... And Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely"
Yes, power corrupts.
We all know this is true; we see it in politics, we see it in company leaders, and even in people who are supposed to be helping others. Our site will explore this phenomenon, that power changes people. And its not that people are born evil; it is power itself that changes those who wield it. Even 'regular' people, good people with no history of abusive tendencies, can become abusive when given sufficient power.
We have some information on the psychology of this on our Articles page.
In our modern world, the tyrants and despots of the past have put on fancy suits, and all smile politely - but behind closed doors they continue to abuse power in all the same ways. Presidents in many countries are suspected of engaging in illegal activities, even to having people put to death, to support their agendas. Many Military leaders also engage in such activities. This has gone to a new level with the use of Drones; there is less supervision, and more likelihood of innocent people being killed. Military power is consolidating to a few very large countries, and that does not seem to be a good situation; there is less 'balance' of power.
In the US, presidents can modify laws passed by Congress; these are called "Signing Statements", and they do seem to be an overreach by the President. The US constitution has no provision allowing this (or disallowing it). Although this was started a long time ago (by President James Monroe), it has become quite popular. George Bush was controversial in his extensive use of Signing Statements, although it turns out that Bill Clinton signed even more. So far President Obama has made less use of Signing Statements than his two predecessors. You can find out more about Signing Statements here.
In a country smaller then the US, such as Venezuela, you see extensive political abuses. Although Chavez engaged in many forms of abuse of power, his successor has continued the practice. There seems to be no obstacle stopping it, and so the behaviour flourishes.
Companies abuse their power all the time. An oil spill is a good example - the oil companies would do the minimum in such situations, if the courts did not force them to make payments and to do extensive cleanups.
Hunters would (and did) overhunt, were it not for laws limiting hunting. The same thing for fishermen. Anyone in a position of power over another (doctors, lawyers, bosses, teachers, priests, even parents) can give in to the temptation of over-using their power. It seems to be human nature. And it is avoided mainly when there are checks and balances that counter it. These checks and balances do not have to be only laws; they can be social norms as well.
The abuse of power is a large large and complicated subject. This is simply our debut article. Stay tuned for more articles on the subject. We are also looking for guest bloggers who want to contribute to this topic - contact us!