The Nature and Merit of Powermongering

Let us ponder the concept of enormous power and success at the disposal of one or few.

Are there inherent similarities or differences between the power exhibited by a star Super Bowl quarterback who is “in The Zone”, for example, and that of a military strategist who conquers peoples and lands?

At its various degrees of concentration, power in the hands of self-preserving humans must surely convey equally varied responsibility and risk. Too much freedom to pursue one’s preferred ends, and tyranny may sprout.

Consider this quote attributed to Ghengis Khan, and all the more jaw-dropping for its pointed brevity:

 The greatest joy a man can know is to conquer his enemies and drive them before him. To ride their horses and take away their possessions. To see the faces of those who were dear to them bedewed with tears, and to clasp their wives and daughters in his arms.”

Can an argument be made for the merit of this mentality?  Is the occasional bloodlust of tyrants necessary for the emergence of societies like we have today?  Can it be said that warfare and extreme displays of power are dirty business, but somebody just has to do it?

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