Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Chicken or the Egg of Power Politics

Everyone knows the old saying that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It's accepted wisdom, and our culture not only accepts it, we promulgate it in our popular mythos -- Citizen Kane, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington -- and and attention paid to the way things are done in D.C. seem to merely reinforce the assertion.

But recently I've begun to question whether we might have the paradigm reversed. Take a look at the corruption rampant in government, especially in the highest levels of government, and ask yourself if the people involved truly were corrupted by their power, or were many of them corrupt to begin with, and used corrupt methods to get where they are? Look at the political strategies used to win elections -- destroying your opponents personally, lying, voter fraud, the list goes on and on.

I'm beginning to believe that power does NOT corrupt. Rather, sadly enough, corruption empowers.