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Monday, May 16. 2016
I think power can act like a drug, and promote the most self-indulgent or sociopathic character traits. Not so, however, in those determined to be on best behavior. What sorts of people seek power over others?
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 18:55 | Comments (21) | Trackbacks (0)
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As we were all born sinners, we are flawed beings.
We would do well to keep this in mind when dealing with those we elect.
They are due no more respect then they earn by being servants of the "people".
Respect the office and what it stands for. Be skeptical of those who run for office.
Everyone is subject to temptation. Morals (not laws) best keep temptation in check, especially in the young, who haven't seen the downsides of their choices.
Leaders can be uncorrupted by power, by choosing to be a servant leader. My work's leadership has identified "toxic" leaders, in it only for themselves, removed them, and is working hard to develop only servant leaders.
However, if there's a culture that seems only to reward corrupt leaders, then we'll get corrupt leaders...which is why the US today despises Congress, except their own representatives who cater to their wishes and desires.
I seek authority/power over people when and because I'm the best man for the job. I am totally confident and consummately skilled at these tasks. Also, honest and scrupulous beyond reproach.
I don't buy the "servant leadership" model as a panacea or indulge in moralizing self doubt, which I regard as pure theatrical bullshit or a lack of confidence. I have no self doubt.
Sometimes people just need and want to be told what to do.
In the words of the late 21st century philosopher Maxwell Rockatansky, "you want to get out of here ... you talk to me."
I have known a number of psychiatric patients who believe in themselves thoroughly. In fact, the lack of self doubt is a symptom of some illnesses.
But I'm sure you have a lightning-quick rationalisation. When you get a spare moment, the word "anosognosia" or the Dunning-Krueger phenomenon may be of interest. Not to you, but to other readers here.
Either you're indulging in needless ad hominems -- I have no idea who you are and have never directed any comments at you -- or you're showing off your new word a day skills. I hate ad homs, when you get a spare moment, the phrase "quid pro quo" may be of interest. Not to you, but to other readers here.
I think its time for your much earned and belated promotion.
I assume your knowledge of psychiatric patients is extensive and personal, I won't ask about the context.
You ignored the limitations i put on my comments. Let me try again, in my particular professional field, I am the among the best. On the other hand, if I needed for God knows what reason, a dungeons and dragons dungeon master, I'm at sea. So I'd call on someone like you.
I think all handwringing self-effacing doubt is the conservative version of politically correct bullshit. The comment made by another, "anybody wise enough to be your ruler is wise enough to know he's not wise enough to be your ruler" is beyond stupid. But it's useful in one respect: if you don't think you're good enough or wise enough to lead, by all means, you should never have kids, or run for dogcatcher or city hall, or be a CEO, or direct a working group or, or or. The timidity on this thread is eye rolling. I wouldn't trust anyone here to manage a Little League team.
Well, I'm sure we all would love to be impressed by your magnificence. More than just having to take your word for it, I mean.
But, since you just jumped all over one of the most decent and fair-minded people alive, my interest in your radiance is waning.
Don't worry though, I'm almost certain that there's still a little hope, somewhere, that you will someday, somehow, find a way to get me to give a damn how good you are at what you do. Maybe.
No doubt, with your consummate skills and confidence, and without any need to doubt your instincts, you would make the perfect king-philosopher. We know this because your honesty and scruples are beyond reproach, We know this because you said so. But, what about your descendants that would inherit the throne after you? Perfection is not passed on through the genes.
Your statement about people needing to be told what to do is the ultimate argument of the statist. It's the battle cry of the do-gooder tyrant.
I'm not interested in what impresses you. And your nose is way too brown.
You learn who you really are by your choices when no one will ever know what you do. When you are segregated from the eyes and opinions of others.
Power is similar to being alone in the dark when no one will know what you do. Only it is out in the open, where you can act without accountability (to the degree of your power).
As being in a situation without accountability, via power or solitude, is truly rare, most people, who have not sought out the answer for themselves, do not know who they really are. They are a construct of the societal limitations in which they live.
Oddly, academics are the people I have found to be people you don't want to give power over others. They rush far to quickly to risk and abuse when in charge of situations that can run to hazing.
I think power is corrupting - in most situations it's a matter of substituting your own ideas or opinions or conclusions for someone else's, and getting into that habit leads to bad things. No matter how good your intentions, you can't know what someone else considers the best outcome of a decision-making process and therefore saying you've made a better choice than they would have is merely a matter of your opinion. What sort of person is so confident of his abilities that he's willing to say "this is a better choice for you" even when the other person involved avers that it is not? How easy is it then to say "well, I know better than you what's best for you." That's a pretty bold statement.
Oddly, I was just discussing something similar with someone yesterday who wanted to know what a "macguffin" was and I used the ring from Lord of the Rings as an example - it didn't matter what it was that motivated the journey, it was the journey itself that was the story. And I pointed out it wasn't the Ring that needed destroying, it was the power the Ring possessed. That power itself was neutral, it could be used for good or evil - but wise men knew nobody could be trusted with that sort of power. The struggle is to have power and yet refrain from using it, knowing that you are not wise enough to make decisions for other people. That's the problem with trying to find wise rulers - anybody wise enough to be your ruler is wise enough to know he's not wise enough to be your ruler. Anybody who thinks he's wise enough to be your ruler quite obviously isn't.
Power without accountability is corrupting. We all have power to some degree, whether it is over a small task like my kid feeding the cats or the president of my college setting major policies. As long as there is accountability, there is less corruption. But absolute power does corrupt absolutely. Imelda Marcos anyone? Saddam Hussein. Hitler and his inner circle are the classic examples.
I only want enough power to make sure the job gets done right. As someone who has been in middle management several times in my work, I don't aspire to be store manager or college president. I just want to make sure that someone making rules for my job is making the right decisions and enforcing those decisions fairly. If someone else would be willing to do it for the skimpy pay offered, I would gladly hand over my power as middle manager.
Really, "As we are all born sinners..."!
I've never met an infant who was born a sinner.
They're perfectly fine, unless someone decides (from their own prejudice) that babies are sinners.
Just not my bias to think of babies so badly.
The WSJ had an editorial on this topic 20-some years ago. I used to have a copy, but I have no idea what became of it.
Power does corrupt - but the worse effect is that power ATTRACTS the corruptible, who are willing to do anything - ANYTHING - to gain and hold power.
Corruption requires a wink, wink, nod,nod from many to succeed, even if the many are not overtly responsible.
Being from Chicago, I was born knowing that government is a form of racketeering, albeit sanctioned and necessary. It always has been, from the time that the first prehistoric elders cajoled/coerced the first chumps to build the first stick stockade to keep the livestock in and the two legged and four legged predators out. Add graft, nepotism, protection rackets, featherbedding, GHOST PAYROLLS and voila, you have Chicago, but, of course corruption, ie the CHICAGO WAY is not at all unique to Chicago; it’s part of the human condition.
In the US, we managed to keep this corruption down to a dull roar, at least enough so as to not crush the commercial/private sector, which depends, on stable currency and enforcement of contracts, a somewhat level playing field, some agreement on standards and measurements, financial infrastructure, and some relief from the significant criminal class ……It has enabled the USA to thrive now and again.
“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm; but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”
― T.S. Eliot
Anecdotal I know, but I do think there has been a change in my lifetime. I recall the names and faces of the Chicago pols of my childhood, and though they were cynical, sneaky and greedy, they were not nearly as perverse, malignant, stupid, or Anti-American, as today’s glib, coiffed, and credentialed suits. At least they eschewed the intellectual veneer and stuck with the pinky ring image. They mostly knew better than to kill the golden goose, or eat the seed corn, or kr@p in their own nest; survival imperatives, No? Certainly, they weren’t taken in by “silly, fantastical, utopianist malarkey, like running a complex economy on unicorn farts; though they might use it to con the saps”(Althouse blog).
"The twentieth century was one in which limits on state power were removed in order to let the intellectuals run with the ball, and they screwed everything up and turned the century into an abattoir. . . . We Americans are the only ones who didn’t get creamed at some point during all of this. We are free and prosperous because we have inherited political and value systems fabricated by a particular set of eighteenth-century intellectuals who happened to get it right. But we have lost touch with those intellectuals." - Neal Stephenson
I hope we all know that the founders realized this and were aware of human foibles?
That's why the checks and balances and the decentralization of power. They understood that human nature "is what it is". Corruption, grifters, sadists, predators, sychophants, leeches, hangers on, not to mention the self serving activists, like you find in the “Virtue Industry” follow the money and power. Any institution is vulnerable; look how corrupted many charities are. But it is part of the larger fabric of society.
Congressmen, congressional staffers, agency staffers, pentagon staffers, and assorted family members have been shuffled in and out of corporate board rooms, foundations, non-profits, and lobbying organizations for decades.
Corruption is not a government, Union, 1 %, or Wall Street thing. America is a bottomless pit of hustlers and always has been. Consider the OB-Gyn who performs the unnecessary C-section, the mechanic who sells you a new battery when you just need your cables cleaned, the repairman that uses substandard or counterfeit parts, or expired materials parts, the shop that seeds the order of good parts with parts that don’t meet spec, the processor who uses components whose shelf life has expired, the lawyer that pads his bill, the salesman who doesn’t strive to provide you with the product that best fits your needs but the one, on which he stands to make the most money. People dissemble and mislead (as taught in Marketing classes during the 60s), cheat, embellish, take short cuts, and cut corners at every level, in every occupation including the professions, academia and media, charitable foundations, and activists. Just ran into it this weekend at the rental car counter at Midway Airport.
Predators will always find their prey. Trick is, to not be prey.
I think competitive people seek power...because it is a 'winner' vs. 'loser' kind of thing.
I get irritated with people who make decisions based on emotional thinking, rather than logical thinking. I am a woman who really doesn't care if I make people upset, if it is the right decision to make.
However, I am not competitive, and I don't like the spotlight. So that means I will likely never have much power.
I suppose, in the end, I'd rather have more money than more power.
The problem with that is that the powerful will take money from those who they don't like. And why should they allow you to keep it when they want it for themselves and their minions?
I rarely do seek power over people. When I get it, though, I notice that I sometimes stop putting effort into getting their consent. Who wants to argue and cajole and convince and negotiate when you can just lay down the law and go back to what interests you?
"it was the power the Ring possessed. That power itself was neutral"
Actually in the story the Ring's power was not neutral.