Posts Tagged ‘tyranny’

Solzhenitsyn on ideology and tyranny

This quote is from The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. It came to my attention from a blog post at the John Locke Foundation.

It forewarns well the risk currently facing our great nation.

To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good, or else that it’s a well-considered act in conformity with natural law. Fortunately, it is in the nature of the human being to seek justification for his actions.

Macbeth’s self-justifications were feeble – and his conscience devoured him. Yes, even Iago was a little lamb too. The imagination and the spiritual strength of Shakespeare’s evildoers stopped short at a dozen corpses. Because they had no ideology.

Ideology – that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and other’s eyes, so that he won’t hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors. That was how the agents of the Inquisition fortified their wills: by invoking Christianity; the conquerors of foreign lands, by extolling the grandeur of their Motherland; the colonizers, by civilization; the Nazis by race; and the Jacobins (early and late), by equality, brotherhood, and the happiness of future generations.

Thanks to ideology, the twentieth century was fated to experience evildoing on a scale calculated in the millions. This cannot be denied, nor passed over, nor suppressed. How, then, do we dare insist that evildoers do not exist? And who was it that destroyed these millions? Without evildoers there would have been no Archipelago.

– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The quote above, and this one from C. S. Lewis, are evidence that “dead white guys” still have powerful voices. With clear understanding of the human condition, they are frighteningly relevant to America today. Unlike the supporting witnesses for our adversaries — those who would take our liberty — their experience isn’t limited to the ivory tower; there is no “assume a can opener” aspect to their thought. Both of these men speak of human inflicted indignities they witnessed and suffered, not so long ago.

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C. S. Lewis on “benevolent” tyranny

This quote is from God in the Dock by C .S. Lewis. It came to my attention from a blog post at the John Locke Foundation.

It forewarns well the risk currently facing our great nation.

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

– C. S. Lewis

The quote above, and this one from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, are evidence that “dead white guys” still have powerful voices. With clear understanding of the human condition, they are frighteningly relevant to America today. Unlike the supporting witnesses for our adversaries — those who would take our liberty — their experience isn’t limited to the ivory tower; there is no “assume a can opener” aspect to their thought. Both of these men speak of human inflicted indignities they witnessed and/or suffered, not so long ago.

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It’s Tyranny, Stupid!

The busybodies in Washington D.C. want to force everyone to get “approved” health insurance.  Anyone who doesn’t will be fined. The president was asked whether this violates his pledge to not raise taxes and he argued that it was not a tax. This set the punditocracy into a tizzy.

In all my years I don’t recall seeing everyone, regardless of their side in a “debate,” get anything so wrong. Who cares if it’s called a tax, or not. It’s tyranny.  Conservatives engaging in this phony debate are no less stupid than the Democrats and their toadies.

We the people are being asked to surrender ever more freedoms under the pretense of “the common good.” And we’re being told it’s unpatriotic to ask, “what good?” We’re Neanderthals to question, “common to whom?” It’s racist to challenge the wisdom of the government determining the “the” in common good.

The perpetrators of the contrived cacophony of the Bush years have suddenly decided only their supporters deserve a voice.  A new set of rules is in force. (See Glenn Harlan Reynolds, Remember when protest was patriotic.)

The set of programs being shoved down our throats all expand government’s power at the expense of our liberty.  That should be enough to identify the problem.  In case anyone missed it, the neo-libs stifling of dissent by demonizing opponents provides the exclamation mark.  Whether this particular measure increases taxes, or not, is the least of this country’s current problems and just a predictable symptom of the real malady.

It’s tyranny, stupid.

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