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Shvoong Home>Books>The Arrogance of Power Review

The Arrogance of Power

Book Review   by:Savon1945     Original Author: Adli Stevenson
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This book was not on your list but was a book I picked up in a second hand store a few months ago. It was one of the most profound books I have ever read and one I believe to be timeless.
Adli Stevenson, a seasoned politician, gives one of the most honest analysis of political systems of times past, as well as our own. However, I felt that this theory could be applied even on a personal level where anyone is in a position of power. The old saying, "Power corrupts" and "Total power corrupts totally" is so true on every level of humanity as well as every level of government.
Stevenson makes several points where the United States government has stepped into smaller, less powerful countries and attempted to put our system of democratic government into place and it did not work because the country was neither educated or mature enough to make it work. Just because we believe in democracy and it works for us, should not give us the idea that every government should be so.
Not so many decades ago there was a religious power who killed millions of martyrs because they did not "believe and worship" like this church. There was a government leader who was responsible for the deaths of over two million Jews because he felt they were an inferior race. There have been many others who have attempted to eradicate one race or another, simply because they were different then their own. Others who have made slaves of a race or color because they simply had the power to do so.
Beyond just the power of politics this arrogance can be applied to anyone who gets "off" on power. It can apply to the state level, county, city, on down to the policeman who stops you for a traffic violation. It can apply to the CEO of the company, the manager, or even the receptionist who feels they control a certain amount of space around them. It can be the bank manager, loan officer, a judge or pastor of a church. Probably one of the worse misuses of power or control is in the home where a man or woman feels they must control what goes on in that household one way or another. Sometimes it is by emotional control and sometimes it is by physical violence but when it comes down to the bottom line, it is still a misuse and arrogance of power. That particular person has the power to dominate and control those under him or her.
What or who gives them this power and how long will we allow this arrogance to continue? I will be the first to admit that there MUST be organization in any home, office, church, social scene, or government. However, when we take our liberty to "vote" for leadership, we are not voting for domination . When a husband or wife takes a partner, they are not looking or submitting to control or domination, but seeking companionship. So, what is in the phychy of a person or government that gives them the need to dominate or control those that are in their sphere of influence? Obviously it is arrogance and a feeling that they are mentally and physically more equipped to control or govern.
I will be one of the first to say that I feel our democratic government is the best way to live and I would never want that to change, however, for me to say that we should go in and force every government to be democratic is no longer domocratic, but now becomes autocratic and depotic!
In essence, what Stevenson is expressing is the fact that just because we are one of the world's greatest powers, we must not have the arrogance to feel that we should force our way of life on someone else even if it is better.
Now, that does not obliterate our moral responsibility to help those who are wanting out from under a tyranical government. Nor does it excuse us from reaching out to those who are being myrtered or persecuted. We must always examine our motives and keep our humanitarian efforts in the confines of what the people want, for that is true democracy.
I found Adli Stevenson's book to be stimulating, enlightening, aninspirational. A book certainly worth the time reading.
Published: February 13, 2006   
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