Citizens Need Principles; Politicians Need Limits

As conservatives and libertarians regroup, there has clearly been a focus on principles, and this is good.  As I review and reacquaint myself with the principles of individual rights, liberty, and freedom, I am simultaneously becoming more involved in local politics. 

Even at the local level, much effort has to be expended to ‘root out the bad guys’, those who have no principles and participate in the same types of political games as in Washington.  It gradually dawned on me that principles and integrity matter more for us (voting constituents) than they do for the politicians.  Were politicians more honest and competent in the early days of our country?  John Adams didn’t think so:

In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.

I’m not saying principles shouldn’t be a consideration when choosing elected officials – after all we have to know who the worst of the worst are (e.g., Arlen Specter).  But it is the lack of principles on our part – not politicians that allowed our government to grow in the first place to such a level of power and size that its founders would feel like failures today. 

When government is severely limited, the corruption and nonsense will still exist but its scope of influence will be miniscule.  The shenanigans that occurred at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, for example, would have been inconceivable in the 19th century, much less the outright persecution of private entities (and citizens) as in the case of AIG. 

Hopefully it is not too late to reverse the rising tide of government power but we are starting in the right place.  We need to keep talking amongst ourselves and reinforcing these principles and worry less about whether a particular politician is honest.  

My fear lies more with the sheeple who are convinced they can vote themselves to prosperity than with the dishonesty in Washington.