THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 582, August 8, 2010
"I do not regard a lock on my door
as a limit to anybody's freedom."
Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise
There is a tendency to mythologize political leaders of the past. The fact is they are not so much of much. For all the good and even greater harm they did, they were, in the words of Eric Flint, "Just Men fucking around in a fucked up world." They are not the godlings their publicists would have us believe they were, nor are they the great monsters their opponents ( most of them to the readers of TLE) believe. They were men faced with choices, men stuck in a world of shades of grey and making decisions with black and white consequences.
It would be comforting to say they were monsters driven by a will to power. We could tell ourselves we could never be like them. And it can not be denied that so many of them were degenerate power junkies. But they, and those now in office, in fact never lost the power of free will and must answer for the choices they made, and "the special circumstances" leaders use to excuse their acts are merely temptations they gave in to.
If you are familiar with the Act of Contrition (if you were raised Catholic, I'm not sure if other Christians use it ), you will remember the phrase "avoid the near occasion of sin." Power is the "near occasion of sin" even for people who are not interested in politics. The problem is that politicians are attracted to it more than others. Even those who first seek office for honorable reasons get used to power. They discover that there is a thrill to using power for its own sake. Then they discover that the thrill is gone and that only misusing it satisfies them. Figuratively and sometimes literally with lovers, whores, and friends with privileges (not to mention groupies) available in swarms they still need to find victims to rape.
They want us to believe they are bound by different laws, that the necessities of rule give them a special dispensation from the codes that bind the rest of us. Wrong, they are just men (and now more often women) whose particular profession requires that they flirt with "the dark side." If they cross over they sin (and not just in a religious sense, but rather in the sense of betraying their own integrity with insufficient cause*). If they don't cross back and make restitution, their sin remains unpardoned as it is unrepented.
Please do not read this as an excuse for these anal orifices, I am trying to say that the exuse they frequently use of extraordinary circumstances is so much crap. They are not inherently evil, at least more than original sin calls for, they are men who given a choice between good and evil and a profitable opportunity to choose good chose evil. And for that they deserve damnation, the choosing of evil, not a monster's intrinsic urge to do evil.
It really is that simple.