Title image proposed entitled the power of oversight

The Power of Oversight – If You Want to Help Make the World a Safer Place This Is What You Need to Know

What does the Mad Queen of Madagascar (Queen Ranavalona I), Adolf Hitler, those who ran the transatlantic slave trade, a mugger, a rapist, an abusive partner and pretty much every single person who has ever committed a crime or grave evil of any sort from small to big have in common? They were all corruptible individuals who gained too much power over a person or persons and due to a lack of oversight and a perceived belief that they could get away with it went on to abuse that power.

This post is available in audio format at the above link

No matter what way you look at it the one thing that every single crime or act of evil ever committed since the dawn of time has in common, is that they were committed by a corruptible person who gained too much power and in which there was not enough oversight over that person to stop them from abusing it.

There will be those at this point that argue that some crimes are committed out of desperation, but even those crimes could not have been committed if the person committing them had not believed that they held enough power over others to first be able to commit the crime, and to second be able to get away with it. Or rather they had to have believed that due to a lack of oversight that they would be able to abuse their power without repercussion.

Of course there are those who would abuse their power and commit crimes even if there was absolutely no hope of them getting away with it, but again they would not be able to if they did not gain power without oversight in the first place because oversight by its nature limits a person’s power over others. And if people do not hold power over others then it becomes very difficult for them to commit crimes of any sort over others.

In this reality is perhaps the greatest lesson history can teach us in regards to how to stop people committing crimes and acts of evil and how to ensure that those who do commit crimes and acts of evil are brought to justice. So if you wish to understand how to help stop bad people doing bad things then read on, but firstly as this is part of the Equations of Life Series, as always I start with an equation:

Corruptible person + power over person/persons + lack of oversight = crime, abuse and acts of evil

The reality is corruptible people if given too much power over a person or persons will without oversight inevitably abuse that power. Understanding this is one of the most important factors a person who wants to stop people from abusing their power to inflict suffering upon others can learn.

Take the Nazis and the Holocaust, Hitler was able to carry out the Holocaust because he gained too much power and had not enough oversight, not just from the outside world but from within his own country, for example the majority of the people in Germany had no idea the Holocaust was happening. That was because Hitler had taken control of pretty much everything, which meant he could do whatever he wanted without fear of repercussions from the people of Germany or those from elsewhere. After all, how could anyone even make efforts to stop him when the vast majority did not know what he and his enablers were doing?

And this is a common trend, the nature of the majority is never to allow grave crimes which can be stopped to be committed, meaning the greatest way to commit a crime is to do it in a way which means that the majority are unable to stop it and the best way to make sure that the majority can’t stop it is to make sure that majority don’t know that it is happening. In the case of Hitler he gained the power to carry out the Holocaust but knew that the people of Germany as a whole would not tolerate it, so he abused his power further still to make sure that the vast majority of the people of Germany did not know it was taking place, which allowed him to continue carrying it out for the length of time that he did.

People who want to commit evil know that if no one knows what they are doing, then inevitably they can keep doing what they are doing. For example, imagine living next to a serial killer, if you don’t know what that person is doing then you can’t stop that person from killing. Seems obvious but the connotations of this reality are often misunderstood, or rather underestimated. To explain if no one knows a crime or grave evil is taking place other than the victims, the perpetrators and the enablers, how can the grave evil be stopped from happening?

And if the crime is allowed to continue happening for a long period of time it can allow enough corruptible people to group together for it to become very difficult should people even become aware that it is taking place to stop. For example take the transatlantic slave trade, it is common to attribute the slave trade to white Europeans; however, it was not white people who ran the slave trade nor was it Europeans, yes the people running it were predominantly white and predominantly European but it was not run by white Europeans, it was run by the same people who throughout history have always committed great crimes.

That is to say it was run by corruptible individuals who had too much power and not enough oversight to stop them abusing their power. Or rather yes the people running it predominantly had white skin colour and were European in origin, but it was not because they were white and European that they created the transatlantic slave trade, it was because they were corruptible people who had too much power and not enough oversight to stop them abusing it. This is potentially a controversial statement to make but it is also an extremely important concept to understand for any person who wants to stop the past being repeated in the future.

To explain, the people who ran the slave trade had to answer to pretty much no one, for starters the everyday people back then lived in rural communities, not many could read and even travelling around the country in which they lived was difficult let alone travelling to another country. That meant that in effect to the everyday person the slave trade did not exist, it existed only to the wealthy and the powerful, who largely were the people running it.

And even if the people running it did have to answer to governments considering that they operated so far away from where the governments were based, and the fact that it took 2 to 3 months just to communicate, it was impossible even for the governments to provide any form of oversight to these people even should they have wanted to, which of course they had no real reason to because it was happening far away and they were getting rich off it. Meaning oversight did not exist for the people running the slave trade because for one, it was impossible to keep track of what the people were doing, and for two even if it was possible the means to stop them did not really exist, which of course allowed them to group together in substantial numbers which is why the trade became so big.

It doesn’t matter which angle you look at it from, the one common denominator in every single crime from the smallest to the most gravest is the fact that they were committed by corruptible people who gained too much power and had not enough oversight on them to stop them abusing their power. The transatlantic slave trade is just one example of many of how through a lack of oversight corruptible people were able to commit great evils.

This is why oversight is so important, it is the only way to stop not just crime but people from committing great evils against others. For example, sticking with the trans-Atlantic slave trade example, there are those that argue that it was white people specifically in the United Kingdom that initiated the moves which brought an end to the slave trade, but it was not white people or Europeans or British people that ended the slave trade, it was oversight.

Britain was the first place to make slavery illegal and it was made illegal because through the industrialisation and urbanisation of Britain, and the educational boom which came with it, the people became more aware of what was going on which led to greater oversight of people with power. Or rather it is not a coincidence that the newspaper industry in the United Kingdom really started to take off around the same time that the slave trade and slavery was abolished.

But not just that, due to the invention of rail and the improvement of shipping it became far easier for large numbers of people to move around meaning those who ran the slave trade should they not comply could be through force held properly to account. Meaning people who had been able to operate for the last couple of hundred years without an ounce of oversight suddenly had to operate under the oversight of not just the government, of not just the people of the nations, but of a free and national press who were willing to express the feelings of a nation.

Oversight is what brought an end to the slave trade, nothing else nothing less. Prior to the industrialisation and urbanisation of Britain, people with money and power were able to operate as a law unto themselves, mainly because it was impossible for anyone really to stop them because it was impossible really for anyone outside of the loop to have any idea what it was they were really doing, and even for those that did not it was pretty much impossible for them to do anything about it should they have even wanted to.

When through technology and innovation, this factor changed, the slave trade was brought to an end and as the innovation and technology spread around the world, it forced other nations to follow in Britain’s steed until eventually the slave trade was ended once and for all.

Therefore, the creation of the slave trade had nothing to do with skin colour or place of birth, and had everything to do with corruptible individuals who gained too much power and had not enough oversight to stop them from abusing it, and the ending of it also had nothing to do with skin colour or place of birth, and everything to do with those individuals who had previously operated without oversight being forced to operate with oversight. And for any person who wishes to stop crime and bring those who commit crime to justice, this is a very important concept to understand. Skin colour, place of birth, gender, none of those create heroes and monsters, corruptible individuals being given too much power without oversight, that is the path to evil. Oversight is the cure, it is the only tool known to man that has the power bring an end to grave evils and bring those who commit them to justice.

And whenever you look at history, whenever you look at any crime you find the same pattern, it was committed by a person who had too much power and not enough oversight, and whenever you look at any solution to try to stop such crimes being committed again you will note that the efforts involved creating oversight. For example, take an abusive relationship, abusive relationships are based on individuals who gain too much power over one person, their partner, and have not enough oversight to stop them committing cruelties against that person. Create oversight, and they lose that power and thus lose the ability to carry out that abuse.

Take a woman being able to walk down the streets at night, before the technological advancements of the last couple of hundred years there were no streets at night a woman could walk, in fact there were few that even the strongest of men could walk, and yet through the addition of streetlamps, of CCTV cameras, of on the street bobbies, of the innovations in policing which allow the police to track criminals, now even though the streets are not as safe as we would all want them to be, they are in comparison to what they were a million times safer. And the reason is, the creation of oversight.

I will say it again, the only way to stop crimes from taking place is to stop corruptible people from being able to commit them in the first place, and the only way to do that is oversight. Meaning the solution to every crime out there, the solution to stop every evil from being committed, is to innovate in a way which creates oversight. The more oversight we have, the less crimes corruptible people will be able to commit.

Which means if you wish to really help bring an end to crimes, to not just stop people committing crimes but to prosecute those that do, you need to call for oversight. The better the oversight the less chance criminals have to commit crimes and acts of evil. And the best way to improve oversight is innovation, two forms of it, the type that leads to better oversight and the type that empowers oversight, or rather the type that means that through oversight people have no choice but to not commit crimes. That means improving policing techniques especially policing techniques in regards to policing people in positions of power, fighting for a free and open press, and fighting to make certain that no person is above the law and that no person can run from the law.

That’s all from me for today, stay safe!

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