Monday, June 27, 2011

On Corruption in Politics

Socrates was a man of virtue who cared much about the kind of people who should be leading the Republic of Athens. He is recorded as saying,
“If we were engaged in a war,” said he, “and were to choose a general, would we make choice of a man given to wine or women, and who could not support fatigues and hardships?  Could we believe that such a commander would be capable to defend us and to conquer our enemies?  Or if we were lying on our deathbed, and were to appoint a guardian and tutor for our children, to take care to instruct our sons in the principles of virtue, to breed up our daughters in the paths of honour and to be faithful in the management of their fortunes, should we think a debauched person fit for that employment?  Would we trust our flocks and our granaries in the hands of a drunkard?  Would we rely upon him for the conduct of any enterprise; and, in short, if a present were made us of such a slave, should we not make it a difficulty to accept him?
-The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates by Xenophon

I'm not sure how I feel about morally corrupt politicians in positions of federal power. My libertarian husband says that you cannot dictate morality, yet he also says that all politicians are corrupt and not to be trusted, and that he would rather vote for a Democrat with moral integrity than a Republican without it. My philosophy has always been that I care little about somebody's personal life unless it interferes with their job, especially lawmaking. Sexual sin can definitely be distracting if you're any kind of professional, but only since feminism, abortion, gay marriage, and invasive airport screening has sexuality itself become a national issue (of course, for the sole purpose of grooming the people to treat it as something deserving of federal legislation).

So what about politicians who cheat on their wives? I must admit that when the whole thing about Gingrich came out, it didn't bother me as much that he had had a third wife as a result of an affair than it did that he, a rich man having been entrusted with a large salary by his service in Congress, couldn't manage his own money. To me, there's a lot more danger in having a Congressman or President with no financial integrity than it is to have one without sexual integrity, wherein he only harms himself and his family, not an entire country—even though that is changing.

That, I think, is how I feel about corrupt politicians in positions of federal power.

UPDATE: The news story of today is of the impeachment of Governor of Illinois Rod R. Blagojevich, who was found guilty of 17 out of the 20 counts of corruption, including trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama in 2008. Blagojevich is the 6th out of the 14 Illinois governors since 1913 to be sent to jail.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Story

One day, a minister set out to save souls. After not very long, he happened across a girl named J, who soon studied and got baptized, and was added to the church. “But you aren’t the kind of person I was looking for,” the minister told J. “I will keep on looking.”

So the minister set out again, confident that he would be a fisher of men the way Jesus wanted him to. After not very long, he came across a girl named Y, who also studied and got baptized and was added to the church, and J and Y became friends. “But Y, you still aren’t the kind of person I was looking for,” the minister said. “Although I’ll take it as God’s will for right now, I need to keep on looking.”

The minister set out again, this time with the help of J and Y, and they came across a boy named B, who befriended them both. After not very long, he also studied and was baptized, and was added to the church, to their great joy. But the minister was troubled. “Lord,” he prayed, “J, Y, and B aren’t the kind of people I was looking for. I’m afraid they won’t be very useful for the mission I want to carry out in this ministry. Surely you have a plan to bless me with the right people so that I can do your will.”

So he set out again, and the Lord did bless him. He came across three girls, named N, I, and F, who were already friends. After not very long, all three of them decided to give their lives to Christ together, and for once, everyone was happy. J, Y, and B welcomed them into the church and tried to befriend them. But they soon realized that N, L, and F would rather hang out with each other. Even more, the minister began ignoring J, Y, and B and only hung out with N, L, and F. “Finally, the right kind of people!” the minister sighed, pleased with himself. He was doing what God asked him to when he called him into ministry. In fact, he was so happy that he put N, L, and F into leadership positions.

But after a little while, N, L, and F began to resent J, Y, and B, and most especially, the minister. So they left the church in a rage, swearing they would never come back. “Those are the wrong kind of people,” they hissed about J, Y, and B. “Jesus would never have approved.”

The minister was so distraught that he left to do God’s work elsewhere, and J, Y, and B managed the ministry themselves. “I wonder why N, L, and F left,” they asked each other with tears. “We loved them just the same.”

The moral of the story is that discrimination always causes division. There isn’t a right kind of person at all.