No. 6




Power – the heaviest burden

17 December 2002


RiTo No. 6, 2002

  • Ülo Vooglaid

    professor emeritus, Institute of Law, University of Tartu

It takes quite a bit of time for a democratic society to crystallize. In order for society to develop a firm moral underpinning and such a respected body of citizens, many other factors besides time are required, such as people who understand and contribute to the social and cultural fabric in sufficient number as to form a kind of cooperation-revering critical mass that would be able to, and indeed desire to, keep society within certain boundaries and not permit the borders of tolerance to be exceeded. Considering Estonian history, academics should take the place of noblemen, for they truly revere honor and dignity above all and serve their own people in the first order.

Democracy is a function of culture and education. Besides the unity of knowledge and skills, we need people to have experience participating in a democracy and the attendant ability to see things coming.

Power has a tendency to become alienated – to turn against its masters. People have grown used to viewing authority with ironic detachment. In order to be connected with the government in a transition country, even in transition countries as they appear in the Baltic region, takes either a fair amount of or a complete lack of intelligence.

Estonia does not yet have much political theory on the nature of power. The methodological roots of ascending to power, tenure of power, and conceding power remain unarticulated as well. The methods whereby power is held and used have not been clarified to anyone’s satisfaction.

The tendency of power to alienate is the subject of countless studies. Unfortunately no one has looked at the extent to which Estonians consider power to something that is theirs… In order to answer specific questions, scientific studies are needed. The essay examines some hypotheses on why power alienates.

Full article in Estonian