Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

And when one chooses monism as the basis or foundation for one’s epistemological and ontological method as well as one’s basic theory, belief, and idea about the social world, the underlying assumption is that monism is the most correct and most valid of the two primary theories available and that the quality of monism exceeds that of the alternative theory and hence is not a flimsy theory. Moreover, monism goes back centuries and millennia and transcends cultural and national boundaries, whereas the dualism of modern analytical philosophy has been contrived only recently and is limited to a European context and setting. 

Monism also fosters mutual understanding and unity between the different races and nationalities, and thus there is no distinction or major difference between white, black, brown, or yellow from a monist perspective and standpoint. For instance, while some folks may resort to the demonization of white people for various political reasons, a monist would resist demonizing white people for a number of reasons. For one, the white people of today are different than white people of the past, and in large part, white people have been misinformed by those at the top for many years now. And from a monist perspective, the divisions that exist today between the various races and nationalities have a political and economic basis, not a racial or cultural basis. If non-whites had the power which white people had for the last 500 years and if white people were in the position that non-whites have been in for the last 500 years, then non-whites would be demonized just as much as white people have been demonized for the last 500 years. 

Because of power and the fact that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” as Lord Acton famously said, one must rethink and reassess the political dynamics between white people and non-white people and in turn ask ourselves an important question which many of us have probably not asked before, namely, that if non-white people had the power that white people had over the last 500 years, would non-white people be flawless angels? Although no one endorses the abuses of power which have taken place over the last 500 years – and in fact I have been one of the most vocal critics of those abuses of power – but if the tables were turned over the last 500 years and if white people were in the position of the people who have been marginalized for the last 500 years and the marginalized peoples of the last 500 years were the powerful ones, would those who are marginalized abuse their power more or less than what we have experienced and relative to the abuses of power on the part of white people over the last 500 years?

Thus, instead of brooding and pitying themselves for being brown and black and in turn demonizing white people for their marginalization, perhaps brown and black folks should be thankful that they are not in the position which white people find themselves in, because if black and brown people were in such a position and in turn abused such power, then the consequences and the torment of abusing power and the burden and stress which comes with power is greater than the torment of being marginalized yet retaining one’s freedom and way of life. And as recent history shows, even in those exceptional cases when a person of color is offered power by those at the top, that person should be inclined towards not taking up the offer, because there is a deep and profound logic and wisdom behind not taking the offer. 

This does not mean that people of color should be aloof from the affairs of white majority societies. Being informed and providing input to one’s white counterparts is part of being a responsible citizen. Moreover, we live in an age of interconnection and interdependence, which means that what each of us do impacts the other in ways that are both seen and unseen. But to become a tool and instrument of the status quo in exchange for luxury and power is not a worthwhile bargain over the long run. Moreover, the problems of today supersede the solutions. In fact, there are no solutions to today’s problems in many cases and instances. But given that the whole point is to change the status quo to a certain extent, the catch and the paradox is that while there are no solutions to today’s problems on the surface, one must somehow reconstruct international society and change the status quo to a certain extent. Therefore, treading carefully and smartly rather than jumping at any opportunity for luxury and power which may arise is the most optimal and logical way of proceeding and navigating through international affairs and international society, given the prevailing conditions and the prevailing state of affairs at the moment. 

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