How Power Corrupts

“We grew older, and we came to understand one of the central truths of human nature, which is that when you brush up against a truly powerful force, it is never quite as benevolent as you imagined it to be. In order to acquire power, you have to be at least a little ruthless.5 All you can hope for is that those who do acquire power operate by some sort of rough ethical standard, and even if I no longer deified Paterno, I continued to believe that the monolith I’d grown up inside was essentially a force for good. They did things I found untoward, but I always presumed they did them for the right reasons . . . . “

This comes from this article, a reflection on the Penn State scandal where young men were sexually abused and no one spoke up–all to save a football program. See the article here:

This sometimes happens in the church too.

1 thought on “How Power Corrupts

  1. Marlena,

    This seems very similar to Machiavelli’s The Prince. Have you read it? At Cedarville, I wrote a paper arguing that Machiavelli’s theory (a King can retain power by finely balancing political ruthlessness and a likable public facade) is incompatible with Christianity.

    Thanks for the reminder that we are all susceptible to using power for our own gain.


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