What Our Government Does Well… Corruption

This one gets missed a lot here in America, and I think its important. Its corruption. To give you some perspective, read this. I’ll quote it here, in case the link doesn’t work, but you really should look at the photo.

I know there is corruption in America. But I have lived here for a year, and have not seen it. In Kyrgyzstan, corruption is everywhere. You can not do anything without corruption. To send your child to school, to apply for a job, you must pay a bribe. If there is a car accident in America, the police and insurance companies determine who is at fault. If there is a car accident in Kyrgyzstan, the person with less money or less power is at fault. In Kyrgyzstan, if you build a business, you can do everything right, and pay all your taxes, and still have it taken away. In America, if you do everything right, it belongs to you.


Talk to anyone who’s been to Mexico, Central, or South America, and one things starts to stand out: Corruption. Obviously, as the quote implies there are other parts in the world where it also happens. So I find it intriguing whenever an American talks about corruption. Not that we don’t have corruption, its just not an everyday occurrence, Moreover, most people understand that its wrong, and if they are doing it, they try and hide. That’s because we punish people who destroy the public trust. We find it immoral.

Believe it or not, this is a freedom. The freedom from having to worry about the actions of every petty official, especially government ones. The freedom to report on those who are corrupt with an actual expectation you won’t be harmed in the process. That’s a freedom.

I think it gets missed here in America. We live in such a corrupt free world that it is hard to imagine how difficult and dangerous it can be. Its as transparent to us as water is to a fish. But this wasn’t an accident. Our founding fathers demanded a government worthy of their respect, and ours. They established a government with rules and laws that applied to those governing as well as the governed, and they set up a government with separate branches that oversee each other’s work, and have the power to stop each other. And  they established a government with some iron clad rules specifically designed to protect its citizens from itself.

Think of if as the legal equivalent of bubble wrap. Mind you, it doesn’t completely stop all harm–stopping all harm is a goal which is completely impossible, or at least it is not possible with free will–but it does offer a genuine level of protection, and it does minimize  risk. You still have the freedom to expose yourself to corruption if you want (usually by going to an other country) and you still have the freedom to be corrupt if you want (as long as you are willing to face the legal consequences), but for the most part you are free to not have to deal with corruption, at least on a major lose-your-house-and-all-you-hold-dear scale.

And that, my friends, is a very good thing.



If you liked this essay. If you feel, like I do, that in the (often genuine) rush to worry about the size of our government we’ve overlooked its value, I’d like to challenge you. Please do something similar. Think of something you like about our government. Think of some value it brings, something it does well, instead of something it does poorly. And when you’ve thought of your thing, then post it. Put up your words. Put them up here in the comments, on Facebook, tweet them, whatever. It matters not how long it is, it matters not what you say, only that you say it. So say it.