The Corruption of Power

Opinion Sideglance

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic going on politicians, both those in power and those wanting to be in power, are already gearing up for the political circus which we call an election this coming 2022.

There is nothing more disgusting than seeing these kind of people make a spectacle of themselves by going after each others throats and doing their damnedest to destroy one another even while the nation is struggling to come to grips with the onslaught of the pandemic. All in the name of politics.

If there is one singular and unique aspect of corruption it would be the fact that it is ultimately tied and attached to power. For one cannot contemplate being corrupt, in every sense of the word, without somehow being touched with that sense of power and immunity that acts to falsely insulate the corrupted from all that is decent and moral. This is the depravity of power, its insidious temptation and ability to corrupt someone until nothing else matters but to cling to it and savor its dark embrace.

Lord Acton or more precisely John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton who was a historian and moralist (1834-1902) came up with the famous remark “ Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, which laid bare the danger of having power. That quotation by Lord Acton actually has a continuation which states, “Great men are almost always bad men”.

Quite simply what that famous remark really intended to say is that when you possess power over and above your fellowmen then the tendency for its abuse is present, and when that power is absolute then such abuse is complete and therefore a given. It is therefore quite rare for someone to have absolute power and not be corrupted by it.

Here in our country, those who have already tasted power by becoming elected public officials would not want anything else other than being elected again in order to continue basking and experiencing that power. Such is the corruption of power over an individual that the distinction between what is right and wrong is permanently blurred.

For these politicians already corrupted by power nothing is essentially wrong with anything so long as it extends their opportunity to wallow in such power. There is another phrase that comes to mind on the corruption of power, this one is by another English politician by the name of Willam Pitt the elder, Earl of Chatham who was also a British Prime Minister from 1766 to 1778 who said in a speech to the United Kingdom House of Lords that, “ unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.”

This is why despite the crisis that we are experiencing we see these politicians already embroiling the public in their politicking as they prepare to once again secure or obtain power thru the ballot. So it therefore comes as no surprise when we read and hear news reports which say that this or that elected public official will run again even after their three year term in one elective position has already expired.

Usually what they do is run for a lesser office for just one term of three years and then return and run again for that higher elective office where they originally began their term as an elective public official. This is the corruption and addiction of power.

Those politicians that are already corrupted by power are sometimes quick to claim that what they are doing is for the people and constitutes public service but reality tells us that nothing could be farther from the truth. What they are doing is simply continuing to satisfy their hunger for power as it also continues to corrupt them.