Robert P. George: Poor Character in a President Corrupts the People Themselves
Editor’s Note: The following essay was adapted from an interview with Robert P. George conducted in October 2016. It has been modified for clarity.
Deep dishonesty and a persistent yielding to the temptation to infidelity should disqualify a presidential candidate. These things make a leader untrustworthy. And having such a leader has carryover effects, tending to a kind of corruption of the people themselves, by bad example and by a willingness, however reluctant, to tolerate them.
A third factor that we must add is a love of justice. Now, to have a love of justice, someone has to understand what justice is. Someone has to take the question of justice seriously. And I think presidents need to be people who love justice understood in republican terms. They have to understand what is distinctively just about the regime of republican government. Without that, even if they are honest people and people who are faithful, they will not restrain themselves in the way that is necessary for the functioning of true republican government.
Featured Image: Corrupt Legislation by Elihu Vedder (United States Library of Congress)