04 January 2010

A Dollar Per Day

[My Thanks and a Happy New Year to Janine-Mendes Franco for selecting another Jenius post for Global Voices Online.]

Most people, when confronted with the topic of corruption in government spheres, tend to shrug it off, like it's a death in a distant neighbor's family, a common occurrence not worth thinking about.

Really.

Let's look at this a little closer, in a Socratic manner:

Does corruption benefit the citizenry? Some (cretins, thieves and politicians...but I repeat Myself) would say that "It does, in a way." No. It. Doesn't. If it did, there wouldn't be laws against it, right? And if corruption were the proper way for the government to act, it wouldn't be a crime, now would it? So in essence, corruption is an unlawful undermining of good government. And that means it is treason.

Here's the definition of treason, from Googlea crime that undermines the offender's government; disloyalty by virtue of subversive behavior.

Now before some of you hurl cotton balls at Me, note that the definition says absolutely nothing about war or the country at war. Treason--as defined and accepted--is often linked to "vital national interests," but there is no such thing as "national interest" that supersedes "a government under the rule of law." Nothing. So anything--anything, people--that undermines, subverts, distorts or otherwise impedes the proper rule of law for government of the people, by the people and for the people is treason.

Period.

Now once you look at government corruption as what it is, you'll realize two more obvious facts:

1) To stop government corruption, We have to make it a target of Our attention, and...

2) The penalties have to match the crime.

I'm all in favor of the death penalty for corrupt government officials--and I can name names--but We're not a capital punishment society, so Let's find another solution. I propose a simple formula even a cretinous, thieving politician can understand: a jail sentence equal to one day for every dollar gained through corruption. 

As it stands right now, any government official charged with fraud or bribery knows he or she can "bargain" down from the several years to a few years, several months or even a hefty fine (that has little or no impact on their finances) and some probation, simply because the standard sentence is not that high.

Make My change in the laws and watch the game alter dramatically. If senator Bonehead takes in $100,000 illegally to push a law onto the books, he won't be facing a few years in jail, he will be facing 274 years in the clink. Let's see senator Bonehead bargain his way out of that.

Too drastic? Puh-lease. The penalty for treason--across history and cultures--has been death. All I'm advocating here is that We amp up the penalties so that government corruption stops being "business as usual" and becomes scar tissue over the deep festering wounds We have now.

Think the lawmakers won't go for it? Not if We make sure that every opponent to these changes is questioned--repeatedly and loudly--as to why they oppose penalties that they are never supposed to incur?

We can continue to shrug off the parasitic vermin behavior of Our government or We can take a stand and make sure they have a drastic reminder that their sole function is to serve Us to the best of their negligible abilities. And maybe, as the cretins and thieves are scared away from public service, there will be ample room for intelligent and honorable people to take over ths system because it recognizes and rewards their virtue rather than encouraging their vices.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

2 comments:

MC Don Dees said...

Your argument seemed valid, nay almost rational, until you got to one point. The point in which you assumed that we live in place with "a government under the rule of law."

It further assumes that we live in a society which give a rat's behind about the "proper rule of law."

If you eliminate those two assumptions, then what you have is merely the fools stupid enough to get caught, stupid enough to have not figured out how to pin the culpability onto someone else, and too stupid to understand that breaking a law, is breaking the law.

Take for example this unfortunate young lady who had over 10 speeding violations before killing three innocent children. In that scenario she was plainly a habitual criminal, the system which allowed her to continue driving was criminal, and the society (that being her sphere of family members, friends, and relatives) all acted criminally by aiding and abetting a criminal. Harsh words, you're damn straight, but the only way a society based on the rule of law of could perceive this situation.

Therefore, since all of those crimes happened in order for someone to drive 120 mph and kill three innocent children, then clearly we do not live in a society which recognizes the rule of law.

Sorry, for the diatribe, but this is so fundamental as to rule out any discussion (except theoretical) of law, law enforcement, and punishment.

Gil C. Schmidt said...

MC, Happy New Year. As to your example, I agree with it in large part, with the caveat that your example is about a "civilian" misapplication of the law (the woman should have gotten jailtime) whereas Mine is about adjusting the penalties upward to properly (in My view) punish the miscreants. Example: In Guatemala, drunk driving was once punishable by death; drunk driving stopped. Maybe We should try that, but the problem with across-the-board harshness is that it quickly leads to societal erosion, i.e., infringement on rights. So let Me suggest that twice-convicted drunk drivers should go to jail for at least a year, your third speeding ticket in a year should equal 90 days in jail and corrupt government officials should be put away for decades. That's a start, but only that: a start.