On Power

As parents we have a difficult task.  We want our children to have a healthy respect for others. We hope they can have a positive outlook on life and others intentions.  We want them to live out with faith and hope in mankind.  And yet, we don’t want them blind to the dark side of men. 

I remember my first job at University, cleaning bathrooms in the Science building at 5am. I was only 17 and was quickly shocked to discover that my boss was a vindictive tyrant. I had no idea that anyone would choose to make someone’s life miserable. I figured all people just wanted to “live and let live”. I quickly realized that power in the wrong hands leads to misery.

But whose hands are the wrong ones? We want our children to be able to recognize the realities of power and to be weary of abdicating their responsibility and freedoms to others.  Below are some quotes and clips which may prove helpful in teaching about power’s destructive capacity.

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

Abraham Lincoln

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.”

C.S. Lewis

“Only those who do not seek power are qualified to hold it.”  


“To someone seeking power, the poorest man is the most useful.”  


“Power attracts the corruptible. Suspect all who seek it … We should grant power over our affairs only to those who are reluctant to hold it and then only under conditions that increase that reluctance.”

Frank Herbert

“It is not in the nature of politics that the best men should be elected. The best men do not want to govern their fellowmen.”

George MacDonald

“This work was strictly voluntary, but any animal who absented himself from it would have his rations reduced by half.”

George Orwell, Animal Famr

“When one with honeyed words but evil mind
Persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.”


“The wisest thing in the world is to cry out before you are hurt. It is no good to cry out after you are hurt; especially after you are mortally hurt. People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late. it is often essential to resist a tyranny before it exists.”

G.K. Chesterton

Relevant Clip from Jordan Peterson

C.S. Lewis dives into how corruption/power first appeared in the hearts of men.

Bad King John, Charles A Buchel

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