Whenever I criticize the federal Conservatives for being “Liberal clones” the government’s defenders will inevitably remind me that the defining difference between Tories and Liberals is corruption.
“The Liberals are all crooks, whereas we Conservatives are all angels,” is usually the point of the argument.
Well now the sad saga of Helena Guergis has blown some rather gaping holes in that narrative.
Turns out the Tory hamper might contain its share of dirty laundry.
And that shouldn’t surprise anyone.
The fact is corruption is non-partisan.
To quote Benjamin Rogge, who was paraphrasing Hayek, “honesty and integrity in government are not a function of which party is in power but of the power over economic decisions possessed
by those in government.”
In other words the Liberals were corrupt while in power, not because they were Liberals but because they succumbed to the corrupting influence of government.
My point is, the real bad guy is government, or rather the power of government.
As long as the government has the power to influence and direct our economy, corruption will be inevitable.
It doesn’t matter who is in power.
That’s why if the Tories truly want to bring about cleaner government they should first seek to reduce its scope and its power.
The less influence government has over our lives, the less temptation there will be to do wrong.