The idiom “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” means that when a person has complete control over others with no limits or checks on their power, they will often start to use that power in bad ways. It suggests that having too much power can make even good people do bad things because there’s nothing to stop them. It’s like saying when someone knows they can’t be stopped or punished, they might start doing things they wouldn’t normally do if they were afraid of getting in trouble.
- When the CEO began to have absolute power in the company, his decisions became unfair and self-serving, showing that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
- The dictator’s reign started with promises of fairness, but as he gained more control, he became tyrannical, proving that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
- In the novel, the character started as a hero, but as he gained unchecked power, he turned into the villain, illustrating how absolute power corrupts absolutely.
- The community leader was once loved by all, but after gaining absolute control, she began to exploit her position, a clear case of absolute power corrupting absolutely.
- History teaches us time and again that absolute power corrupts absolutely, as seen in the downfall of many once-great leaders.
Here are a few idioms and sayings that convey a similar idea to “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”:
- “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – This is actually the longer form of the original quote by Lord Acton, emphasizing how any power can corrupt, but absolute power does so without fail.
- “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – A variation of the original quote, used commonly to express the same idea.
- “Too much of a good thing.” – This generally means that even something good can become harmful if taken to an extreme, which can apply to the concept of power.
- “He who has the gold makes the rules.” – This suggests that those in control of resources or wealth have the power to dictate how things are done, often to their own benefit and potentially to the detriment of others.
- “Might makes right.” – This phrase implies that those with power can determine what is considered correct or acceptable, often leading to abuse of power.
While these idioms share themes of power and its potential to corrupt or negatively influence, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” specifically highlights the total moral degradation that can occur when one has unchecked control.