Politics attracts mentally ill people.  These people crave adulation, sycophancy, ability to manipulate others.  Since they spend all their time deluding their charges, and since their sense of reality was altered before they even started on the political road, they tend to convince themselves, once in their positions, that they deserve the perquisites with which their office is adorned.  There is a natural tendency in the people who compose any governing body to enhance those perquisites, and to protect the office, and their possession of it, in a manner which, left unchecked, develops into impunity.
    It was thus a turning point in human history when Washington refused first the kingship of America that had been offered him, and then, as president, the field command of the troops who put down Shay's Rebellion.  In doing so he turned away from the path of impunity that leads always to such characters as France's Napoleon III, popular and populist criminals who can gather all the reigns of power in their own grubby hands and then lead their nations into the particular perdition that their little minds have missed in their petty calculations.
    The historical antidote to personal dictatorship has been the development of bureaucracy.  The bureaucrats make themselves necessary by adumbrating (look it up) rules that only they can understand, and of course they are then necessary to the function of the government.  This checks the executive, who perforce must consult the bureaucrats to get anything done.  Thus, the true function of bureaucracy is not to administer the rules, but rather to serve as a greater or lesser counterweight to the executive, whatever it's titles and methods, which would otherwise naturally tend to become absolutist and overweening.
    Bureaucrats in power will follow the normal course of human nature and attempt to perpetuate the system that rewards them, and those at the top will develop, within the limits of their system, their own kind of impunity, getting away with whatever they can get away with as long as they can.  The guys (meant in a gender-neutral sense) on the European Commission, having reached the level where they thought themselves observed only by themselves, came to see themselves as above the rules of decency, as people in those positions tend always to do.
    But in this age of instant access and shifting political sands they found themselves beached, as have monarchs of the past, on the sands of parliamentary scrutiny.  Unable to justify themselves in any language they could muster (no charisma to ask for forgiveness, plead for another chance, call forth the love of the people, those tools being the sole preserve of the executive, and unavailable to bureaucrats) they had to do away with themselves.  Good riddance.  But of course their replacements will be subject to the same psychological and social forces.
    Well, I always have thoughts about what to do about things.  "String em up" is not an option.  Solves nothing.  Never has.  My thought is that every seeker after public office, whether elective or appointive or civil service, should post a performance bond.  A big one.  Equal to, say, their entire current net worth plus their entire projected income for the coming, say, twenty years.  Seems to me that might tend to keep them on the straight and narrow.
    What do you think?

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