The Lust For Power

My Member of Parliament surprised me a couple of years ago when he told the crowd assembled before him that he “wanted to represent his constituents.” How many MPs want to represent their constituents these days? It is actually what they’re supposed to do, but how many of them actually do it?

My impression, these days, is that politicians increasingly represent only themselves. They have their own long list of things they want done, and representing their constituents is pretty much the last thing they want to do. What they really want is power: power over other people. They want to get their hands on the levers of power. They’re power-hungry. And in many cases power-mad.

Tobacco Control is the shameless exertion of power over other people. And there is no limit to the power that they seek over other people. Once they’ve got one bit of power – the power of indoor smoking bans – they start looking for extensions of that power, and start pressing for outdoor smoking bans, beach smoking bans, park smoking bans, hospital smoking bans, They can never get enough power over other people.

In the comments yesterday, Joe L drew attention to the accusations of sexual harassment levelled at Stanton Glantz and Tom Frieden. Isn’t sexual harassment simply another expression of power over other people? And if your life is devoted to exerting power over other people with smoking bans and other instruments, isn’t it likely that you’ll exert power over them sexually as well? These people can never get enough power.

And perhaps another expression of this lust for power is in paedophilia, which seems to be a sort of modern epidemic. Children are the easiest people to gain power over. And perhaps that power finds sexual expression as well. Perhaps when people become over-powerful, there is always sexual harassment and paedophilia and worse.

I can only think that this sort of lust for power is a sort of disorder, and maybe one which manifests itself when people find themselves in positions of power, as when they are eventually promoted to positions of management in one organisation or other, be it in politics or industry or church or military. Once you’ve been enthroned as a big shot in any of these organisations, and discover the many little perks that come with power (e.g. a bigger desk), you perhaps start trying to climb higher, and set out to win an even bigger throne and bigger crown and bigger mace of office (and bigger desk). And at the same time your sense of self-importance mounts higher and higher. And you also feel entitled to the power that you exert. And you get more and more arrogant and bullying and overbearing. And you spend more and more of your time scheming how to overthrow anyone above you, and suppress anyone below you.

I’m just guessing. I’ve never occupied any senior position in any organisation. I’ve never had a big desk, or a private secretary, or a chauffeur-driven limo. It’s simply that I can imagine that once you’ve got these things, you can easily start wanting more and more of them, just as if they were addictive drugs.

In the end, I suspect that if too much power gets concentrated anywhere, it meets mounting resistance, and is ultimately overthrown. And such will be the fate of the despots in Tobacco Control.

About Frank Davis

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14 Responses to The Lust For Power

  1. waltc says:

    About Freiden. I think –at least from what’s known so far–that maybe here it’s a case of the newly-discovered and misused power of the MeToo ladies who learn they can bring down anyone with an accusation, which must be a dazzling, if malicious, power. From reports, she was 55, had known him for many years, was at his house for dinner along with another couple and, as they were all saying goodnight at the door, he briefly grabbed her ass. Last October. And she just got around to being Seriously Offended and reporting this gigantic “violation” to the cops. If that’s all it was, his arrest is perplexing and at worst, a frightening abuse of police power. Not that it doesn’t tickle me.

    Power is also being abused by the DOJ’s Special Prosecutor who, like some obsessed modern day Javert, is out to get Trump for something-anything; , if it’s all he can muster, then the legal equivalent of stealing a loaf of bread.

    But, no, I don’t think having power alone is enough to make people abuse it, I think it takes a special kind of bullying personality (tho bullying personalities tend to actively seek power). I once had the big desk and the private secretary ( no limo) and ten people–writers and artists– working under me. I had no desire to have power over them and only accepted the position because I was told if I turned it down, they’d bring someone else in to do it who would then be MY boss and my ultimate reaction (in reverse of the purple cow) was that I’d rather be than see one.My approach was to tell everyone to do exactly what they wanted to.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I don’t think that having power is enough to make people abuse it either. My father ran an office with some 200 people under him, and he had a limo too, but I never saw him become in the least bit bullying or overbearing.

      I think maybe it’s more that someone who is sure that he’s right who will use his power to advance his beliefs, and get things done. It’s a case of “the best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity.”

      People who are convinced that they know what needs to be done will put themselves forward to do what needs to be done. Those who aren’t convinced will not put themselves forward. So there will always be lots of people who are convinced that they know what needs doing who will be looking for the power to do it. And so positions of power will always attract dogmatic people, convinced of their own rightness.

      And isn’t Tobacco Control full of people who are convinced that they know what’s best for everyone? Aren’t most politicians (of whatever persuasion) people who think they know what’s good for everyone too? And aren’t you going to hire the guy who says he can do the job, whatever the job is?

  2. Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

    A pithy succinct description. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and a saying often stated by my dear Dad (LtCol retd Peter of the RAAC to you!), power grows from the barrel of a gun. I have witnessed and experienced the circumstances you state, Frank. It may not have percolated to the northern hemisphere, or be of only marginal interest, but Australian Prime Minister Mal (Icious?) Turnbull was just deposed by a ‘palace coup’, replaced with a mediocre nonentity. Readers of Frank’s fine blog need not know his name (save you googling: ScoMo or Scott Morrison, a graduate in commerce yet less than economically literate, based on his media sound bites). I predict ScoMo will occupy the throne, drinking the Kool Aid, for less than 6 months, and will take Bitcoin bets on this! The entire fiasco proves the political class are inward looking, self serving, and devoid of insight. Combined with entitled arrogance, and inability to raise their eyeballs above the mire to devise strategies, the evidence confirms the old adage… What is the role of the ruling class? To remain the ruling class. There shall be no charisma without a Crown. I am a monarchist. Long live QEII, a life of dedicated service, we will never get that from the political class, and Republicanism just serves up more politicians (it’s essentially impossible to change the Australian Constitution to become a republic anyway, an aspect of reality ignored by the same utopians who believe they can bully, tax and ban us into abstaining from tobacco consumption). 👑🚬

  3. Smoking Lamp says:

    Tobacco control is indeed fueled by the lust for power. They are so attached to imposing their will on others that they now seek to expand their tyranny to comprehensive lifestyle control as seen in the return of the temperance movement, vegan extremism, and the anti-sugar movement. The desire to extend the corrupt FCTC to other realms of social control fits this pattern.

    To achieve their goals, the controllers rely on ‘junk science’ and propaganda. An example of the combination of junk science and relentless propaganda (actually misinformation and lies) is found in what I now view as ‘PropagandaLive’ that is the consortium of news rags doing business as CornwallLive, DerbyshireLive, DevonLive, EssexLive, LeicestershireLive, NottinghamshireLive, PlymouthLive, and SomersetLive (no doubt there may be others).

    The PropagandaLive papers have an online presence that promotes anti-tobacco extremism and consequentially the persecution of smokers. They are currently promoting the prohibition of smoking in private homes (based on dubious junk studies) at several of their outlets:

    SomersetLive: “Calls to ban smoking in homes due to alarming child death rate” https://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/ban-smoking-in-homes-campaign-1933871

    LeicestershireLive: “Campaigners say we should ban smoking in people’s houses – here’s why” followed by “It’s because of passive smoking” https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/health/campaigners-say-should-ban-smoking-1928496

    PlymouthLive & DevonLive: “Bid to ban smoking in homes due to shocking child death rate”
    Claiming “Almost a third of smokers’ children are likely to die from lung disease” https://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/ban-smoking-in-homes-campaign-1933871
    https://www.devonlive.com/news/uk-world-news/ban-smoking-homes-kids-die-1909941

    All of these sites have polls on the home smoking ban.

  4. Smoking Lamp says:

    Agitating for an outdoor smoking ban on hospital and encouraging the persecution of smokers from the anti-smoker activists at Leicestershire Live: “Picture shows piles of cigarette butts outside Glenfield Hospital – next to no smoking sign” https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/leicester-news/picture-shows-piles-cigarette-butts-1918507 There is a poll.

    • waltc says:

      5:20 PM EDT, we’re behind, 62/38.

      • smokingscot says:

        It’s 60/40 now, however it seems few people care about the poll. The comments are scathing about the NHS getting their priorities wrong. A theme that’s becoming far more common and has the advantage of being relevant to all taxpayers, rather than that tired crap about losing mummy and daddy to copd, or lung cancer.

        In those cases, even if I suspect they’re simply paid trolls, I usually comment that with an arsehole like that as an offspring, they most likely were driven to it as a form of relief.

  5. paedophilia, which seems to be a sort of modern epidemic.

    It only seems to be so thanks to the propaganda and extensive media coverage about it throughout the last twenty years, as opposed to zero ‘legacy’ media indictment of the egregiously false and unprecedentedly loathsome, claims of the anti-smoking zealots/campaigners, in the very same timeframe. In the last twenty years, tobacco smoking has also been widely portrayed as a ‘modern epidemic’, purported to be the leading cause of a (40-odd) number of diseases or debilitating / life-threatening conditions (such as blindness, osteoporosis, abdominal aneurysms, the list goes on and on). Yet a comparison of Relative Risks from the British Doctor’s study vs the US surgeon general reports, as concerns LC alone, shows a worringly variable (non-smoker’s) baseline risk. Which strongly suggests that this widely fluctuating baseline risk is anything but scientific.

  6. Joe L. says:

    The world lost a power-hungry, authoritarian, Antismoking Progressive today:

    John McCain dead at 81

    Good riddance.

  7. Pingback: Click on Sunday – Library of Libraries

  8. >My Member of Parliament surprised me a couple of years ago when he told the crowd assembled before him that he “wanted to represent his constituents.”

    And he was lying.

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