You Always Have the Power

Institutions erode. Demagogic strongmen stoke primal fears. Tribalism rises exponentially. Mistrust abounds.

This is what happens every now and then. When things change more rapidly and more violently than we are accustomed to, there is a void into which can step good or evil.

When I say “This is what happens every now and then…” I don’t mean to excuse evil behaviour. I don’t mean we shouldn’t do anything about it. But I do mean that if we are in any way surprised that this is happening, then we are stupid, and we need to read a history book or two…

Because human nature does not change.

Give people the ability to amass power, and some of them will. And give them the opportunity to take advantage of those with less leverage and mobility, and some of them will. And once they’re in the middle of it, they will do everything to convince themselves – and the rest of the world – that what they’re doing is somehow right and moral.

And they will try to manipulate public opinion. And they will try to silence those who seek a more level playing field. And they will appear to be succeeding…

… and then because they are mortal human beings, they will die. And their corpses will rot, and with the passing of enough years nobody will even remember them, let alone the evil they did.

All this is to say that whether you’re living through good times or bad, through justice or injustice… none of that affects your ability to do what you believe is right. To decide that you won’t be evil. That you won’t degrade the culture for personal gain. That you won’t willingly partake in the suffering of others.

You always have the power to do right. Exercise it.

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