Sunday, August 14, 2016

Usurping the Rights of Others

Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
-- Lord Acton
Does power tend to corrupt? How exactly does this happen? Power does so by changing our perceptions of the people over whom we have power or who have power over us. This tempts us to deal with them in ways that may undermine both our personal and our common values.

Long ago John Dewey argued that democracy perfected itself the more its members communicated freely with one another. This jibes with what many researches indicate it is that brings people to mistreat others: communicating on a "need to know" basis.

Those who arrogate knowledge to themselves, who believe they have the right to define other people's needs, tend to see them as mere tools to serve either the personal ends of the arrogators; or, more important, to serve what they understand to be their organization's mission.

To examine these issues further, see Leadership as Usurpation

-- EGR