Glenn Reynolds’ column on the Obamacare arguments hits on an oft-ignored theme:
The subjects entrusted to the federal government by the Constitution — those largely “external” powers — simply don’t lend themselves to corruption. On the other hand, when the government lays a heavy regulatory hand on almost every business and industry, the temptation for those regulated to buy off the regulators — or to simply buy “protection” from them — becomes much greater. That has increasingly been the pattern in recent decades, even as, not so coincidentally, the public’s trust in the national government has steadily declined. As P.J. O’Rourke famously said, when buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold will be legislators.
The truth of this seems obvious once stated, but it’s not stated often enough. Conservatives, who expect the government to be corrupt, don’t bother with it much (although Jonah Goldberg devotes and entire chapter of Liberal Fascism to it). And as it contradicts the essential element of Progressive ideology — that Leviathan fights against corruption — proggies can’t acknowledge it.
So the beast grows apace.