Achieve or Go Mad With Power

napoleon

What’s more destructive to the soul? Power, or powerlessness? Or is it some combination of both?

The prevailing wisdom is that power is what corrupts. Offer someone something great, and you can bet that all kinds of moral compromises are on the way. The eternal search, therefore, is for that mythical creature: the incorruptible man, the individual willing and able to resist the temptations of power and maintain principle and integrity. However, I don’t think it’s that simple. Power means nothing without context. To a national legislator, for example, a million dollars can be significant, while to a fabulously wealthy businessman such a sum is absolutely meaningless.

You know what actually corrupts? Void. That internal emptiness that we all have to some certain degree, customized to our own personal life struggle. For some it’s recognition, to others it’s financial achievement, to still others it’s love and intimate validation. And people with the lowest amount of achievement tend to be those with the largest voids. For the out of shape, nerdy, lonely young guy, a charming young lady’s advances can get him to do just about anything. To the single mother spending her days at a low-paying and soul-sucking job, any recognition and acclaim can make her compromise. The political hopeful living in a trailer with no major accomplishment to his name won’t stick to his principles for long. [Read more…]

Weakness Is Not a Virtue

bully

Be kind, be gentle, be humble. Let others go first. Put others’ needs ahead of your own. Don’t worry about claiming credit for anything, you’ll get your due in time. Nice guys come out ahead in the end. That’s what I was taught.

Total nonsense.

This is an issue I’ve struggled with for a long time. By nature, and nurture, I’ve lived by the code described above, and it’s burned me. Over time, I’ve come to recognize that much of what I thought was goodness was actually weakness. And weakness isn’t just unfortunate, it’s morally wrong. Yes, avoiding violence and confrontation is generally a good thing. But if an innocent is being threatened, doing nothing isn’t morally neutral, but morally negative.

The same applies if you yourself are the innocent in the equation. Of course self-defense and protection from theft are right, but that also extends to sticking up for yourself in general. If someone slanders you, it’s your duty to establish the truth. If someone steals credit for something you did, you should absolutely make sure that the record is set straight. Humility is a virtue, but it involves lifting others up, not over-emphasizing yourself and your deeds, and giving others the benefit of the doubt regarding credit. Allowing clear untruths to persist isn’t humility. It’s dishonesty and cowardice. [Read more…]

The Evil Wuss

Do not mistake weakness for kindness. In fact, it usually amounts to the opposite.

It’s hard having a soft heart. The world is full of tragedy and calamity, and anyone with more than a shred of human compassion will start to share in the suffering of others. Then starts the slippery slope. What starts as pity turns into compassion. Turns into sympathy. Turns into empathy. Turns into affection. Which clouds our judgment. Before you know it, that down-on-their-luck person you started to feel sorry for becomes a little angel in your own mind. “Oh he’s so nice. She’s sweet, wouldn’t hurt a fly.” Nonsense. That little angel could be devil who just doesn’t have a pitchfork yet… and with that little boost of strength you give them, you give them the power to stab you in the back.

But where the true evilness of the wuss shows is not in action. It’s in inaction. The biggest threat isn’t that the weak will become evil once they become strong, but rather that they’ll stay weak.

Innocents are oppressed every day. The poor are robbed. The weak are beaten. The kind are abused. Across every continent, in every language, in every societal microcosm, wickedness abounds. Who is at fault? Who do we blame? Sure, the few who actually do the oppressing are at fault. But the big villains are the multitudes who let the tyrants be. They are the onlookers who do nothing to stop the rapists. They are legals who do nothing to stand up for the innocently illegal. They are the calm churchgoers who pray for suffering to end but do nothing to protect their own children from abuse.

Never forget that not all are as safe as you. Never forget the pain of others. Never forget the evil that plagues your fellow men and women. And never forget that, if you do nothing in their defense, the blood of the innocents is on your hands. You aren’t the Devil, but sure as Hell’s his kingdom you are his foot soldiers.

Do not mistake weakness for kindness. In fact, it actually amounts to the opposite.

It’s hard having a soft heart. The world is full of tragedy and calamity, and anyone with more than a shred of human compassion will become filled with rage at the world’s many injustices, and resolve to do something about it.

This is how radicals are born.