In re: to this, the always-on-the-ball Victor Joecks at NPRI dropped us a comment with a link to a 2003 National Review story about David Keene, the ACU, and political advocacy groups trying to moonlight as lobbyists. (See here for my earlier post on the current ACU dust-up due to a leaked letter from FedEx.)
It is a sobering piece, and has me thinking about whether people and/or organizations can “do” both effective issues advocacy and paid lobbying while still maintaining philosophical-political integrity.
I suppose it is possible, but it seems to me they are best kept separate and that people ought to make a choice. The temptation to bend and accept lobby money on a “lesser” issue while (rationalizing that) you are still right on all the “core” issues can be great and should not be underestimated. As is often said at round-table meetings where political purity is challenged by the need for operating cash, “You can’t change the world if you can’t pay the rent.”
Unfortunately, once one accepts even a little money for not-quite pure reasons, one has begun to compromise, which makes it that much more likely that the next time a trade-off presents itself, one will do it again. And again.
The next thing you know, you end up like David Keene and the ACU: wealthy, powerful, and part of the problem with politics and public policy debates in this country. You no longer consistently stand on principle, and everything is for sale.
God forbid I ever find myself there.
We must resist the alluring song of those enchanting twin sirens, Money and Power, or in the end suffer our good ship to veer off course or be smashed to pieces on the rocks. The siren song is beautiful; but its end is always death.