We see it again and again in politics, in corporations, in churches and condo associations, in family units and even in charities.
Where there is power, there accumulates those who would corrupt that power for their own means.
Whether it’s a government or a source of wealth or a good old-fashioned cult following, even systems of power with the best of intentions, the ones best run at the start, eventually corrupt.
Sam Walton was a man of the people, per most reports. Took a modest salary, drove a modest truck, and kept things simple, while building one of the largest companies going. Nowadays, the legacy is not man of the people, but enemy of the people. Walmart is one of the most hated and exploitive corporations in the world.
The ideals of the United States’ founding fathers are commendable, and yet here we are, with an orange wanna-be dictator spewing hate and lies across the entire planet.
Jesus, if he existed, taught kindness and forgiveness and humility. He lived humbly, by reports (except for the whole thinking he’s the son of God thing). Yet, the Catholic Church has a long history of violence and prejudice, and its wealth is obscene, not to mention the whole priest/kids thing. Many fundamentalist Christian churches are little different from cults, in the way they brainwash their followers into their views of hate. You think Westboro Baptist is what Jesus wanted?
United Way is bloated, and most of its money goes inward, to itself, rather than to those in need. Mothers and fathers control their families with threats and manipulations and sometimes, violence. Petty dictators tell people they can’t paint their houses the colour they want or put in certain decorations because of some obscure ruling or preference.
Where there is power, there is someone who wants to consolidate that power for their own personal gain, whether that’s money or ego stroking or petty vindictiveness. It takes a strong person to accept power and understand that it’s a responsibility to those who have granted it to you, a feat increasingly rare in this world.
To me, no matter the start, no matter the principles of any power structure, no matter how strict, where the power is, so corruption will follow. People will parse things and play semantics to get what they want. They’ll game the system or pay it tribute while stabbing it in the back, or they’ll just bully their way into their opponents’ acquiescence.
It’s my contention that all power structures be made impermanent. Corporations only last as long as the product they sell, and then are dissolved. Governments cannot be made up of career politicians and should be reset to its roots consistently. Charities collect what they need to fund a particular project, then they stop.
All laws should require debate and re-passing after a set period (say, 3-5 years), and a certain number of laws repealed every year, on purpose, in order to keep the system from becoming needlessly bloated or so Byzantine, it becomes impossible to navigate without falling afoul of it.
Nothing should last forever. Just like everything else, there’s a time for growth and a time for decay. The corruption of a power system is its entropy.
And when that happens, the sooner it is dropped for something else, the less likelihood it holds on too long, and becomes cancerous.