Front Page Titles (by Subject) Absolute Power and Corruption - Literature of Liberty, January/March 1978, vol. 1, No. 1
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“Absolute Power” and Corruption - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, January/March 1978, vol. 1, No. 1 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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“Absolute Power” and Corruption
“Nixon's Challenge to Carter: No More Mr. Nice Guy.” Foreign Policy (USA), 29(1977): 27–42.
We need a critical analysis of the conventional liberal wisdom on the origins and implications of the “Watergate crisis” during President Nixon's administration. By personalizing and criminalizing Nixon's motives, liberal critics avoid confronting some of the deeper lessons offered by the Watergate crisis. These center around the necessary relationship that exists between an administration's foreign policy and the domestic policy which it pursues. In fact, many of Nixon's critics strongly supported the major foreign policy objectives of the Nixon-Kissinger administration (energetic diplomacy in the Middle East, the opening to China, detente with Russia, and extrication from Vietnam), decrying the administration's systematic violations of political and civil liberties at home.
A certain diplomatic and domestic political style is a necessary concomitant of foreign policies. It is at best inconsistent for Nixon's critics to support the basic outlines of the Nixon administration's foreign policies while focusing their criticism on its domestic policies. Nixon's pursuit of a global, interventionist foreign policy necessarily generated manipulative, repressive internal politics. In order to wage a tough, effective foreign policy, he had to maintain social discipline to pacify the silent majority and to suppress the articulate minority. As Nixon stated in his T.V. interview with David Frost:
The actions I took with great reluctance, but recognizing I had to do what was right, the actions that I took in Vietnam: one, to try to win an honorable peace abroad; and two, to keep the peace at home, because keeping the peace at home and keeping support for the war was essential in order to get the enemy to negotiate. And that was, of course, not easy to do in view of the dissent and so forth that we had.
We must challenge the fundamental liberal tenet that one can pursue the same substantive policies by replacing “bad” people with “good” people in an effort to avoid the same excesses in the domestic sphere. The underlying problem lies not with the moral rectitude of specific individuals chosen to lead America, but with the assumptions and objectives chosen to guide our foreign policy. As long as liberals refuse to systematically reevaluate these assumptions and objectives, it will be futile to oppose the fruits of such a policy. Therein lies Nixon's basic challenge to Carter: how long can Carter remain Mr. Nice Guy if he insists on pursuing essentially the same foreign policy objectives that the Nixon-Kissinger administration pursued?
A global, interventionist foreign policy necessarily results in a major expansion of state power domestically. Strenuously opposing interventionism in both the domestic and foreign spheres will banish future “Watergates.”
Planning vs. Choice
The concluding set of summaries surveys the nature and consequences of abridging human liberty through regulation in various spheres of human action (e.g., economics, education, and ecology). Regulation and centralized government planning are set in opposition to individual voluntary choice. The series ends with the benefits of private “planning” over public planning based on bureacracy and master plans. This set of summaries concretely recapitulates the contrast between spontaneous and nonspontaneous order and the conflicts in paradigms of human freedom.