Friday, May 08, 2020

The Temptation of Coercion

red and black metal frame

The leaders during the American Revolution were clear-eyed about human behavior. They didn't believe that if only the "right" people got into power, then things would be fine. They knew that even the right people can be tempted to abuse power and that safeguards always need to be in place. 

[The French and Russian revolutionaries lacked that perspective and look where it took them.]

Idealism certainly is no vaccine when it comes to abuse of power. The Communists and the Nazis thought of themselves as idealists. Their fanaticism slaughtered millions. Robespierre, another butcher, spoke of the "Republic of Virtue."

Eliminating the pandemic is an urgent and noble challenge, but vigilance is always needed when the heady drug of coercion is considered. 

Even the best intentions can easily drift into something far less benevolent.

[Photo by Alec Favale at Unsplash]

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