I previously posted a blog exploring the costs of wealth addiction to American democracy. I’m now going to explore another destructive addiction that alters behavior and also damages democracy: addiction to power.
According to Nayef Al-Rodhan in “The neurochemistry of power has implications for political change” (2-28-2014 theconversation.com), “Power, especially absolute and unchecked power, is intoxicating.” Its effects can cause “…lack of inhibition, poor judgement, extreme narcism, perverted behavior, and gruesome cruelty.” Possessing power causes the release of dopamine creating an “…addictive ‘high’ in much the same way as drug addiction …people in positions of power will seek to maintain the high they get from power, sometimes at all costs.”
This helps explain how otherwise intelligent, honest people engage in spinning and twisting the truth, and telling outright lies. They are trying to feed their addiction. I would’t leave my wallet in plain view of a drug addict even if they were someone I loved, because I know their addiction is more powerful than their sense of honor. Likewise, leaving politicians, powerful CEOs, attorneys and others with access to nearly unlimited power is dangerous. We need checks and balances “…to avoid the inevitable consequences of power” (Al-Rodhan).
Addiction to wealth and power is currently destroying our great democracy. Big money must be removed from government and government must govern for the common good. When politicians lie, they are not lying for their party or their constituents, they are lying to maintain their access to power and apparently they will say anything, even when it contradicts their own previous statements. I often ask myself, how can this person believe what they are saying when the opposite obviously is true. Now I know, it is their sad attempt to feed their addiction. I hope they can live with themselves when this is all over. It is our duty to reel this in… VOTE for integrity and the common good!