Friday, January 8, 2016

Presidential Qualifications, Part 2

So what qualifications should we seek in a president or other office holder? What we need is similar to what I've previously described as qualifications for judges (See Chapter 10 of my book, Freedom or Serfdom):

Integrity: We must have integrity in any government official. Without integrity, other ability becomes a means to abuse the powers of office. An able but corrupt official will use that ability for his own benefit, not for the good of the country.
Commitment to Constitution and Law: Our elected officials (and the bureaucrats they hire) must be committed to our constitutional form of government, and to constitutional law. We have a representative republic with carefully crafted protections against abuse of power. We must insist that people we elect uphold those protections.
Subordination of Personal Belief to Law and Constitution: Our officials must be willing and able to follow the law and Constitution as written, not dictatorially impose their own ideas on us.
Intellectual Ability: They must have the ability cut through the intellectual fog, and decide on the basis of fact, logic, law and Constitution.
The inner strength to stand up for what is right: Officials are under pressure to go along with their supporters, and with the people who make the most noise. That pressure they must resist. They must decide on the basis of law and constitution and resist government by decibel.
Humility and willingness to listen to good advice: Nobody knows everything so our leaders must seek and utilize good advice. In fact, the Bay of Pigs attack, probably the greatest foreign policy debacle in our history happened partly because smart men in Kennedy's brain trust did not seek advice from people with knowledge they lacked. (Described in Irving Janis book, Groupthink.

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