"Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

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"Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby Redstar » 04 Aug 2009 19:37

I haven't thought about it much, the thought just entering my mind, but what does everyone here think is more dangerous? A government with power centralized in a single figure (monarchy, autocracy, etc.) or balanced in a democracy for council-type system? I can clearly see benefits and pitfalls to both, but how about all of you?

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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby Eyes High » 04 Aug 2009 22:35

In my opinion so much power delegated to one person is the most dangerous. Whether it's the power that corrupts the person or the person corrupts the power, the point is that with only one person in charge of all that power it would be more difficult for the citizens to protect their rights and liberty.

History has shown us that much in my opinion.
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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby GamePlayer » 04 Aug 2009 23:19

IMO, centralized or decentralized governments aren't any better or worse when it comes to abuse of power. The US government is becoming more centralized and more corrupt as time goes on. The Canadian government is becoming more decentralized and more corrupt at time goes on. I fail to see any discernible difference between the same end result.
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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby lotek » 05 Aug 2009 01:11

wether it be in Dune or in the Dosadi universe, FH shows us that going to far either way will bring dire consequences ...
I believe the saying could go "absolute trust attracts the absolutely corruptible"

maybe you've seen that vid before but it is quite relevant to the subject:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEWM7zIIF9c
(btw it is through that video and the God Emperor: Siona that I found Jacurutu :) )

Here in France we have landed ourselves a man with ego(and size) problems and it is beginning to show, obviously it is not corrupt in the true sense of the word but these unsecure people will tend to merge a bit too much with their function.

I also think that if the system is even just slightly corrupted, that attraction will have the double result of having only the ones who lie and cheat succeed to climb the power ladder. People who follow the rules will get pushed aside by those who don't, and a bit like evolution will favorize the fastest predator, that corrupt system will ensure its own survival that way.
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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby SadisticCynic » 05 Aug 2009 11:34

My opinion on governments was formed when I first read Dune:

The question of leadership is inevitably, Who will play God? - Muad'dib


That power quote is also one of my favourites from Frank.
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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 05 Aug 2009 11:57

GamePlayer wrote:IMO, centralized or decentralized governments aren't any better or worse when it comes to abuse of power. The US government is becoming more centralized and more corrupt as time goes on. The Canadian government is becoming more decentralized and more corrupt at time goes on. I fail to see any discernible difference between the same end result.


Good one GP, I agree. Decentralizing doesn't seem to solve the problem when the general public doesn't seem to care.

I think power both corrupts AND attracts the corruptable (go find me someone that truly isn't corruptable...).

I think that a heavily centralized government would do the "best" job, assuming the right person was in lead (impossible). Democracy is highly inefficient, but at least does provide some protection against tyrany. Canada's gov is corrupt yes, but is it really dangerous like a fully centralized gov would be? Not really. That's part of the problem though, because our gov is not immediately dangerous, no one worries about the long term dangers. The dangers of our government are more like the ones FH talks about, stagnation, slow crumbling.
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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby GamePlayer » 05 Aug 2009 14:34

I think the attraction/corruption of power is a bit of a misnomer. I realize that power and it's "many evils" gets a lot of press because of the effect it has upon so many and the horrible depths of it's misuse. But it's really not a question of power as much as it is a dissection of the human condition. Our governments are no different than any human institution or endeavour.

Some humans are attracted to the arts and would become artistic animals no matter what era into which they were born.
Some humans are attracted to conflict and would become fighting animals no matter what era into which they were born.
Some humans are attracted to politics and would become political animals no matter what era into which they were born.

So on and so forth. This is why it's so hard to affect change even from the passing of one type of government to the next. Ultimately, under whatever system we choose to create, it will always be the same political animals who will be drawn to it and will compose the human element of that system. Always the same "kind of people". MacDonald, Washington, Trudeau, Kennedy, Thatcher, Lenin, Mao Zedong; they all would have likely been politicians if they were born in other eras. The history of our planet may not have always allowed certain individuals to participate in government due to blood, race, gender, wealth, misfortune, or whatever. But these types of people would have gravitated toward politics.

So I don't believe that power necessarily attracts the corruptible. I believe our species is simply a prisoner of the fact that some of us will always know how to use (and abuse) politics far better than others. And since the institution of rule, unlike other endeavours, so pervasively affects the lives of everyone, the actions of those in politics are that much more influential and the consequences that much more dire.
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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby loremaster » 06 Aug 2009 18:56

I think it was winston churchill who said that the greatest argument against democracy was a five minute conversation with the average voter.

Politics as we know it is little more than a popularity contest. Altruism, Pragmatism and Long-sightedness rarely feature, in comparison to coersion, bribery and flattery.

Most people are too small, to prejudiced and just not clever enough to understand the vast, chaotic dynamic that is society. I would probably go as far as to say everyone.

People do not pay taxes because they realise that the percentage income they give up creates a structural framework upon which everything else they do can be hung. They do it because it is the law and there are serious penalties for not doing so. It's my genuine belief that more of society should be run this way.

I wouldnt expect A five year old to understand the complexities of diet, obesity, heart disease and tooth decay. So when it comes to five year olds and diet we simply direct them, via a series of short term techniques (bribery, a la "you can have pudding if you eat your greens"), intimidation and threats ("if you do not shut up about having an ice cream there will be no t.v. tonight) and many others.

It's the same principle. Most people (myself included) do not REALLY understand concepts like pensions bubbles in the u.k.

The system is far too complicated to observe whether that 1% above inflation rise in my council tax has resulted in a 1% or greater quality of life improvement. So most people do not even notice, and instead focus on the "council tax has gone up again" aspect. This causes short term bribes like "we propose lowering taxes" to appeal to the public. Even if they do not realise that the tax cut will impact directly on their weekly rubbish collections, their tax credits, doctors opening hours etc. (Note: this is in a simple calculation, to me at the moment it appears both that taxes are rising, and quality of life is decreasing - which would suggest a bad government, but even then the question must be asked.... how much worse would it be without those tax rises?).

In short, I'm not actually pro democracy. The problem with allowing me to vote is that, ineviteably, i have to allow johny no-brains next door to vote, simply because he hasnt managed to die for 18 years. I dont feel i have enough understanding of the problems faced, and i consider myself reasonably well informed. We need someone a la leto, or proctors, who can give us a little bit of what is good for us, and make sure all the basics are there. It's not even like i vote on particular issues, such as joining the euro or not. I vote for the person who most closely approximates my opinions overall, even if he/they have some policies i disagree most strongly with (e.g. europe) I vote on the basis of some promises which often arent kept. I vote on appearance, coverage and media spin, and couldnt tell you if my current MP was male, female, labour or lib dem. It doesnt matter who you vote for, the government always get in.

Am i in favour of some sort of tiered citizenship? certainly, but then we face a problem best summed up by the bene gesserit - "Who judges?"
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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby GamePlayer » 06 Aug 2009 21:38

See, that's the kind of thing that scares me. I make no secret that I'm more than happy to press the reset button and work hard for the next form of government, but I fear regression, rather than progression, will result. Democracy is so trodden upon, some want to write it off as a bad idea rather than learn from it. Well, democracy is only the beginning of good government, not the end.

We don't need more government, we need less. We don't need more dependent people, we need less. We don't need more ruling classes, we need less. We don't need the government to be involved in solving more of our problems, we need them to less involved and leave the problem solving to us.

If democracy proved nothing else, it proved that a properly run society is largely self-correcting. As the government gets larger and is given more power, the self-correcting nature of a healthy society decreases to the point of malfunction. This is the point at we exist now and no one can see any way out except to give the government more and more power to try fixing ever more increasing problems.
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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 06 Aug 2009 21:38

The problem with allowing me to vote is that, ineviteably, i have to allow johny no-brains next door to vote, simply because he hasnt managed to die for 18 years.

And we have a new sig line! Nice post by the way.
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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 06 Aug 2009 21:43

I do think democracy is good in the end, not because it works well, or that most people aren't idiots, but because it is so astoundingly mediocre that it seems to temporarily hold back tyrany and other crazy shit.

I'm with GP on this one, I'd love to set it back a ways and re-do a lot of the junk regulations, but we still need democracy in the end.

I do hear you about just forcing people to shut up and do what's best for them though loremaster, I go back and forth myself between wanting freedom and wanting to force the idiots to stop ruining society... I guess we'll just keep happily floating in the middle until something blows up in our faces.
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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby Eyes High » 06 Aug 2009 21:53

GamePlayer wrote:See, that's the kind of thing that scares me. I make no secret that I'm more than happy to press the reset button and work hard for the next form of government, but I fear regression, rather than progression, will result. Democracy is so trodden upon, some want to write it off as a bad idea rather than learn from it. Well, democracy is only the beginning of good government, not the end.

We don't need more government, we need less. We don't need more dependent people, we need less. We don't need more ruling classes, we need less. We don't need the government to be involved in solving more of our problems, we need them to less involved and leave the problem solving to us.

If democracy proved nothing else, it proved that a properly run society is largely self-correcting. As the government gets larger and is given more power, the self-correcting nature of a healthy society decreases to the point of malfunction. This is the point at we exist now and no one can see any way out except to give the government more and more power to try fixing ever more increasing problems.

Very well put GP. Very well. :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 06 Aug 2009 22:00

Eyes High wrote:
GamePlayer wrote:See, that's the kind of thing that scares me. I make no secret that I'm more than happy to press the reset button and work hard for the next form of government, but I fear regression, rather than progression, will result. Democracy is so trodden upon, some want to write it off as a bad idea rather than learn from it. Well, democracy is only the beginning of good government, not the end.

We don't need more government, we need less. We don't need more dependent people, we need less. We don't need more ruling classes, we need less. We don't need the government to be involved in solving more of our problems, we need them to less involved and leave the problem solving to us.

If democracy proved nothing else, it proved that a properly run society is largely self-correcting. As the government gets larger and is given more power, the self-correcting nature of a healthy society decreases to the point of malfunction. This is the point at we exist now and no one can see any way out except to give the government more and more power to try fixing ever more increasing problems.

Very well put GP. Very well. :clap: :clap: :clap:


It was well put. The temptation to rule the idiots is just SO strong sometimes though... :(
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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby Eyes High » 06 Aug 2009 22:22

A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Eyes High wrote:
GamePlayer wrote:See, that's the kind of thing that scares me. I make no secret that I'm more than happy to press the reset button and work hard for the next form of government, but I fear regression, rather than progression, will result. Democracy is so trodden upon, some want to write it off as a bad idea rather than learn from it. Well, democracy is only the beginning of good government, not the end.

We don't need more government, we need less. We don't need more dependent people, we need less. We don't need more ruling classes, we need less. We don't need the government to be involved in solving more of our problems, we need them to less involved and leave the problem solving to us.

If democracy proved nothing else, it proved that a properly run society is largely self-correcting. As the government gets larger and is given more power, the self-correcting nature of a healthy society decreases to the point of malfunction. This is the point at we exist now and no one can see any way out except to give the government more and more power to try fixing ever more increasing problems.

Very well put GP. Very well. :clap: :clap: :clap:


It was well put. The temptation to rule the idiots is just SO strong sometimes though... :(


Yeah but, One person's idiot is another person's undiscovered genius.
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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby GamePlayer » 06 Aug 2009 22:42

Eyes High wrote:Very well put GP. Very well. :clap: :clap: :clap:


Why, thank you for the nice comment, Eyes High. It's too bad your not my type; you're too intelligent, funny and tasteful.

I need someone dumb, dull and tasteless to get off. Now where did RedBugPest wobble it's rather ample backside off to....? :lol:
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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 07 Aug 2009 00:30

Eyes High wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Eyes High wrote:
GamePlayer wrote:See, that's the kind of thing that scares me. I make no secret that I'm more than happy to press the reset button and work hard for the next form of government, but I fear regression, rather than progression, will result. Democracy is so trodden upon, some want to write it off as a bad idea rather than learn from it. Well, democracy is only the beginning of good government, not the end.

We don't need more government, we need less. We don't need more dependent people, we need less. We don't need more ruling classes, we need less. We don't need the government to be involved in solving more of our problems, we need them to less involved and leave the problem solving to us.

If democracy proved nothing else, it proved that a properly run society is largely self-correcting. As the government gets larger and is given more power, the self-correcting nature of a healthy society decreases to the point of malfunction. This is the point at we exist now and no one can see any way out except to give the government more and more power to try fixing ever more increasing problems.

Very well put GP. Very well. :clap: :clap: :clap:


It was well put. The temptation to rule the idiots is just SO strong sometimes though... :(


Yeah but, One person's idiot is another person's undiscovered genius.


Not the people I'm thinking of... remember... I'm from Alberta, the Texas of Canada. :wink: Our idiots are puuuurrree idiot goodness.
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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby loremaster » 07 Aug 2009 05:24

See, having woken up to this lovely rainy august morning, im a little bit more optimistic about society.

I dont think i actually disagree with anything you've said.... which is doublethink at its very finest :?

I do think societys government, and functioning struggles to develop because in part it is carrying all this baggage. Take england, we have this peculiar branch of law and goverment called the house of lords..... would we, given the chance to completely build a goverment from the ground up, really still include a bunch of hereditary silver-spoon peers to veto any decision they didnt like? :D

Society is a constantly altered patchwork of laws, regulation, cultures, fashions and so on. It's right to assume it wouldnt look anything like the garment we'd spin if we were sewing a new one.

The problem for me with modern life is that it's become much too cluttered, much too complicated. We are expected and expect so much from everyone. It starts incredibly young and goes downhill from there. Compare it to life 80 years ago - only the clever ones stayed in education, roads and driving didnt exist for many, and for those whom it did life was much less complicated. People werent expected to understand every facet of technologies like the internet, mobile phones, computers. There was nothing like the media with its constant images of toned bodies, rich new toys and so on. You didnt constantly hear "world's going to hell in a handbasket" stories about global warming, terrorism, new extremes in crime, economics etc.

Life has become much more complicated. I genuinely believe it is almost impossible for people to keep up with such ideas, and that it is creating massive psychological and sociological stresses on those who do and do not cope. How is one supposed to be informed enough on the spending of my district on anti social behaviour to know if its doing enough? All i get is the media, who can use drama in leiu of facts to sell papers, (or boobs, boobs help). They follow their own agenda.

My dad recounts the days when spending was simpler, there was a price, you could afford it or you couldnt. Sales were to get rid of old stock or excess.
Now, calculating the actual price of many things is difficult, with a horde of offers about "12 months car insurance for the price of 10" and "40% off, then another 20% off, then 4 years interest free credit"."Free contents cover when you buy our overpriced buildings cover" - Has anyone ever paid full price for a sofa or carpet? Precisely.

Life is getting too complicated for the average joe soap. I know ive digressed here but it doenst change the issue.
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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 07 Aug 2009 11:50

I know what you mean, I had a close friend go off the deep end pretty much as a result of not being able to cope with what was expected of him in life. Even a couple decades ago he could have happily dropped out of school in junior high, and gotten a simple labour job to pay for his weed, but the expectations of today are too much, fuck, I know clerks at stores that have degrees (in Vancouver, if you want to be a bloody WAITRESS/ER they want you to go take a college course in hospitality? WTF!!!?).

Simpler is better most of the time. I struggle with this because I do think we need less red tape and regulations in most areas of our government, but the only party interested in cutting red tape and cutting fat is only ever interested (as far as I can tell) in cutting the fat from essential services like education. And sometimes bigger government IS better, look at the mess the US is in (and as a result the rest of the f-n world), some simple regulations like what we have up here probably would have prevented the whole mess.

This is why I have a hard time defending my "middle/mix of the extremes" position sometimes, because there is a circumstance for everything, sometime we need less laws, sometimes more, some areas we need to be more socialist (rehab centers for the poor are in very short supply here), but sometimes we need to be more capitalist (the big car companies should have been hung out to dry). Hell, we need capitalism to pay for our socialism, and socialism to keep our capitalism functioning.

How the fuck am I supposed to vote, when I have 5 choices that all suck?
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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby loremaster » 07 Aug 2009 17:04

I agree. I think the simple fact there is no one answer just supports the argument that society is far too complex, far to irrational to follow simple rules.

I have one classic, to which i have tried and tried and not found an answer:

Why is it, in britain, you can have sex at 16... but cant watch other people pretend to do it on video until 18?

To put it another way.... why can you, at 16, gather 5 friends of both sexes, and put anything in anywhere with no protection whatsoever, touching whatever with whatever, and yet NOT (this is killer)... watch a film with more than a couple of boobs out?

It leads to hilarious situations in my head..... some 16 year old on her knees to five guys, tv in the background. one has to reach for the remote and change channel because "you're not old enough to watch this"

Omph might know.... where does this leave me if, at 16, i film myself having sex? am i allowed to watch it back? if my partner was 18 and im 16, can she watch it but i cant?

Sorry to hijack the thread.
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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby SandRider » 07 Aug 2009 17:48

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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby Schu » 10 Aug 2009 01:28

What scares me here is that they are discussing lowering the voting age to 16. I'm pretty sure they won't do it, but as little faith as I have in 18 year old intelligence and maturity, I have far less in a 16 year old.

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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby SandChigger » 10 Aug 2009 01:36

What possible reason could there be for lowering the age that much? :roll:

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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby Redstar » 10 Aug 2009 01:40

Schu wrote:What scares me here is that they are discussing lowering the voting age to 16. I'm pretty sure they won't do it, but as little faith as I have in 18 year old intelligence and maturity, I have far less in a 16 year old.

Similar ideas have been brought up here, but luckily none have gotten anywhere. There was one guy that was trying to push it yearly or so, and last I heard he was going for "14-year-olds have 1/4 a vote, 16-year-olds have half a vote..."

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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby SandChigger » 10 Aug 2009 04:52

Sorry, again, but WHY?

I mean, it's not like most 16-year-olds are gainfully employed and living independently of their parents; they don't own land, pay taxes (except income, maybe, on part-time jobs?) or serve in the military. We used to be able to get a driver's license in Ohio at 16, but I think they've raised that a year or so now (or implemented some sort of provisional, restricted license for people below 18? I haven't checked). By what twisted fuck of logic does anyone think it's a good idea? :crazy:

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Re: "Power does not corrupt, power attracts the corruptible"

Postby GamePlayer » 10 Aug 2009 11:28

This has to be some bullshit band-aid solution to help compensate for the dreadfully low levels of voter participation. I can almost hear some idiot in a focus group barking "Get 'em involved sooner!" like it's a good idea :roll:
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