Are some political ideologies/parties more immune from corruption and such?

This is related to something I saw while researching this thread of mine, but it’s such a different topic that I thought it needed its own thread.

When reading the Slashdot article commentary linked in the above thread, it struck me how much faith the libertarian readership had in Ron Paul. They absolutely and positively believe in his integrity and campaign promises. I don’t think anyone but the most ardent Democrats and Republicans think the same about THEIR presidential candidates, if even THEM.

That got me wondering about the source of this. Could it be that libertarians, Greens, and other such “fringe” parties are immune (or resistant) to corruption, constituent disconnect, and other such factors, possibly because their platforms require a lot of fervency or faith? If so, is it BECAUSE of their “fringeness” that this is true? Would this immunity, if it exists, collapse if they gained real power, either short term or long? Do they only look good in this respect by comparison to the two major parties?

I was interested by this because it runs counter to so much of the cynicism about politics and power. So I was wondering if there was anything to this. Thoughts?

Lack of temptation.

The higher up a politician rises on the ladder of power, the more s/he attracts the attention of those with money to grant and favors to ask. Since members of the fringe parties are, by definition, on the fringe, they fly under the radar. But should the Libertarians or Greens start to accumulate political clout, that situation would change; and while I couldn’t swear on a stack of Wall Street Journals that they would fall from grace, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if they did.

I think you need to consider something differently when talking about libertarians. As a political philosophy, libertarians look for limited government in part because they recognize how much corrupting influence governmental power has. So, it’s probably much more than a dedication to a given individual, but a recognition that as long as he stays true to a libertarian political philosophy, there will be less opportunity for corruption in the first place. On the other extreme, I think we can recognize the overwhelming corruption inherent in a Stalinist/Leninist/Maoist state where the government has control over every aspect of the lives of citizens in such a sate.

OttoDaFe makes good points. I’d also point out that the fervency that makes some types of corruption less likely makes others, probably worse ones, more likely. Instead of bending or breaking the law to make a profit they are more likely to bend or break it to impose their beliefs or spy on/punish their opponents. Or to appoint people according to their adherance to the One True Way, or divert money to such people for the cause, and so forth.

And some types of “corruption” are a good thing; someone who refuses to compromise his political princples for any reason is the sort of person who can cause great suffering when it turns out those principles don’t actually work, and he keeps pushing them anyway.

I agree, for the most part, that the less government power a political figure advocates, the less likely they are to become corrupted. Taken that way, it seems a libertarian politician is far less likely to become corrupt than a Green party politician, for all that I prefer the Green party’s platform.

More than any of that, though, is an unwillingness within all of the political parties to police themselves. Across the board, political groups are more than happy to point the finger at their opponents and intransigently unwilling to investigate, prosecute, and punish corruption within their own ranks. I suspect it’s because there is an endemic level of corruption throughout the entire two-party system, and those who might be willing to hold members of their own party to high ethical standards either have a few skeletons in the closet or simply aren’t trusted by the party hierarchy because they don’t have a few skeletons in the closet.

Any time a group holds power over a population, I see a reluctance among the rank and file members to hold those in power accountable for ethical breaches. Not just in politics, either. Police, doctors, and teachers often either collude to protect unfit members (because if we’re allowed to question those members, what will stop us from questioning all members?) or the system is set up to discourage reporting of wrong doing.

The only time I’ve ever seen a group of people who policed themselves internally to a higher degree than they were policed externally was the stories I heard from my mother, an RN, regarding the Board of Registered Nurses in Texas. They were absolutely ruthless, and it was far, far better for a nurse to self-report an error than it was to be reported by another nurse. Or worse, get caught trying to cover up a mistake. A self-reported error would get a warning and perhaps some remedial classes to cover whatever knowledge was lacking. A report by another would often get a suspension and mandatory retraining. Evidence of a cover up often led to revocation of the nursing license.

Now, mind you, that is anecdotal only, and probably fifteen to twenty years out of date. However, I suspect that if this were the case, it was primarily because women and the nursing profession had to work so hard to prove themselves, they were completely intolerant of anything threatening their standing.

Libertarian ideology has a certain built-in resistance to government corruption – limiting the government’s power reduces its ability to grant special favors, and thus there’s just not as much to be gained by corrupting it (except, obviously, to attempt to corrupt it away from libertarian principles).

That says more about the followers than it does the leader. Believers in Liberatarianism - like believers in any other “ism” - tend to be more idealistic than the average citizen. Idealistic people, in turn, tend to be less cynical , and therefore more trusting. It’s the same with any political organization. The hard core tend to be loyal, with the rank-and-file a bit more reserved; the problem with the smaller parties is that they’re *only * “hard core.”

Myself, I tend to doubt all politicians, even the ones who agree with me - they’re just as likely to be currupt.

Well, let’s put it this way.

Suppose one were a corrupt politician [insert joke redudency joke here].

What sort of career path would you pick for yourself? Would you really become a major player in the Libertarian Party, in the hopes that once the Libertarians finnally hit it big you’ll be perfectly positioned to rake in the graft? Fact is, the Libertarian party is nowheresville. It’s not ever going to become a major political party. Maybe small-l libertarianism as a MOVEMENT might get some traction, but the Libertarian party isn’t going to be driving that movement.

So if you’re a shifty political type, you’re going to join either the Republicans or Democrats and try to claw your way up that ladder, because that’s where the action is.

Oh sure, any time there’s money lying around, there are people who are tempted to help themselves to that money. There’s no group that has a budget too small to be tempting to someone or other…people will steal from the tip jar in a coffee house or a church collection plate if they think they can get away with it. So somebody helping themselves to the crusts of campaign contributions from the Libertarian Party wouldn’t suprise me. But if you’re looking for a big score, the Libertarian Party isn’t the place to look. The smaller the group the less attractive it is to the out-and-out thieves, people rob banks because that’s where the money is.

But as others have pointed out, while groups like this don’t often attract people interested in money, they attract other sorts of unsavory characters. Those who like to excercise petty politics, for instance. The people in the Libertarian party might not be stealing money, but they love factional fighting and the self-satisfaction of doctrinal purity. Self-righteousness is a drug.