only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and Russian Communists came very close to us in their own methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end.”