In reading yesterday’s news about New York governor Eliot Spitzer being tied to a high-class prostitution ring, it got me to thinking.
Lord Acton had a point when he said, Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Interesting side note here…did you know that when Acton wrote that famous line, he was talking about the pope? Yep, and from the same letter, an even better quote: Great men are almost always bad men.
Making even more sense is a quote from the bible: Great men are not always wise. Job 32:9. Gee, Eliot…ya think?
Once again we are reminded of how far the powerful people of the world can fall when they become dizzy with the stuff. It’s an aphrodisiac that soon becomes a full-out addiction. Think of people who have “had it all,” so to speak, then ruined it by stupid decisions based on total disregard for responsible behavior because they just didn’t think the laws that bind the bourgeoisie like us applied to them. Below, we have the collection of usual suspects:
- Saddam Hussein
- Josef Stalin
- A***f H****r (Sorry – you know who I mean, but I don’t want the search engines leading all the “Knot See” wackos here)
- Lucifer (OK, so he wasn’t “people,” but you get the idea)
And you could probably add a bunch to that list. But what about people who are power addicts today? As several of my friends could tell you, they don’t have to operate on a national scale. Your own boss could be one of them, you know? I think sometimes that’s why bad bosses come and go so often – their own system of “leadership by intimidation” eventually renders them ineffective. Happens all the time.
It all comes down to the dangerous supposition that power equals infallibility, or some bizarre free pass from being accountable to someone. It raises the question: What was Spitzer thinking?
I’ve always thought that John F. Kennedy, were he president today and pulling the crap he got away with in 1962, would be roasted on a spit, civil rights rhetoric notwithstanding. I submit that he was just as power-hungry as Mussolini, and not at all the demigod he’s been made out to be. Only difference: the press weren’t as vicious.
Which brings me back to the opening of this post….nothing like having your proclivity for high-priced call girls trumpeted from the rooftops on CNN. The man simply wasn’t thinking.
Snorting lines of power can mess a brother up.