Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United
While writing today, I ran across this book called, Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United, a marvelous work written by Zephyr Teachout. What follows are some book descriptions by various book reviewers.
“At last someone has written a book that puts a name to what is perhaps the most significant factor shaping American politics today: corruption. In a masterly work of scholarship, Zephyr Teachout…traces the history of American approaches to what was long considered a mortal threat to the republic. She demonstrates that recent jurisprudence, which has whittled down the definition of corruption to encompass only a contractual exchange between briber and public official, represents nothing less than ‘a revolution in political theory.’… Teachout calls for a return to the Framers’ preference for across-the-board rules to help prevent corrupt acts before they are perpetrated, rather than relying on punishment after the fact.”
“Teachout’s book is filled with colorful anecdotes about Americans getting away with all sorts of chicanery… Corruption in America shows that it is possible to establish and maintain governmental institutions that shield us from our worst instincts. This was the goal of Madison and his peers, and it could still be achieved with a better public-election finance system, which could be constitutional under Citizens United if the system did not restrict private donations. Democrats who will be looking for a fresh agenda in 2016 should read Teachout’s book carefully.”
I found this one in particular very interesting in explaining what this nation endured the past eight years; private interests over public good in public office, sure helps me to define politics.
“In Corruption in America, an eloquent, revealing, and sometimes surprising historical inquiry, Teachout convincingly argues that corruption, broadly understood as placing private interests over the public good in public office, is at the root of what ails American democracy.”
You have probably heard pundits say we are living in an age of ‘legalized bribery’; Corruption in America is the book that makes their case in careful detail… State governments subject to wealthy corporations? Check. Speculators in legislation, infesting the capital? They call it K Street… And all of it has happened, Teachout admonishes because the founders’ understanding of corruption has been methodically taken apart by a Supreme Court that cynically pretends to worship the founders’ every word.”