Every time an elected official is arrested for corruption, the media and other politicians point pious fingers at the individual, distancing themselves from the guy in the expensive suit taking the perp walk. That misses the point. It’s not just the individual who’s to blame. The statist system itself is immoral.
Let me be clear. Politicians such as Jack B. Johnson deserve scorn, but not just for the things they do that are illegal. The legal things they do are just as bad. Until he was arrested, Johnson was the chief executive of the county government in Prince George’s County, Md. During his eight years as the county executive, he took hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for steering development to favored companies. Nobody will ever know the total that he took.
When things such as this happen, the politicians supporters are hurt and feel betrayed. And newspapers go into overdrive to start covering the story after it’s too late. (In this case, the Washington post has quite a collection of stories documenting various aspects of the case.) But why does no one in these stories question the system that’s at the root of it? Why doesn’t anyone question why a government official has the power to decide who gets to build what?