Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What corrupts us?

Does power corrupt? David Warren doesn't think so:

The higher levels simply develop from the lower. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, were not corrupted by power. Not even slightly. They were what they were from the start. Power introduces temptations not available on the humbler scales of human activity, which is a good reason for preventing our corrupt fellow humans from getting too much of it. It may go to the head of a person who has never had much power before, but then, it is going to the head of a person who had that kind of head, & never made the effort to get it cured.

Well, what about money? Doesn't money corrupt? Again, Warren says no:

Similarly, it is not money that corrupts, per se. Observe the behaviour of the winners of lotteries, who are often, if not usually, destroyed by their sudden prizes. Money gave them the ability to buy what they always wanted. The problem was with what they always wanted.

But what about wisdom? Why is it that younger adults tend to be liberal, and older adults tend to be conservative?

It is no accident that, as they grow older, & until they lose their wits, the sane become more “conservative” in this way; in the sense of, less apt to jump to conclusions. Pain is the great teacher in this respect; or more broadly, pain & failure. And the exception proves the rule: for those who have found success by chance, without meeting obstacles sufficient to “humiliate” them, tend almost invariably to be stupid jerks.

Read more here: http://www.davidwarrenonline.com/2013/01/20/to-be-human/

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