Those in possession of absolute power can not only prophesy and make their prophecies come true, but they can also lie and make their lies come true.
Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. Thus people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance. A mass movement offers them unlimited opportunities for both.
The real “haves” are they who can acquire freedom, self-confidence, and even riches without depriving others of them. They acquire all of these by developing and applying their potentialities. On the other hand, the real “have nots” are they who cannot have aught except by depriving others of it. They can feel free only by diminishing the freedom of others, self-confident by spreading fear and dependence among others, and rich by making others poor.
To most of us nothing is so invisible as an unpleasant truth. Though it is held before our eyes, pushed under our noses, rammed down our throats — we know it not.
To the frustrated, freedom from responsibility is more attractive than freedom from restraint. They are eager to barter their independence for relief from the burdens of willing, deciding and being responsible for inevitable failure. They willingly abdicate the directing of their lives to those who want to plan, command and shoulder all responsibility.
Those who lack the capacity to achieve much in an atmosphere of freedom will clamor for power.
Totalitarianism spells simplification: an enormous reduction in the variety of aims, motives, interests, human types, and, above all, in the categories and units of power.
It is maintained that a society is free only when dissenting minorities have room to throw their weight around. As a matter of fact, a dissenting minority feels free only when it can impose its will on the majority: what it abominates most is the dissent of the majority.
Absolute power corrupts even when exercised for humane purposes. The benevolent despot who sees himself as a shepherd of the people still demands from others the submissiveness of sheep. The taint inherent in absolute power is not its inhumanity but its anti-humanity.