Who Has Integrity?

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In 2010 there
were many campaign ads in which each candidate claimed to have "integrity."
But as we have seen, campaign after campaign, election after election,
most of the winning candidates are the ones who are merely the most
skilled in rhetoric and demagoguery. As F.A. Hayek noted accurately
in his book, The
Road to Serfdom
, "the
worst get on top
." What attracts the worst to the State
apparatus are the power of compulsion that agents of the State have
over others, the power of monopoly that restricts the rights of
others, and the adulation
(and in some cases idolatry)
toward agents of the State from the masses.

One example
of the steady moral decay America has been experiencing is the recent
election of Democrat Suzanne Bump to the office of Massachusetts
state auditor. During her campaign, Bump was described in her one
newspaper endorsement
as "acting with independence, integrity,
and competence." Apparently, the Boston Phoenix hadn't
heard about Bump's declaring property tax exemptions for both her
homes in two different communities in Massachusetts, claiming
each one as her "primary residence." The campaign for
state auditor was between Bump, whose main experience was as a state
legislator and governor's cabinet secretary but with no accounting
experience, and Republican Mary Connaughton, a CPA and former audit
senior manager at Ernst and Young as well as a financial consultant
and state college accounting instructor, and who received endorsements
from just about every newspaper in the state, including the "liberal"
Boston Globe. But Democrat Bump won the election.

Economist
Hans-Hermann Hoppe has pointed
out
how the "free entry" into government is fatally
flawed:

Free entry
is not always good. Free entry and competition in the production
of goods is good, but free competition in the production
of bads is not. Free entry into the business of torturing
and killing innocents, or free competition in counterfeiting or
swindling, for instance, is not good; it is worse than bad. So
what sort of “business” is government? Answer: it is not a customary
producer of goods sold to voluntary consumers. Rather, it is a
“business” engaged in theft and expropriation — by means of taxes
and counterfeiting — and the fencing of stolen goods. Hence, free
entry into government does not improve something good. Indeed,
it makes matters worse than bad, i.e., it improves evil.

But it is sad
and unfortunate how the business of government has received such
mass praise throughout the life of the United States, despite the
damage that governments — federal, state, and local — have done
to our country, while the business of business (the "private
sector") is constantly the object of disparagement.

One individual
in the business sector who apparently has shown some integrity
during the latest "insider
trading" scam
of the federal government, is John Kinnucan
of Broadband Research, who was approached
by the FBI asking Kinnucan to wear a wire while meeting with his
clients as a means of gathering "evidence" of his clients'
trading with "inside" knowledge. Kinnucan not only refused
the request, but had emailed his clients to warn them of the, in
his words
, "fresh-faced eager beavers." He apparently
was not warning his clients as a means of "covering up"
anything; rather, he was protecting them from the State's entrapment
of innocent individuals. But as a punishment for Kinnucan's show
of integrity, federal prosecutors have subpoenaed his firm, but,
according to the New
York Times
, not Kinnucan himself. The Times notes
that the distinction is to do with removing Kinnucan's right against
self-incrimination. And according
to CNBC, Kinnucan has stated that he will have to defend himself
in court, because paying for lawyers would leave his family "destitute."
This is what the State has become, and is just one example of the
State's crimes against private citizens.

Future of
Freedom Foundation President Jacob Hornberger had noted cases similar
to this, in which the government requested cooperation from an innocent
private citizen who then refused to cooperate and was thus the target
of retaliation by the government. In his discussion
of the WikiLeaks story and the cooperation with the government of
the whistleblower website's business associates Amazon.com, Mastercard
and Paypal, Hornberger brings up the Bush Administration's 2001
request
of telecommunications companies to provide confidential information
about their customers to help the NSA's unconstitutional domestic
spying
program. The only one who didn't cooperate with the request
was Joseph Nacchio of Qwest Communcations. Shortly thereafter, the
government indicted and then convicted Nacchio of "insider
trading" laws.

During the
1980s, the securities firm Princeton/Newport Partners had to close
its doors because it couldn't handle RICO Statute indictments by
then-U.S. attorney Rudy Giuliani, which the firm's attorneys
believed
was punishment for the firm's refusal to cooperate
with Giuliani in his investigation of Drexel Burnham Lambert, Inc.
According
to
author Paul Craig Roberts, the grandstanding Giuliani "staged
a stormtrooper assault on (Princeton/Newport Partners) involving
fifty federal marshals outfitted with automatic weapons and bulletproof
vests."

Roberts also
noted how the overzealous Giuliani had no real legal case in his
criminal persecution of financier Michael Milken, and had gone after
Milken's brother, as well as had the FBI visit Milken's 92-year-old
grandfather, to coerce a plea deal from Milken. Roberts also contends
that, in Giuliani's anti-business/anti-rich zeal, he framed hotel
queen Leona Helmsley with suborned perjury, a conclusion also
reached
by Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and former
Judge Robert Bork.

It is of great
irony — well, hypocrisy is a better word — that such a counter-productive
"insider trading" persecution of private, innocent individuals
who are not committing any acts of theft or fraud, comes from the
same federal government many of whose participants embrace the revolving
door
between government monopolies and privileged corporate
interests. Former Federal Reserve employees' informing
their post-Fed private sector clients of the inside details

of Fed meetings and decisions, long before such information becomes
public knowledge, is but one example. Compulsory government monopoly
is what enables those going through that revolving door to enrich
themselves at the public's expense. As Prof. Hoppe has noted,

As a territorial
monopolist of legislation and the money-printing press, the State
has a natural tendency to grow: to use its "fiat" laws
and "fiat" money to gain increasing control of society
and social institutions. With "fiat laws", the State
has the unique power of threatening and punishing or incentivizing
and rewarding whatever it pleases. And with its "fiat
money",
it can buy-up support, bribe, and corrupt more
easily than anyone else.

In regards
to the federal government's failed foreign policy of aggression
for many decades, a current developing news story that has exposed
the ones lacking in integrity — especially in government,
political punditry
and journalism
— has been the WikiLeaks
saga. There have been calls to have WikiLeaks' Julian Assange prosecuted
for espionage and even assassinated, and there has been support
to suppress information associated with State indiscretions and
outright crimes, support for censorship of media including the Internet.

But there have
been those within government and the military who have shown integrity,
especially in this decade of the War on Terrorism, particularly
those who have left the government or military and returned to private
life. It takes integrity (and courage) to recognize and testify
on deception, corruption, even crimes in government.

One now-retired
member of the U.S. military, former Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski,
who is also a LewRockwell.com
columnist
, had anonymously
written articles expressing her
dissent
from Pentagon policy in 2002 and 2003. Kwiatkowski had
told
of
her own betrayal and anger as well as that of fellow military
personnel, who felt that their assessments and advice on the Bush
Administration's plans for Iraq were being brushed aside by the
civilian leadership.

And retired
CIA officer Philip Giraldi, now a columnist for Antiwar.com,
The
American Conservative
magazine, and Campaign
for Liberty
, and also executive director of the Council
for the National Interest
, has worked in intelligence in Turkey,
Italy, Germany and Spain, dealing mainly with issues of international
terrorism. Giraldi has been a critic of U.S. government policy in
the Middle East, Israel
in particular, and has written about alleged
fabrications
used by government officials and their flunkies
as a means to go to war in Iraq and of deceptions
to initiate sanctions or hostilities against Iran.

There have
also been claims
regarding widespread drug use and deliberate murders of civilians
by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, some claims of which are being
investigated,
and only a few soldiers there have been willing to denounce
such activities. The true bravery exists in the young soldier willing
to disclose such immoral activities despite the possibility of his
own death as punishment.

One can surely
describe Kinnucan, Kwiatkowski, Giraldi and various whistleblowers
as having integrity, while it is impossible to find integrity in
government officials who use deception
and propaganda
toward expanding U.S. government apparatus and control into other
regions of the world. Can it be possible for agents of the State
with integrity to continually fire remote-controlled drone bombs
at various targets in Pakistan, knowing that the ones they are killing
are innocent
civilians
? And where is the integrity in government agents who
go so far as to prevent a teenager from
seeking honest employment
while encouraging
him to commit terrorist acts?

And what about
America's Fourth Estate — the Press? Where is their integrity when,
instead of acting as the people's important check on government
powers, they have been acting as the State's spokespeople
and apologists for the multitudes of State abuses of power?

And where
is the integrity in government officials who invent new laws out
of thin air, such as "insider trading," as a means of
restricting the freedom of certain segments of society, or persecuting
honest businessmen who have committed no crimes of violence, theft
or fraud against others? The more statist
and bureaucratized our society has become, the more petty resentment
there has been toward those who benefit financially through their
hard work, talents and abilities, and toward those who stand up
to government bullies and who stand for principle, unfortunately.

So how can
those who are driven toward State power possibly have integrity
when the very apparatus over which they want control is inherently
corrupting
? Obviously, there have been plenty of those in the
business sector who have shown a lack of integrity and have been
corrupt, but the genuine business sector does not have the power
of compulsion over others, the power to be above the law as does
the compulsory government sector. And by genuine business
sector, I mean that which is not tied to the State apparatus through
"crony capitalism,"
or corporatism.

It is thus
nearly impossible to expect even the most honest individual to grab
hold of monopolistic governmental powers, legislatively, militarily
or otherwise, and expect one's integrity to remain intact. There
are some exceptions,
of course.

Scott
Lazarowitz [send him mail]
is a commentator and cartoonist at Reasonandjest.com.

The
Best of Scott Lazarowitz

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