FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
The Spirit of Community Organizing – When Corruption Gets Treated As A Manageable Risk
You can always trust the government. They practice morality on a much higher plane than the money-mongers grubbing for the filthy lucre down in the private sector. It’s a good thing they exist to be morally pure and impartial to all sides. Oh, Wait! They don’t. They are just as likely to be corrupt, duplicitous, and falsely self-seeking in the name of the commonweal. In Iowa they have mechanized corruption so that it happens efficiently as a manageable risk of governance.
The Des Moines Register reports that for five years ending in February 2011, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission shook down landlords for “voluntary contributions” in exchange for dropping discrimination complaints. The Register obtained copies of 27 settlement agreements involving about $20,000 in contributions.
The Iowa Civil Rights Commission exists to enforce the state’s civil rights legislation. It exists to make sure, as President Obama likes to put it, “everybody gets a fair shot.” With apologies to Shakespeare and Good Prince Hamlet; something is rotten in the State of Iowa. Instead of everyone getting a fair shot, everybody gets to dip their beaks. Instead of everyone having their rights protected, legal and regulatory might is the only thing that confers rights upon an entity. This is the spirit of modern community organizing – legalized theft. This is also basically the spirit of Mordor.
Even some civil rights activists in Iowa are upset that this is happening. State Representative Ako Adbul-Samad effectively identifies a negative feedback, but totally misconstrues the purpose of the system. He offers a valid, yet incomplete criticism below.
“I’m sure it was not set up for individuals to buy their way out, but because of the perception it gives, it may have seemed that way,” Abdul-Samad said. “That commission is needed by individuals who don’t have a voice, and I want violators to understand that you can’t pay your way out.”
He’s correct as far as he goes. Richer landlords have a vehicle by which they can now wipe their butts on Iowa’s Civil Rights Law. They buy indulgences from the fat-cats in Des Moines, and then no longer have any restraint against any inclination they have to evict minorities any time they wake up hung over on Monday morning. This is bad, but Abdul-Samad misses the grim and more potent evil at work here. Somebody had to happily sell every one of those indulgences.
What The Iowa Civil Rights Commission has been running is a racket for selling good old-fashioned Feke-Storm Insurance. You buy their insurance, and your rental properties won’t get hit by a feke-storm. This is a classic protection racket that does malicious things.
It drives shoe-string entrepreneurs out of Iowa’s real-estate market. This helps cartelize the landlord industry. Rents invariably go up; the income available to the oppressed poor goes down. Iowans can thank their very own Civil Rights Commission for making the lives of their poorest one notch harder than is necessary. Fred Reed wrote an interesting article describing how corrupt practices retard economic growth.
Start with corruption. In many poor countries, virtually everything is for sale. You can bribe the cops to get out of a ticket or bribe them to beat up an enemy, bribe a general in the army to overlook illegal logging, bribe anybody to do anything. The result is that really the country barely has laws, which means that you can never be sure of your legal ground. Businesses need predictability. Corruption exists in advanced countries, but there is less of it, and it tends to take organized form, as in campaign contributions, affirmative action, and seats of boards of directors after leaving office. Suspected Economic Law: The easier it is to bribe a working-stiff cop, the poorer the country.
This also makes economic parasitism a career path. People start earning a paycheck to make scurrilous complaints against landlords who haven’t ponied up. It scales the way Feigenbaum and Mandelbrot claimed fractals do. The corrupt morality is the same at all scales. The corrupt ne’er-do-wells on the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, the Senate Dining Room Deals of Senator McCaskill’s husband, and the untraceable campaign contributions flooding into Barack Obama’s presidential campaign all have the same wellspring of moral depravity. This is precisely the depraved indifference to civic virtue that we ratified as our new national morality when we elected Barack Obama to be president.
So here’s what to do to fix it. Do everything in your power to help get Barack Obama and Eric Holder out of national power. Give money and time to get rid of the Democratic Party’s Senatorial candidates. Tester, McCaskill, Sherrod Brown and Benjamin Cardin are particularly odious and all need to be replaced regardless of your partisan beliefs or your views of their opponent’s fitness to hold office. The current US Senate is like a dog that requires a worm-killing medication. Finally, start tracking your local politics. Cities, states and counties all over America will have to reenact “The Scouring of The Shire” from JRR Tolkien’s Return of The King
People like The Iowa Civil Rights Commission have probably emulated “The Chicago Way” all over America. Why wouldn’t they? In 2008 this is the morality the American Electorate rewarded with nearly unlimited power. The morality will only change when the pay-out for its continued practice is significantly altered. 2012 must be different – Mitt Romney for President. That is all.