Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

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“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Over the centuries, this famous saying voiced by Lord Action has been analyzed and dissected numerous times by historians and philosophers. Some individuals say that power does not corrupt, it only attracts the corruptible. However, to judge fairly, past and current events accurately depict the ideology that power corrupts absolutely, and has convinced me, that its meaning holds true. Ivan the Terrible of Russia, Louis XIV of France, Henry the Second of the Roman Empire, Katherine the Great, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Adolf Hitler – these names all frame some of the most dictating and ruthless leaders in history whom have reigned with tyranny. These individuals all have one simple attribute in common – all were leaders who tried to maintain complete and absolute power over all subject matters and attempted to coerce others to be subordinate to their commands. Thus, the question that I wish to address in this essay should be how leaders corrupt absolutely and why. Those who choose power over meaning wreak havoc for those around them, and ultimately, lead to their own tragic debacle.

Leadership is at its core, all about power and influence; however, there is a distinction between two types of power. Socialized power is used to benefit others, and personalized power is used for personal gain. In many cases, individuals start out with the aim to benefit others, but once power is acquired, they use it for their own gain. Thus, socialized power and personalized power is not mutually exclusive. There are copious instances of historical dictators whom started out with good intentions corrupted absolutely because they became consumed by the obsession for more power, more authority. The recipient of the Nobel Price, William Golding, is the sagacious author of the novel, The Lord of the Flies. The idea that power brings corruption, is the dominant and a potent theme in this powerful literary work. Golding...
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