No wise man, therefore, will in any instance of moment trust to the mere integrity of another. The experience of all ages may convince us, that men, when they are above fear, grow for the most part above honesty and shame.

—John Trenchard. Cato’s Letters No. 61, How free Governments are to be framed so as to last, and how they differ from such as are arbitrary, Saturday, January, 13, 1721.

Every constitution must assume officials will be corrupt and incorporate devices to thwart their underhanded designs. There is no surer way to keep officials on the straight and narrow than by requiring that all their actions take place in the full glare of public scrutiny. It is the continual inspection and analysis of their behavior that trains officials to become habitual and pedantic followers of the law.

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove