Corruption in the extreme

December 8th, 2005

Lately, I’ve been thinking of deals and lies and extortion and greed and deals and lies and scams and blackmail and deals and lies in the public arena, supposedly for the public good. Yeah, right… And I was also thinking of the former Mayor of St. Croix Falls, and Loren Jennings, formerly Representative and now felon, as I blew past Harris, the Chisago area, on the way up North this week, wondering in the very, very large sense what all we don’t know about what goes on in the name of “public interest,” what goofy schemes are called “public policy” and where that leaves us… My guess is that most of us would be suprised at what all is for sale and how low the price.

Stolen from

Here’s news in the St.PPP of another corrupt official, former Wisconsin state Senator Chuck Chvala, another one with utility ties:

Prosecutors seek jail time for Chvala

Stolen from Milwaukee Journal Sentinal Online

Here’s some context from Milwaukee’s Journal Sentinal:

After delay, hearing to go ahead for Burke
Caucus scandal cases are still winding through the court system

Pile of bills.gif

One of my favorite books is Sissela Bok‘s “Lying,” and of course “Secrets.” Lying has a powerful section on instutional lying, the kind of things people tell themselves when they’re involved in utterly immoral activity, palliatives for politicians’ guilty conscience. And the impacts are broad:

… citizens the world over have less confidence that they can influence what governments do.

The loss in confidence benefits individuals to an externt. Those in a position to resist oppression by bureaucracies will do so, and fewer can be talked into fighting senseless wars. But the major effects are surely negative. For insofar as problems have to be met jointly — problems, for example of disarmament, energy, or population — the fact that government information cannot be trusted is crippling. Bona fide efforts in the joint interest are thus undercut by the cynicism and sense of powerlessness which result from the knowledge of large-scale decpetion.

Sissela Bok.jpg

If we assume the perspective of the deceived — those who experience the consequences of government deception — such arguments are not pursuasive. We cannot take for granted either the altruism or the good judgment of those who lie to us, no matter how much they intend to benefit us. We have learned that much deceit for private gain masquerades as being in the public interest. We know how deception, even for the most unselfish motive, corrupts and spreads. And we have lived through the consequences of lies told for what were believed to be noble purposes.

Lying, p. 144,169 (emphasis added)

Lying Bok.jpg

Leave a Reply