Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Absolute Power

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. I disagree.

I think that absolute power, or positions of almost any degree of power, attract those who are easily corruptible. That's why politicians are so frequently corrupt. They want power. It's the only reason they run. And let's face it, this paradox of rule has been well known for, thousands of years. Plato himself discussed in The Republic, that a perfect society must literally breed leaders. It is recognized that the only good leaders are those who don't want to be leaders, but feel a solemn obligation to do so.

It's that paradox that our founding fathers also recognized, and the reasons why they formulated so many parts of our government as they did. It is also the reason I distrust all politicians, managers, cops, meter maids, and anyone who's name is a sequel to their father.

While in this day and age, the possibility of the government every becoming tyrannical is next to zero, the possibility is still there. That fundamental distrust of the government is an irrevocable part of a healthy society. And while this should not evolve into paranoia, thus preventing the government from working well and providing things the government can and probably should provide, such as socialized health care, it should nonetheless be present.

George Bush and his "reign" did more to convince me of that position than anything else that has happened in the last fifty years. Even Nixon was just stupidity. But Bush... Bush came closer to tyranny than I honestly thought possible in our country. Obviously, he was still far, far away from actual tyranny, but he still got closer than I thought anyone could, and that scared the hell out of me.

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