Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Corruptible Nature of Power

Trey Smith

It's said that 'power corrupts,' but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible.
~ from The Postman by David Brin ~
Since the days of the Taoist sages up until the current era, one thing that has plagued humankind is the penchant of the strong to bully and victimize the weak. I don't see this predilection ever changing. We humans like to take the easy road and it is far easier to force others to conform to our will than it is to try to reason with them peaceably.

In the US, the strong victimize the weak in a multitude of ways. Both in foreign and domestic policy, the strong -- as epitomized by the government -- physically brutalize those who refuse or are reluctant to accede to the demands of the corporate state. With foreign countries, we attack militarily. Within our own borders, the police manhandle a good number of citizens -- many of whom aren't breaking any laws!

The rich bully the poor by stigmatizing poverty and railing against the "freeloaders" who come to expect government handouts as a means of survival. While demonizing those who beg for morsels of bread, the accusers themselves always have THEIR hands out for special favors and a steady flow of taxpayer dollars. In other words, those in need must beg for crumbs and be castigated for it, while those not in need reap exaggerated benefit after exaggerated benefit.

The most insidious way the strong victimize the weak is through official disinformation. Knowing that their true intentions are neither equitable nor noble, the powers that be spend all their time crafting lies to so befuddle the masses that the people can't tell up from down! This is how you turn the idea of universal health care into a fear of death panels or the notion of the right to privacy into full-time mass surveillance.

Throughout the centuries, many people have looked to organized religion to serve as a buffer between the strong and the weak. Religion, it is thought, will soften the ravages the strong inflict upon the masses. But it has done nothing of the kind! It is yet another tool those in power utilize to keep the people down and firmly under the boot heel. Organized religion is just as top-down as society itself.

I wish I had an answer to this vexing problem, but I don't. In fact, owing to the proclivities of the human species, I don't think there is an answer and that is why I believe that our singular species ultimately is doomed. Power will always attract the corruptible and each of us is corruptible in one manner or another.

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