Abuse of Power: Criminal Assault on Humanity


Charles Mercieca, Ph.D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

One of the worst crimes in human experience is termed to be abuse of power. Those in power of any kind have the opportunity to elevate those around them to a higher level of existence making their lives enjoyable and peaceful, or to sink them to a state of frustration, desolation and suffering. When power is used properly and conscientiously, there seems always to be God’s blessings pouring in to the full benefit of all involved and concerned. In other words, power can lead to a lot of good or to a tremendous amount of evil.

Nature of Abuse of Power

Many ascetical writers view abuse of power as a criminal assault on humanity, which is found in every realm of our communities. Its source could be generally traced to greed and selfishness, to jealousy and irresponsibility, or to indifference and apathy. Some of the best resources we have at our disposal to combat abuse of power may be enlisted as humility, kindness, understanding, patience, generosity, and dedication to the service of others. St. Augustine viewed love as the foundation for the solution of all problems we may encounter.

In quite a number of instances we may have hard times in trying to distinguish actions that stem from genuine love and concern from those that eventually stem from egoism and selfishness. This is truly so each time we may try to evaluate political actions of any kind. As we may all know, politicians may have hidden agendas, which compel them to say one thing and do another to the disappointment and frustration of all those involved and concerned.

If we were to comprehend the four hierarchical laws of which many outstanding theologians and philosophers spoke very clearly, then we may be in a position to make accurate judgments whenever needed, especially in the political arena. The four hierarchical laws may be enlisted as follows: divine, natural, ecclesiastical and civic.

The Divine Law represents the traditionally known Ten Commandments, which God gave to Moses. The Natural Law consists of the order of nature that is meant to keep the whole set-up of creation moving forward properly and constructively. The Ecclesiastical Law is meant to serve as a good means to guard and safeguard these two laws just mentioned in addition to providing good guidelines for all of us to lead always a good and constructive life.

Civic Law in Operation

The Civic Law consists of all laws enacted by human beings supposedly to safeguard and protect their individual and collective interests. While both the Divine Law and the Natural Law were provided by God Himself, the Creator of heaven and earth, the Ecclesiastical Law has been provided by spiritually oriented individuals or groups in the hope of keeping the world going properly in order in peace and harmony. Abuse of Power is likely to be traced to some enacted Civic Law of one kind or another.

In fact, if we were to analyze every abuse of power conceivable, we may easily trace it to Civic Laws enacted that show disrespect to either the Divine Law or the Natural Law. When we are faced with objective reality, as to whether we agree or disagree it is totally irrelevant. Let us illustrate this by few examples. In the Divine Law we find such commandments as: you should not kill, you should not say lies and you should not destroy the property of others. This means we are not free to get a gun and kill anyone.

Also, a civic authority, generally known as government, is morally prohibited to send a group of individuals into other countries to destroy the infrastructure of cities, in addition to human lives! Each time this is done we are witnessing abuse of power in operation, which becomes literally a criminal assault on humanity. Besides, in accordance with the Natural Law, all human beings have a sacrosanct right to survive, to be healthy and to be fully educated as to develop their talents to the maximum of their potential.

The provision of such vital elements constitutes a sacrosanct human right. Those in government that fail to provide their people with such important elements are violating their people’s sacrosanct human right. Again, this is another example of abuse of power, which may be viewed as a heinous crime. The fact that we find government officials that disagree with these statements, does not give them even the remote possibility that they may be right. It simply means they are either acting in supine ignorance, if they have good intentions or they are acting with vicious malice if they were to have ulterior motives.


Charles Mercieca, Ph.D. – President, International Association of Educators for World Peace, Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education, Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament.
-Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University.
-Hon President & Professor, SBS Swiss Business School, Zurich.
-Member, TRANSCEND-A Network for Peace, Development and Environment.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 15 Oct 2012.

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