Does power always corrupt? | INFJ Forum

Does power always corrupt?


Oct 27, 2009
admins maybe you can add your input here? :)

can a person be given great power and not have it eventually corrupt them? for example, if tomorrow you became extraordinarily popular, to the point where people would die for you just so they could follow you, and from them you formed an army, and with that army you attacked central asia, and from central asia you spread out over the rest of the globe, conquering cities and enslaving states, much as dictatorships several centuries in the past have done, and at the end of it you were "ruler of the world" in all but name, would that power eventually get to your head?
maybe that's a bad example!

ok another example, say the above happened except instead of by force, people ALLOWED you to take over their countries and towns, and basically handed you the power to do what you with the world, with trade, with armies, with technological progress, with the law; it was all in your hands. and you previously considered yourself a normal, good person. wouldn't you suddenly feel like you HAD to take advantage of the power you've been given, for the betterment of the world? there are plenty of things wrong with the world after all, in pretty much everyone's opinion, and if one single person had the sole power to change it, why wouldn't they? at least at first it would be based on such altruistic reasoning, and then later, when rival groups start opposing your leadership (because they always do), and another extremely popular person is preaching his own version of how the world should be run, maybe you'd feel justified in quietly "removing" that person from sight. it'd be murder, sure, but YOU wouldn't be the one who pulled the trigger, and it would be for the common good, right? slippery slope, eventually you'll be justifying pure theft, torture, genocide, depending on how fickle your followers at the time happen to be, because as quickly as someone can be brought to power, that quickly people can turn against them, and nobody who has power ever wants to lose it. could this wanting to hold on to power form the basis of corruption in leadership?

or even if the possibility of the endless authority of one man existed, then wouldn't your morals eventually give way to pure animalistic impulse, driven by the lack of negative consequences should you choose to do the "wrong" thing? related question - are people inherently good? or are we good because the consequences of being bad are so unpleasant? WHAT is the incentive for leaders to be good, if people continue to give them power?

(if you've read all that I SALUTE you, honestly, i write these posts without knowing where exactly i'm going, and half the time i worry that they make no sense. if you like you can ignore the post and answer only the initial question - which is, does power always corrupt? because i don't think i explained it well here, and the idea itself is extremely intriguing and what i'd actually like to hear about. thanks everyone!)
I have a saying, God knows no righteous. In short it means that only God sees what you do behind closed doors and only God knows the thoughts in your head. In my opinion what defines a man is not what he says or does infront of others but by what he does at home and what his thoughts are on.

Nobody is perfect and sin is a slippery slope, so in my mind it is not if the leader will abuse the power, but when and how so.
I don't see the logic behind saying that "power always corrupts."

I don't like this kind of inductive reasoning.
I would say that power can definitely change people, and it can bring out their worst qualities. It would take a very strong character not to be negatively affected by it.

To answer your question directly, I think that yes, power does ultimately corrupt. It can effectively be utilized in order to change the world, but I think that the longer a given person or a small group of people wield that power, the greater the likelihood that it will corrupt them.

In the context of ruling a worldwide empire or a nation, those who seek to hold onto power for extended periods, even if for a noble cause, will eventually need (or feel the need) to use it to protect themselves from others who want to take it from them. Those others may lust for power themselves (being increasingly corrupted simply by being in its vicinity), or they may feel that whoever is currently in power is abusing or using their power inappropriately and feel obligated to wrest it from them. This to me seems inevitable, especially on a national level.

As history will tell, it can easily turn a noble peasant revolutionary into a paranoid tyrant.

In all honesty, I would not trust myself with the kind of power you describe. Aside from the fact that I think it would corrupt me, I don't feel as though I'd be knowledgeable enough to use effectively from the outset.

Power corrupts...absolute power corrupts ABSOLUTELY.

Few people can handle power and use it fairly and justly. Take cops for example, most people that are cops wanted to be a cop for the badge,gun, authority. Many were the type that got abused by bullies in school and always dreamed of revenge and wished for power, and many women cops were often not given enough attention and mistreated at home and wished they were tough and could fight back.

I see this the most with Law Enforcement than any other field. In the old days it was over use of the cop's baton, nowadays it's the "often lethal" taser stun gun. Many people believe that striking a cop will get them harder jail time, if not even possibly shot, even if unarmed, even if dealing with an a-s-s-hole power abusing cop itching to instigate a quarrel and most cop's know this.

Many cops believe that most citizens will take it
, just staying quiet while the cop cusses someone out, or just laying on the ground while they put a beating on someone who's not fighting back anyway.

These type of people who seek this type of work are often power-seeking individuals bent on wielding and displaying authority and might. I find it funny that most cops that love their power are often times p-u-s-s-i-e-s by themselves and won't take immediate action unless it's at least 3 cops on-1 if the guy being arrested happens to be a heavyweight strong man who's super aggressive.

Often many times you won't hardly EVER see an old timer cop who relishes his or her power , it's almost always the younger generation cops who have something to prove to the public.

It's getting worse with Law Enforcement these days because many military soldiers finishing their term from the Marines or Army are fresh out of the mid east slaughter-fest, with PTSD problems , and getting hired as cops wherever they live nationwide. Used to constant day to day shouting, weapon drawing, giving verbal abuse, and just down right making snap judgments when someone doesn't move when they say move.

Power does corrupt, especially with cops. The majority of the public allows much of this to simmer and keep brewing , not really doing nothing about it. 2 or 3 cops will have someone face down on the parking lot pavement, hands cuffed already, the one cop will shout stop resisting when the person is totally subdued NOT RESISTING with a cop's knee behind the person's head with all his weight and force pressing down on the person's neck...the person will be shouting "I can't breathe , get off !" and one of the other cop's will whip out the taser... zzzz-crackle-zzzz-crackle-zzzz, ect. Meanwhile bystanders will just stand by like sissy sheep and let the cops abuse the hell out of their authority and either baton or taser someone almost to death when they pose absolutely NO THREAT.

Maybe a few people will have just a teeny weeny bit of bravado and yell to the cops "stop doing that! that's police brutality!" but will often recoil in silence when the piece of s-h-i-t scum cop shouts back " yell at us one more time and you'll get some!!!"- 50 capable people could be watching but wouldn't dare jump in to stop 2 or 3 cops from beating or clearly abusing someone who was totally helpless...WHY ...???

It goes back to the POWER issue and many people see that silver shield on someone's chest and it's like a God status... "we can't touch them or we will pay dearly...even if they are clearly in the wrong".

Again...most cops know this, and people who want to be cops,that's why no other field draws so many rotten to the core evil people seeking power than Law Enforcement. That power and display of power, that feeling of "I'M UNTOUCHABLE " is like a drug to these twisted sadistic bastards that thrive on inflicting pain on the helpless.

Deep down the cowardice comes out of these people when they are by themselves and the odds are even. A lone cop will often wait till the other puss cops like his self show up before they abuse someone who just may have been walking on the sidewalk one night and a cop decided to display his power and ask the person for their I.D. , person may have said "I ain't gotta show you s-h-i-t", ... what will most responses of this particular cop be? Why of for back up , and get 2 or 3 more cops there on the scene to get in on the beatdown that the original lone cop wanted to start. I have seen them do this more than once during my teens.Asking for the I.D. was nothing more than an exercise and classic abuse of their power.

These type of cops often create situations where no situation would be had the cop not instigated it to begin with. The courts are almost always on the side of the power-corrupt cop, and it even can get uglier and more corrupt when you start dealing with Judges and Prosecutors who act like a higher class of God than the mini-Gods who physically put cuffs on people.

The original post was not on police power, but I stress that there is no better analogy comparison when looking into people who are mad POWER hungry and corrupt to the core than Law Enforcement, there is a special place in hell for these people who love abusing their power, I believe that strongly.

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Before all, May, I always like your posts/threads and your thoughts, even though I more rarely address point by point some of the questions. But they make me think. :) I also really enjoy your thought processes, which you present so sincerely.

Everything is corrupt, because our brains just are inclined to be corrupt. Who here has NEVER stolen at least the smallest piece of paperclip, or pen. Or has NEVER told even the lightest form of lie, or deception, or has NEVER hidden the truth or deliberately adjusted it a little? There are no such people. We do such little, very little indeed, forms of corruption from being kids. Even as babies.


We do them in very very small proportions normally. And lots of it, or most of it is even unintentional, or inevitable, under some pressure.

Now, imagine any of us having unlimited power; well, the same issues would be multiplied to the extent to which this power is extended. The results may look horrible after such projection. The leaders of worlds are under great pressure to make decisions that usually can't be made properly, and they end up always wrong in some major ways. It's almost a no-win situation to have so much power.
I think, You can use your power when you understand these two concepts of life: Truth and love. Both are needed to use power. otherwise you may misuse it or waste your time. Every one has equal power like we all have equal time of 24 hours. Don't doubt this thing.

people believes that they have no power to create anything when they doubt on their ability.
I have no clear cut opinion on this but I do have a few thoughts

  • I think some people's take on corruption is just a difference of opinion. IE anything that is contrary to a particular person's pov is an abuse of power.
  • People aren't perfect, abuses of power WILL happen. Just the same as with people who let things happen to them.
  • I don't think power necessarily corrupts, and a abuse a power is not a sign of corruption. What is in someone's rights to do is typically a subjective matter and crossing a line, even perhaps to further a good cause, can bother some people.
  • If power corrupts, then should no one have power?
  • History has seen a few peaceful transitions from king to king. It can happen (Someone's post was talking about this)
new thought, I figured it kinda flowed into this so I didn't want to dreate a new thread over it.

If power corrupts and knowldge is power does knowledge corrupt?
new thought, I figured it kinda flowed into this so I didn't want to dreate a new thread over it.

If power corrupts and knowldge is power does knowledge corrupt?

Interesting thought, and it is a popular maxim that knowledge is power, but I don't think that knowledge is equivalent to power. I think knowledge (it just struck me: that sure is a strange looking word) provides a means with which to attain power. And, to stay on topic, I think that power attained through knowledge is ultimately no different in effect from power that is attained through brute strength.
Does power corrupt or does power attract the corrupt?
No. It is all about choice. Compare the generals for the American and French Revolutions. Both ambitious men and good generals. One overthrew his own government, the other retired to his farm and family.

A lot of the problem with absolute power is that if it ranges over a broad area, different perspectives will inevitably feel oppressed unless that power is parceled out to some extent or at least localized.
Human math

Let x represent self, and y represent power as a positive integer.

[SIZE=+1]X y[/SIZE]

Power is the exponentiation of self.
Hey, NAI was recently promoted. He can be our case study.
Hey, NAI was recently promoted. He can be our case study.

stfu or you get teh ban!


j/k hehe
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Upgrades to prev. post :)

I do not even believe in the idea of moral people, meaning that people are always as moral as the circumstances. Power CAN be not corrupt, if things go more or less smoothly and the fecal matter is not getting in contact with the air conditioning. If a group of people are starving in extreme hopeless situation, they usually end up with cannibalism, no matter how moral they have been. Even the most immoral people turn out peaceful and careful, if the circumstances allow it and stimulate it enough.

The idea of morality, as if it's some kind of score attached to humans' heads, is primitive. External conditions are more important. If there's no rain around the globe, the total morality would drop drastically. People would blame each other. It's your responsibility, no, it's yours! Why aren't people more mature, like me, accusing the others of not being mature and responsible etc, blah and blah. And rain won't come from this racket, you know.

People tend to assume that if there's anyone in particular to blame or praise, that really makes a great difference, whereas it usually doesn't matter on the long run.
I believe there are those that truly cannot be bought. Having said that, I believe power can corrupt. I also believe it does not always corrupt.

How did we all feel April Fools? heh
I have had god privileges in many of my roles and I don't abuse my power. That's like saying everyone with a gun kills something.
Power has not always corrupted (historically) so no, it does not always corrupt. However, given the complexity of human nature as it relates to power, there does seem to be a tendency for it to go this way.