PERSPECTIVErnMob Rulesrnby Thomas FlemingrnWilliam Jefferson Clinton may some day be hailed as thernsecond father of his country, or rather as the abusivernstepfather. His seemingly deliberate efforts to disgrace his administrationrnand disgust the people have convinced a significantrnnumber of clear-headed citizens of the truth of Acton’srnmaxim that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Perhaps asrnmuch as a fourth of the population has had enough, not only ofrnthis President but also of the system that spawned him. ThernLewinsky scandal is this regime’s picture of Dorian Gray: thernunnatural pursuit of sex, money, and power dissolved from anyrnties of loyalty and affection and ultimately incapable of producingrnany issue or results.rnMany of us recoil from the ugly image, but to regress fromrnthis regime requires us to understand the nature of the beast.rnLibertarians are fond of invoking Albert Jay Nock’s title. OurrnEnemy, The State, as a battle cry against all government and authority,rnincluding medieval principalities, commercial republics,rnand totalitarian despotism. But no one who has beenrnforced to join a college faculty committee or sit through a townrnmeeting can have many illusions about spontaneous order.rnAny form of government can be misused, but it is not authorityrnor government per se that picks our pockets to pay for the bayonetsrnthat are stuck in our backs. Most despotisms, in fact, havernhad little power over everyday life; it is only a particular kind ofrnmodern state that has gained the power to rear children and inventrnmoney, and it is precisely the modern state which, in itsrnmost advanced form, seems to have specialized in the corruptionrnthat is objected to in the current administration.rnThe real objection to Bill Clinton and his friends is not thatrnthey are immoral. Let him who is without sin cast the firstrnstone. But it is precisely these dynasts who have mined wholernquarryfuls of moral stone to launch at the American people.rnThe leaders of the national government who demand our obediencernin paying taxes, complying with laws made by federalrnjudges, avoiding every unclean thought about persons of a differentrnrace, religion, or perversity-choice, and observing all thernminute regulations invented every day by a host of governmentrnemployees that is as great in number as the population of our 13rnsovereign states in 1787—those same leaders are caught in thernact, day after day, soliciting bribes, evading taxes and so-calledrnethics rules, and violating the most basic moral rules of everydayrnlife: they lie, cheat, and steal with impunity; they seducernthe innocent and collude with the guilty.rnThe justification of the modern political class is usuallyrnframed in Machiavellian terms: “The guy may be a thief and anrnadulterer, but we’re not paying him to sing in the choir. Sornlong as he makes the frains run on time and defends the nation,rnwe can overlook his peccadilloes.” But the trains—what fewrnthere are—do not run on time. So many politicians have beenrnbribed by the airline, trucking, and highway construction industriesrnthat our national railroad system is the laughing-stockrnof the civilized world. Our national defense, on the same hand,rnis in the hands of a Commander in Chief who sells arms to ourrnenemies. We would all be better off if Mr. Clinton werernsinging castrato in the Vienna Boy’s Choir.rnThe corruption of the American regime is not an isolated instance,rnbut the significance gets buried under the pile of individualrnindictments. Citizens of modern states object to muchrn10/CHRONICLESrnrnrn