Of all the evils that plague our fallen world, one of the most pervasive is the lust for power. It's a sin I cannot comprehend.
Back in 2012, I remember an incident in which I was cooking dinner, and my husband read me a headline out loud, something about how Hillary Clinton wanted to be the new president of the World Bank.
"You know," I commented as I stirred a pot, "I simply do not understand why people don't long for a quiet simple life, with a job they can leave behind at the end of the day and a warm and loving family life they can come home to."
That's the way most of us are wired, after all. Naturally, we have plans and ambitions, but for most people, the family they come home to at the end of the day is the thing that counts.
But not everyone feels this way. Some people long to be the president of the World Bank for apparently no other reason than a lust for power. It's like a fever in the blood and a condition literally unfathomable to those who don't share it.
Lust is defined as an overwhelming craving. Power is the ability to dominate or rule others. People with a lust for power don't think like you and me. They gauge things on a different scale. Those afflicted with this condition naturally gravitate toward positions in life where obedience is compulsory – and what better arena than government, where their craving can be enforced at the point of a gun?
Power lust transcends party affiliation since power attracts the corruptible. It's something the Founding Fathers, fresh from the tyranny of George III and British authority, knew intimately. Into the Constitution and Bill of Rights they built mechanisms to avoid repeating the oppression under which they had lived. "The natural progress of things," noted Thomas Jefferson, "is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." These men knew the dangers of centralized government and how such an arrangement would attract those with an inbred lust for power.
How right they were. Our Founding Fathers would be rolling in their graves to see today's America.
If the events of the past two years have illustrated nothing else, it has exposed the lust for power on an epic scale gripping many of the world's leaders. This is nothing new, of course. A huge majority of people who go into politics do so because they are power-mad. The coronavirus handed them the ultimate opportunity.
In Kevin Duffy's essay "What Drives the Lust for Power?" he points out how power lust is permitted (or at least tolerated) due to five key factors: ignorance, greed, fear, envy and fantasy.
By keeping people ignorant – of their constitutional heritage, of history, of the nature of the free market – they can be played like violins, swayed by any politician with a glib voice and slick promises.
By playing on peoples' greed, politicians can play one segment of its citizenry against another, letting things reach a boiling point until the government comes to the rescue with a "solution" to the problem it created. By accusing successful businesses of "greed," government can step in and force it to redistribute its profits or even close down.
By making mountains out of molehills, governments instigate fear until the people demand a government solution in exchange for security. (And we all know where that leads.)
By nurturing envy and fertilizing the grounds for class welfare, politicians cultivate the notion that one segment of society has the "right" to liberate another segment of society of its resources, which are then redistributed to those deemed by the politicians to be more worthy.
And of course this all plays into the fantasy that a Utopia is possible here on earth, a place where everyone will live in peace and harmony if only those awful greedy others would do as I say. "The only inconvenience," notes Duffy, is "at the end of the day [this] Utopia requires brute force."
Throughout history, tyrants both petty and great have arisen and delighted in oppressing others in their insatiable desire for control. This lust has fueled Hitler, Stalin, Napoleon, Genghis Khan and an endless succession of despots notching the timeline of history.
Of course, all politicians will deny they're in it for power. They'd never get elected (or successfully steal an election) if they told the blunt truth. Rather, they always dress up their desire in pretty and sympathetic language: "I want to help the poor." "I want to make things more fair." "I want to provide health care for everyone."
If someone doesn't enter politics driven by a lust for power – in other words, that rare individual who enters politics out of a genuine love for country and a desire to right some wrongs – he is either marginalized to the point of ineffectiveness, or he is seduced by the dark side and begins to feel the trickle of lust sliding through his veins. Sadly, it's almost inevitable.
Today, the lust for power is mainly tied up in two narratives: keeping everyone safe from COVID, and fighting racism. The former is unraveling even as we speak. The second is a deeply entrenched lie (or a brilliant advertising campaign, take your pick) perpetuated by the left, who are milking it for all it's worth.
In heavily Democratic New York, for example, Gov. Kathy Hochul (a Democrat) has declared racism to be a "public health crisis" (meaning, systemic racism has been largely fostered by Democrats). As Graham J. Noble observed on Liberty Nation, "By declaring a 'public health crisis,' government officials – both elected and unelected – can impose all manner of rules and restrictions and can gather to themselves all kinds of extraordinary powers, even if none of them are constitutional. It's a public health crisis! There is no time to consider such trifles as rights and freedoms!"
And when will racism be eradicated? Conveniently, never. It's far too useful a tool.
Even now, Hillary Clinton is jockeying for position to become a candidate in the 2024 presidential election. My suspicion is it is NOT preserving America's constitutional freedoms that motivates her.
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