The Best Things, Corrupted, Become The Worst, Part 13 to blupete's Essay
"An Essay On Government"
The most serious problem with power, to which Lord Acton referred, and which is quite separate from
the aggravation of dealing with besotted magistrates: is that it corrupts.24 Read history and one will see that it is the rare leader who did not become corrupted.25 Trust in God, or trust in
professionalism; neither will help. Put the best possible person in charge and often what one will end
up with is the worst possible problem. There is a Latin proverb which I ran across in one of my law
books and which covers the situation: Optima corrupta pessima (The best things, corrupted, become
the worst). Given the choice, then, the best thing, as Thomas Jefferson pointed out, is to "guard
against corruption and tyranny ... before they shall have gotten hold of us. It is better to keep the wolf
out of the fold than to trust to drawing his teeth and talons after he shall have entered."26 This, dear reader, is a separate and a distinct argument for keeping government down to the barest of minimums.
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