in #philosophy4 years ago


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Is power corrupting? Does absolute power inevitably lead to absolute corruption? This question has been pondered since the beginning of time. To me power does inevitably corrupt those who hold it.

The opposite of corruption is to be principled. Not that those who are corrupt don't have any principles, but at least a few are lacking in order for them to be corrupt to any degree. To have principles means that a person holds certain beliefs over any particular temptations or circumstances. A judge who believes in the principle of the law being upheld is not corrupt if he or she refuses bribes when offered or doesn't get intimidated by threats. Conversely a bribe taking or intimidated judge is corrupt.


Image credit: Pixabay/

What I mean by corruption is essentially a mindset that puts personal well-being above all else. If someone thinks that every decision they make should be in the interest of only helping themselves, they will eventually break all barriers that go against that and be corrupted. The other way someone could be corrupt is if they put a particular interest far ahead of any other. For example a party politician could put his or hers party's interest so far ahead of everything else that they are willing to offer bribes and take other corrupt actions to advance their organization.


Image credit: Pixabay/

So how does this relate to power? Power is a type of relationship. The person or people in power exercise that relationship through others that have less influence but are equally bonded to the relationship. Power, like any relationship, needs to be constantly maintained. In order to maintain or grow it, one would have to sacrifice anything that gets in the way. For instance a politician could initially believe in always being truthful. If she gets elected to some position, she would probably have to eventually make a choice to either be honest about some controversial decision or action, and therefore risk losing support from her constituents or colleagues, or deceive others in order to maintain the power structure. If she chooses to lie, she has become a little more corrupt. There are many examples of this in all power relationships, and the more powerful one party is or could be, the more incentive they often have to break any inconvenient principle.


Image credit: Pixabay/

Power is corrupting. There are ways to maintain power and minimize its corrupting influence but in the end, power is maintained always through putting any other principles as secondary to it.

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