Thursday, January 27, 2011

Think-A-Minute: Character Trumps Policy

Note: This post is largely inspired by (and possibly completely ripped off from) Wall Builders.

Governments, like clocks, go from the motion men give them; and as governments are made and moved by men, so by them they are ruined too. Wherefore governments rather depend upon men, than men upon governments. Let men be good, and the government cannot be bad; if it be ill, they will cure it. But, if men be bad, let the government be never so good, they will endeavor to warp and spoil it to their turn.

I know some say, let us have good laws, and no matter for the men that execute them: but let them consider, that though good laws do well, good men do better: for good laws may want good men, and be abolished or evaded by ill men, but good men will never want (lack) good laws, nor suffer ill ones.

-William Penn, Frame of Government of Pennsylvania, May 5, 1682

Can a country last long which elects as it's rulers those of low character, even if they proclaim wise policy? Not according to William Penn. His argument is clear, no matter how good the laws, it is the men & women in office that enforce them. And if those men & women are of low character, they whey will "warp and spoil government" to their benefit.

It therefore behooves us to ensure only good people achieve office and then to watch closely to ensure they remain good.

Think about that. And remember it whenever you're called upon to select leaders.

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