Barbarians at the gate usually don’t bring down once-successful civilizations. Nor does climate change. Even mass epidemics like the plague that decimated sixth-century Byzantium do not necessarily destroy a culture.
Far more dangerous are institutionalized corruption, a lack of transparency and creeping neglect of existing laws. All the German euros in the world will not save Greece if Greeks continue to dodge taxes, featherbed government and see corruption as a business model. When the norm is corrupt it is time to change the norm. It doesn’t matter who is in charge if no one is following the law. The chairman and the council must insist that everyone follows the law. This includes the program directors, the chairman, the council and every person on staff as well as every contractor and service provider affiliated with the tribe.
Even obeying so-called minor laws counts. It is no coincidence that a country where drivers routinely flout traffic laws and throw trash out the window is also a country that cooks its books and lies to its creditors. Everything from littering to speeding seems negotiable in Athens in a way not true of Munich, Zurich or London.
Mexico is a much naturally richer country than Greece. It is blessed with oil, precious minerals, fertile soils, long coastlines and warm weather. Hundreds of thousands of Mexican citizens should not be voting with their feet to reject their homeland for the U.S.
But Mexico also continues to be a mess because police expect bribes, property rights are iffy, and government works only for those who pay kickbacks. The result is that only north, not south, of the U.S.-Mexico border can people expect upward mobility, clean water, adequate public safety and reliable power.
In much of the Middle East and Africa, tribalism and bribery, not meritocracy, determine who gets hired and fired, wins or loses a contract, or receives or goes without public services. Are we no better?
Lumbees, too, should worry about these age-old symptoms of internal decay. The actions some of our leaders is unacceptable. Using your leadership position to enrich oneself at the expense of the Lumbee nation is unconscionable if not downright illegal. The administration must hold those who work for the tribe accountable for their actions. Political cronyism is a practice we need to get away from. Lets hire folks who are qualified and then allow them to do their jobs without fear of reprisal.
The frightening thing about disgraced IRS bureaucrat Lois Lerner’s knowledge of selective audits of groups on the basis of their politics is not just that she seemed to ignore it, but that she seemingly assumed no one would find out, or perhaps even mind. And she may well have been right. So far, no one at the IRS has shown much remorse for corrupting an honor-based system of tax compliance. The same can be said about our tribal administration.
Illegal immigration has been a prominent subject in the news lately, between Donald Trump’s politically incorrect, imprecise and crass stereotyping of illegal immigrants and the shocking murder of a young San Francisco woman gratuitously gunned down in public by a Mexican citizen who had been convicted of seven felonies in the United States and had been deported five times. But the subject of illegal immigration is, above all, a matter of law enforcement.
Ultimately, no nation can continue to thrive if its government refuses to enforce its own laws. The Lumbee Tribe must hold its elected officials and all staff accountable. Misuse of monies, equipment and power is unacceptable. Being in a position of power does not give the right to disobey rules and regulations.
Civilizations unwind insidiously not with a loud, explosive bang, but with a lawless whimper. We have a constitution that lays the path for us all to follow. Let’s insist that we all do so.
Disregard for the law is America’s greatest threat, by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online, http://victorhanson.com/wordpress/?p=8527. July 10, 2015