The sun never set on the British Empire until endless wars brought that empire to its knees. I’m sure that at one time, a British citizen could easily say with arrogance, “If Russia (or China, or Germany, or Italy, or France or Spain) doesn’t behave, we will spank them.” And Britain did spank these countries and others for centuries until the empire was bankrupt and burdened with debt—sound familiar?
I read a piece in The Huffington Post recently and was reminded how power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Then I remembered what an old friend said in an e-mail. This friend is a conservative, born-again Christian. He claims to be guided by scripture. He believes that George W. Bush (GWB) was the greatest if not one of the greatest American presidents. He also believes in the nation building that GWB attempted in Iraq.
He makes part of his living as a handyman. He lives alone in a one-bedroom apartment and drives a very-used car that he keeps running by visiting junk yards for parts and doing the work himself. He also votes Republican and often bashes evil liberals while listening to radio-talk shows like Dennis Prager and reading authors like Ann Coulter.
This friend wrote in an e-mail, “If China doesn’t behave, we will spank them.” He also wrote once that Communism was evil. My reply was that individuals like Mao or Stalin were corrupted by their power and did evil things, but not all communists were or are evil.
I always thought that ‘power corrupts’ only applied to people in powerful positions like corporate CEOs or elected officials. I was wrong. A nation’s power may also corrupt the thinking of its people.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
His latest novel, Running with the Enemy, was awarded an honorable mention in general fiction at the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival.
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