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arts / rec.arts.books / America's relationship with power and success

o America's relationship with power and successIlya Shambat

America's relationship with power and success


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Subject: America's relationship with power and success
From: (Ilya Shambat)
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 by: Ilya Shambat - Sun, 5 Nov 2023 00:08 UTC

America has an unusual relationship with success and power. On the one hand, it looks up to the winner. On the other, it would support an underdog against a bully. On first sight this appears irrational or hypocritical. In fact there appears to be a good logic behind this.

Someone would get good at something or other. He would get some kind of success or some kind of power. For a while he would get respect. Then he would get used to it or let it go to his head. He would do stupid things. He would act like a jerk or a bully. At that point people's sympathy will leave him and then go to some underdog challenger. This appears to be dysfunctional, but it's not.

With power, we see another relationship. I have heard many people say that power is evil. I have also been told to let go of my judgments of powerful men. There appears to be a place for both attitudes. Power can most certainly be used for all sorts of wrong things; but that is not the only possible outcome. As for powerful men, that can mean anything from Genghis Khan to Theodore Roosevelt. It is rightful to have judgments of the first but not of the second.

My view on power is as follows. Power is a tool, and a tool is what you are using it for. As the NRA says, “Guns do not kill people; people with guns kill people.” Tools are neither good nor evil. Tools are neutral; and whether or not they are good or bad is decided by how they are used.

Of course with both attitudes toward success and attitudes toward power we see all sorts of hypocrisy. People would like either when they have it, but not when somebody else does. A conservative would look up to a successful conservative but would demonize a liberal, a Jew, a Russian, a Hindu or a Chinese who also becomes successful. On one hand we see “money talks bullshit walks”; on the other we see howling about limousine liberals, Wall Street Jews and others who likewise became financially successful.. So we go from “America: love it or leave it” to “Jews control everything” or “a Satanic New World Order conspiracy.” None of the latter claims have any validity whatsoever. They are being made now because these people can no longer claim to own financial success, and they can't handle that.

With power we see hypocrisy of course on a much grander scale. If a woman has understanding of people she is “manipulative”; if a politician or a businessman does, he is “competent.” If right-wingers in power – even if they stole an election - they are winners; if liberals are in power – even if they were legitimately elected - America is being taken over by damn commies. If Reagan is in power he is a great man; if Obama is in power he is a sociopath. You will want your own to have empowering qualities, and you will reward them for that. But if anyone else has empowering qualities, they are dangerous or worse.

I want to get rid of hypocrisy on these subjects, but I do not impugn either success or power. Both are what you are using it for. Guns do not kill people; people with guns kill people. Use the gun to protect your family, but do not pull it on your wife. Same is the case with success; same is the case with power.

arts / rec.arts.books / America's relationship with power and success


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