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TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Absolute power always a corrupting influence

The observation about the corrupting influence of power from Naples born historian Lord Acton continues to hold true more than a century after his death.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely," he once said, in warning that political power is the most serious threat to liberty.

Republicans have been in absolute control of Congress and the presidency for six years, refusing at times to even include Democrats in their discussions. Even worse, some Republicans call Democrats unAmerican —for wanting to be included in the debate on Iraq — while they concentrate more power in the executive branch.

Their absolute power includes an unprecedented arrogance never seen before in Washington, D.C., and it is corrupting.

Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, who pleaded guilty Friday in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, may have put it best.

"I never intended my career in public service to end this way," he said, in pleading guilty in federal court.

He joins a long list of people caught in the absolute power trap that includes former House majority leader Tom DeLay of Texas, House member Duke Cunningham of California, and Mark Foley of Florida. Now, Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania is under investigation for influence peddling.

None of these figures expected their public service to end in disgrace; but none anticipated the outcome because of their arrogance of welding absolute power.

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