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Posted October 29, 2005 by I-taoist in Castro's Cuba

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The problem with authoritarian and despotic leaders is that eventually all become dependent on their good graces; nepotism, cronyism, brown-nosing and arse-kissing become the order of the day.  Dissenting voices lose all position, and reasoned debate—looking at all sides of an issue—is thwarted. 

Everyone has witnessed this to one degree or another.  In the workplace, in social settings, in deliberative assemblies and board meetings, the one with a strong and powerful ego often prevails.  When one’s livelihood is dependent on getting along in such an ego dominant system, abuses are multiplied; ethical compromises are too easily adopted, true debate ends and one is constantly filled with the fear of losing one’s position.  The underlings most adept at “kissing up and kicking down” rise to the top…. A neurosis sets in… High standards and true goodness are undermined.  Corruption and behind-the-scenes maunevering prevail, plots thicken, court intrigues and gossip run amok�Such becomes the system when despots rule.

This is, of course, why enlightened men in the past have attempted to establish political systems with a division of power.  Recognizing the inherently debasing effect of excessive power in an individual, they tried to establish a system of checks and balances.  The theory is that by checking excessive power in one branch of government—or an individual—balance, reason and moderation are maintained; the ship of state remains on an even keel, and headed in the right direction. 

In times of great fear and trembling things can easily go awry.  Human nature being what it is—in a crisis—there is no time for debate.  Falsly perceived, or real, outside threat hastens the migration of power to the executive in charge.  Most true tyrants quickly understand this and their rise to excessive power is aided by exaggerating a threat from outside or sedition within.  Sometimes they are helped by actual events.  It’s a simple ploy; scare folks enough and you can do whatever you please—and most will go along.  Those who see through the guise will be too intimidated to speak up, or if they do, they will suffer such consequence that they will soon be quiet.  If they persist, having garnered great power, you simply crush them. 

It has all happened many times before.   

When a folk give over their power to the whims and fancies of one powerful individual, abuses inevitably follow, as night’s darkness follows the light of day.  Rewarding those with the cleverest cunning and most selfish motive always leads to corruption.  Small-minded-men in positions of large power are always petty, arbitrary, inconsistent, corruptible and patronizing, not to mention vindictive.  Their outer veneer of civility and joviality is just that � a thin covering.  Underneath they are craven pigs whose anger and rage are quickly brought to the boiling point when challenged or questioned.  They lead men and nations to ruin. 

The false allure of tyrants is the apparent efficiency with which they operate and their shrewd tactic to offer something in return for the power they gobble up:  Trains and buses may run on time, laws are quickly passed, civil order is brutally maintained, radical ideologies are spawned, and for a while, there may be a chicken in every pot.  They spout utopian idealism while employing Machiavellian tactics.  They speak of new opportunities while crushing all dissent. They offer government largesse in place of self sufficiency, individual enterprise and boot-strap endeavor.   

But this does not long last.  Inevitably, with the corruption of spirit in such men and systems, they overreach.  In their march to glory they overfill the bowl, and it spills—often with disastrous consequence.  Budgets are busted, great debt is incurred, lives are squandered, inefficiencies are spawned, and all begin to suffer.  This process is only hastened by misguided foreign adventures; not content with their gains, these great Ego men reach out for other golden rings—often tumbling from their mounts.

It’s an old story with many refrains, but the same basic theme:  For us two-leggeds, idol worship is most blasphemous when applied to other men.


John Bomar
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