John Steward of Jesus
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Three sources of power

October 30, 1980

There are three sources of rower or influence in the affairs of men—-(1) the power of the pen, of words, of ideas; (2) the power of money, or wealth; and (3) the power of the sword, of force.

The short range and long range effects of these may be in inverse proportion.

The power of ideas is the most effective for long-term effect on masses of people, because it works through the wills of the people, through their own desires. When a man wants to do something, because of either fear or hope, he does it because of his own will to do so.

The power of money may lead someone to do something contrary to his inner preferences, but, though reluctantly, he will do so willingly, because he sees a reward in it for himself. Thus it uses a positive, reward-oriented motivation.

The power of the sword promotes actions through threats, through fear of injury, and thus uses a negative motivation. The actor does so because he fears the danger of not acting, the danger of the resulting injury. The sword is thus the most precarious power, for the subjects instinctively wish to overthrow the power.