The Principles of Tyranny

Bea Jaspert Oct 11, 2019

Tyranny is a phenomenon that operates by principles by which it can be recognized in its early emerging stages, and — if the people are vigilant, prepared, and committed to liberty — countered before it becomes entrenched.
— Jon Roland

There is a story by HG Wells called ‘the Country of the Blind’, in which a sighted man accidentally stumbles across a society of blind people. They treat him as sick because of his sight and (SPOILER HERE) the story ends with them putting his eyes out to make him ‘healthy’ like the rest of them.

In our sick society the people who see the truth through the rhetoric, who speak out against lies and injustice, who stand out from the herd, are the exceptions. Some of us might privately grumble, but most of us toe the line, don’t ask questions and look the other way, hoping those in charge know what they’re doing but in any case leaving the big decisions up to them.

Even when we feel uneasy about the ethics or morality of what is being done in our name we tend to suppress our reservations — we want a quiet life!
It’s dangerous to speak out. We’ve learned that challenging authority, or even standing out from the crowd, leads to punishment, bullying and ostracism.
Our families, our schooling and peers, our hierarchical workplace systems, all teach us to respect authority, to be obedient and to fit in, and those lessons are perpetually reinforced by the authorities, by propaganda and by the mainstream media.

A healthy society is one in which dissent can be voiced, questions raised and challenges made, freely and openly and without fear of retribution.
The right to stand up and speak out should be the cornerstone of every democracy, but increasingly, speaking out — against the curtailment or abuse of human and civil rights, against miscarriages of justice, and against the abuse of power — is largely left to grassroots activists, whistleblowers, investigative journalists and human rights lawyers.

Without such people there are few remaining checks and balances to restrain the powers that be who, after all, are fallible.
The more we silence dissenting voices, the more isolated we become and the narrower our perspective. Tunnel vision makes us paranoid and insecure. Resistant to sources of external influence and afraid of losing control, our institutions, our narratives, our media and our politics become increasingly oppressive.

This is the definition of tyranny.

We need people who refuse to be “blinded”, who take risks and bear punishments in our name, and are brave enough to stick their heads over the parapet to expose wrongdoing.

Outlawing dissent is the action of a repressive and sick regime.
It is the blind cutting out the eyes of the sighted.
And then who will be left to watch out for us?

Bea Jaspert

Source: Bea Jaspert

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