When a person gains power over other persons–political power to force other persons to do his bidding when they do not believe it right to do so–it seems inevitable that a moral weakness develops in the person who exercises that power. It may take time for this weakness to become visible. In fact, its full extent is frequently left to the historians to record, but we eventually learn of it. It was Lord Acton, the British historian, who said: “All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Lichtenstein, How Do You Sleep At Night?
Please do not misunderstand me. These persons who are corrupted by the process of ruling over their fellow men are not innately evil. They begin as honest men. Their motives for wanting to direct the actions of others may be purely patriotic and altruistic. Indeed, they may wish only “to do good for the people.” But, apparently, the only way they can think of to do this “good” is to impose more restrictive laws. And the more they are in power, the more they convince themselves that every action of theirs is purely noble and selfless. It’s all לשם שמים.
This same phenomenon has occurred to our friend, Committeeman Lichtenstein. Every ordinance he passes, every action he takes, as bad as it can be, in his mind it is for the good of the people. By now he truly believes he is a true saint who will go straight to heaven.
His actions are not only hurting the public but also his immediate family. Since his infidelity, his children cannot do shidduchim with families on the east coast, so he tries his luck with outer towners. Many have been asking ‘How heartless can you be?!It’s your own children!’. Indeed, absolute power corrupts absolutely.