Thursday, May 05, 2005

Power Corrupts or Power Amplifies

An acquaintance of mine was wondering why they invited President Bush to Pope John Paul's funeral when they didn't invite mass murderer Charles Manson. He said Bush has killed more people.

My phrase "power amplifies" came to mind.

I said, "you would rather have Bush as your neighbor than Charles Manson." "If Bush wasn't in a position of power, where every little act, or mistake, is amplified into great consequence, he would likely be a nice neighbor." "Might invite you over to a back yard barbecue."

On the other hand, if Charles Manson were the President, the entire world might be obliterated in nuclear war.

Power amplifies.

Bush seems about as nice as most average Americans. Maybe he is a little more "career driven" than many. Anyone in his position of power can do things that have consequences effecting the lives of millions, actually billions. I doubt I would trust many of my neighbors in the White House. Some, yes.

If the President sneezes, the world catches a cold; figuratively. An average person sneezing might not be noticed.

So power amplifies.

Does power also corrupt? Can power change one's personality from "nice guy" to "power maniac?" Have you ever had a friend who changed when they became the "boss?"

There is the old phrase that says, "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Several friends of mine have admitted that they became "a different person" when they got behind the wheel of an automobile. "There goes Mr. Nice Guy." The dog eat dog world of I-5 traffic brings out a different side of their personalities.

Just about everyone, I know, drives, but I wouldn't call them mass murderers, even though automobile related deaths are high on mortality lists.

The popular phrase, "power corrupts" may have some truth to it, but I still prefer to think, "power amplifies."

Saying "power amplifies" may let people off the hook, a bit, since it basically just says that the more power one has, the more oomph there is to one's actions.

Oomph to one's actions either good or bad.

I did vote for Kerry, however.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I posted an interesting article called "Dobson's Dog", a look into the mind of a real "power maniac", the notorious homophobe James Dobson in my journal at
This is precisely why I never spanked my son when he was growing up. Unlike Dobson, he has turned out to be a fine young man.