Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tyranny

Tyranny. It's a powerful word the conjures up powerful images of Hebraic slaves being forced to labor under the pharaohs of pagan Egypt. The national megalomaniac administration of a Teutonic government concerned with racial purity. Or the Orwellian Ingsoc society of Oceania.  Some in the states allude to the splinter cell like operations of our own government and the seemingly ever present secrete agencies spying on their own people in the effort to combat terrorism.  However, while any one of those examples, Pharonic Egypt, National Socialist Germany, the allusions to the Soviet Union, and socialism, by Orson Wells are all examples of tyranny, those acts alone don't really articulate the meat and potatoes of what tyranny is. And a nation or culture need not be corrupted to exercise acts of tyranny.

Look at our American fore fathers. 18th century Great Britain was arguably the most liberal, just, and enlightened country of not only their age, but even when measured against the mores of the 21st century which is something I usually do not like doing, their society was more liberal than most nations today. It isn't so much a sad state of affairs for the world today more as an acknowledgement that truly enlightened and just societies, of which Rome could be considered, are rare. The rule of law, as we too often see with nations like China, is still a concept that is very rarely applied impartially. It would take some major Olympic calibre mental gymnastics to argue otherwise about Great Britain back in the days of yonder.

Even so, our fore fathers fought a revolution against a government that they considered tyrannical. They said as much publicly and in their letters to their love ones.  So, how can this be that the most enlightened nation of its age, whose citizens enjoyed far more rights than their own continental cousins in mainland France or Spain, was considered a tyrannical by its own countrymen? The answer is as simple as its definition.

Tyranny, a noun, it means arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power.  There are other additional definitions of the word, but none that capture the essence of what tyranny is. Enlightened nations can be tyrannical when authority and power is used arbitrary or when the authority vested by its citizens is abused.  For our fore fathers this meant increasingly arbitrary acts of parliament that levied taxes, stationed troops, and even confiscated their weapons without the representation of the colonies in parliament were they could at least try to address their grievances. Ultimately the tyranny of Great Britain over the colonies was that they never extend the rights of their English to their own cousins. America as we know it probably would never have existed if a few Americans had been granted seats in British parliament. Today the ever increasing regulatory and law making power of agencies, whose executives are not voted in, that are often never reviewed by congress are a new kind of tyranny.

Today we live in a society where an individual could be breaking a dozen laws and not have any knowledge, yet we are told ignorance of the law is no excuse, but how is it reasonable to expect the common man to know the byzantine codes, rules, regulations, and laws that exist today? A man today, who could have unknowingly broken the law many times throughout his life along with thousands of his compatriots, could find himself brought before a tribunal simply because he had the misfortune to make a powerful enemy or a prosecutor who was capricious enough to use him to further his own political career, is this not a form of tyranny?

When our government, and our political leadership, demagogue the productive of society and swear that they will punish them via taxation. Saying that the wealth and prosperity that was earned from the hard work of the industrious was ill-gotten, and forcing them to subsidize the life styles of the lazy, stupid, and politically connected; is that not a form of tyranny?

And while something most certainly could be said about christian responsibility to our fellow man, where those who are fortunate render voluntary assistance to those who are less fortunate. Is it not tyrannical when the few are forced to subsidize the many, regardless whether or not the programs being funded by the taxpayer violate their moral code?

Is it not tyranny when an individual is forced by law to join a trade association regardless of whether or not they want to join for certain professions?

Is it not tyranny when our government uses its power to rob from our future in order to fund our present?

And certainly when constant government meddling, interfering, and nanny stating have fundamentally changed American society. Where it once was a society where everyone assumed that an action or activity was legal unless declared otherwise; and it know assume actions have to be declared permissible. That is tyranny.

Democracy doesn't necessarily mean that a government cannot be a tyrannical one; in fact for from it as democracy can be one of the most tyrannical forms of governance.  And while, fortunately for us, our tyranny is not one of blood and terror, it is one of regulation and bureaucracy. And perhaps most disheartening is that our forefathers suffered far less before they rose against their yoke, yet today we tolerate far more injustices and injuries with nary a peep. I cannot imagine our fore fathers meekly accepting the abuses of the TSA, calling the sophistry of so many in academia truth, and the rank indifference by our congressional leaders on the constitution, or the abrogation of their responsibilities to nameless federal agencies.

Yet that is exactly were we stand today, living under the tyranny of incompetents and without principal. For the only thing preventing our congressional leaders from passing even more byzantine and punatitive laws, regardless on whether or not they even have the constitution mandate to do so, is principal and ability. It has become increasingly clear, with the constant lies about the fiscal cliff and inability to even acknowledge the real danger this nation face, that principal governs far too few of our congressional leaders. They are all too willing to sacrifice the prosperiety of our progeny, namy young generation x, y, and beyound, for a few measily votes so they can retain their trappings of power. The only thing then that prevents them is ability, or rather, the ability to enforce laws without massive public retribution.

For example the only reason gun consfication has not happened on a large scale here in America, like it has in so many other developed and supposedly liberal nations, is that it is a rank impossibility to do so. Fortunately for us, there are so many fire arms in this nation that there is no feasible way that it could peacefully consficate them if even a fraction of the American population took violent exception to such actions; but that could change. And this is only one example of circumstance, and not principal that protects our freedoms. The recent liberalization of marujanna laws are another.

The sad fact is that our government will become ever more tyrannical until we can change the fundemental outlook of this nation and its leaders. Until we can get the people of America to collectively say, should the goverment really do this, rather than, why doesn't the government do something, we will continue to suffer under the an increasingly corpulant government. Trading the chains of the aristocracy for the tape of bueacracy isn't freedom, but our elected leaders and intelligesta have convinced many Americans that this is the case.

I still hold some small measure of hope, though I feel my hope is very much like a flickering fame in a gale storm, that we can change the tide of tyranny in America. The last decade saw a few leaders, notably Mr Paul, stand up and ask real pertinent questions on the roll of government, and advance the cause of freedom. Sadly Mr. Paul has retired, though there are others who will take up his mantel, and it is time we move to the next phase.

It is increasingly clear that we, the lover of liberty, are still too small and uninfluencial to fight tyranny on a national level. But perhaps trying to change congress is the wrong avenue of approach to our problems. Appealing to the far off buearacrats in D.C was the strategy of our opponents. It is very hard to win a game where they have created the rules, and more importantly, doesn't address the real problem. Our federal governmen'ts tyranny is only the browning leaves of a tree with rot that goes to deep into our roots. Our tyranny isn't like a snake, where you can cut off the head, but like a weed; you need to kill the roots to kill the weed. Local governments are the roots of the American, and that is were the prunning must begin. It is time we pay far more attention to our local politicans and hold them accountable to the principals of our fore bearers. Not only does it offer the path to remove the yoke off our backs, and not only is it a path where the actions of a small, but committed, group of individuals have a far greater likelihood of success, it is really our only option.

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Seattle resident whose real name is Kevin Daniels. This blog covers the following topics, libertarian philosophy, realpolitik, western culture, history and the pursuit of truth from the perspective of a libertarian traditionalist.