Power Corrupts

theCL  2010-01-07  Philosophy

Too much power has been handed over to a select few in Washington DC, so it should be no surprise that our government is corrupt. After all ...

Power Corrupts

When a person gains power over other persons–political power to force other persons to do his bidding when they do not believe it right to do so–it seems inevitable that a moral weakness develops in the person who exercises that power. It may take time for this weakness to become visible. In fact, its full extent is frequently left to the historians to record, but we eventually learn of it. It was Lord Acton, the British historian, who said: “All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

[T]he possessor of the political power could very well decide to leave every person free to do as he pleases so long as he does not infringe upon the same right of every other person to do as he pleases. However, that concept appears to be utterly without reason to a person who wants to exercise political power over his fellow man, for he asks himself: “How can I ‘do good’ for the people if I just leave them alone?” Besides, he does not want to pass into history as a “do nothing” leader who ends up as a footnote somewhere. So he begins to pass laws that will force all other persons to conform to his ideas of what is good for them.

That is the danger point! The more restrictions and compulsions he imposes on other persons, the greater the strain on his own morality. As his appetite for using force against people increases, he tends increasingly to surround himself with advisers who also seem to derive a peculiar pleasure from forcing others to obey their decrees ... The hard-earned money of those over whom he rules is loaned for questionable private endeavors or spent on grandiose public projects at home and abroad. If there is opposition, an emergency is declared or created to justify these actions.

If the benevolent ruler stays in power long enough, he eventually concludes that power and wisdom are the same thing. And as he possesses power, he must also possess wisdom. He becomes converted to the seductive thesis that election to public office endows the official with both power and wisdom.

The Proof that Power Corrupts

[P]sychologists have proven the obvious - that nothing corrupts quite like power.

Researchers found that those in authority are more likely to cheat, lie and feather their own nests than ordinary citizens at the bottom of the pile.

At the same time, the powerful are more likely to pass moral judgment on the behaviour of others.

The psychologists behind the study said they were astonished at the scale of 'moral hypocrisy' they found and how easily ordinary-people become corrupted when given the trappings of power.

Researcher Adam Galinsky said: 'This research is especially relevant to the biggest scandals of 2009 and we look back on how private behaviour often contradicted the public stance of particular individuals in power.'

Expurts ‘r Us

Q: What do Noam Chomsky, Bertram Russell, and Barack Obama have in common?

A: They believe that since knowledge is concentrated in people like themselves, more power needs to be placed in the hands of the “experts.” In the twentieth century all sorts of countries tried central planning. Now, the guys who run the central planning usually have advanced degrees from prestigious institutions. Mountains of statistics are sitting there and they have all the experts in the country at their beck and call, and yet when you take the power out of their hands and return it to the market, things usually end up with a higher rate of growth and a more rapid decline in poverty.

Thoughts About Consensus II

The Control Freaks of the world, the Reformers, the Intellectuals, are the ones who play the Class Warfare card. They do that because they're losers. On multiple fronts.

Mostly they're losers in the moral realm, because they refuse to acknowledge the actual muscle of the human soul:

Character.

Find Out What Happens When HOAs Stop Being Polite — And Start Getting Real

Kimberly, a 6-year-old in the custody of her grandparents, is facing eviction by local law enforcement because her grandparents live in a retirement community. The child has lived in the house her whole life, as her mother is unable to care for her due to unspecified drug problems. Now authorities plan to remove the girl from the only home she’s ever known and place her in foster care with strangers due to a homeowners association policy.

That’s bad. But this quote (from the HOA president) is the truly callous part:

“No, the sheriff will. I will merely be the President of the Board who is trying to enforce the policies of our association that she agreed to when she moved in.”

Yes, you’re not the one throwing a six-year-old girl out of the only home she’s ever known, and the care of two loving “parents” who never expected a child to be thrust upon them to be raised because her biological parent had abdicated all responsibility. You’re not responsible, it’s all the sheriff — who just happens to be acting on the orders you gave him. What’s the life of a small child worth? Obviously not as much as your rules.

Yes. Power corrupts ... Absolutely.

  • http://powercorruptsaperson.blogspot.com/ Akshay

    I think the topic is really gr8 .power is really evil unlesss used appropriately,but to use it in the right way is really tough for a person.Once the person has power he is injected with thye evil and wicked behaviour which tends to dominate his mind ............