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Absolute power corrupts absolutely

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Vagabond
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Posted 08/02/13 - 1:59 PM:
Subject: Absolute power corrupts absolutely
How much truth is there to Lord Acton's observation?

Is it fair to say that the most powerful States in the world are also the most rogue States? The US, China and Russia are well known for manipulating the UN when it suits them and ignoring it when it does not. They do what they want to whom they want with little or no regard for international law.

As a corollary, does "might make right"? Is history but a fictional account written by the powerful to perpetuate their power?

thedoc
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Posted 08/02/13 - 11:26 PM:

I would say mostly true, but I hold out the hope that there are some who can acquire power and wield it fairly.

"Might Makes Right" only in the sense that the winners get to write the history.
JrnymnX
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Posted 08/03/13 - 10:00 PM:

If it is power that corrupts can those without power ever be corrupt?
thedoc
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Posted 08/04/13 - 7:18 AM:

JrnymnX wrote:
If it is power that corrupts can those without power ever be corrupt?


And that is the "Fly in the Ointment", there are corrupt people at all levels of society, so it does not hold that power is the only source of corruption, but it is reasonable to believe that power is a strong influence in the corruption of an individual.
henry quirk
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Posted 08/05/13 - 2:01 PM:

Often, what is seen as 'corrupted' is really just garden-variety hypocrisy.

The one seen as 'corrupted' had no intention of ever using the power he or she has in any way other than as he or she does, which is -- of course -- to satisfy his or her self-interest.

That he or she lies to acquire the power (grand proclamations of being, or wanting to be, a servant of the people, and other such crap) makes the person merely a liar (from the start), not some poor, noble, soul overwhelmed by that debbil temptation of 'might'.
thedoc
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Posted 08/07/13 - 8:18 PM:

Perhaps we should alter the phrase to, "Absolute power leads to absolute Hypocrisy".
henry quirk
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Posted 08/09/13 - 8:30 AM:

Works for me!
Vagabond
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Posted 08/15/13 - 7:50 AM:

It's not just a question of lying to acquire power, but rather the intentional misuse of that power to personally benefit or acquire advantage. Perhaps we need to define what we mean by corruption. If you have no power at all (i.e., no way to influence anyone or anything) can you be 'operationally' corrupt? I say 'operationally' because in your mind you may very well be capable or event want to be corrupt, but can you put that into practice without any power. I'm thinking that it's not possible. Of course, in real life we all have some level of power -influence- over others. Any further thoughts?
henry quirk
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Posted 08/15/13 - 9:09 AM:

"It's not just a question of lying to acquire power..."

I disagree.

Gettin' 'power' ALWAYS involves dishonesty.

Gettin' 'power' ALWAYS involves telling those with power what they want to hear. Particularly in the political sphere: the one who accrues 'power' is the one who most cleverly lies to as many as possible.

Doc, then, is right with his recasting: "Absolute power leads to absolute Hypocrisy".
Vagabond
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Posted 08/15/13 - 9:24 AM:

So, are you suggesting that corruption arises solely out of lying to acquire power? Can one not acquire power (necessarily dishonestly, as you might put it) and then wield it in a non-corrput way?

if the act of "getting power" is inherently corrupt then is everyone who has acquired any power also corrupt? In my mind, this doesn't seem to fit the practical world all that well.
henry quirk
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Posted 08/15/13 - 9:44 AM:

I'm sayin' 'corruption' is in the eye of the beholder.

I'm also sayin' that the value of the 'the lie' is in the eye of the beholder.

In other words: I may judge Joe to be an awful hypocrite if, in his climb, I get screwed...if, on the other hand, Joe's climb benefits me, I may turn a blind eye to his lies.

Fundamentally: all this ethical hooey, this 'moral'izing, is just 'rationalizing' dressed up.
thedoc
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Posted 08/15/13 - 10:31 PM:

I had a well thought out reply, and then old age set in and I forgot.

Ah, screw it.

Like Henry says, it all depends on whether you are the screwer, or the screwie.

fuck spelling, (quote Henry)
Vagabond
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Posted 08/16/13 - 9:28 AM:

I'm not sure that corruption is all that much a relative thing. If a set of rules, by which all interested parties have agreed to abide, are broken and used to unfair advantage, I'm not sure how that can be relative. I see your point about about someone, whom the corrupted actions benefit, turning a blind eye; but this doesn't mean that it is not corruption.
thedoc
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Posted 08/16/13 - 10:36 AM:

Some rules are 'graven in stone' but even here not all parties are in agreement to follow the rules. Some rules are 'understood' and many expect that everyone else will follow their ideas of what is right. Not everyone has the same idea of what is right and wrong, and when these different ideas come into contact, there are problems. Laws (rules) are passed and some are challenged to decide if they are good laws or not. Sometimes a 'bad law' is just ignored and not enforced.
Vagabond
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Posted 08/16/13 - 12:08 PM:

Just out of curiosity, which rules are 'graven in stone'?
thedoc
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Posted 08/16/13 - 9:39 PM:

Hammurabi's Code was carved on stone. the 10 Commandments were written on stone tablets, much of the Egyptian law was carved on the walls of stone buildings. Until recently many laws were carved in stone and mounted where all could see. Now the laws and rules of society are written and voted into law by the legislature. In Washington DC there are monuments where documents of the constitution are carved into the stone.

Really it was a 'figure of speech' that was not meant to be taken literally but was in reference to the laws and regulations that are passed into law by the government. these are usually enforced till the courts strike them down, or approve them, in which case they continue to be enforced.
AKG
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Posted 11/10/13 - 3:03 AM:

I tend to think that humans are "corrupt" by default, in the sense that people are just smart apes and are not nearly as rational or ethical as we like to believe we are. Wielding power just tends to expose this fact.
pan0ptic
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Posted 12/11/13 - 11:54 AM:

The, "power corrupts" and "might makes right" paradigm is an insidious human/animal trait. Just look at all the times a person may have been in a situation where they required approval? Majority rule is an unfortunate but necessary consequence of human development. I believe a famous quote offers a solution, "When the power of love is greater than the love of power the world will know peace."

Paradoxically, when this is paradigm is embraced all of those who still love power will have lost by majority decision.
thedoc
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Posted 12/12/13 - 7:15 PM:

PanOptic, welcome to the couch. I see someone else was tricked into coming here. Henry invited me here saying it was a nice forum, then after I registered he said "Welcome to the Dark Side", it's been down hill ever since.

I would suggest that money is one of the main arbiters of the power that corrupts, sometimes not even what money can gain, just money (wealth) itself.
pan0ptic
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Posted 12/13/13 - 12:13 PM:

I suppose we could tweak the quote slightly to accommodate love of money? Thanks for the welcome smiling face I too have a discussion board and I'm trying to attract quality thinkers. Feel free to stop by and say hello as I look forward to contributing more to your board.

Cheers
thedoc
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#21 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 12/14/13 - 4:37 PM:

pan0ptic wrote:
I suppose we could tweak the quote slightly to accommodate love of money? Thanks for the welcome smiling face I too have a discussion board and I'm trying to attract quality thinkers. Feel free to stop by and say hello as I look forward to contributing more to your board.

Cheers



Thankyou, I finally got registered on your forum, I'm still looking around.
pan0ptic
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Posted 12/14/13 - 8:56 PM:

Thanks for stopping by *peace*
thedoc
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Posted 12/28/13 - 10:45 PM:

It seems that forum moderators and owners have absolute power and are absolutely corrupt.
pan0ptic
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Posted 12/28/13 - 11:01 PM:

why does it seem so?
thedoc
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Posted 12/29/13 - 3:08 PM:

There was a thread on the 'Thinking Spot' a day or two ago, I came back looking for it, and now it's just gone. Usually there is some note of explanation why, it broke a rule, was spam, or something, but when a thread just disappears without a trace it makes me think I should be looking over my shoulder for when I'll just disappear without a trace. I don't like it.
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