Wednesday, August 08, 2007

How Some People Gain So Much Power

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'Turning it Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems'
Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond thecomprehension of the weak; and that it is doing God's service when it isviolating all his laws.
- John Adams, 2nd US president (1735-1826)

Think of any person of power that you know or that you have read about in history. The statement applies in every case.

Though Adams was a US president and the quote was made nearly two centuries ago, it applies to every US president who has taken his country into war or who has intervened in the affairs of other countries (such as in Central and South America) over the past century.

The popes of the Church of Rome have forbidden any form of birth control (other than the very poor rhythm method) so that millions of unplanned children have been raised in poverty in many parts of the world and uncountable children even in rich countries have grown up in families where they were not cared for properly because the parents didn't want them in the first place.

Hitler believed he was not only doing the work prescribed for him by God but that he was doing the world a favour by cleansing it of "impure" elements that were destroying it from within.

Stalin was responsible for almost as many deaths of Russians because he believed that he was ordained by God to rule his country. And any neighbouring countries he could comfortably suck dry of their resources and treasures. Not the read God, of course, but himself as he gave himself demigod status.

Think of the leaders of major corporations who fudged the annual statements of their companies while receiving fortunes in annual salaries, taking their shareholders into poverty when they lost their life savings and had to retire without their hard-earned "nest egg."

The profits that Halliburton must be accumulating in Iraq as the US corporation responsible for the "rebuilding" of the country while US taxpayers fund US involvement in the country to the tune of nearly three billion US dollars per day must be staggering. You know Halliburton, US Vice President Cheney's former company, the man who has headed up the "saving" of Iraq from the dreaded scourge of Islam for the past few years.

The surprise is not that these men of power have corrupted the system and taken advantage of it for their own gains. Or even that they have claimed to be doing the service of God in the process. This is what powerful men do.

The surprise is that so many people have seen them do it and supported them.

Perhaps schools should spend more time teaching morals and ethics rather than the values of war they teach in history lessons.

Study those lessons. They all stress battles and wars won, but say little or nothing about wars lost or atrocities committed in the process. The lesson: War is good.

One way or another, the people in power control what is taught in schools, especially the lessons about what is right and wrong. People who don't believe they have any power remain silent, always more concerned with the rigours of their own daily lives.

People who have power and who want power reach beyond themselves to influence others. Those who believe they have no power keep to themselves, always too busy to get involved, to butt into "someone else's business."

That's how power works. The powerful know that.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, striving to reveal the ugly underbelly of power so that good people can clean it up.
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