Power and Herman Van Rumpoy

The European Union finally has a President. His name is Herman Van Rumpoy and he hails from the confusing state of Belgium. In the linked article, Paul Belien chronicles the negative development of this particular politician (as well as including a most useful primer on Belgian politics).

In the mid-1980s, Van Rompuy, a conservative Catholic, born in 1947, was active in the youth section of the Flemish Christian-Democrat Party. He wrote books and articles about the importance of traditional values, the role of religion, the protection of the unborn life, the Christian roots of Europe and the need to preserve them. The undemocratic and immoral nature of Belgian politics repulsed him and led to a sort of crisis of conscience.

[…]

I am not sure what happened next, however. Maybe word had reached the leadership of the Christian Democrat Party that Herman, a brilliant economist and intellectual, was considering leaving politics; perhaps they made him an offer he could not refuse. Herman remained in politics. He was made a Senator and entered government as a junior minister. In 1988, he became the party leader of the governing Christian-Democrats.

So, going from a “crisis of conscience” over the “immoral nature of . . . politics” to party leader.

Herman’s political career continued. He became Belgium’s Budget Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Speaker of the Chamber of Representatives and finally Prime Minister. He kept publishing intellectual and intelligent books, but instead of defending the concept of the good, he now defended the concept of “the lesser evil.”

Go read the whole piece and see how one man of principle lost his way. We should all take note.