Freedom versus Power

Freedom versus Power? A contradiction? I don’t think so. I read the book “The World until Yesterday” from Jared Diamond: Homo sapiens always entered conflict due to some power struggles. But embedded in a free, but hostile nature, animals, small hostile human groups, small battles and fights. Until 5000 years ago with the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, etc. Great powers with powerful men up to 75 million dead people in 2nd world war. Freedom? During these men made wars, freedom did not serve much. To the contrary. And today? Same scenario. 15 years prison may be the reward.

Conclusions: First. We need more rational, real, and critical thinking to hold power (working armies and weapons) for freedom in balance. There is no such thing as a free lunch in anything. Condition: 1) Homo Sapiens need to think again 2) functioning and strong institutions, that counterbalance Power of all kinds (Europe has that) and that see it coming (only the US had that). 3) Flowerpower is not enough.

Second. Power and powerstruggles are subject to an extraordinary variety of facts and historical events during the last centuries. Walter Eucken in his book « Die Grundlagen der Nationalökonomie » page 196 – 205 has outlined this very well. He recommends to analyze the impact of power on economics and politics. This is task and duty of science in every use case, to make the complexity visible, which forms the base for decisions to change.

In the meantime and a bit more basic, it seems that Gentlemen (and Women now) of today in Europe begin to understand (again) what is and what might need to be done. There is lots of advice on top: Here are two:

  1. «Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely» Lord Acton. 
  2. A French philosophie magazine Hors-Serie about Machiavelli starts out with 14 advice: No 1: Men (given above historical context) are bad. No 13: Freedom is a source of prosperity.

I write this because I am free in every aspect to at least spread the good virus of freedom (and thinking).

Update 26. April 2022