Fists, not Wits

What you’re about to read is a collation of quotes and personal comment on the (mis)use of power with swipes aimed at the corrupt nature of power and at the far end is what power ought to be but failed to represent. Please take your time to read.

“The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.” – Mahatma Gandhi

According to Douglas Adams, “The major problem… with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them… anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”The premise for thislies in the belief that those who (desperately)want to rule are ipso facto, that is, those least suited to the purpose.

It is no longer strange, no longer surprising or even a resultant of an abrupt sweeping change to see people you least expected, people with questionable characters, people with saintly records, even the bookish ones – it is no more news to see them flag up their political interest, they want to be at the helm of affairs, to coordinate a change, to effect goodwill, to boycott the norm, to bring in innovations. However, just as unsurprising it is to see them anymore, both the acclaimed saints and the notorious devils seeking political portfolios, it is in like manners least disappointing, to find many of them even worse than their predecessors, or awesomely stagnant. To point to one positively-life-changing innovation of theirs is to send to hades one’s thinking faculty. While some tried to but failed, some knew from the outset they won’t do anything, yet, they want to win at all cost. Why? – the quest for POWER

Abe Lincoln once veraciously affirmed that, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” While campaigns and elections fetch the votes, the promises afore won’t secure good governance. While this epic is not aimed at the proceeds of grabbing power, its aim is at power in politics and politicking by the powerful politicians.

George Orwell in his lifetime wrote as many as he could on the abuse of power, using fables and every other tools fiction hands to him but his scope covered only the realm of political sovereignty in the European society, leaving out Africa – the bane of negative politicking.There could be politics without power, but there can’t be power without politics. Power is assumed either through politics itself,through the sacrifices of others or self sacrifices. Modern power is achieved through devious means, rigging at its crux and the brute of force. However, politics is a game of wits, of imperial intellects and never a game of fists. Only political masterminds win and even in the face of force, a witty and calculative being will bring down the Lion where the use of barrel has failed.

To highlight the misuse/abuse of power by politicians is to waste my precious ink on what’s obvious again. However, more devastating is the misuse of what only hold ties with power but can never be synonymous with power –collator of results/assignments/tests, ushering at events, organizers at events et al or even admin of a WhatsApp group. It’s preposterous to imagine a scenario where all that comes to the minds of folks is to unleash their wrath on people they have previous scores to settle with. An usher deny you seat because you didn’t pay obeisance, rep faults your assignment and refuses to collect it cause you’re at loggerheads, WhatsApp admin exile you cause you confronted him on anomalies, ‘feud’ which started one-on-one is settled via social media and the admin triumphed.

Disputing the popular maxim of Lord Acton that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, David Brin opines that “…it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.” When some chase power, others build a network of influence and while some seek solace in power, others revel in playing the hard game of politics. While many opine and think of politics as a dirty game, I dispute that and my counter-opinion is that it is the misuse of power that corrupts politics. Politics is a game of chess where you war with wits(and not fists), where your thinking, calculations, actions and readiness determines the outcome. Just as a brute can cheat in the game of chess, a fool abuses power when playing politics. I’ve watched European and Asian series, you don’t ready your fists until you run out of wits, though wits take time, the use of fists should only be an option to stamp out evil, and not to crush revolutionary voices.

Corroborating my bewilderment at the dangling use of force by social network ordinary-admins is Rebecca MacKinnon who said, “The potential for the abuse of power through digital networks – upon which we the people now depend for nearly everything, including our politics – is one of the most insidious threats to democracy in the Internet age.” This also underscores how its abuse not only pollutes politics- detaching common sense and the sense of positivity fromthe actual connotation of politics but also threatens basically our freedom of expression and where we can’t have a say, we don’t belong. This alone is a threat to democracy as well as the cosmopolitanism which the internet propagates. Complimenting this is John Adams who put forward that “there is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.”

Rightly, Aun San suukyi once said,“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.”Nothing more can explain the current travail of Nigeria better, nor the rift between North Korea and the United States –fear of dominance and mutual suspicion. The elites and ruling class’ fear of losing power turn the powerful into beasts and the fear of being trampled with power by the powerful turn the weaker class into fighting tigers voraciously ready to resist dominance and the powerful overlords into hungry lions ready to devour uprisings by cubs. Hence will I infer, ‘fear corrupt power and power corrupt politics.’

Drifting towards conclusion, Plato, over 400 years before Jesus was born said, “There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers.”To think Plato meant a graduate from the department is an aberration when even Oxford’s first definition of a philosopher is someone versed in wisdom. To stake and win, you bet on a wiseman versed in chess; to have peace in governance, and peace among mankind, only wisemen with well cultured thinking prowess should be trusted with power, no matter how small or big, who can play the game of politics well and not display their fists, and misuse/abuse their power.

Conclusively, the words of Christina Enevoldsen reads“I blamed myself for being vulnerable. Vulnerability felt like a banner that announced, ‘Come and get me!’ But when I think of it the other way, I don’t pounce on other people just because I can. I don’t go around looking for people smaller or weaker than me so I can attack them. When I find someone’s vulnerability, my impulse is to protect and cover them, not to use it against them.” If we’re going to pursue power, it shouldn’t be with the aim of suppressing revolutionary minds, of crushing antagonizing voices, of revanchism against former enemies, not to take revenge, not to settle odd scores, but rather, to defend and uphold justice, to aim and achieve certain goals, and to also defend the weak from all evils. Power should not be for the suppression of expression but the defense of the powerless.


Leave a Comment