We always think that common people have no power, unless they become managers, and more powerful when they become CEOs. In the Internet world, you have power when you are the administrator. In the government, you have power when you are an official. In politics, you have power when you become president and legislator. We always put an equal mark between power and position, that is why we always get confused. It is because we do not understand the nature of power.
Power is something put on someone by the others. Power is always interrelated to its environment and people. Even you were the US President, if you landed on a barren rock and met a primitive tribe, and that you had no ways to contact your home country, you still had no power.
The lowest form of power is by violence, which is slavery. If you don’t follow my orders, I will kill you. If there were only two persons surviving in this world, one is the US President, another one a wrestler. In this scenario, the wrestler would be more powerful than the President.
However, if that person fears no death, he prefers death than becoming a slave, you have only violence but no power. Only when he is willing to listen to your orders, you will have power.
What is the source of power for those officials? From the institution, from law, and those who implement the laws, i.e. police or inspectors. Why? If you show disobedience, these officials can work on your property and freedom through the police by force. If you don’t pay tax, bailiff can freeze your assets. So you must pay tax. If you break the laws, police will come to catch you. So you have to obey the laws.
However, for those who have no money in the banks and fugitives free from police arrests, officials have no power over them. Laws are not obeyed simply because they exist.
And the last question, what is the source of power for democracy? I will leave it to my readers to answer it.
From the above, we can see that power originates from the consent of the others. Those who obey to power believe that “certain thing will happen”. If a power seems to exist but without anyone’s consent, it simply doesn’t exist. No one obeys to it, no one cares, or even no one knows of its existence.
Power never just exists by itself, or simply exists under certain rituals or systems. Those rituals and systems are just the ways to persuade everyone to accept such power. If those rituals and systems are criticized and trusted by no one, they cannot form any kinds of power.
Power is based on the consent of the others. If no one listens to you, you are just a commander without an army
If the power originates from votes of citizens, the leader succumbs to citizens; if the power originates from a foreign country, he succumbs to that country; if the power originates from the army, he succumbs to the army.