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Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Dishonest Tyrant

Is government the servant or the master of the people? Over this simple question, wars have been fought, revolutions launched and battlefields left soaking in blood. Because the answer to this question determines whether you are living in a free nation which is ruled by its citizens, or a tyranny ruled over by the few or the one.

Within that broader category, there are two flavors of tyranny. The honest tyrant and the dishonest tyrant. The  honest tyrant is a Will to Power type who asserts that he is master because he wields the biggest swords, commands the largest number of troops and will kill anyone who says otherwise. He may be a savage and a monster, but at least he is an honest one. He does not pretend to care for the people or what they think. His rule is not based on propaganda, only naked force.

But like the honest politician, the honest tyrant is a rare creature. Because most tyrants are cowardly and weak. Or at least cunning enough not to waste resources putting down rebellions by force, that they can preemptively disarm with propaganda. And so they disguise what they are behind propaganda. Propaganda that claims that they rule only for the benefit of the people.

Where the honest tyrant openly loots the people for his own enrichment, the dishonest tyrant claims to loot the people for their own benefit. The honest tyrant's answer to rebellion is naked force. The dishonest tyrant's answer is, "But just try to imagine what you would do without me." That is because the dishonest tyrant thrives by fostering the people's dependency on him, through a campaign of propaganda that convinces them that without him society would break down and nothing could function any more.

The monarchies of Europe responded to the American revolution by insisting that the entire thing would collapse because people could not govern themselves. No, they needed a king. The American Experiment demonstrated not only that people could govern themselves, but that people were better off governing themselves. But the French revolution that followed did not heed this message. Instead the idea that they took hold of was that reactionary outmoded tyrants who did not care about the people's welfare needed to be traded in for progressive enlightened tyrannical committees who would care about their welfare. And so honest tyranny was exchanged for dishonest tyranny. And that dishonest tyranny has crept its way into the United States under the banner of reform and social welfare.

The American Revolution was fought in order to create a government of the people and by the people. A state in which the people were the masters and government their servant. But through the trojan horse of progressive politics, the dishonest tyrants who claimed to be the protectors of the people wormed their way in and turned the government into the master, and the people into its servants.

Such a transformation requires a fundamental shift in the thinking of the people. It requires that the people come to think of themselves as incompetent to manage their own affairs, so that they must instead put their faith in the omnipotence of big government. And so every transfer of power from the American people to the government has been accompanied by a major crisis which made the people feel incompetent to manage their own affairs. The Great Depression remains the ultimate example of how an economic downturn was transformed into an opportunity for a radical assault on the Constitution by a dishonest tyrant who encouraged the people to think of him as a paternalistic representative of an omnipotent government whose power was to be unlimited. And Obama's present day takeover follows a similar pattern with a massive propaganda campaign exploiting a crisis in order to seize more power from the people and turn it against them.

Where the honest tyrant relies in the main on force, the dishonest tyrant takes refuge in deceit. He is not averse to force, but he also knows that his real power is over the minds of men. Like the honest tyrant, he wants power. But unlike him, he is much less willing to pay the price and take his chances. Instead he plays divide and conquer, amassing grievances, exploiting fifth columns, and proclaiming at every turn that his way is the only way... because he is the only one who truly cares about the people. The dishonest tyrant does this because his goal is to tie the people's sense of self-preservation to his own welfare by convincing them that they have no alternative but to put their faith in him.

The dishonest tyrant has nothing but a low contempt for the people, and he shows this in his tactics. His benevolent facade is there to cover up the ugliness of his deeds. He never does anything benevolent unless it is staged for the benefit of the crowd. And the uglier his tactics get, the more benevolent scenes he stages to convince the people of his goodness and virtue. To leverage himself one step closer to godhood in their minds.

He expects the people to trust him, but he has no trust in anyone. He will betray and destroy those closest to him, as long it keeps his feet secure on the ladder. And the higher he climbs, the more detached from any ordinary human morals and mores he becomes. Yet this very detachment lends him a mystique, an inhuman air which allows him to set forth his omnipotent image. But what his followers mistake for superiority and enlightenment, is actually the otherness of the sociopath who not view other people as truly human in the same sense as himself.

And so the process continues. The more the dishonest tyrant does "for the people", the more benevolent he seems. Yet in reality each "benevolence" weakens the people and places them further under his power. Each handout from the tyrant not only comes at the expense of the people's wealth, but at the expense of their freedoms and their faith in their own abilities. And thus the ruled becomes the ruler, and the rulers become the ruled.

Like the wooden horse of the trojans, each social welfare program of the dishonest tyrant is a booby trapped  gift. Except instead of an army of soldiers, an army of bureaucrats lurks within each one. As the people unwrap their gifts, grumbling occasionally over the price tag, they are unaware of the bureaucrats swarming them, tying them down and subjugating them. Until it is too late. Because the gifts of the tyrant are always meant for his benefit, never for yours. The dishonest tyrant in particular never gives any gift that does not have one string or a dozen attached to it. To open it, is to tangle yourself in his trap.

Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts, and We're From the Government and We're Here to Help, essentially mean the same thing. The Constitution was written with the understanding of the inevitable tug of war between the people and their leaders. To prevent tyranny, the people may not relax their grip, or accept gifts from the government, or the balance of power will be changed. As it has been changed. And as it is being changed right now, every day.

The dishonest tyrant does not need an army to rule the people. All he needs is their own complicity in their own oppression. Their willingness to be robbed and beaten down in the name of their own welfare. And it is only by bringing the people to such a state, that he can hope to rule over them.

6 comments:

Keli Ata said...

As I read this I keep going back to three things--that rousing rendition of Do You Hear The People Sing from Les Miserables and the verse, "Every man will be a king." When I saw the show I was so tempted to run on the stage and start waving the French flag lol.

And also, the history of the American National Guard:

"The National Guard traces its roots back to Dec. 13, 1636 when the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony passed a bill consolidating the colony's various militia companies into the North, South and East Regiments in order to improve their efficiency and ability to defend the settlements against the Pequod Indians. Under this act, white males between the ages of 16 and 60 were OBLIGATED to possess arms and to play a part in the defense of their communities by serving in nightly guard details and participating in weekly drills.

After the United States came into existence, state militias would develop out of this tradition. The National Guard is both a state and federal military force. In state service the National Guard conducts homeland security missions, assists law enforcement, and provides disaster assistance. In federal service the National Guard fights the nation's wars and conducts federal homeland defense missions."

Obligated to defend their country. Boy has the US turned completely around.


And finally, Hashem and Samuel's dual lament about the people of Israel insisting on an earthly king.

Power in the hands of one person is inherently risky.


And shavua tov again here on this post:) Just felt the need to say it twice.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

power in the hands of one person leads to men who fancy themselves gods

shavua tov again

DP111 said...

power in the hands of one person leads to that person thinking himself to be a god.

And power in the hands of an unaccountable bunch of bureaucrats such as the ones in the EU - a committee of gods? a pagan pre-Christian system of gods?

I think we will forever swing between a state of quasi-tyranny and quasi-freedom, as perfection is not within the human realm.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

indeed, or a select priesthood functioning as avatars around their ultimate perfect idea

DP111 said...

From the picture: Americans used to fight against tyranny.

And now?

Anonymous said...

What you mention in the third paragraph from the bottom is what our Sages said in Pirkei Avot - "Al Titchaber L'rshut" - "don't get friendly with the ruling powers", because everything they do they do for their own benefit....

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