Sibling Rivalry > Note 2:


ABUSE OF POWER

Abuse of power or authority may be the prime source and true essence of moral EVIL - Evil is the ABUSE of power.  Moral EVIL begins to exist when someone refuses to accept responsibility for the welfare of others, especially (but certainly NOT restricted to) those naturally under his or her direct care.  It can be said that someone has POWER, if that someone can decisively influence (the) reality (of others).

In this context, AUTHORITY is power that derives from a social accord or convention, such as the laws or customs of a social group such as a state or an organization.

So then, what is "abuse of power"? 

ABUSE OF POWER is the illegitimate use of power. 

ABUSE OF POWER is that situation that exists whenever someone who has POWER over others, (that is, the capacity to impose his or her will on those others) for example, by virtue of his or her superior mental dexterity, social position, physical strength, knowledge, technology, weapons, wealth, or the trust that others have in him or her, unjustifiably uses that power to EXPLOIT or HARM those others, or through lack of action, ALLOWS exploitation or harm to occur to them.

It follows that someone who does not have (a particular form of) power cannot abuse it.

It also follows that the main (and perhaps the only) principle of human ethics and morality should be to avoid the abuse of power.

(It should be noted that the decision to adopt an ethical principle as one's own is a purely personal one, and cannot be forced on someone. However, one cannot adopt a principle one does not know exists. Also, it is not very likely that someone will adopt a principle that is not congruent with his or her mental structure - and this mental structure is so powerfully influenced by early childhood experiences).

From this it follows that it is extremely unethical to put oneself (or to stay) in a position of conflict of interest, i.e., where one's benefit or profit depends on harming or exploiting others.  And of course, it also follows that putting a subordinate in a position of conflict of interest demonstrates a complete disregard for ethics.

Additionally, it follows that if those who want to stop or impede the abuse of power (or those who are charged with this duty) do not have sufficient power (even if it were only moral power), they and their efforts will only serve as a source of amusement to those who abuse it.

"Information is the negative of entropy." - Claude Shannon, 1948.


See also: Wikipedia - Evil

See also: Evil in the legal system

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