Sunday, December 13, 2009

Power Corrupts

It has been said, "Power corrupts and absolute power, corrupts absolutely". Why is this so? Power gives a sense of being above the frey of "common man". Power is exillerating because one can choose and "make things happen". World events and history can be changed due to the use of power. But, history has also understood what absolute power does in any position. This is the brillance of our Founding Fathers in establishing our three branches of government. The executive branch was not considered to be the "rule of a King". The people had a voice in their government through their vote for Congressional candidates and the judicial branch has granted individual liberties to those that were persecuted or discriminated against.

It used to be believed that power was given by God and therefore, rulers ruled under the authority of God-given power. The peasant classes were to submit and deter to what "God had ordained". Heridatary power was understood to be the priviledged and empowered classes and Kings made treaties based on marriage contracts.

But, our Founders understood that all people were created equal, with certain inalienable rights. These rights were natural rights, not supernaturally given or sanctioned. Men were to recognize and respect another's right to life and liberty and their pursuit of happiness. This was the basis of our Constitution and has been the fodder of the human rights movement.

Individuals are respected in our country's very "ideals" and power is limited by "the rule of law". Therefore, I am thankful that I live in a country that respects the "rule of law" and wants to pursue justice, stand against injustice and resist those that think thier power is absolute.


secular square said...

Your reminder here on power and corruption ties in nicely with your comment this morning on AC about "entrenched" power structures in pre-revolutionary France. It appears there is must frustration among Americans over our political class of elected officials, bureaucrats, lobbyists, and foundations that act like the government is theirs and not ours.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

How do we take it back, secular square?

I think the Founders understood and played upon Luther's "the just shall live by faith", because they knew that the religious would create an environment such as Calvin's Geneva or the MA. witch trials. I would never want to subvert another in that way.

secular square said...

Taking it back will be a difficult and long term affair because of the entrenched nature and interconnected relationship between some of the groups I alluded to in my previous comment. This is part of the theme of an interesting book by Heather McDonald of the Manhattan Institute called, The Burden of Bad Ideas: How Modern Intellectuals Misshape Our Society. Its an eye-opener! She writes for city-journal. You can find some of her shorter pieces thereand probably elsewhere on the web.


Angie Van De Merwe said...

Thanks, secular square. I will look Heather up!

Any other suggestions are much appreciated.