Absolute Power

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about

Finally, one I can write about. Here's what I sent to local music magazine 'The Rhubarb Bomb' after an average review:

I just wanted to make a few points based on things you’d noted in the review.

“... there’s only the third track ‘Absolute Power’ that comes anywhere close to addressing this, being a political statement of sorts, though I’m buggered if I can work out exactly what they’re trying to say.”

Here’s a quote I like:

“I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption, it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. 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 certainty of corruption by full authority. There is no worse heresy than the fact that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”

Lord Acton, 1887

So, the song ‘Absolute Power’ is based on this quote. It essentially details what is likely to happen to even the most altruistic person, should they ever acquire the power of a God.

I am not, God manifest
But if I was, I’d never rest
Erase the scum, the human wrecks
And hammer out injustices

AND THAT IS WHY, I, COULD NEVER BE GOD
MY INTOLERANT EYES ARE NOT MEANT TO BE DIVINE
AND THAT IS WHY, I, COULD NEVER BE GOD
I’D COMMIT GENOCIDE TO PRESERVE A WAY OF LIFE

I know you’d say it’s dangerous
To contemplate a massacre
And how could I shed so much blood
In a crusade for something good?

If I put myself in this position, I judge myself to be a good person. But given the power of a God, would I be able to resist the temptation to wipe out every last murderer, thief, rapist, paedophile, thug etc. In order to ensure a better way of life for the righteous? I thought about that, and decided that I probably wouldn’t be able to resist.

In eliminating the scourge of society, I would be committing the worst act of genocide ever witnessed. (Technically it’s not actually genocide, as it’s not an act against an ethnic, racial, religious or racial group, more a group of ‘wrongdoers’. But if you accept that some people have wrong doing hardwired into their genome (from which genocide is derived) then it makes a certain sense.)

Thus the question is – can a God who commits genocide really be considered a God? (Assuming you perceive God to be ‘good’.)

I know they’d say that it’s fascist
To try and make a world like this
But it’s not race, nothing ethnic
That generates my prejudice

Here’s what I say, the reprobates
They don’t deserve to respirate
They steal and rape, murder and hate
Never create, obliterate

I chose fascism as an important point here, as the term ‘fascist’ is commonly used to denote authoritarian tendencies. If you, as a newly appointed God, rid the world of a group of people to impose your vision of the world (a crime free semi-utopia) on people, are you in danger of being a fascist? It’s not race or ethnicity that influences your vision of the world, but is it any less heinous for that?

The final verse suggests that bad people, people who commit crimes against others, do not deserve life. That they should not be here to trouble those of us who want harmony and creativity to reign. Their nature dictates that they destroy everything, but it is they that should be destroyed.

As I am enraged by these people, so am I disgusted by what I might become, given the power of a God. And so I bring you back to the chorus, which details why I specifically, but by association, why anyone should not be given that power. If I, as a force for good in this world cannot wield power in a fair and just manner, then how the hell can we expect those morally dubious people who seek power to wield it in such a way.

Hence the chant at the end:

I don’t want absolute power x4
We don’t want absolute power x4

If I am never given that power, I can never commit my form of genocide.

- Tom

lyrics

I am not, god manifest
But if I was, I’d never rest
Erase the scum, the human wrecks
And hammer out, injustices

And that is why, I, could never be God
My intolerant eyes, woah
Are not meant to be divine
And that is why, I, could never be God
I’d commit genocide, woah
To preserve a way of life

I know you’d say, it’s dangerous
To contemplate, a massacre
And how could I, shed so much blood
In a crusade, for something good

And that is why, I, could never be God
My intolerant eyes, woah
Are not meant to be divine
And that is why, I, could never be God
I’d commit genocide, woah
To preserve a way of life

I know they’d say, that it’s fascist
To try and make, a world like this
But it’s not race, nothing ethnic
That generates, my prejudice

And that is why, I, could never be God
My intolerant eyes, woah
Are not meant to be divine
And that is why, I, could never be God
I’d commit genocide, woah
To preserve a way of life

Here’s what I say - the reprobates
They don’t deserve, to respirate
They steal and rape, murder and hate
Never create, obliterate

And that is why, I, could never be God
My intolerant eyes, woah
Are not meant to be divine
And that is why, I, could never be God
I’d commit genocide, woah
To preserve a way of life

I don’t want – Absolute Power x4
We don’t want – Absolute Power x4

credits

from Awakening: 6 track EP, released September 17, 2009

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The Red Pills Leeds, UK

The Red Pills took their name from the 1999 movie 'The Matrix.' In one scene, Keanu Reeves' character 'Neo' is presented with a choice of pills to ingest; a red pill or a blue pill. Each is a metaphor - taking the blue pill will allow Neo to continue to live a cosy, comfortable lie. Taking the red pill will allow him to wake up to the truth. ... more

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