PERSPECTIVEnScience, Wisdom, and Moral JudgmentnQuis custodiet ipsos custodes? Juvenal’s admonition tonhusbands has often been applied to government, butnrarely with the full force of the original: “Go ahead and locknher up,” the Roman satirist warned, “but who will watch thenwatchmen themselves? She’s put on her guard and startsnwith them.” Once a large number of frail mortals hasnempowered a smaller set to watch over their interests,nwhat — or rather, since institutions always consist of powerseekingnindividuals, who — is going to prevent them fromnlooking after their own, rather than the people’s, interest?nWhat is worse, if we are to follow up the metaphor, we arenactually facilitating the corruption.nTo prevent such corruption in high places, governmentsnare turning to ethics specialists. But what are the qualificationsnfor these positions? Chicago’s “ethics chief,” Gary M.nO’Neill, had been a campaign fund-raiser and personalninjury attorney in Louisiana before answering a newspapernad placed by the Ghicago Board of Ethics. Mayor Daley hadnoffended the Board by recommending a candidate with “tiesnto city hall,” and the Board — determined to have its ownnway — hired O’Neill as executive director on December 12,n1989.nOn January 12, 1990, exactly one month later, the newnethics chief resigned, after it was revealed that he had beennhimself accused of campaign chicanery by the LouisiananBoard of Ethics for Elected Officials. The ex-ambulancenchaser’s apology to the Chicago Sun-Times was that it wasnunfortunate when ambitious bureaucrats have “sad thingsn12/CHRONICLESnby Thomas Flemingnnnhappen in their lives.”nNote the impersonal construction so popular with childrennand with those who are morally “forever young”: as itnsays on the bumper sticker, s—t happens. Even if the ethicsnboard had not asked about any skeletons in his closet,nO’Neill knew it was his obligation to tell them about thenproblem in Louisiana. He cannot even allege that the wholenaffair had slipped his mind. He told NPR’s Morning Editionnthat he considered candor as an option, but only because henthought his experience with an ethics investigation could benconsidered an asset.nSo now the question is not simply who will watch thenwatchdogs, but who will watch the watchdogs hired to watchnthe watchdogs? It is an infinite regression toward a point thatnrepresents the extinction of our liberties.nAs I write-this on the twelfth of January, I believe I cannpredict at least one of the reactions to this petty scandal.nMembers of the ethics profession will seize the occasion andnmount a campaign to insure that only a trained professionalnbe hired to fill an ethics position. Because, there are nownacademic courses in medical ethics and legal ethics, and thensame business schools that cheered on Ivan Boesky haveninstituted ethics requirements.nEthics is a big business, too, for such Watergate alumni asnCharles Colson and Jeb Stuart Magruder. Mr. Colson hasnmade himself into something of a celebrity-theologian, butnwhat his credentials are, he has never made plain. LikenChuck Colson, Mr. Magruder has got religion and makesn