Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Territorial Realm of Toxins of Power

In the science of memetics there is a notion of group where like memes circulate in the form of a group ideology.

A group ideology could be identified with a political party, a religious denomination, a liberal group, a conservative group, as well as many other groups of various sorts.

The central characteristic is that they think alike on various issues with enough intensity so as to cause individual members to identify with that group.

The memetic lexicon calls this a meme-complex, describing it as:
A set of mutually-assisting memes which have co-evolved a symbiotic relationship. Religious and political dogmas, social movements, artistic styles, traditions and customs, chain letters, paradigms, languages, etc. are meme-complexes. Also called an m-plex, or scheme (Hofstadter). Types of co-memes commonly found in a scheme are called the: bait; hook; threat; and vaccime. A successful scheme commonly has certain attributes: wide scope (a paradigm that explains much); opportunity for the carriers to participate and contribute; conviction of its self-evident truth (carries Authority); offers order and a sense of place, helping to stave off the dread of meaninglessness. (Wheelis, quoted by Hofstadter.)
(Memetic Lexicon). Of course this is not ipso facto or axiomatically a bad thing.

But it can become a bad thing, as noted in the book 1984, where a corrupted form of the meme-complex was associated with a toxic disorder called "groupthink".

In terms of toxins of power working on a group, follow the structural hypothesis series showing how memes in memory are corrupted within an individual's memory, then transferred via language to others.

In a group setting this is easier because the group is already predisposed favorably toward members of the group.

That means meme transfer via "language" communications between group members is easier, and thus, corruption can and does happen to entire meme-complexes or groups that way as a matter of course.

Likewise, when a corrupt group or meme-complex governs a nation the whole nation can experience the effects of the corruption.

The core hypothesis, then, is that an entire meme-complex can become corrupt by the toxins of power.

Once that happens it can be said that a nation is governed by corruption much in the same way that an individual can become corrupt, then proceed in a corrupt direction.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Phase Three & Four: Toxin vs Meme

This post is the third and last of the series where we build a construct to visualize and conceptualize how a meme in memory is morphed from its original state into a corrupted state.

It is then promulgated to a new host via the use of language.

We dealt with the overall concept in the post A Structure RE: Corruption of Memes, then Phase One & Two, so now we are ready to complete the construct in this post.

The illustration, above, entitled "Memetic Strands Are Converted Into Language" shows a meme that was corrupted in memory and is now being converted into language.

The original meme in its language format was "It is always wrong to embezzle the people's money".

During the corruption phase the toxins of power were working on the politician's mind, such that some of the meme strands were realigned by first selfish, then later, corrupt thinking. The classic Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde conversion or morph transpired.

The language which resulted after that morph had taken place had become: "It is wrong to embezzle the people's money unless it is done for a good cause".

The politician, in this case, then used the English language to communicate the morphed and now corrupt meme, within that politician's own mind / brain, to a person on the politician's staff who was easily influenced by the politician.

When the meme was converted into language from thought, the corrupted meme was transferred then stored in the memory of the recipient as if it was not corrupt, because the recipient had been convinced of its validity during the communication session.

The illustration "Language Conversion Back To Memory" shows the final phase where the meme is stored in the new host, the politician's staff member.

I have not used technical language in these posts, but if you care to peruse some of the technical language used in memetics, a lexicon of memetic terms is located here.

A continuation of this discussion is here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Phase One & Two: Toxin vs Meme

The overall description of the four phases of a meme becoming corrupted by the toxins of power, then propagated through language, forms a foundation of sorts for this post.

That description is posted here.

In this post we are going to form a construct for visualizing / conceptualizing how the toxins of power morph a meme in memory from a pristine condition into a corrupt condition.

As we move from the macro concepts down into the depths of research details, we run into scientific controversy or conflict. It is said that "the devil is in the details". To avoid as much of that as possible we will stay in the areas of consensus where possible.

When staying away from controversial detail is not possible, we will show how the construct works with several competing hypotheses or theories for that section of the subject matter.

As an example take the notion of consciousness and cognition. Penrose and Hameroff postulated that those take place because human thinking is a quantum computer. In that Penrose - Hameroff theoretical quantum computer thought processes take place within micro tubules.

To the contrary, Tegmark published a paper countering that hypothesis, showing that neural networks can explain the notion better, because of various speed factors.

The task here is not to solve those problems of detail, instead, at a much higher level we envision a process where an explanation can be constructed showing how toxins working on memes in memory can morph those memes into a corrupted state.

We can use analogies of gravity or electromagnetism instead of detailed quantum micro tubules, for consideration of a construct to get a better handle on the notion of a "corrupting influence".

The toxins we are concerned with exert a push or pull (influence) on the cognition of politicians, who are thereby influenced to think more about themselves ("themselves" meaning the extended self too, such as family and friends) than they think about the public they are to serve.

The effect of the influence is measured in terms of increasingly selfish thoughts and deeds eventually benefiting the politician rather than the public.

Lets envision an interwoven fabric of memes, in the memory of someone in power, to be like the pattern in the first illustration to the right.

This original memetic pattern is balanced, orderly, aligned, and uniform, not having been exposed to toxins yet.

In the next illustration, lets envision that pattern having been changed by tugs and pulls of the toxins, with some memes now having a new location in a dysfunctional pattern.

The toxins are causing some of the memes to jump the tracks that link it to other memes, so that the network of memes then becomes linked to a map different from before.

Those memes in the illustration, which have red dots, have been moved out of their original pattern or configuration.

The individual memes as well as the memory map of those memes would likewise change.

We can see how the content of an individual meme would change by using the illustrations we already used to represent the original meme.

The original meme in its pristine condition is represented with the illustration "PHASE ONE" at the top of the page.

The corrupted meme, after the tugs and pulls of toxins change it, is represented with the illustration "PHASE TWO".

With this type of construct we can envision memes in memory as being part of a memory pattern. After toxins tug and pull on them, we envision a new memory pattern where some of the memes are no longer where they originally were.

We also see a change in the individual memes, in that, now some of the strands of coded mapping have been changed to record the meme's new location within the memory pattern.

As we will see in the next post, the new location and new strands of codified mapping end up causing a change in what this meme will translate into, as language, compared to what it originally translated into as language.

The next and final post in this series is located here, the first post of this series is located here.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Structure RE: Corruption of Memes

It will take several posts to completely construct it, but let's attempt to fabricate a structure which can follow toxins moving from that mysterious force we call power, into a meme in memory, thereby corrupting that meme.

Specifically, it will be a construct that shows how a power toxin infects a meme, is stored in that meme by becoming a part of that meme, and then is propagated to others.

The subject of memes is difficult, in the sense of the toxins of power, because it crosses several realms composed of both mystic and scientific knowledge.

It makes the subject of the corruption of those in power all the more difficult, because both power and memory are described in whole or in part, depending on who you are talking to, with the words of mystery and the words of science.

Likewise the distribution of memes is a difficult subject, primarily because the fundamental method of distribution is language, which has engendered a library of opposing, even contradictory, papers, books, lectures, and theory all by itself.

Lets try to focus, then, on the consensus of scientists when we touch upon language during this discussion of memes, such as:
It has been recognized for thousands of years that language is, fundamentally, a system of sound-meaning connections; the potential infiniteness of this system has been explicitly recognized by Galileo, Descartes, and the 17th-century “philosophical grammarians” and their successors, notably von Humboldt.
(Chomsky, Science Magazine, Nov. 22, 2002, Volume 298, p 1571). So when I discuss the structure or process of converting a meme out from within an individual's memory into the language mechanism (intending to transfer that meme from one place to another place) I will stick to consensus ideas about language.

The "sound-meaning" linkage theory, says that meaning is linked to sound in language, and inversely says that sound is linked to meaning in language.

This of course is talking about cases of meme transfer between those who can hear and speak audibly.

Obviously the hearing impaired would use sign language to transfer memes, which is visual-meaning linked, not sound-meaning linked.

Of course there are other means of communication as well, not of sound and not of sight, but we focus on the basic forms to illustrate the construct.

The process being used here to show how a toxin can contaminate a meme is shown as a four part process in the illustration "Four Phases - corruption".

Phase 1 shows the toxins of power working on a meme in memory; phase 2 shows the morph of the meme from a non-corrupt meme into a corrupt meme; phase 3 shows the conversion of the corrupt meme into language; and phase 4 shows the corrupt meme replicating by being communicated to the memory of the recipient of that language.

With this construct we do not postulate that the meme itself comes from power, rather we form a premise that a toxin of power distorts a meme already in memory.

The illustration "PHASE ONE" shows a meme in memory surrounded with power during phase 1 of the process.

This construct represents the meme as being constructed of various codified strands composing a web like structure.

The strands map to memory areas where the various components of the meme are stored. Links on a web page to other web pages might be a reasonable way of envisioning it.

The illustration "PHASE TWO" shows the same meme in memory at the completion of phase 2 of the process, where some of the web strands or links have been "corrupted" by the toxins.

The meme is no longer composed of its original codified strand links, which mapped to original memory areas where the components of the original meme were stored, because some of the links have become corrupted or broken.

Some of the codified strand links now point to areas of memory that will result in a corrupt form of the original meme.

Bad links on a web page might be a reasonable way of envisioning the distorted or corrupted state of the meme at phase 2 of the four phase process.

When the strands of the meme are unwound during the process that converts a meme into language, the corrupted strands are also converted into language.

Then when the language is converted back into the memory version of the meme the corrupted strands are handled as if they were the original, so the meme in the new memory is a meme depicted in the PHASE ONE illustration.

That is, it is as if it was the original in terms of how it is stored in the new memory after conversion from language back into the memory format.

The notion of distortion or corruption, as used in this construct, is the definition at the macro level already explained in the post "What Is Corruption?".

Thus, "corruption" as used in this construct, does not have the medical or psychological meaning in the technical sense.

The next post in this series is located here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tiger Woods vs. The Toxins of Power

This blog is of course primarily focused on how the toxins of power infect people in government.

But posts also touch upon the expanded territory of those toxins.

For example, see the post Power Toxins Limited To Government?

Even Lord Acton, who is quoted on the About Page, expanded his theory beyond governmental power itself to other realms of power:
'Popular power may be tainted with the same poison as personal power.'
(Lord Acton, quoted by Sir Harold Butler in his foreword to G. E. Fasnacht's, Acton's Political Philosophy, London: Hollis & Carter, 1952).

Tiger Woods had power in the form of celebrity and money, had popularity as a father, family man, and world class golfer.

That structure he inhabited was seriously rocked and is still being rocked by behavior outside the bounds of that structure, which this blog attributes to the toxins of power getting to him.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Power That Counterfeits

The Wizard of Id cartoon brings up an interesting mechanism used often by the Id of power.

How would it effect your behavior if you could print money from your computer with a quality that could fool merchants?

The toxins of power have corrupted government officials in the past, causing them, when the infection is strong enough, to become official counterfeiters in the sense that there is nothing of value to back up the currency they are pumping out.

Yes, the government can print money from its computers, however, if you or I do it is called counterfeiting.

On the other hand, it is called "fiscal management" if the government does it.

In such scenarios inflation can run wild to rob the people of what they have worked for.

Both scenarios are robbery, it is just that it is a "policy decision" if the government does it and a "crime" if you or I do it, even though the results are the same.

The problem we can identify here is the institutionalization of non-accountability.

When no one is accountable the toxins of power are at their strongest, while their victim is at their weakest.

In the United States system the doors and the windows of the treasury of the people have been accessed by the banksters secretly.

This is the worst case scenario for the toxins of power to be able to do their work of infection.

It is like drinking water contaminated with faeces and other toxins, which as we know is certain to spread an epidemic that will eventually do severe damage to the populace.

Besides counterfeit money, one of the other symptoms once toxins of power corrupt a society, is counterfeit information from the government, which is called propaganda.

Deceiving a society with propaganda can be compared to an individual losing consciousness, or losing memory to suffer amnesia or dementia.

That loss of the grasp of reality is a form of corruption that is always damaging to that society.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Greatest Source Of Power Toxins?

This is an ancient question, but a question with one very clear answer.

An answer from the sages in our past who we are very fortunate to have had, but sages which we have ignored to our great demise in recent times.

An answer that seems today to be totally and completely at odds with the conventional wisdom-hype and propaganda, which is composed of the glorification of the greatest source of the toxins of power.

Our founders were well aware of the question and the answer hundreds of years ago.

They spoke the answer with unmistakable words and with certain clarity:
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied: and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals, engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. Those truths are well established.
(James Madison, emphasis added). The visionary who made that statement was the 4th President of the United States, Bill of Rights author, Congressman, Cabinet Member, and who was also called the "Father of the U.S. Constitution".

The above quote is from his "Political Observations," April 20, 1795, in Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, Volume IV, page 491-492.

Notice, in the quote above, how Madison equated or associated the toxins of power with disease epidemic concepts, saying that the war toxin "develops the germ of every other" anti-freedom toxin.

War enhances the spread of corrupting toxins.

Clearly, he is saying that war is a corrupting toxin that generates other corrupting toxins, which will eventually destroy what he called "public freedom".

Further, war, the greatest source of toxins of power, is the province of the military, therefore, what Madison said about war applies without restriction to the military.

It is no wonder that President General Dwight Eisenhower warned us, with great concern, about that very dangerous source of the toxins of power we always face.

That is also why war is given the highest number in the tables of toxins on this blog.

Monday, November 2, 2009

You Id What You Id

Can we say that there is a national "Id"?

Nations are said to have national characteristics.

National characteristics are composed from the characteristics of the nation's citizens, so why not a national Id?

Freud theorized that there was such an individual mental construct, which is described as:
The id is an important part of our personality because as newborns, it allows us to get our basic needs met. Freud believed that the id is based on our pleasure principle. In other words, the id wants whatever feels good at the time, with no consideration for the reality of the situation. When a child is hungry, the id wants food, and therefore the child cries. When the child needs to be changed, the id cries. When the child is uncomfortable, in pain, too hot, too cold, or just wants attention, the id speaks up until his or her needs are met.

The id doesn't care about reality, about the needs of anyone else, only its own satisfaction. If you think about it, babies are not real considerate of their parents' wishes. They have no care for time, whether their parents are sleeping, relaxing, eating dinner, or bathing. When the id wants something, nothing else is important.
(All Psyche, emphasis added). Perhaps it is time that we formulated a theoretical construct that toxins of power infiltrate the Id of individual officials in government, which through corrupt behavior then works its way into our system of government.

Perhaps the individual Id is a weak spot for some types of toxins to grow into systemic corruption?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Beware of The Military Oil Complex

One of the most popular US presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his farewell address told us to beware of the military-industrial complex:
Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

(Eisenhower Farewell, emphasis added). When he used the word together he said the notion that defense ("security") should push out liberty when there was conflict between them was not an American notion. He saw it as a false comparison.

Things have changed since then. Industrial output has weakened since then. Oil influence has come from the shadows to the forefront.

Thus, as Eisenhower warned, we must not only beware of the military industrial complex as a source of toxins of power, but also as a carrier of the toxins into every corner of American life.

The "industrial" part of that complex, if you look closely, has been replaced with the oil complex. What is more dangerous and ominous about that change is that foreign nations control oil. General Eisenhower was warning about the dangers of American industry controlling too much. Imagine what he would have said if foreign governments owned that much control of America!

We spend more of our tax dollars on the military than all of the rest of the nations combined spend. When we add foreign oil to that mix the beware morphs into be horrified of the military oil complex.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Antitoxins Resist Toxins of Power

A lot of people and states are "under water" in the United States and in the world as a result of the toxins of power which corrupt.

The human being in the photo gives new meaning to "being underwater" as a result of the carelessness of fellow human beings.

We have discussed the mystical properties of the notion that power corrupts, the difference between "power" as conceived by a physicist compared with "power" conceived by a political scientist, and finally, we have discussed the fact that money can also be considered to be a source of power and therefore potentially a corrupting influence.

But this post is about the statement made in another post:
Let's create an optimistic premise: "for every toxin there is an antitoxin".
(The Power That Corrupts). There is an ongoing struggle in Kuwait that illustrates both political and monetary toxins of power working to corrupt.

That struggle also happily reveals the relevant antitoxins that resist those corrupting influences or toxins:
Lawmakers in Kuwait, which is richer per capita than Germany, are demanding a government bailout of all consumer loans, reviving a power struggle that’s already shut down the assembly twice in 18 months.

At least half of the 50 elected lawmakers say they’ll back a plan for the government to buy all 6 billion dinars ($21 billion) of bank loans taken by Kuwaiti citizens to buy homes, cars, holidays and other purchases, write off interest payments and reschedule the rest. The government opposes the bailout. Parliament convenes on Oct. 27 after a four-month break.

“It’s my right as a citizen to enjoy the wealth and resources of my country,” said Essa al-Malki, a 32-year-old teacher of philosophy and psychology, who took out a 15-year 23,000 dinar loan in 2000 and supports the plan.
(Bloomberg). This is the opposite of the way the United States handled a similar bailout situation where the rich were bailed out but the middle class and poor were left underwater to handle their own fate, to sink or swim, like the man in the photo above.

Is the right wing faction's conclusion (abject cruelty and inhumanity is better than "socialism") a result of some kind of toxin of power?

Does the Kuwaiti situation show a result of some kind of antitoxin of power struggling against a toxin of power?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What Is Corruption?

You have probably heard the saying "one person's garbage is another person's treasure".

"Corruption" could suffer a similar ambiguity.

However, if we limit its definition to the power that governments use, we can narrow the definition:
"Transparency International (TI) has chosen a clear and focused definition of the term: Corruption is operationally defined as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. TI further differentiates between "according to rule" corruption and "against the rule" corruption. Facilitation payments, where a bribe is paid to receive preferential treatment for something that the bribe receiver is required to do by law, constitute the former. The latter, on the other hand, is a bribe paid to obtain services the bribe receiver is prohibited from providing."
(Transparency International, emphasis added). Those type definitions are good, but they tend to describe the effects of corruption, if you think about it, instead of what corruption is.

While that is all fine and good, it is just that this blog wants to refine the definition a bit more. This blog, as one would surmise, defines corruption as:
The condition of having excessive effects of the toxins of power within oneself as a result of having been exposed to power.
(see Power That Corrupts). Thus, corruption is defined not as what it causes an infected person in power to do, but instead describes the condition of having an excessive amount of the effects of toxins of power within oneself.

This seems to be a better definition, because there are almost an unlimited number of corrupt things a person in power can do, once they have become corrupt; thus it becomes difficult to analyze politicians for corruption prior to them getting caught doing something corrupt.

Unless we use a microscope to look close, instead of using a telescope from afar, we could miss important factors and have to wait until politicians do something illegal to detect the levels of corruption within them.

Doctors tell us that we always have germs, viruses, and organisms ("toxins") in us that could corrupt us, that is, make us sick. However, they also point out that our immune system can handle a certain amount of toxins within us and we are still considered to be "well" or "healthy" at tolerable levels. In other words we all have various degrees of natural tolerance or immunity to toxins within us.

That is the way on this blog that we like to contemplate the toxins of power which corrupt.

Those in power can have a tolerable quantity of toxins in them, which is normal, because a certain amount of immunity is natural. The normal notions of resistance, the moral immune system if you will, can handle that degree of toxins, and the person in power can still be seen as not being corrupt.

It is when the toxins overwhelm the immune system that corruption, like disease, manifests and begins to grow.

What happens next is anyone's guess. The infected person in power generally surprises everyone because that person is seen as "not being themselves" it is sometimes said, when an illegal act is committed. That is the individual perspective.

But there is another concept to be contemplated, and that is group or collective corruption. This type of corruption is not based upon individual corruption per se, but instead is an observation of the cumulative effect toxins will have on a group or system.

This type of corruption can exist even though the individuals in the group or system do not manifest an individual corruption to an easily noticeable degree, such as illegal activity.

That is, they are not committing illegal acts individually, but the entire system is not acting according to its purpose as defined in our constitutional laws, so it can still be said to have become corrupt.

American government is designed to serve the betterment of the people, and when it is not doing that systematically, it can be said to be corrupt, even though the individuals within it are not doing anything illegal.

That is what this blog is about. Developing a standard system of analysis that can detect the effects of power toxins on the system itself, as well as being able to analyze individual politicians in power at any given time. Just like a toxin sniffer device does to biological or other toxins, we need a power toxin sniffer.

Consider the United States Civil War as a case for study. We can say that toxins built up in many people in government until the system became corrupt. It did not take individuals becoming corrupt to the point of committing crimes individually for the corruption to manifest. But individuals developed a toxin level, as a group or system, to the point it caused us to turn on ourselves and almost destroy the nation.

That systemic corruption can be compared to AIDS where the body turns on itself, because toxins can confuse and corrupt the immune system.

In the days, weeks, months, and years ahead we hope people will join in defining toxins and antitoxins which we can then use in the formulas to apply to individual problems politicians face, as well as the systemic corruption problems we face as a nation.

UPDATE: Recent discoveries may implicate aberrant microbes as originators of toxins of power. See Hypothesis: Microbes Generate Toxins of Power.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Is "Power Corrupts" A Mystic Notion?

To a physicist the idea that power can corrupt does not make sense.

That scientist can and does use very precise formulas from within the realm of mathematics so as to show you all you want to know about power.

But none of what is shown will have any thing to do with corruption of the power we are in reference to.

There is a distinction between the power talked about by physics professors and the power talked about by the founders of our nation.

The way they drafted the U.S. Constitution shows that they had experienced the bad effects from concentrated power, and that they believed distribution of power was a better way.

The graphic shows three branches of government sharing various aspects of power, with the written Constitution being the supreme power of the nation.

That is all well and good, but the notion that there is something in power, a toxin if you will, that corrupts those who use the power is a mystical notion it seems to me.

We know that the notion "power corrupts" is true, but we do not really know how it corrupts, or what the toxins that do the corrupting are composed of, or where they exist and come from.

But neither do we really know what gravity is, but we can use formulas that describe what it does, and we can do so very precisely. Gravity is a mystical power that we can't see or feel, yet we know it exists, and we use it in many ways to our advantage.

Likewise, those toxins of power that can warp the mind, emotions, and heart of politicians who are not careful, will not do the same to those who discover and use the antidotes.

Like the formulas for working with gravity, we now have formulas to work with that mysterious something, "toxins in power", too.

The Constitution Is Quite A Medicine

How is a constitution like a medicine?

First, remember that the founders of the Constitutional form of government, which we have perpetuated as we try to improve upon it over the years, believed the statement of their time that:
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great [people] are almost always bad [people]."
(About Toxins Of Power). They came up with a treatment for the problem.

That medicine is the United States Constitution, and it begins "We the people ...", and goes on to say they intended to form a more perfect nation with that constitution.

They limited the power to which anyone in government could be exposed to, by cutting it to 33 1/3%, making three branches of government into which power was distributed.

They had figured out that the king or ruler, who had been exposed to 100% power, had been driven crazy by that power in their view.

So they reasoned that they should limit the exposure, and should also do some other things, so as to limit the concentration of power an individual would experience who used power.

If you think about it a moment, you too may see this as a preventive measure in the sense that a vaccination, for instance, is an exposure to a small amount of a disease causing organism so the body can become immune to that organism by building antibodies to oppose it.

If you think about it, the framers of our constitution were making a macrocosm at a social level, which is in essence a vaccination to empower an immune system or an anti-body system, like our human bodies have for fighting things which could make us sick or kill us.

We call those things that could make us sick toxins, bugs, germs, viruses, and various other things, and medicine is used to prevent their toxic damage.

Dr. Judith Rich visited Dredd Blog and had some astute observations and made comments which inspired this post in some degree.

I want to be sure that readers know that I do not think power is a toxin itself, nor do I advance that notion.

Instead, I have framed a theoretical construct for discussion purposes, which says power has something in it that can corrupt, and I call that something "toxins", rather than saying power itself is inherently corrupt.

This is just a way of trying to form a cognitive construct for purposes of discussion and idea sharing, to be used like the language of mathematics.

We can't see power, gravity, or toxins anyway, but like gravity we can see the result of it being around us, and we can talk about it with mathematical symbols and ideas.

If we have a theoretical construct that deals with an entity which contains toxins like contaminated water does, and we conceive of antitoxins and the form of some medicine or other treatment, then we can formulate a social construct for dealing with those who become exposed.

We can fashion working diagnostic techniques and treatments at the micro or individual level like our forefathers and foremothers did at the macro or national level.

We have now set forth the theoretical construct, enhanced it, and then proposed an expansion of that theoretical construct to the notion of several forms of social power [the theoretical construct has been updated to include recent discoveries in the biological sciences: see Hypothesis: Microbes Generate Toxins of Power - 6].

Hey, isn't it worth a try to at least to figure out a way of talking about it, and eventually coming up with diagnosis and treatment at the individual level, just as the constitution deals with it at the national level?

Why Trial By Jury?

A legal historian once said in the late 19th century:
"It is remarkable that no History of Trial by Jury has ever yet appeared in this country."
(History of Trial by Jury). The US Constitution, our supreme law, provides us with three distinct juries.

One such jury is the criminal grand jury (5th Amendment), another is the criminal petite jury (6th Amendment), and the third is the civil petite jury (7th Amendment).

Without an adequate understanding of the experiences of our forefathers and foremothers who founded this country, we won't understand why all free people must have a robust trial-by-jury system.

Those Americans that went before us came to fundamentally believe that governmental power tends to corrupt and absolute governmental power tends to corrupt absolutely.

What that means is that the people must be protected from those who become immersed in governmental power. It does not mean that governmental power is wrong or to be eschewed.

That wisdom of the ages simply means that we know governmental power contains toxins within it, and those toxins must not be allowed to run amok and infect the people with oppression. The election cycle is a process of purging those who have been overcome with those toxins while in office.

But it was the desire to have day-to-day immunity from the effect of those toxins of power (based on their day-to-day experiences under tyrannical systems operated by tyrants) that led them to design a day-to-day immunity beyond the less frequent and not so day-to-day election cure. After all, federal and state-wide elections are not so day-to-day.

One of the fundamental oppressions tyrants used was the day-to-day event of false charges for crimes. An innocent person was charged because of dissent from the view of the tyrant, not because the accused had really committed a crime. Therefore, a day-to-day cure was wisely developed. Since justice is the absence of the use of tyranny, our American ancestors gave us the gift of the jury system which has the effect of a day-to-day remedy.

The grand jury was designed to prevent or resist government oppression by nipping it in the bud. A grand jury of 'a lot of folk' (more members than a petite jury) must be convinced that there is some reasonable degree of probability that a felony crime may have been committed before an American can even be charged. Not convicted, charged.

Once the grand jury returns an indictment, still another petite jury must be convinced unanimously and beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual who was charged is in fact to be held accountable for those charges. And the person charged need not say a single word. The prosecutor carries the entire burden to prove it. Is that fair? No. But it is safe.

Let us look at some abstract examples. In the courts during trials experts are used. In the typical case experts will give their opinions to the jury. Typically this means an opposite opinion for each side. The experts are sworn in, list their degrees, and the court makes a ruling that they are experts.

Afterwards those experts explain that they looked at the evidence, and then they tell the jury what their opinion is. The expert for the defense has one opinion, but the expert for the prosecutor typically has another and different opinion. On the exact same evidence I should add.

Finally, the everyday folk on the jury make the decision as to which expert was right and who was telling the truth! Yes, the person who left the farm after a 5:00 AM breakfast, and then drove the truck into town for that day's jury duty, decides which rocket scientist had it right.

If you are still wondering why this is so, remember that the foundation of jury theory is that the people can determine facts better or more accurately than those immersed in governmental power can. By “better or more accurately" I mean in the context of the impacts that governmental power has on individuals.

We have found that historically, by and large, the people tend not to oppress their fellow citizens like governmental agents have tended to do. The old saying that “power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely" is directed at governments. It is not directed at juries of the people.

Juries are the people's reaction to the oppression of tyrants who have inebriated themselves with the toxins active within governmental power.

Oh, to be sure juries make mistakes. But the mistakes of the people are much easier to live with over the long run than the mistakes of government.

So say the sages of the ages.

Lawyers at times will make the point that sometimes it is better to waive the right to a jury and have a judge decide a case.

That point highlights the need to distinguish the jury system and its purpose, from the jury panel in an individual case and its purpose.

The jury system is what is designed to protect the people in general from governmental oppression in general. While the individual jury panel applies only to a single case and has the single mission to decide if the government has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt in that case.

The important lesson to this is that the jury system is wise and proper and is not a mistake even though the individual jury panel can and does make mistakes from time to time.

It comes down to the realization that we must not mistake the two different purposes and throw the baby out with the bath water, as some other nations have done.

Power Toxins Limited To Government?

The untimely death of Michael Jackson recently got me wondering about power again.

He came into money and celebrity at an early age, 11, through the efforts of his father, who established the talented and successful "The Jackson Five".

The burdens put on him must have been tremendous, as were the benefits of celebrity.

I have written about the toxins in power in the context of political energies, which can corrupt politicians, like Governor Sanford for example, if they are not careful.

But I have been wondering whether the power of money, celebrity, and other forms of social power contain toxins too?

Lord Acton indicated as much when he famously said "Popular power may be tainted with the same poison as personal power".

We can throw in the notion "Money is power" to boost the idea. A book by that name Money is power: a scientific, historic, and practical treatise", by R.W. Jones (1878), should bolster the idea.

It would be good for psychiatry to get a much better handle on the notion of toxins in power so that those who must experience power can deal effectively with those toxins.

They could live better lives in the sense of knowing how to deal more effectively with those toxins.

We will always have entertainers and people who have to work in government service, so we will always have the exposure to deal with, since both groups, politicians and celebrities, are most likely exposed to those toxins.

Thus, we could expect to benefit society as a whole when our health care system and our techniques for dealing with the reason "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" are up to par with this challenge.

Tables For The Toxins In Power

I introduced a proposed formula for the toxins within power, being unaware of any such formula which may already exist.

In an even earlier article those toxins within power had been discussed, in the abstract, as one reason for the American tradition of trial by jury.

The formula set forth for calculating the effect that the toxins in power have at a given time is:
C = P ((T¹ .. Tº) - (A¹ .. Aº) + 1)
where P = O * Y ("O" is the office held, and "Y" is the time an individual has been in that office).

Therefore the full formula is:
C = (O * Y) * ((T¹ .. Tº) - (A¹ .. Aº) + 1)
When O * Y is simplified to P = O * Y; the formula fully simplifies into:
C = P ((T¹ .. Tº) - (A¹ .. Aº) + 1)
The (T¹ .. Tº) - (A¹ .. Aº) sections simply show that you add up the list of toxins, then add up the list of antitoxins, subtract the antitoxins sum from the toxins sum, to derive a value to then be multiplied by "P" which will deduce the corruption factor "C".

Since I feel that a working formula would go a long way toward a pragmatic technique for determining how corrupted or uncorrupted a particular individual working in government could be at any given time, I will provide some tables as an example of only a very few values that can be used to activate and use the formula.

A few examples should help to kick off more use of the formula in calculations involving local and other governments around the nation and the world.

The first thing we need to establish are the constants for the "office", symbol "O". Here are some constants for "O".

The "office" held is on the left side of the equal sign and the constant value is on the right side of the equal sign:
Office = Constant

President = 10
Vice President = 9
Speaker of the House = 8
President P.T. of Senate = 7
Cabinet Members = 6
Federal District Judge = 8
Federal Appeals Judge = 7
US Supreme Court Judge = 7
There, we have some constant values for "O" components. If we want to calculate for the Office of the President in the case of a president who has been in power for three years, we would then use:
C = (10 * 3) * ((T - A) + 1)
where "T" is the sum of (T¹ .. Tº), and "A" is the sum of (A¹ .. Aº).

Since in this case "O" = 10 ("10" is the "president constant value") for this example, and "Y" = 3 (three years in office when we calculate) for this example, we can simplify:
C = 30 * ((T - A) + 1)
Where "C" is the corruption factor to be derived, "T" is the toxins sum, and "A" is the antitoxins sum.

This formula shows that the exercise of any official is to resist corrupting toxins via antitoxins. The goal is to bring "T" and "A" to the same value, so that T - A sums to zero. Then 1 is added.

That is because P * 1 = P, which would mean there is no corruption in that office at that time. But the corruption factor, expressed as potential, remains.

Finally, we need to ask what, then, are toxins and what are their numeric values, and what are antitoxins and what are their numeric values.

To recognize some fundamental corrupting toxins, I turn to James Madison, 4th President, "Father of the Constitution", author of "The Bill of Rights", Cabinet Member, Congressman, and author of 30% of the Federalist Papers.

In his sage understanding, war is the number one toxin. Here is a table from his writings linked to above:
Toxin = Constant

War = 10
armies = 9
taxes = 8
dealing out offices, honors and emoluments = 7
ambition = 8
avarice = 8
vanity = 7
fame = 7
There, we have some constant values for "T" components.We can adapt his sage understanding for a table of antitoxins from his writings:
Antitoxin = Constant

Peace = 10
shrinking armies = 9
lowering taxes = 8
shrinking offices, honors and emoluments = 7
humility = 8
charity = 8
doing the people's work = 7
There, we have some constant values for "A" components. We have put our toes in the water and now we have some constants to work with.

We can now clearly show an example of their use in the formula.

Lets use C = (O * Y) * ((T¹ .. Tº) - (A¹ .. Aº) + 1) where: "O" = president, "Y" = 1 year, toxin = war, antitoxin = peace; so as to derive:

C = (Office * Years in office) * ((Toxin¹ .. Toxinº) - (Antitoxin¹ .. Antitoxinº) + 1)
C = (president * 1 year) * ((war constant - peace constant) + 1)
C = (10 * 1) * ((10 - 10) + 1)
C = 10 * 1
C = 10

Thus, a president who entered office in a time of war and brought peace that year fulfils the mission of zero corruption (C=10). The lowest the corruption factor can be is the office constant times the years in office. It does not equate to actual corruption unless the ((toxins - antitoxins) + 1) is a value greater than 1. What increases the longer an individual is exposed to power is the potential for corruption.

These formulas can or will be adjusted, added to, expanded, enhanced, and then used by students and teachers in many areas of politics.

It can be a quick tool for making ongoing appraisals that track how a politician is doing at any given point in time.

It is a simple tool of the people for keeping an eye on them, and officials are also free to use it to monitor themselves and avoid problems.

The Power That Corrupts

The About page of this blog points out Lord Action's statement about "power" being a source of corruption.

That page also points out some formulas for "pure" power which does not contain corruption, that is, the power of the type discussed in the science of physics.

If those physics formulas are accurate, and they are, all of a sudden it becomes clear that Lord Acton was talking about a "power" that relates directly to human behavior, rather than the power described by physics.

Yes, it is clear that there are multiple forms of power.

Guided by the mathematical formulas mentioned above, we know that some power is pure in the sense that it is not related to human behavior.

Therefore if one of the types of power is corrupting, but the other is not, the one that is corrupting must have an additional ingredient.

I call that ingredient "the toxins within power".

Let's create an optimistic premise: "for every toxin there is an antitoxin".

Now we can create a formula for human behavioral corruption caused by the toxins within the corrupting type of power:
C = P ((T - A) + 1)
C = P ((T¹ .. Tº) - (A¹ .. Aº) + 1)
(where "C" = degree of corruption, "P" = degree of corrupting power, "T" = toxins, and "A" = antitoxins).

"P" (intensity of exposure to power toxins) can be formulated as P = O * Y (where "O" is the office held, and "Y" is the time in office).

The expanded, or full expression of the basic formula would then be:
C = O * Y ((T - A) + 1)
(since P = O * Y) it simplifies to
C = P ((T - A) + 1)
The first simple formula ("C = P ((T - A) + 1)") is for a single toxin and antitoxin pair, while the second formula ("C = P ((T¹ .. Tº) - (A¹ .. Aº) + 1)") is for more complex situations where there are multiple toxins and multiple antitoxins that have to be added and subtracted as needed.

These formulas will give political scientists some of the tools of physics and mathematics.

Let the research begin that identifies both the toxins and the antitoxins associated with the corruption within the governmental type of power.

The "+ 1" was added to the formula. See the discussion in the tables for toxins post.

About Toxins Of Power

Lord Acton (Quotes)
We are familiar with the saying about power: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great [people] are almost always bad [people]." (Lord Acton, emphasis added).

That quote refers to a form of social, political, or governmental "power" that is different from the "power" physicists work with.

Consider two mathematical formulas physicists use that concern "power" of a non-social, non-political, and non-governmental sort: p = e / t and p = v * i (Formula I, Formula II, where p = power, v = voltage, i = current, e = energy, and t = time).

That type of power, of course, is not the power we are talking about when we talk about the "toxins of power" that are generated while an individual is holding political, social, religious, or similar power.

The formula for Toxins of Power this blog discusses is another type of power, social power and/or governmental power.

The basic notion is encapsulated in what is often called "Lord Acton's dictum" as follows:
"I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption, it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or certainty of corruption by full authority. There is no worse heresy than the fact that the office sanctifies the holder of it. "

Dalberg-Acton, John Emerich Edward (1949), Essays on Freedom and Power, Boston:The Becon Press, p. 364
(Wikipedia, emphasis added). Clearly the statement was made in specific reference to the controversial notion of papal infallibility, which is a function of church government, but it was conceptually linked to secular government as well ("the king can do no wrong").

The inescapable meaning of Lord Acton's theory is that power (because of toxins within it - Toxins of Power Blog would add) tends to have a negative effect on human thinking and doing:
Experience has shown that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson

"Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule." - Friedrich Nietzsche