“It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it”. (Aung San Suu Kyi’s speech on Freedom from Fear) “Power has only one duty –to secure the social welfare of the people” Disraeli Benjamin. However, the reality is somewhat different. History has led us to conclusions where those in power dominated over the weaker ones and used their supremacy to carry out immoral actions.
Keeping such views under consideration, the norm that power, the authority to rule over and influence a group, tends to corrupt an individual as power brings an individual closer to his desires and grants him unquestionable authority. What is of more significance in corrupting a person is the fear of losing the power, the influence that one holds because fear takes away the ability to discriminate between right and wrong which results in immorality of actions.
Humans act close to the theory of opportunism, and are motivated by self-interests without considering the values of their actions. Therefore, it is obvious that when one attains power, the person is attracted towards material necessities since being in power brings a person, closer to the fulfillment of his desires. The influence of being powerful allows people to manipulate the circumstances to suit their own needs. It is important to relate to William Jefferson in this scenario. W.
Jefferson is a former American congressman who has been included in CREW’S report 2006 (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that describes itself as “dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials – regardless of party affiliation – who sacrifice the common good to special interests) as being a corrupt politician. Jefferson has been accused for getting involved in attaining financial benefits through illegal means.
For instance, Jefferson accepted bribes from multiple firms in exchange, introduced the firm to Congressmen and other business officials and used his influence as a member of congress to support those firms in their corporate goals. The bribe received was used to finance Jefferson family business. However, members of the congress as Jefferson may fear the time mandate since they are appointed for a definite period of time after which they might not remain in power.
Such a fear makes an individual to think about would the person have enough with themselves once they do not hold power to live a good life. Thus, a person based on the concept of opportunism, would try to make as much wealth as possible within the time p, keeping in consideration that once out of power, the opportunity to accumulate wealth would no longer be available. The word “power” is often interpreted in terms of a person, having unquestionable authority. The person who holds power may not be answerable to anyone and therefore may enjoy supremacy.
Such individual creates a cult of personality and thus earn themselves, honorable titles to further exaggerate their influence. Within this notion of supremacy and unquestionable authority, individuals tend to waiver towards the path of corruption in order to maintain their influence. There are countless examples where leaders such as Stalin have been criticized for killing thousands of innocent people and pursuing other actions that by no means justify themselves. Stalin ruled as a dictator, with absolute power.
Was it the unquestionable authority acting behind the misdeeds of Stalin? What is important here to consider is the force acting behind Stalin, the force which historians titled as insecurity? People had started to question his authority and showed criticism towards his five years plan that was developed to enhance economic potential. Further, members from his own party started to criticize Stalin’s leadership. Considering the rising oppositions, Stalin passed a law which levied a death penalty on anyone who was found plotting against the government.
This law was just the beginning of the great purges that Stalin later carried out to secure his position. The purges include the trial of sixteen, trial of seventeen and trial of twenty one and the common element of all these trials was the execution of all the members who were rising against Stalin. The intensity of the fears he had developed turned clear with the assassination of Sergei Kirov. Sergei Kirov used to be a close supporter of Stalin and Stalin treated Kirov as his son.
However, when Kirov refused to conform to Stalin’s authority, he was eliminated just as all the others before him. Later, a constitution, which reinforced his political position, was passed that was to prevent uprisings in the future. Although this allowed Stalin to regain his political strength but that came at the expense of economic downfall, weakened army and loss of numerous lives. Thus, what seems to be the consequences of unquestionable authority in reality sneaks out of fear that developed in Stalin to counter his oppositions to reinforce his supremacy. To come under siege…. was the inevitable fate of power” Frank Herbert, Dune Messiah. However, when one fears of losing the authority and influence, such people are no more concerned of morality of their behavior, and all of their actions are directed towards securing the authoritative place. Fear is a very strong force which exists in nature of the living being. It can and does produce alternate behavioral phenomenon in not just the human kind but also across other kingdoms; certain kinds of female snake would eat their own eggs because of the fear of an attack.
Lizards cut-off their own tails when a predator attacks to distract it while it escapes. These traits have been described by scientists as characteristics conferring an advantage and allowing them to survive. Man, nature’s most evolved product, obviously possesses a similar in-built survival instinct which has enabled it to dominate nature’s landscape since it came into existence especially with its enhanced and complex social ability. Imagine a situation in which a group of people is under attack. Would they hurt or kill the intruders or would they be nice to them? NO.
They would definitely attack the intruders to protect their power and authority even at the expense of immorality found in their actions. This is genuinely supported by the incidents that occurred in Musharraf’s regime. The early years of his rule witnessed calmness in terms of law and order of the country. However, what became the turning point of his regime was the fear, he developed when the circumstances turned against him and his presidency came under threat after the Lal Mosque incident. His actions were no more bounded by constitutional laws and what mattered to him was the maintenance of power.
The illegal deposition of chief justice of Pakistan and attacks on judiciary in which several protestors were tortured, contest for presidency while still holding the status of army chief in 2007 and attack on a channel’s headoffice are examples of incidents where, to maintain power, a leader as Musharraf did not remain concern whether his actions were justified or not. Apart from this, fear can result in alternate behavioral phenomenon as mentioned earlier in the text. This might result in a complete different response to a situation by an individual under certain circumstances.
The historical event that took place in Egypt just before the birth of Moses is a demonstration of the same phenomenon. The pharaoh of Egypt feared losing his power at the hands of the growing number of Israelites. His fears aggravated when a group of astronomers informed the pharaoh that a male Israelite child would bear who would throw the pharaoh’s kingdom. Keeping in consideration the patriarchal societies that have persisted for long, pharaoh ordered all the new born male children to be murdered. This was certainly not normal.
In societies such as Egypt, where male dominated every sphere of life and where they were ranked far above women, it was the fear of losing his power that caused the pharaoh to act even against the conventions of the Egyptian society. In relation to the text, it is evident that corruption does not branch out of power itself. Rather it is the fear, the thought of losing the superiority and charisma that one has developed over time, which leads a person towards unjustifiable means to protect and maintain his authority.
The struggle to maintain power out of the fear of losing it has led to disastrous consequences for the humanity over the years. What influential people need to consider now is that though a lot of damage has been done, it is time to consolidate. Accepting the temporary nature of power and carrying out the assigned responsibilities that the authoritative position endorse one with would allow the humanity to be protected against ill consequences. Work Cited “Benjamin Disraeli and the Two Nation Divide. ” The Victorian Web: An Overview. Web. 14 Mar. 2012. http://www. victorianweb. org/authors/disraeli/diniejko3. tml Pakistan Weekly. “Musharraf Trial. ” Project. Web. 14 Mar. 2012. http://musharraftrial. net/ Ariela Pelaia. “The Passover (Pesach)A Story. ” About. com Judaism. Web. 9 Mar. 2012. http://judaism. about. com/od/holidays/a/The-Passover-Pesach-Story. htm “Stalin’s Russia. ” ThinkQuest. Oracle Foundation. Web. 11 Mar. 2012. <http://library. thinkquest. org/C0112205/stalinsrussia. html>. John Simkin”The Great Purge. ” Spartacus Educational. Web. 11 Mar. 2012. <http://www. spartacus. schoolnet. co. uk/RUSpurge. htm>. Dr. Lawrence Britt”A Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism. A Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism. Web. 06 Mar. 2012. ;http://www. rense. com/general37/char. htm;. “Hitler, Stalin and Macbeth. ” Angelfire. com. Web. 06 Mar. 2012. ;http://www. angelfire. com/ma/totalitarianism/essay1. html;. Crew Org. “Beyond Delay. ” Citizenforethics. org. Web. 13 Mar. 2012. ;http://www. citizensforethics. org/page/-/PDFs/Reports/Most%20;. Doug,”The Trouble WithA Power. ” Japan and Korea: Life, Language and Religion. Web. 14 Mar. 2012. ;http://japanlifeandreligion. com/2010/11/07/the-trouble-with-power/;.