STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Power Corrupts: A Culture of Compliance Breeds Despots and Predators
By John W. Whitehead - October 12, 2017

“All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.”― Frank Herbert

Power corrupts.

Worse, as 19th-century historian Lord Acton concluded, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about a politician, an entertainment mogul, a corporate CEO or a police officer: give any one person (or government agency) too much power and allow him or her or it to believe that they are entitled, untouchable and will not be held accountable for their actions, and those powers will eventually be abused.

We’re seeing this dynamic play out every day in communities across America.

A cop shoots an unarmed citizen for no credible reason and gets away with it. A president employs executive orders to sidestep the Constitution and gets away with it. A government agency spies on its citizens’ communications and gets away with it. An entertainment mogul sexually harasses aspiring actresses and gets away with it. The U.S. military bombs a civilian hospital and a school and gets away with it.

Abuse of power—and the ambition-fueled hypocrisy and deliberate disregard for misconduct that make those abuses possible—works the same whether you’re talking about sexual harassment, government corruption, or the rule of law.

For instance, 20 years ago, I took up a sexual harassment lawsuit on behalf of a young woman—a state employee—who claimed that her boss, a politically powerful man, had arranged for her to meet him in a hotel room, where he then allegedly dropped his pants, propositioned her and invited her to perform oral sex on him.

Despite the fact that this man had a well-known reputation for womanizing and this woman was merely one in a long line of women who had accused the man of groping, propositioning, and pressuring them for sexual favors in the workplace, she was denounced as white trash and subjected to a massive smear campaign by the man’s wife, friends and colleagues (including the leading women’s rights organizations of the day), while he was given lucrative book deals and paid lavish sums for speaking engagements.

William Jefferson Clinton eventually agreed to settle the case and pay Paula Jones $850,000.

Here we are 20 years later and not much has changed.

We’re still shocked by sexual harassment in the workplace, the victims of these sexual predators are still being harassed and smeared, and those who stand to gain the most by overlooking wrongdoing (all across the political spectrum) are still turning a blind eye to misconduct when it’s politically expedient to do so.

This time, it’s Hollywood producer Harvey Weinsteinlongtime Clinton associate and a powerhouse when it comes to raising money for Democrats—who is being accused of decades of sexual assaults, aggressively sexual overtures and harassment.

I won’t go into the nauseating details here. You can read them for yourself at the New York Times and the New Yorker.

Suffice it to say that it’s the same old story all over again: man rises to power, man abuses power abominably, man intimidates and threatens anyone who challenges him with retaliation or worse, and man gets away with it because of a culture of compliance in which no one speaks up because they don’t want to lose their job or their money or their place among the elite.

From what I’ve read, this was Hollywood’s worst-kept secret.

In other words, everyone who was anyone knew about it. They were either complicit in allowing the abuses to take place, turning a blind eye to them, or helping to cover them up.

It’s not just happening in Hollywood, however.

And it’s not just sexual predators that we have to worry about.

For every Harvey Weinstein (or Roger Ailes or Bill Cosby or Donald Trump) who eventually gets called out for his sexual misbehavior, there are hundreds—thousands—of others in the American police state who are getting away with murder—in many cases, literally—simply because they can.

The cop who shoots the unarmed citizen first and asks questions later might get put on paid leave for a while or take a job with another police department, but that’s just a slap on the wrist. The shootings and SWAT team raids and excessive use of force will continue, because the police unions and the politicians and the courts won’t do a thing to stop it. Case in point: The Justice Department will no longer attempt to police the police when it comes to official misconduct. Instead, it plans to give police agencies more money and authority to “fight” crime.

The war hawks who are making a profit by waging endless wars abroad, killing innocent civilians in hospitals and schools, and turning the American homeland into a domestic battlefield will continue to do so because neither the president nor the politicians will dare to challenge the military industrial complex. Case in point: Rather than scaling back on America’s endless wars, President Trump—like his predecessors—has continued to expand America’s military empire and its attempts to police the globe.

The National Security Agency that carries out warrantless surveillance on Americans’ internet and phone communications will continue to do so, because the government doesn’t want to relinquish any of its ill-gotten powers. Case in point: The USA Liberty Act, proposed as a way to “fix” all that’s wrong with domestic surveillance, will instead legitimize the government’s snooping powers.

Unless something changes in the way we deal with these ongoing, egregious abuses of power, the predators of the police state will continue to wreak havoc on our freedoms, our communities, and our lives.

Police officers will continue to shoot and kill unarmed citizens. Government agents—including local police—will continue to dress and act like soldiers on a battlefield.

Bloated government agencies will continue to fleece taxpayers while eroding our liberties. Government technicians will continue to spy on our emails and phone calls. Government contractors will continue to make a killing by waging endless wars abroad.

And powerful men (and women) will continue to abuse the powers of their office by treating those around them as underlings and second-class citizens who are unworthy of dignity and respect and undeserving of the legal rights and protections that should be afforded to all Americans.

As Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at the at the University of California, Berkeley, observed in the Harvard Business Review, “While people usually gain power through traits and actions that advance the interests of others, such as empathy, collaboration, openness, fairness, and sharing; when they start to feel powerful or enjoy a position of privilege, those qualities begin to fade. The powerful are more likely than other people to engage in rude, selfish, and unethical behavior.”

After conducting a series of experiments into the phenomenon of how power corrupts, Keltner concluded: “Just the random assignment of power, and all kinds of mischief ensues, and people will become impulsive. They eat more resources than is their fair share. They take more money. People become more unethical. They think unethical behavior is okay if they engage in it. People are more likely to stereotype. They’re more likely to stop attending to other people carefully.”

Power corrupts.

And absolute power corrupts absolutely.

However, it takes a culture of entitlement and a nation of compliant, willfully ignorant, politically divided citizens to provide the foundations of tyranny.

As researchers Joris Lammers and Adam Galinsky found, those in power not only tend to abuse that power but they also feel entitled to abuse it: “People with power that they think is justified break rules not only because they can get away with it, but also because they feel at some intuitive level that they are entitled to take what they want.”

That sense of entitlement and immunity from charges of wrongdoing dovetails with Richard Nixon’s belief that “when the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

For too long now, America has played politics with its principles and allowed the president and his colleagues to act in violation of the rule of law.

“We the people” are paying the price for it now.

Americans have allowed Congress, the White House and the Judiciary to wreak havoc with our freedoms. They have tolerated an oligarchy in which a powerful, elite group of wealthy donors is calling the shots. They have paid homage to patriotism while allowing the military industrial complex to spread death and destruction abroad. And they have turned a blind eye to all manner of wrongdoing when it was politically expedient.

This culture of compliance must stop.

The empowerment of petty tyrants and political gods must end.

For starters, let’s go back to the basics: the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Let’s recommit to abiding by the rule of law.

Here’s what the rule of law means in a nutshell: it means that everyone is treated the same under the law, everyone is held equally accountable to abiding by the law, and no one is given a free pass based on their politics, their connections, their wealth, their status or any other bright line test used to confer special treatment on the elite.

Let’s demand scrutiny and transparency at all levels of government, which in turn will lead to accountability.

We need to stop being victimized by these predators.

As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, I’m not just talking about the political predators in office, but the ones who are running the show behind the scenes—the shadow government—comprised of unelected government bureaucrats whose powers are unaffected by elections, unaltered by populist movements, and beyond the reach of the law.

There is no way to erase the scars left by the government’s greed for money and power, its disregard for human life, its corruption and graft, its pollution of the environment, its reliance on excessive force in order to ensure compliance, its covert activities, its illegal surveillance, and its blatant disdain for the rule of law.

“We the people”—men and women alike— have been victims of the police state for so long that not many Americans even remember what it is to be truly free anymore. Worse, few want to shoulder the responsibility that goes along with maintaining freedom.

Still, we must try.

Reprinted with permission from Rutherford.org

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Posted in STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
  • jackw97224

    Hollywood corrupts, absolute Hollywood corrupts absolutely. Political government corrupts, absolutely political government corrupts absolutely. Politics is violence, so, it makes no sense to facilitate violence, i.e. it makes no sense to facilitate political government and so it makes not moral sense to vote!

    • Don Duncan

      Hollywood sometimes enlightens. It is not absolute. We can boycott it. We can consume its content and criticize it. We can’t be forced to accept it.

      The opposite is true of govt., e.g., the violence is unavoidable. We are forced under fatal duress to live under tyranny. I still resist in every way not fatal or impractical, e.g., going to jail for failing to pay a parking ticket.

      Moral sense is almost non-existent in politics. There is the problem. The solution will come when enough people wake up to that reality and boycott the govt. use of initiation of force, threats, and lies.

      • jackw97224

        Politics is violence. People, voters, elect politicians. So, people have abandoned God and moral foundations and chosen the false gods, the politicians as replacements for Jehovah. History is the testimony of the evil of political government and yet the people just don’t seem to get it. Commie/socialist rubbish has infected and infested the mainstream political parties and we get wars of slaughter and economic destruction via recessions and inflation.

  • john cummins

    Whitehead’s Government of Wolves is another great booklet that shows how far we’ve gone the wrong direction with the jack boot thuggery of the government.

    • Bombaste Von Hohenheim

      Reality is, majority of people are looking at their own navel instead of looking at their surrounding. The french call them “nombriliste” (self-absorbed) (they invented the word because they are so self-absorbed themselves they could be world champion). But really, people are no longer looking for one another. When I was living in Denver, neighbors would get together to clean the sidewalks in front of the elderly’s home, When blizzard struck town, we would get them help with groceries on ski or with 4 by. Today most folks have phones glued to their ears and do not see anything. They are more interested in showing (bad) pictures of their last trip than finding out that their government just found out what they did. It is much easier to Not do anything serious. On the other hand, get blasted with dope or booze, checking the port-folio or watch the last stupidity of paris kardashian or pamela hilton is the blast. Hollywood knows that. Brain dead society is so much easier to manipulate. Simply look a the IQ of those who call themselves antifa.

  • Nobleharbor

    “The U.S. military bombs a civilian hospital and a school and gets away with it.”
    Really?
    That’s how it happens?
    How about:
    “Radical militia house weapons and soldiers in hospitals and schools, using civilians as living shields… and get away with it by blaming the U.S. Military”.

    • RED

      AGREED! While I sympathize with the general “sentiment” of this article, many of the statements and “examples” used to support the subject editorial are “simplistic & hackneyed” if not outright naïve. Accusing Trump of expanding the US Military “empire” is highly presumptuous at this time; a robust military for defense is still a requirement considering the adversarial nature and number of power corrupted tyrants on this planet.

      Whitehead’s solution….”still we must try”….Ok…I’m good with that.

      • JohnnyZ

        The US is the biggest tyrant (in terms of military might) on earth today. The City is maybe worse in terms of financial might. Israel is maybe worse on a per capita basia. But the US still steals the cake.

        • Nobleharbor

          Ignoring of course the daily repetition in Mosques worldwide of “Death to the Infidels” (not Muslim believers) and the endless stream of child/women bombings, truck massacres, knife slashing sprees, and of course housing weapons, supplies and soldiers in schools, hospitals, churches, and even mosques.
          All while authorizing the spread of lies and disinformation in their scripture.

          • JohnnyZ

            The muslims are just talk and no action. And it is just the radicals that talk. While the Anercansa are all action. Revolution in Ukraine, civil war sponsoring in Syria, destruction of Lybia and so on. All on fake pretexts. And ISIS and Al Quaeda are CIA projects. All the “terror attacks” are Western hoaxes or false flags. Wake up.

        • RED

          Take your neurotic indoctrination somewhere else! I know better!!

          • JohnnyZ

            You are just in denial…

          • RED

            How pathetic! Seek treatment for your Neurosis!

          • JohnnyZ

            The only neurotic one here is you – projecting your issues onto others.

          • RED

            You are the one projecting….and you don’t even realize it.
            You are delusional!!

    • TheLyingNeverEnds

      Nobleharbor “Radical militia house weapons and soldiers in hospitals and schools, using civilians as living shields… and get away with it by blaming the U.S. Military”.”

      That would be a believable story is the us Military didn’t keep doing it over and over and over again.

      www google com/search?source=hp&q=us+military+atrocities&oq=us+military+atrocities

    • MetaCynic

      How about, “the US military has no business being overseas,” because acting as the world’s policeman is not a power assigned to the government by the Constitution?

  • Why are you adding Donald Trump to this list, none of those allegations were proven and we all know, that’s how the left rolls.

  • DonRL

    I disagree that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    I it is not power that corrupts. Power allow the corruption that already exists to emerge.
    The more power one has the less oversight there is. With less oversight the corrupt will be more free to express their corruption without having to answer for it and there will be less chance for reprisal, justice or judgment against them.
    If absolute power corrupts absolutely then God would be absolutely corrupt because He is the only one who has absolute power. Since God is not corrupt but absolutely righteous in all things He needs no oversight to keep Him from doing evil. There is no evil in Him so no corruption.
    Since we are evil we need deterrents to the expression of our evil. More power means less deterrents. This is why our founders put checks and balances in place. Our desire to express our corruption is resulting in the dismantling of those deterrents. Our founders put in place a government that was of limited size but we have manipulated the system to increase the size of government and so increase its power so the corrupt can express their corruption more freely. They are hiding in the crowd and the complexity.
    The answer is to elect official who are just and righteous and therefore will govern with justice and righteousness not with greed and corruption.

    • JohnnyZ

      A good start, but…”human nature” is not evil at birth. We are in a fallen state, alright. But what the satanic controllers of society call “human nature” and use as excuse for their sins is just an ego complex, created of the interaction of the newbirn with “civlization”, which the devil worshippers themselves steer, manipulate, and social engineer. So the major reason for our sin is that we blindly follow along and are not conscious of the true circumstances of our reality. This is also true of “your founders”, who were Lucifer worshipping freemasons and illuminati with blood lines tied to royal European bloodlines. The checks and balances were just a smoke and mirrors as was the whole “revolution” (which was not different from the French or Bolshevik ones – all fake and controlled). Satan is the ruler of this world and thus noone just and righteous (except controlled opposition like MLK, JFK, or Gandhi) will ever be elected. Sorry to destroy your illusions, but this may help you going forward.

      • DonRL

        No help!
        According to the Bible we are all born sinful with a fallen nature because of Adam’s sin and our being born of Adam.
        When accept the Lord Jesus Christ we are born in to Christ who was and is perfectly righteous. We become perfectly righteous in God’ sight. This is the only remedy for sin. Without this new birth we cannot know or understand God.
        If you think we are not born evil you are under a delusion.
        The revolution here is was not like the Bolshevik or the French revolution which were communist revolutions. They were a revolt against the ruling classes as they saw it and the murdered millions.
        The revolution here in America was to establish a free society which had Christianity as its base. The revolution here was to become a separate nation removing the rule of the British who had become a foreign rule. The proof is in the pudding as it is said. The freedoms we have enjoyed are from the base of Christianity.
        Surely there were those who tried to subvert the revolution and continue to do so and such are servants of Satan. We have strayed far from our foundations. The only hope for our nation is to return to our roots of faith in Jesus Christ. We have nearly reached the tipping point and the point of no return. We had better repent (change our mind about God and His rule over us and return to Him as our Creator and Lord.
        Satan is the ruler of the world system and is usurping the true ruler of the world: The Lord Jesus Christ who will return and establish His Kingdom worldwide.
        Until the we are to proclaim the good news if the salvation God has provided for all.
        Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved from the Judgment of God to come. In the end every thing else only leads to eternal damnation.
        Perhaps this will help you rethink your position and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is an open invitation for you to do so.

        • JohnnyZ

          Your point about our sinful state is likely true, but regarding the American revolution you are completely misguided. The “founding fathers” were freemasons and illuminati with blood ties to European royalty. They just pretended to give you “freedoms”. The same illuminati did all the other (fake) revolutions as well. Satan has deceived you.

          • DonRL

            The revolution was not Satanic. It was Christian. You should get book Americas God and Country by William Fedder. It documents the intent and purpose of their mind as they founded this country.
            If Satan had founded this country there would not have been the great Christian development we have seen. The people of this country would not have been missionaries to so many peoples of world. There would not be so many churches proclaiming the Good News of God’s salvation He provided to us through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ.
            The founding of this country was a great moving of the Holy Spirit of God. Where there is s great moving of God’s Spirit there is also a counter movement of the unholy spirit – satan.
            Satan has blinded you so you do not see what God has done and so you will give satan the honor and glory for founding this country. This is what satan did to Adam and Eve in the garden. He focused their attention away from what God had done in giving them all the trees of the garden to eat to the one tree God told them no to eat. He focused their attention away from what God had done to what he (satan) had said. Satan has focused you attention away from what God did in the founding of this country to what satan tried to do. Satan has focused you attention away from the godly men who put in jeopardy their lives and fortunes and fought and died to found this country and the God honoring purposes for which they sacrificed.
            You are looking only at the counter movement of satan and ignoring the moving of God in the founding of this country.

            May God enable you to look beyond what satan has done and see what God has done and is doing.

          • JohnnyZ

            “If Satan had founded this country there would not have been the great Christian development we have seen.”

            This is not a proper argument. Plus how do you know “you had a great Christina development”?. Organized religion (churches) are of the devil. Vatican is the worst – it is Mystery Babylon, run by the je(w)suits. America is the new Atlantis. You killed almost all the indigenous people. Killing, raping and pillaging and all this in the name of the cross. God’s kingdom is not of this (materialistic) world.You are blind and in denial. Cognitive dissonance?

          • DonRL

            Again you are focusing on what satan did and ignoring what God did. I am focusing on what God has done in the midst of what satan is doing. Your are looking at only one side of history. How do I know that there was great Christian development? Look at the other side of history that you are ignoring.
            Why are you allowing satan to focus your attention on him and away from God. We should focus on what God is doing not on what satan is doing.
            I am not denying that many things were done that were evil. God does many good things in the midst of great evil.
            I know that God’s Kingdom is not this materialistic world.
            Jesus said that His Kingdom is not of this world.
            We who are in God’s Kingdom must operate in this world and counter what satan is doing to keep people out of the Kingdom of God.
            By focusing on what satan is doing you are glorifying satan. Focus on what God is doing and you will glorify God.
            Tell me what churches are doing to further the Kingdom of God. Tell me what God’s people are doing in this world to overcome this world by their faith in the Lord Jesus.
            Look at the Churches that are preaching the Word of God. Look at what God’s people are doing in providing aid to those whose lives are devastated by the storms. Look at what God’s people are doing the missionary efforts all over the world. Look at those who are witnesses in their communities, workplaces and families.
            Open you eyes to what God is doing and stop glorifying satan by focusing on what evil, perversity, lies, killings, rapes, murders his followers are doing.
            TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!

          • JohnnyZ

            There are for sure God’s people doing theur best, but Satan us the ruler of this world so all events are in the end directed by him. Good looking sories are most of the tune either fake or stepping stones to even bigger evil (oroblem reaction solution). Society has been socially engineered by the satanic controllers for centuries now (if not millenia). I do not see how this is approved by God. The final result is that Western “civilization” is a materialustic cesspool, a system of the beast and this is no surprise or coincidence. One Satanic apple has spoiled the whole cart (and it has been much more than one). Just look at the US seal (visible on the one dollar bill) with the illuminati pyramid or the grave of Washington (stating “freemason and first president of the US”). All was done was pseudo Christian.”None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” Goethe.

          • DonRL

            God rules over all. Satan is the god of this world and he can only do what God allows him to do. I agree that satan’s agents are at work manipulating this world and it’s governments, but God is ultimately in control. He will bring about His purposes as He sees fit. What satan is doing will ultimately bring about God’s will. In the end all events are directed by God not satan.
            None are so hopelessly enslaved who do not realize that they are free. Jesus said, “If the Son makes you free you will be free indeed”. I firmly believe this. My freedom does not come from government, society or culture or from other people, it comes from God through Jesus Christ in whom I am ultimately free. His freedom will one day be manifest and fill the whole earth. Satan will then be bound and Jesus will rule over all.
            Jesus Kingdom will rule over all and there will be peace on earth. Until then satan will seek to lie, kill and destroy until God puts him down.
            Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved and have eternal life. This is true freedom.

          • JohnnyZ

            Ok, I think we now understand each other.

  • MetaCynic

    Power corrupts because it exists. Corruption cannot be overcome by reforming government – whatever that means – or by replacing personnel. It will end only when concentrated power is diluted and then dispersed so that we each have power over only our own lives.

    • Samarami

      I’ll see ya, and go ya one better, MetaCynic. Wanta know who the most powerful individual in town is today? Me! I’m the most powerful individual in the universe.
      Wanta know why? Because the world revolves around my belly-button, (not yours) — that’s why. And that thesis gives rise to my real power: the knowledge that your world revolves around your belly-button, whether you admit it or not. So I have no need to enter into disputes with you or anybody else. And I do not hand “power” over to individual(s) who claim to have been “elected”. I didn’t “elect” ’em. And I have no “social” (or any other) “contract” with ’em.
      “Jurisdiction” does not exist. “It” is merely superstition. Oh, I know — the man (or woman, L-rd have mercy) with the loaded firearm has “jurisdiction”. For the moment.
      I have jurisdiction over my own life — with that you and I and many others reading this will agree. And, I also agree that it will be nice when the time comes when more and more individuals acknowledge their own individual “power”. Regards, Sam

  • Don Duncan

    I self govern. I don’t vote. I don’t forfeit my sovereignty. I don’t concede legitimacy to those who initiate violence, threaten, or lie, in public life or private. That fact does not free me physically. But it frees me where it counts. I do not self-enslave. I am free to see the reality of the state mentality for what it is, anti-life, self-destructive.

  • Randy

    But the legitimization of all of these heinous crimes and their insured continuation is done via the TOTALLY corrupted legal system! Isn’t that where everybody is dragged through (more like keel hauled!!) to enforce the crimes and corruption of the government actors?
    Some form of court system, be it military or civilian, is used in a corrupt fashion to deliver punishments to the ones who are seen as a danger to the survival of the status quo. If there is no victim or damaged property, then how is there a crime?
    But that corrupt system has an Achilles’ Heel larger than most people are willing to see due to all of their dumbing down and brainwashing in the public fool system.
    It is the blatant contradictions in the legal system itself! The legal system is BELIEVED by most to be the last bastion of justice for us, but in reality it is the LAST place that anyone should ever expect to get any justice because it is 100% corrupted! However, it’s worse than any gambling house with its rigged up games, because the legal system has goons with guns to haul your butt in there and force you to participate in its charades and con games. A gambling house will take at most your property, but the legal system can and will take your very life if it wants to!
    Someone once said to me that we shouldn’t get rid of that corrupted system, merely on his false idea that we don’t have anything to replace it with. Is that the thought pattern of a sane man?
    What is the EXACT AMOUNT of fraud that ANY man or woman has the right to commit?
    What is the EXACT AMOUNT of fraud that ANY man or woman has an actual obligation to endure?
    What is the BASIC PREMISE that is being operated off of, in the instant case?

    Randy

  • georgesilver

    As the head of the Rutherford Institute is this statement true:-
    ” The Rutherford Institute “is the primary institution behind a form of Christianity known as Reconstuctionism. The primary tenet of this faith is a belief that America must be remade as a pure white “Christian” nation with old-testament Biblical law as the law of the land.”

    • georgesilver

      I notice no reply. I’m becoming more and more suspect of the Daily Bell. It seems to be a propaganda outlet under the guise of an old name.

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