On Power, from three of my favorite authors:

“All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.”

–Frank Herbert

“He who lusts for power over others is inherently evil. I trust this requires no great argument in its justification. The evil man, once he has some degree of power, will use it to acquire more, for power is a drug that doesn’t sate. However, the enjoyment of power requires that it be used.”

–Friedrich Hayek

“‘How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?’
Winston thought. ‘By making him suffer,’ he said.
‘Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.’”

–George Orwell, 1984



If one objects to the use of coercion in order to bring about a more even or more just distribution, this does not mean that one does not regard these as desirable. But if we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion.

Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty