Orthodox Christianity is rooted in our awareness of the fallen condition of humanity. We want life and that drive for life becomes transmuted to a drive for power and control. And there is never enough. This is the reality of sin and human self-interested behavior. Any cursory study of history validates this truth of human behavior.
With the Bolshevik revolution in Russia the “children of light” hoped for the creation of a Russian nirvana. The Bolsheviks represented the poor and oppressed. When they came to power there would be a good and fair country. When the Bolsheviks came to power they were as corrupt as their predecessors.
The children of light were naïve as to the human inclination to follow a way of goodness. On a personal, one on one, level, we may do much good and act morally, but when it comes to national and international affairs those potentialities begin to wane and the drive to power becomes ascendant.
Robert Mugabe was heralded as a freedom fighter for the oppressed, a hero of sorts. When he came to power in Zimbabwe, he was as corrupt as his predecessors. Those who had hope for his beneficent dictatorship were naïve as to the realities of sin.
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts to an absolute level.
We see this with Putin. Russia was not enough. Crimea was annexed. Crimea was not enough. Now we have the Ukraine. He is an autocrat and there are no “checks” or balances on his drives. Now he responds only to power, but certainly not to moral suasion.
The beauty of democracy is its system of checks and balances between the executive, legislative and judicial branches. The checks and balances serve to hold our sinful instincts in something of a balance. But if any one person gets too much power and control we face inevitable problems.
The children of darkness are wise. They realize the ways of humanity. The children of light can be too trusting of the human potential for goodness. The children of darkness are wiser in their generation than the children of light. Luke 16:8 – the words of Jesus: “…for the children of darkness are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the children of light…” May the children of light be shrewd.