There are a lot of old stories about Joseph Stalin. Like most tyrants, he inspired legends and tales. Who knows if this one is true?
If you don’t know who he was, just consider than under his leadership, probably 4 times as many people were murdered by his government than the people under the control of Adolf Hitler. He was the Premier of the Soviet Union in the middle of the 20th century.
He is famous for saying things like “He who casts the vote decides nothing; he who counts the vote decides everything.”
The story goes that there were 3 men who were brought before Stalin. Each were given a small bird and told to hold it safely.
The first men held the small bird too closely and too tightly. Inadvertently, he crushed the fragile animal.
The second man, afraid of killing Stalin’s bird, held it loosely. Naturally, the bird wriggled out and escaped.
Before anyone could react, Stalin took the third man’s bird and held it in his hand while quickly plucking each feather from the poor little animal. Soon, the bird lay in his palm, naked and quivering.
“Now, look.” He showed the men. “Now that I am made it helpless to take care of itself, despite what I have done, it is actually appreciative for the human warmth of my hand.”
Any competent leader knows that if you force dependence to you on people, you can lead them forever and easily. Any morally good leader knows that this must be avoiding at almost all costs.