Stopping corruption: A text-book strategy

Letter to the editor

Posted: Monday, February 05, 2007

Here are thoughts about the Legislature's ethics bill deliberations.

Sound off on the important issues at

Lawmakers are not inherently evil ogres. Lawmakers are human beings who need support to resist temptations that appeal to their imperfections. Since the natural imperfections of human beings are why government is even necessary, how to govern the governors is what defines a form of government. In other words, a form of government is any design for minimizing corruption and poor administration by those wielding governmental powers.

The philosopher Socrates demonstrated that inadequate comprehension of a subject's key words prevents the affected person from understanding the subject well enough to constructively apply it. Let's use this wisdom toward ethics in government. Example: "Corruption" is a condition-of-being noun derived from the verb "corrupt". American Heritage Dictionary provides 5 easy definitions for this verb - and so for its noun: 1) To destroy or subvert the honesty or integrity of; 2) To ruin morally, pervert; 3) to taint, contaminate; 4) To cause to become rotten, spoil; 5) To change the original form of (a text, for example).

Vigorous prosecution of oaths of office, with educated initiative, is historically proven to control corruption and unethical conflicts of interest. Moreover, citizen and peer pressure empowers honoring oaths better than a flood of laws. Educated initiative is important because ignorance and unwillingness to continuously learn are the most fertile soils possible for growing all types of human corruption and ethical lapses. In other words, stagnant understandings create prejudices and extreme partisanship - forms of corruption by definition.

The universal mark of human professionalism is a career-long study of the history and new developments of one's profession. Consequently, a politician or public servant who neglects a career-long study of the craft of government, using the work and experience of past politicians and rulers, naturally reinvents or reenacts the political failures of the past. This is corruption by definition.

For a legislator to be addicted to using the minds of a small group of experts and lobbyists, while abandoning the thousands-strong constellation of his constituents' minds, is literally overthrowing people-based government. This is corruption by definition.

For a citizen to plead apathy or cynicism about our form of government, while insisting he or she is "too busy" to work with other people to pursue happiness for all, is corruption by definition.

Let's minimize what makes political losers.

Stuart Thompson

Wasilla



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