Halfassed: Reclaiming The Word Corruption

I have at least a hundred unpublished posts that may never get polished into respectable writing. But this is just a random blog by a random dude. So I am going to start hitting the publish button on some of them. If the title is “Halfassed...” please know that is what is going on and forgive the egotism of publishing ones stray thoughts in ones own lifetime.

Current definition of corruption is money centric.

Wikipedia has a definition: 

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_corruption

Political corruption is the use of powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties, is done under color of law or involves trading in influence.

Generally speaking as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain”. Corruption can be classified as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs.

Is that consistently bad? It’s certainly not malum in se

Once upon a time, one meaning of “corruption” was always bad; Lisa Hill, Comceptions of Corruption in Ancient Athens and Rome:

There were two broad discourses of corruption in antiquity. The first (‘corruption 1’) conceived corruption in moralistic terms as a loss of virtue in the polity; a generalised condition afflicting political elites and citizens indiscriminately. The second discourse (‘corruption 2’) is the narrow, legalistic view of corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain and, as with contemporary understandings of corruption, it involved activities like patronage, bribery, extortion and embezzlement. It is sometimes suggested that the first discourse was either the only, or else the dominant discourse

Corruption means using politics for private financial gain. Is this a case where someone else wrote the head and subhead? What is Jamelle Bouie talking about here?

 

Trickle Down

The Republican corruption in Washington has rolled down to the states.

Much of the history of the modern Republican Party in Washington, from the “Gingrich Revolution” to President Trump, consists of repeated, successful attacks on the norms of American governance. That ethos has trickled down to Republicans across the country, who have taken the always fraught and divisive world of politics and made it a war by other means.

Take Wisconsin. Under Gov. Scott Walker, Republicans have worked hard to insulate themselves from electoral accountability, with aggressive redistricting to protect incumbent Republican lawmakers, an attack on the state’s independent ethics and elections agency, and a draconian voter identification law that depressed black turnout in the 2016 election and helped Donald Trump win the state—and the presidency with it.

In some ways, Bouie’s use is far superior in that it describes behavior that directly corrupts government, ie, breaks it.