The Dynamics of Power in a Corrupt Society - by Mark E. Smith

Perhaps people have forgotten that power corrupts, or they don't really believe it. Perhaps some people think that if they have enough power, they could use it for good. Others may believe that if they elect good people the system might become less corrupt. But that's not how things work. If they'd read and understood John Perkins' book, Confessions of an Economic Hitman, they'd know better. In fact if they'd read the essay called The Fable of Lanova Messiah in my own book, Consent to Tyranny: Voting in the USA, they'd stop trying to corrupt good people by electing them.

There really are good people. Not a majority, but a few. And I always feel badly when I have to block well-intentioned people on Twitter because they are trying to run for office or to elect somebody to office in pursuit of what both they and I believe is a worthy cause. But I block them anyway because I can't allow political operatives to waste the energy of my Twitter followers on tactics and strategies that won't accomplish our mutual goals.

There already are some good people in Congress. I'd use Congresswoman Maxine Waters as an example. Maxine is a good person with excellent principles and values. But in order to accomplish anything in Congress, she needs to be a member of a party with enough votes to get legislation passed, and there are only two parties that can do that, the Democrats and the Republicans. Should Greens, Libertarians, Socialists, or candidates of other third parties get elected, they'd find themselves without enough votes to pass a fart in Congress. So they'd have to align with one of the corporate war parties, vote with them when necessary, and even raise money for them, despite knowing that by doing so they were sacrificing their own integrity. It's the only way that they can exercise any power, as third parties have learned to their shame in countries with proportional representation where they did manage to get elected.

When you gain power within a system, your power derives from that system. When you operate as part of a corrupt system, you are perpetuating that system and its corruption, even if that happens to be the opposite of what you'd intended to do.

A corrupt system is by nature a bureaucracy, and it will either bend you to its will or eliminate you because that's what bureaucracies do to maintain themselves. They are designed that way with precisely that purpose. You either go along to get along, or you get out. If you have to be killed in order to force you out, that's what will happen, and US history is full of politicians who didn't go along and were assassinated or met with incredible "accidents."

When you're first elected, you have little or no power, unless you are a member of a major political party. In a corrupt society like the US, both major parties are dominated by corporate and military interests, what Eisenhower called the "military-industrial-Congressional" complex. If you don't remember the third part of that complex, do some research.

In order to gain enough power to accomplish anything, you have to compromise your principles, which is how and why power corrupts. Once you've compromised your principles, you are no longer any good to yourself or anyone else and you certainly won't be able to accomplish the worthwhile goals you began with. You might survive as a dissident voice with regard to a few things, but when it comes to the big problems you won't have a chance. As John Perkins explained, your only choice is to go along with corruption and reap the rewards, or to refuse to go along and find yourself relieved of any power you might have needed in order to accomplish your goals.

I'd be happy to discuss this with anyone interested, particularly with regard to foreign countries where good people were elected and managed to accomplish some good things.

I don't feel that our situation is hopeless, just that electing good people to a bad system won't make the system any better, it will merely corrupt the good people who are elected so that they become bad people or, at a minimum, find themselves doing bad things like supporting wars they really oppose. Or, as I've often put it, putting good apples into a barrel of rotten apples, isn't going to make the rotten apples good.

Unfortunately, the US government is part of a very, very bad system. And governments who challenge that system are either invaded and destroyed, or at the very least denied any possibility of expansion.

But that doesn't mean we can't change the world. Think of cancer. If you know anything about alternative medicine, you know that those given the standard treatments for cancer, surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, have no better survival rate than those who aren't treated at all. But cures do happen and they can be brought about by changing the environment of the cancer, so that it simply cannot survive. The needs of healthy cells and of cancer cells are quite different, so it is possible to eliminate the things that cancer needs to flourish without harming the healthy cells our bodies need.

Political systems are no different. The environment that corrupt systems need in order to flourish is quite different from the environment that healthy political systems need. And we are that environment. If we can wean ourselves from the bad stuff we've been taught to think that we want and need, and learn to seek out only the good stuff that will enable us to survive, we really can change the world. Slowly, one person at a time, but it is not only possible, it is happening.

True it is probably not happening quickly enough to avert the destruction of the planet and Near Term Extinction, but what hope exists is only in the fact that it is happening at all.

So I do feel badly that I've had to block people who are still involved in electoral politics, but that's not because our electoral system is rigged, which it is, it's because even if we had free and fair elections, we don't have a healthy system to elect people to. No healthy cell would want to become a cancer cell, and no sane person would want to be elected to a corrupt system. If you really admire somebody's values, instead of trying to elect them, why not allow them to keep their values and spread them around? We know what doesn't work--now let's try something that does.

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