Capitalism supposedly is about competition for financial profit, and so is its politics. Money talks, and corruption of potential leadership begins with exorbitant campaign contributions, the largest of which confer disproportionate influence to the loudest voices. The large spate of current contenders for the Presidency translates into collective donations that will sponsor months of “prizefight” entertainment rather than be available for more tangible public benefit.
The notion of public service once meant personal dedication to producing some form of well-being for the citizenry. Recent events give it a reverse spin as elected representatives are exposed for gaining inordinate personal benefit from their positions in high office. How ironic is it for aspiring national politicians to mail millions of requests for donations under $100 in an effort to show breadth of support when those contributors can only expect to see a menu of governance objectives dictated by obscure megadonors?
The following is adapted from a talk delivered at Hillsdale College on October 3, 2023, during a conference on “U.S. Intelligence: History and Controversies.” We need the CIA, but we also need to recognize the uncomfortable reality that the CIA is not performing at the level we require. It is not keeping us safe. It