power corrupts

For Pharaohs and Premiers, Power Corrupts in Every Age

1 December 2021

4.7 MINS

Power corrupts in every age. The story of the Exodus has much to teach us today. We are not rules by Pharaohs, but our leaders are tempted by the same power dynamics as the tyrants of history.

If you’re familiar with the Bible, even just a little bit, you probably remember the story of the Exodus. Born a Hebrew, Moses was called by God to confront Egypt’s Pharaoh and secure freedom from slavery for his fellow Israelites. Pharaoh was a god on earth to the Egyptians – the most powerful leader in the world of that time.

Maybe we can identify with Moses’ response to the Lord when He spoke from the burning bush; “I’m going to pass on your offer! I’m not good at public speaking. I have a herd of sheep to look after. I’m busy checking the ‘use-by dates on my canned goods!”

But God had other plans. To cut a long story short, God had His way, and Moses returned to Egypt along with his brother and sister.

How Pharaoh Exploited His Power

Let’s take up the story in Exodus chapter 5. Speaking to Pharaoh, Moses says, “This is what the Lord God said to tell you: ‘Let my people go!'” Pharaoh replies (paraphrased), “Who is this god of yours and why should I let these people go? They’re busy constructing my kingdom. No. I won’t let them go!”

Enraged, Pharaoh waits until they leave and says to his officials, “No more giving them straw to make the bricks. They can get it themselves, and the quota we demand will not decrease!” This is the start of the great Exodus of the Hebrew nation from the land of captivity.

The people raged at Moses because they were made to work harder than ever. They were already oppressed, but yesterday was better than today, they grumbled. Perhaps it wasn’t about the bricks so much as what was really at stake: freedom.

How Rulers Always Exploit Power

Despots and rulers never relinquish power over their subjects without a battle. We often trust and suffer. They conquer; we rise. They subjugate, we protest. They roar like a lion seeking whom they can devour; we open our eyes and realise it wasn’t about the bricks or the straw: it’s about power. And as we know, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Pharaoh continued to deny the freedom that God demanded until he was broken. Even then, it hurt Pharaoh’s pride so much that the Egyptians chased the Hebrews into the Red Sea. God had the last say, parting the waters to rescue His people and humiliate Pharaoh one last time.

History shows how far rulers will go to crush dissent. Without the proper restraints, people with power will always present us with a new threat on the horizon. Right now it is the Omicron variant we are all told to fear. As in Moses’ day, it’s not about the bricks or the straw – or in our case, the Omicron variant. The issue is freedom.

How Our Leaders Have Exploited Their Power

“We won’t let you go!” appears to be the slogan of our leaders. Life will be fine, we are told, as long as we keep making the bricks, keep toting the straw, keep towing the line.

Look around our country. We have all suffered under unreasonable government mandates and health orders to keep us “safe”. Every state and territory has played its part in paralysing people with fear, control and ever-changing demands placed upon us at a moment’s notice.

Consider some of the questions we stopped asking that were never answered:

  • Why did Brad Hazzard keep his job after the Ruby Princess cruise ship fiasco? How did Premier Berejiklian survive that as well?
  • How did Premier Dan Andrews keep his job after his dreadful mishandling of the Coronavirus outbreak in nursing homes that led to hundreds of deaths?
  • How can we be expected to believe the Prime Minister when he says Australians will not be forced to take a vaccine or be subject to a passport system identifying their vaccination status – when that is precisely what has happened?

Today’s news is tomorrows fish and chips paper. Politicians and bureaucrats rarely go away, even when they are exposed.

Here we are, almost two years on from the beginning of this saga. What began as a bat and a pangolin having a one-night stand in a Wuhan wet market has evolved into a much bigger story. It’s not about the bricks. Covid-19 has simply been too great an opportunity for those with power to garner more power for themselves.

The Injustices Suffered

So many have suffered losses. This includes the loss of loved ones, who – instead of being treated by early intervention with medicines that had the proven potential to save – were left to languish at home and succumb. They were advised to rest, stay hydrated, take paracetamol, and go to the ER when they could no longer breathe. Many were then put on ventilators and were very lucky indeed if they recovered.

Businesses, especially small and medium businesses, have been crushed. Behind each one is a family or families who may never recover from the loss of their homes and dreams. Bankruptcy looms for many. Children have suffered from interrupted education and mental health challenges.

Meanwhile, local liquor stores and tobacconists have been able to continue. McDonald’s still operates, as do many fast-food chains. But we have been forbidden from breathing fresh air, feeling the sun on our face, or having contact with our friends and families. It’s not about the bricks.

The Power of Propaganda

Australia today may be worlds away from 1930s Germany, but some of the parallels are striking. Consider these quotes from one of Hitler’s henchmen, Joseph Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda for Nazi Germany:

“If the day should ever come when we must go, if some day we are compelled to leave the scene of history, we will slam the door so hard that the universe will shake and mankind will stand back in stupefaction.”

“During a war, news should be given out for instruction rather than information.”

“It is the absolute right of the state to supervise the formation of public opinion.”

“Let me control the media and I will turn any nation into a herd of pigs.”

“Propaganda works best when those who are being manipulated are confident they are acting on their own free will.”

“The rank and file are usually much more primitive than we imagine. Propaganda must therefore be essentially simple and repetitious.”

“We shall go down in history as the greatest statesmen of all time, or the greatest criminals.”

Ostracising the Unvaccinated

I am not suggesting that great horrors lie ahead of us. But in the pattern of all historical abuses, we are being told what to think, where we can go, and how we should demonise the “radicals” who are in disagreement.

We have been coaxed to shut our fellow Australians out of public life, out of schools, jobs and even human services. Former Australian Foreign Minister and former Premier of NSW Bob Carr has called for the unvaccinated to be denied Medicare. Others have since followed suit.

Months ago, if I had suggested that the vaccinated would be so ostracised by society, you would have considered me a conspiracy theorist. Yet here we are.

Remember that Noah was a conspiracy theorist too – right up until the minute it began to rain.

Image via Haaretz.

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  1. Dick Nicholls 1 December 2021 at 10:40 pm - Reply

    Thankyou Leonie and “Daily Declaration”. I need to read good opinion pieces like this. It helps me to remember that, maybe I’m not going mad😊

    • Leonie Robson 2 December 2021 at 1:01 pm - Reply

      Always good to remember…lol.
      We are not alone.
      Thanks Dick.

  2. Sue Packer 5 January 2022 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Another excellent piece Leonie. Well written, and so true. Thanks for posting on our Mark Latham’s outsiders group. I look forward to more.

  3. jeffrey Tabley 7 January 2022 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    It is easy to feel isolated with so many people believing the narrative that we should be kept ‘safe’ with a vaccine that is unproven. I knownow that I cannot look to our government to protect the weak and vulnerable and the lack of accountability makes me look more to God for my strength and hope. Please keep encouraging us with the Christian message of salvation.

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