Leo Tolstoy once wrote: “The good cannot seize power, nor retain it; to do this men must love power. And the love of power is inconsistent with goodness; but quite consistent with the very opposite qualities – pride, cunning, cruelty.” Along the same lines, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger remarked: “In contemporary America, power increasingly gravitates to those with an almost obsessive desire to win it.” And former Attorney General Ramsey Clark: “The people we admire most are the wealthy, the Rockefellers and Morgans, the Bill Gateses and the Donald Trumps. Would any moral person accumulate a billion dollars when there are ten million infants dying of starvation every year?”
The point, which is obvious upon reflection, is that people in positions of great wealth and power tend not to be good people. Rather they tend to be greedy, ruthless, power hungry, dishonest, cruel – in short, evil people. Why? There is a simple explanation for this. People who are willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish their goals – to succeed in business, to accumulate property and wealth, to win political office, to triumph over competitors and rivals – have a greater chance of success than people who recognize and respect moral boundaries. Good people recognize such boundaries. Evil people do not. In power struggles, therefore, evil people tend to come out on top.