„Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.“
Letter http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1407&Itemid=283 to Mandell Creighton (5 April 1887), published in Historical Essays and Studies, by John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton (1907), edited by John Neville Figgis and Reginald Vere Laurence, Appendix, p. 504; also in Essays on Freedom and Power (1972)
Paraphrased variant: All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Contexto: I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favorable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way against holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. That is the point at which the negation of Catholicism and the negation of Liberalism meet and keep high festival, and the end learns to justify the means.
„Both absolute power and absolute faith are instruments of dehumanization. Hence absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.“
— Eric Hoffer American philosopher 1898 - 1983
Section 13; often the final portion of this is quoted alone as: "Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power."
Reflections on the Human Condition (1973)
Contexto: The Savior who wants to turn men into angels is as much a hater of human nature as the totalitarian despot who wants to turn them into puppets.
There are similarities between absolute power and absolute faith: a demand for absolute obedience; a readiness to attempt the impossible; a bias for simple solutions — to cut the knot rather than unravel it; the viewing of compromise as surrender; the tendency to manipulate people and "experiment with blood."
Both absolute power and absolute faith are instruments of dehumanization. Hence absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.
— John Lehman American banker and government official 1942
This quote is often misattributed to John Lehman, but it apparently was actually said by Donald Regan, President Reagan's chief of staff, to a 1987 Gridiron Dinner audience. http://www.johnflehman.com/books/books_makingwar_vulnerable.html
„You know, "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely"? It's the same with powerlessness. Absolute powerlessness corrupts absolutely. Einstein said everything had changed since the atom was split, except the way we think. We have to think anew.“
— Studs Terkel American author, historian and broadcaster 1912 - 2008
The Guardian interview (2002)
— John W. Campbell American science fiction writer and editor 1910 - 1971
Editorial in Analog Science Fiction/Fact magazine (1970)
— Rosabeth Moss Kanter American economist 1943
Slightly edited version of text in Men and Women of the Corporation, Basic Books, 1977
„Naked power has its limitations, since power is a generator of corruption and corruption in its turn tends to dilute the effectiveness of power.“
— Pierre Stephen Robert Payne British lecturer, novelist, historian, poet and biographer 1911 - 1983
The Corruptions of Our Time, p. 248
The Corrupt Society - From Ancient Greece To Present-Day America (1975)
— Poul Anderson, livro There Will Be Time
Fonte: There Will Be Time (1972), Chapter 10 (p. 107)
„“Actually, the answer’s quite simple.” Two red eyes floated in the mist.
“Really? Tell me. Why does God allow evil?”
The red eyes vanished, leaving only the lantern and the night. “Because power corrupts,” said Wyvern’s disembodied voice. “And absolute power corrupts absolutely.”“
— James K. Morrow, livro Only Begotten Daughter
Fonte: Only Begotten Daughter (1990), Chapter 4 (p. 85)
— Neil Gaiman, livro Smoke and Mirrors
Cold Colors (p. 239)
Smoke and Mirrors (1998)
— Frank Herbert American writer 1920 - 1986
Fonte: General sources, Chapterhouse Dune (1985)
Contexto: All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible. Such people have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted.
— Kim Stanley Robinson, livro Green Mars
Green Mars (1993)
— John Steinbeck, livro The Short Reign of Pippin IV
The Short Reign of Pippin IV (1957), p. 102
„It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.“
— Aung San Suu Kyi, livro Freedom from Fear
Fonte: Freedom from Fear (1991)
Contexto: It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it. Most Burmese are familiar with the four a-gati, the four kinds of corruption. Chanda-gati, corruption induced by desire, is deviation from the right path in pursuit of bribes or for the sake of those one loves. Dosa-gati is taking the wrong path to spite those against whom one bears ill will, and moga-gati is aberration due to ignorance. But perhaps the worst of the four is bhaya-gati, for not only does bhaya, fear, stifle and slowly destroy all sense of right and wrong, it so often lies at the root of the other three kinds of corruption. Just as chanda-gati, when not the result of sheer avarice, can be caused by fear of want or fear of losing the goodwill of those one loves, so fear of being surpassed, humiliated or injured in some way can provide the impetus for ill will. And it would be difficult to dispel ignorance unless there is freedom to pursue the truth unfettered by fear. With so close a relationship between fear and corruption it is little wonder that in any society where fear is rife corruption in all forms becomes deeply entrenched.
„It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.“
— David Brin, livro The Postman
Fonte: The Postman (1985), Section 3, “Cincinnatus”, Chapter 14 (p. 267)
Variant: It is said that power corrupts, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.
As quoted in Values of the Wise: Humanity's Highest Aspirations (2004) by Jason Merchey, p. 120
This is very similar to the expression by Frank Herbert in Chapterhouse: Dune (1985): "All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible. Such people have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted."
Contexto: It’s said that “power corrupts,” but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power. When they do act, they think of it as service, which has limits. The tyrant, though, seeks mastery, for which he is insatiable, implacable.