Politicians and their accomplices are fond of reciting that “Perfection is the enemy of …” of what? A look at the plug-in variables used to complete the false dichotomy turns up: good, progress, completion, and a host of similar abstract nouns with pleasant connotations. But if we translate the concepts behind the phrase, its meaning turns out to be: “Integrity is the enemy of self-deception.” This is Part One of a two-part exploration.
Farfetched? Here is a typical dictionary definition of perfection, which in politics is a verb, an ongoing process approaching a theoretical limit:
3. The action or process of improving something until it is faultless or as faultless as possible: e.g. Among the keytasks was the perfection of new mechanisms of economic management.
Compare that with an attempted definition of integrity:
3. Internal consistency or lack of corruption in electronic data: [as modifier] : integrity checking.
Integrity checking was the approach to logical cryptographic analysis Alan Turing used to help England crack the Enigma code in the war against National Socialist Germany. Turing’s preoccupation with integrity was belittled by Ludwig Wittgenstein in prewar discussions at Princeton U. Ayn Rand defines integrity more clearly than dictionaries compiled for the Great Unwashed:
Integrity is loyalty to one’s convictions and values; it is the policy of acting in accordance with one’s values, of expressing, upholding and translating them into practical reality.
In other words, integrity is ethical or moral perfection. Ask yourself what, then, is the meaning of political perfection as an ongoing process? Now ask yourself: what is the definition of political corruption? The answer that comes to mind is betrayal of one’s convictions and values. You cannot translate campaign bribes paid by disparate artificial persons into platform planks and be consistent. But to use the government’s coercive power to meddle in trade and production and repay those bribes one needs to persuade voters to abandon integrity and betray some of their principles. Hence, perfection/integrity becomes an impediment to betrayal/corruption–but stating it that bluntly is politically incorrect.
The sanction of the victim must be obtained through fear or intimidation. This is why looter politicians paint “opposition” politicians as the very embodiment of impending doom. Their job is to grab at the initiation of force for the gain of their backers. The pundits and pollsters they rent are incapable of working the three-body-problem once third-party spoiler votes are involved. And no wonder! Third-party spoiler votes are investments in perfecting the rule of law and securing the blessings of liberty for ourselves and out posterity.
Before 1971, small parties were without exception mystical, collectivist and/or nativist looters. Socialist populists of 1892 wanted the Communist Manifesto income tax which had been translated from German in The Red Republican in 1850. Coinciding with these mostly Christian altruists were the Prohibitionists, to whom the deadly threat of government guns would transubstantiate heathen tipplers into rum-hating fanatics all messed up on the Lord. The George Wallace and Tea Party approach meant the racial eugenics of woman-bullying Ku-Klux Christianity. Integrity in those three third-party cases meant pointing government guns at people to rob or brainwash them into submission. Their goal in every case was to dispose of the lives of individuals and the fruits of their labor. To mixed-economy politicians, these “third parties” were full of votes which, like money, could be suckered by flim-flam persuasion. After all, they all wanted practically the same thing. All of that changed in 1971.
To be continued…
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