Checks and balances

Dear Editor

Demagogues, despots and the divine right types have been a puzzlement to me all my life.  No doubt I overdosed as a child on the fable of the emperor with no clothes before I understood the concept of political allegory. When one looks at the historical record, the boys and girls at the top of the heap have a good deal of lunacy and narcissism in their ranks. Money and power, it seems, attract sociopaths like a light bulb attracts moths.

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Have we checks and balances against treating our municipal, national and provincial treasuries as a personal piggy bank? The phrase “Law of the Land” was first used at Runnymede and appears to have been invoked in 1688 when King James II got the boot.

Somewhere in the writings of clergyman/political satirist Jonathan Swift there is a phrase that goes something like this: There never appear more than half a dozen men of genius in an age, if they were united the world could not stand before them.

I once met such a man. By his definition, laws exist to make the world a safer place to rear our children. True genius is ever humble.

Perhaps the way to tell those who would serve others from those interested in serving themselves is found in the wisdom of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The louder he talked of his honour, the faster we counted our spoons.”

Tom Lamont


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