EspañolIf we were to ask people if they think politicians are corrupt, nearly all would immediately and wholeheartedly answer yes.
That being said, it’s likely that many would be in favor of government intervention at any given moment; they would trust these same politicians they consider corrupt.
How come the contradiction? How can we hold that the majority of politicians are dishonest while wishing they run our lives?
I don’t mean to say that every single politician is corrupt. There are valuable individuals working in politics who will hopefully reach important positions. But truth remains that the majority are corrupt, or consider themselves “enlightened visionaries” whose main goal is to tell people what to do.
Nowadays, the state has taken up more roles, including those that it was evidently not created for and is completely inefficient at. Instead of fulfilling its key function of protecting individual rights, it has decided to trample them.
We have had enough of a state micromanaging our lives: telling us what to study, what to buy, what to sell, what to save, what to see, and what to listen to.
When a politician promises something “for free,” we must ask which citizens he will take from and whose rights will he intrude on, since we all know politicians do not fund projects out of their pockets. Rather, most of the time they do quite the opposite.
When the state is in charge of countless projects, we can assume it will inevitably disregard its essential role — defending life, liberty, and private property — not only due to a lack of resources and misplaced efforts, but mainly because to do so it must infringe upon our fundamental rights.
Countless times we have heard of the “absent state,” for instance when discussing public safety issues, which seems contradictory considering that it engulfs all spheres of our lives. This absence actually comes from abandoning its key role and instead taking on countless others.
In this sense, Argentinean political theorist Juan Bautista Alberdi stated:
The state becomes a manufacturer, a builder, a businessman, a banker, a tradesman, a publisher, and thus is distracted from its essential and unique mandate: to protect its individuals against all internal and external aggressions. In the roles that are not essentially the government’s, far from serving it for the better, it works in ignorance and contributes to the harming of individuals, worsening the service to the country.
In other words, not only do we divert countless activities to a state managed by mostly corrupt politicians, we also give it authority over matters that the state has no business managing.
This is why it is a pressing concern to limit the state’s power. We must achieve a true separation of powers, the rule of law, alternation, freedom of speech, equality before the law, and an education system that promotes the values of freedom and mutual respect. The latter means the state should give parents the freedom and the means to choose which education they consider the best for their children.
We have had enough of a state micromanaging our lives: telling us what to study, what to buy, what to sell, what to save, what to see, and what to listen to. What we really need is a limited government that protects our rights instead of infringing upon them.
We need to recover our self-esteem: rather than delegating everything to politicians we claim not to trust, we must accept our own responsibilities and ability to pull through. Citizens, not politicians, need empowerment.
Jorge Sturzenegger is a law student at Argentina’s Catholic University. He currently resides in Buenos Aires and is a member of the youth movement at the Freedom and Progress Foundation. Follow him: @Jorsturzenegger.