Rulers who destroy men's freedom commonly begin by trying to retain its forms. ... They cherish the illusion that they can combine the prerogatives of absolute power with the moral authority that comes from popular assent.
Nothing discloses real character like the use of power. It is easy for the weak to be gentle. Most people can bear adversity. But if you wish to know what a man really is, give him power. This is the supreme test. It is the glory of Lincoln that, having almost absolute power, he never abused it, except upon the side of mercy.
What I worry about would be that you essentially have two chambers, the House and the Senate, but you have simply, majoritarian, absolute power on either side. And that's just not what the founders intended.
The notion of "humanity" as a form of transcendence derives, I think, from the conviction that intellectuality possesses an absolute power, from the demand that our best behavior depends on our ability to think abstractly, in terms of a universal rule, about something called humanity, that we need to understand humanity abstractly so that we can act responsibly towards those who represent it.
Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed.
We're taught Lord Acton's axiom: all power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. I believed that when I started these books, but I don't believe it's always true any more. Power doesn't always corrupt. Power can cleanse. What I believe is always true about power is that power always reveals.
I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favorable presumption that they do no wrong. If there is any presumption, it is the other way against holders of power...power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.