“Angels Do Not Govern Men”

“America was founded on the notion that most politicians can only be expected to be ornery,  low-down, crooks…”Rotten_Apples_by_snugsomeone

One commenter at SFGate remarked there were times when corruption was so rampant that he believed it was not just a case of the odd bad apple but the whole barrel of apples being infested with worms.  He might have been surprised to learn the Founders agreed with him.  James Madison wrote to the people of New York:

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

America was founded on the notion that most politicians can only be expected to be ornery,  low-down, crooks. Nobody in those days was fool enough to believe they could be Light-workers, Messiahs and create a world without guns. Thus in the Founder’s view the only way to guard against rogues was to ensure that government remained as small as possible relative to its essential jobs; to change those in office frequently and often, like we change underwear.

The Founders saw roguery as the byproduct of high office.  And so they wrote a constitution — you know, the document more than a hundred years old that nobody smart reads any more — to keep the weeds down.

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