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.
The mistakes (of leaders) are amplified by the numbers who follow them without question. Charismatic leaders tend to build up followings, power structures and these power structures tend to be taken over by people who are corruptible. I don't think that the old saw about 'power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely' is accurate: I think power attracts the corruptible.
You know, 'power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely?' It's the same with powerlessness. Absolute powerlessness corrupts absolutely. Einstein said everything had changed since the atom was split, except the way we think. We have to think anew.
There is no evidence to support the belief that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev ever questioned Americas power. He questioned only the President's John F. Kennedys readiness to use it. Elie Abel, The Missile Crisis (1966) Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
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 the certainty of corruption by authority.
Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end...liberty is the only object which benefits all alike, and provokes no sincere opposition...The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. ~ Every class is unfit to govern ... Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.