Writing in his book The Conscience of a Liberal, Senator Paul Wellstone (D-WI) quotes the Roman historian Plutarch, who

was active around 100 A.D. Plutarch had explained one reason why the Roman Republic fell: “The abuse of buying and selling votes crept in and money began to play an important part in determining elections. Later on, however, this process of corruption spread to the law courts and to the army, and finally, when even the sword became enslaved to the power of gold, the republic was subjected to the rule of emperors.” Wellstone adds: “The way in which money has come to dominate politics is the foremost ethical issue of politics of our time. The corruption is far more serious than any wrongdoing by an individual officeholder. It is systematic corruption, in which there is a huge imbalance of power between the vast majority of people and those few who have the financial wherewithal to count

more. We as a nation have moved dangerously far away from the central principle of representative democracy: Each person counts as one and no more than one.” [WELLSTONE, 5/2001]

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