As a Christian – with a particular love of liberty – one of the big focuses I see in my readings is on Free Will. I’m a big advocate of Free Will. My stance for many years now has been “If God gave us the ability to make the greatest eternal choice, then I can let other people make small choices for themselves.”
The thing about the ability of free will, the ability to do what we want is that it requires respect of the free will in others. Else, if it is just free will to do what you want, regardless of the of others then it becomes Power, a corrupting force to say the least.
Power is a necessary cause for war or democide
The reason I differentiate between the Power to do what we Want and the Ability to do what we Want can be found in the definitions of the words.
Ability: noun, The capacity to do something.
Power: noun, The ability to do something or act in a particular way
See that? Power includes ability. We all have the ability to act, to choose our own way. Sure our options may be limited by our circumstances, but free will is given to all humans. We have the capacity to choose.
Now Power on the other hand, Power is the capacity to do something in a particular way. If we all have the ability to choose for ourselves, why the need for an additional word? Power, I think in this case, can mean the ability to do something in a particular way regardless of the will of others.
In any case, governments – particularly nondemocratic governments clearly should come with a warning label: “This power may be a danger to your life and limb”
Power, in this manner, is corrupting. The ability to have your way, regardless of the conflicting wills of others is evil. It is against Christ’s second great commandment, and like all activities that correspond to your desires, they encourage more of it. More Power, more of our will. Everyone else are like ants, to be controlled or stepped on. Going on in this manner, I can see how individuals, corrupted slowly by Power, can commit such horrid atrocities.
Ideology and absolute power are the critical variables in Soviet democide. They explain how individual communists could beat, torture, and murder by the hundreds, and sleep well at night. Grim tasks, to be sure, but after all, they were working for the greater good.
The only way to commit such acts, to be so “powerful” is to make others in your eyes un-human. Which, is to effectively make yourself in your own eyes, super-human. Or a Superman maybe. In German that would be Übermensch. Most of us know where that led.
Pg 118-119 – text on Eastern Europeans distributed to the SS from the SS main office.
The sub-human, this apparently fully equal creation of nature, when seen from the biological viewpoint, with hands, feet and a sort of brain, with eyes and a mouth, nevertheless is quite a different, a dreadful creature, is only an imitation of man with man-resembling features, but inferior to any animal as regards intellect and soul. In its interior, this being is a cruel chaos of wild, unrestricted passions, with a nameless will to destruction, with a most primitive lust, and of unmasked depravity.
For not everything is alike that has a human face.
With enough Power comes the requirement for Control. You can’t do what you want with increasing measure without some aspect of control. Doing what we will in the present life regardless of the consequences is typically going to require more riches and more people to answer to you. The bigger the crowd the more control that is necessary. One of the most Powerful people (at least in the corrupting sense of the word) was Mao Tse-tung. He had one of the largest landmasses and largest populations under his control. As such, he had a strong vision of power and control.
Pg 91 – Mao Tse-tung
Apart from their other characteristics, China’s 600 million people have two remarkable peculiarities; they are, first of all, poor, and secondly blank. That may seem like a bad thing, but it is really a good thing. Poor people want change, want to do things, want revolution. A clean sheet of paper has no blotches, and so the newest and most beautiful words can be written on it, the newest and most beautiful pictures can be painted on it.
Power has horrible connotations for human action. Free-Will however – the non-corrupt, good, original idea – is something to be cherished and used with abandon. May we all further act in a manner that fulfills our desires and takes into account the will, the desires, the human nature of others.
This post is a continuation of a long series of commentary on quotes pulled from Death By Government by R.J. Rummel. The book itself is a real and horrific tome of how Power kills absolutely. Despite the negative outlook of some of the commentary, I do recommend reading it. Here are some quick links to posts related to this book: Short review of the book itself, all the quotes in one place, and a list of other commentary like this one.