What I get from this Atlantic story on Medium, is that “corrupt” is not a very “nailed down” English word, at least in modern usage.

Americans, in fact and by reputation, do not necessarily respect laws, or rules (“the rule of law”), all that much, ever since Prohibition and before. Prohibition, extended to cannabis, has created a nation of scofflaws.

Criminal syndicates (“corrupting” by definition) sometimes seem like the saner actors, providing jobs and needed services, given the laws (creaky / antiquated / selectively enforced) drive so much activity underground.

Presidents often learn to work closely with same (criminal elements) e.g. Nixon (or suffer the consequences, e.g. JFK).

As the curtain goes up on The American Experience, the King’s rules (laws) are already unworkable, the UK’s game is unplayable, leading the US to revolt. Americans ever since have been about fighting from the bottom up, as underdogs against tyranny.

In other words, the worst offenders against humanity (e.g. some King) are often operating perfectly within the law. “Corrupt” and “law abiding” are sometimes synonyms, not antonyms. E.g. I’m thinking of Dark Waters (the movie).

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