Lies, lies and more lies

By Paul A. Cleveland

Today we are increasingly being informed of cases of corruption in most every area of life, especially in government. While the media has tended to focus on cases of fraud and scandal committed by corporate leaders, it seems to me that the cases of fraud and corruption in government are far greater. In many instances, the lies told here will ultimately lead to much worse consequences compared to private scandals which tend to be self-limiting. After all, the private sector quickly punishes those who are caught with their hands in the till.

In truth, there is a crisis of leadership in the United States. This leads us to ask the question, what has happened in this nation that has led to this increase in corruption and this crisis of leadership? I believe the answer can be found in Proverbs 29:12. “If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked.”

The problem we face today is that our governors, as well as ourselves, either believe in lies or are willing to lie. Increasingly, the truth is rejected. These lies have led to legislation that has increasingly concentrated power in the hands of governmental officials. However, these officials are human. As a result, they are sinful. Once they are in positions of greater power and authority, they can use it for their own wicked ends if they so desire.

The lie that drives the whole process is the notion that the government is an agent of mercy. However, reason alone should dissuade us from accepting this idea. In order to show mercy to anyone, the benefactor must first have something to give. It is impossible for the government to be such a benefactor because its very existence is dependent upon the provision of resources provided to it by those living under its rule for its very existence. Therefore, if government officials claim that they are pursuing charitable enterprises by creating programs that redistribute wealth and property, they are in fact lying. In reality, they are acting like petty thieves who steal the property of some for purposes they find useful.

While these purposes might appear to be charitable, in reality there is no real charity in them. In true charity, the benefactor happily parts with his gift and his beneficiary happily receives it and is thankful for it. In government redistribution of property this is all missing. The person parting with his property is forced to give it up or find himself in jail. The tax collector is simply doing a job that he is being paid to do. The politician is aiming to personally benefit from the law by attracting voters. Finally, the recipient need not be thankful since the material gain received can be viewed as an entitlement. Thus, government authorities today manipulate the system to their own ends. Bribery and corruption become the means to accomplishing those ends as government is continually extended beyond its legitimate boundaries.