Principles and Politics

How this woman came to be the Prime Minister of Australia proves the ineptitude of the system.
How this woman came to be the Prime Minister of Australia proves the ineptitude of the system.

Principles and Politics

By Tony DeLorger © 2011


Having just read an article by Semj entitled ‘Would You Betray Your Principles for $1,000,000’, it so resonated with me, I have to continue the thinking and write some more. Semj is a brilliant writer and philosopher and his observations, particularly in the political arena, are well researched, always valid and thought-provoking.

This time he brings into consideration we all have a price and are far less principled than we’d like to think. This human nature is then applied to the political corruption that exists globally, and questions why then are the political systems so open to accommodating it: hitting the proverbial nail on the head, Semj.

This question of whether you’d cast your principles aside for monetary gain is not a new one, the film ‘Indecent Proposal’ is one example in popular culture. The question is not whether but at what price? Forget money; if you were told that you would have to watch your children burn to death if you didn’t betray some principle, your decision would be obvious. Human beings are flawed creatures and we’d like to think of ourselves as principled and honest, but there are bounds.

In politics this reality is magnified. The political systems in place globally were designed for the minority of principled stalwarts that as politicians, give all for the good of the nation. In reality these people are chewed up and spat out by the majority. Corruption is rife in this culture and without systems to account for it, how will that ever change?

In Denmark they have a well designed political system that at least tries to overcome the opportunities for corruption. It is a democratic system that works well and even has a ministry whose task it is to oversee other ministers to ensure government remains honest and open. They have high personal tax up to 50%, but for that all healthcare and education is free, ensuring the countries future with high levels of education. Here, crimes statistics are low, religion is downplayed and the Danes are reputedly the happiest and safest people in the world.

For the rest of us, we live under political systems that are based on money, one way or another. Political ascendance in these systems can only occur with the support of power brokers and of course money, all of which is afforded with stipulations and favours that are the essence of corruption. Governments are formed and remain indebted to factions and individuals that have their own agendas and in the end can pull the strings in future policy and decision making.

Until we change the way in which an individual can ascend to political power, the same scenario will endure. I have always believed that politicians should be chosen for their particular expertise rather than how much money they can procure for a political campaign. If the system were to accommodate for qualified experts in politics rather than choosing candidates from marketing campaigns and popularity contests, we would all be better off.

Comments 7 comments

Tony DeLorger profile image

Tony DeLorger 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia Author

Thanks so much for your comments, guys. In a way my hub is simplistic and can in no way address the complexities of the political problems we all face as a society. The main point is corruption, which at some point must be contained by the system itself. No mean feat! Thanks for your thoughts.


CHRIS57 profile image

CHRIS57 5 years ago from Northern Germany

You are absolutely right with your hub, Tony. Power corrupts and principles have their price.

I would add, political principles have a double price, at least in functioning democracies. Price tag no. 1 is for what you pointed out in your hub. Price tag no. 2 is for political responsibility. So it is always balancing and bargaining of prices, which leads to political decisions.

A little example: I live in Germany and we currently have a small liberal party in our government that was funded (among others) by hotel business lobbyists. After election, the party representatives used their newly gained power and enacted a law that diminished value added tax for accomodation services. As that did not reduce accomodation costs, it became obvious that the whole deal was for filling the purses of the hotel industry. Within 2 years this liberal party was punished by public opinion and will definitely not return to power for a second term. In this example things worked fine and the greed for funding was too low for the political price to be payed.

One word about Denmark and Scandinavian countries. Denmark is small, population is just some 25% of the greater metropolitan area of New York City. As much desirable as the political situation in Denmark may be, it cannot be transfered to larger economies and nations. More political power, more money, less principles, if i may say.


CHRIS57 profile image

CHRIS57 5 years ago from Northern Germany

You are absolutely right with your hub, Tony. Power corrupts and principles have their price.

I would add, political principles have a double price, at least in functioning democracies. Price tag no. 1 is for what you pointed out in your hub. Price tag no. 2 is for political responsibility. So it is always balancing and bargaining of prices, which leads to political decisions.

A little example: I live in Germany and we currently have a small liberal party in our government that was funded (among others) by hotel business lobbyists. After election, the party representatives used their newly gained power and enacted a law that diminished value added tax for accomodation services. As that did not reduce accomodation costs, it became obvious that the whole deal was for filling the purses of the hotel industry. Within 2 years this liberal party was punished by public opinion and will definitely not return to power for a second term. In this example things worked fine and the greed for funding was too low for the political price to be payed.

One word about Denmark and Scandinavian countries. Denmark is small, population is just some 25% of the greater metropolitan area of New York City. As much desirable as the political situation in Denmark may be, it cannot be transfered to larger economies and nations. More political power, more money, less principles, if i may say.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

Great hub Tony. My country, the United States, is experiencing this problem in a huge way. Our Supreme Court struck down campaign finance rules and now corporations are allowed to spend infinitely to get their candidates and policies elected and enacted. It's an insane system and is ruining my country.


kimh039 profile image

kimh039 5 years ago

I would love the opportunity to just experience a political system like Denmark in order to really compare it with capitalism and democracy. I thought New Zealand was much like that with a functioning unemployment and welfare system as well. I get queezy sometimes thinking of all the bright people in the US who haven't been able to afford an education, all the mediocre people who have reservations at the most exclusive educational institutions in our country, and all the foreigners filling good jobs that Americans could do with a little education and training. Mind you, I believe in capitalism and free trade and globalization, but sometimes good leadership and common sense is needed.

Sorry, Tony, I have no idea how that relates to your hub, except to agree that corruption exists in politics:)


Tony DeLorger profile image

Tony DeLorger 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia Author

Well said Cat on a soapbox, and thanks for you comment and dropping by.


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 5 years ago from Los Angeles

Thanks for a thought-provoking hub.

I agree that both political campaigning and fund raising are way out of control. Candidates should have expertise in a given arena and should have thorough background checks like any other potential civil employees before running. Once the qualifications are met,candidates should then make the effort to attend town hall meetings, write blogs, debate in public forums, and attend rallies. There should not be marketing campaigns nor mud-slinging allowed because clever ads paid for by the one with the most funds overshadow all else. I also support stronger term limits. Political campaign contributions should support the race for office NOT a given candidate.

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