Understanding Tyranny; Why The Implied Absence is Far More Powerful Than the Actual Absence of Rights and Why it’s Easier to Challenge than to Accept or Give in to Tyranny

Before the definition took on a harsher connotation, tyranny merely referred to the seizure of control and power through illegal means in a Greek polis (or city). Today, we recognize that tyranny extends far beyond merely seizing power, and often involves the incorporation of harsh means of torture, cruelty, and destruction to insure that the power remains in the hands of the tyrants; needless to say, a tyrant desires to remain in power through any means necessary, and strives to accomplish this task by eliminating any and all opposition. On the opposite side of the spectrum, those living under tyranny suffer simply because any conflicting ideals they may share renders them enemies of the tyrant and, therefore, endangered beings. I genuinely believe that tyranny fails because of the very human desire to understand and to know; in this way, it’s far easier and far more natural for a human to ask “Why,” than to submit to tyranny.

Of course, I say conflicting ideals, though what I really mean to say is the ability to think; anyone with the ability to think freely suffers under tyranny, because even those who agree with the ruler have the ability to switch sides and produce a conflicting opinion – something that renders them endangered simply because their tyrant will remain adamant on his stance and decision. To a tyrant, anyone that can think is a threat, which is why dictators often eliminate the “Most educated” members of the populace first, in order to instill fear in the hearts of those who live, and to insure that anyone that can speak out in defiance is rendered mute indefinitely. The choice to eliminate opposition is also very human, though tyranny fails because of the over reliance on fear; a tyrant will use fear to rule – whether it be the fear of execution, the fear of starvation, the fear of militarization, or the fear of genocidal expansion – in order to continue their tyranny, and in order to maintain their undisputed rule.

Indeed, this fear is important to note because it’s the element that thrives the tyrant’s ability to withstand revolution and change. I must mention that I believe that the absence of freedoms and liberties isn’t what fuels the greatest fear in an individual, so much as the implied absence of these rights and freedoms. In a way, the same is true for any individual living through any form of government – even those living in democratic countries that allow freedom of speech, association, and protest. One isn’t afraid of being persecuted for breaking a law, so much as the implication of persecution given the breaking of said law. It’s easy to believe that the law is an objective set of principles, but the truth is that the law is, ultimately, subjective. A protestor can claim freedom of speech for what they do and say, but the truth is that their ability to speak is dependent entirely on what they say, to whom they say it, and what they do while saying it. Granted, I highly doubt a protestor is concerned with prosecution if their aim is to persecute, but I do digress; the absence of freedom is not what instills the greatest fear in an individual, so much as the implied seizure of these freedoms by a greater power than their own.

In the most rudimentary sense of the term, not being able to speak is an absolute that immediately silences anyone who could have dared to open their mouths to begin with. However, being allowed to speak only certain words or phrases is even more terrifying simply because the restrictions can change at any given moment. Tyranny thrives on this fear far more than any other; after all, the fear of death is one that can be overcome, but the fear of random, arbitrary persecution results in a populous too scared and wary to even think, let alone think about revolution or political upheaval.

Frankly, I must admit that tyranny is necessary, though I’m also inclined to mention that it’s existence is only appropriate during the most difficult of times, and only in order to insure the survival of the people under the tyrannical rule. During times of war, or great struggle, a tyrant will be welcome for their ability to be decisive and quick-minded, though once these times of struggle end, democracy must be revived as the choice method of rule – something that the Romans swiftly discovered once their democratic dreams were, more or less, crushed by the introduction of Caesar. Otherwise, the results will produce an individual too powerful to overthrow or worse, an individual too respected for the power they hold instead of the good they produce. As always, deifying a leader is still the most illogical thing any one person can do, and refusing to challenge their thoughts and opinions is still the stupidest thing any one person can do.

A human with power over others must have this ability constantly challenged in order for the people to understand their place in the decision making process. For better or worse, the most powerful human must have their powers questioned to insure a relative amount of equality on both sides of the spectrum; political parties might take this issue too far when dealing with their opposition, but it’s far better than the alternative – having a single person, or group of people, making every single decision without question.

I recognize that democracy is flawless in the same way that tyranny is not entirely flawed; tyranny relies on quick thinking, and decisive action to create restrictions that exist for a short period of time, while democracy relies on the presence and opinion of a populous to enact laws and regulations that last far longer than any tyrannical restriction. Once again, I make the point that the modern connotation of tyranny doesn’t conjure images of decisive, quick action, so much as long withstanding, militaristic, destructive oppressions that risk the lives of the people for greater ruling power, but the fact remains that, originally, tyranny was meant to provide the people with short term results and not long terms hindrances (though calling modern tyranny a “Hindrance” is an understatement).

Ultimately, the focus falls on the individual and their ability to think, question, and opine; the mind is to be used and is a muscle that must continue to be flexed. Challenging our leaders is not a task for those who have a problem with their leadership, but for everyone and especially for those that agree with their points-of-view. It’s impossible to blame tyranny on those that enact it for the same reason that it’s impossible to blame tyranny on those that allow it to be enacted. The constant human desire to know, to think, to challenge, and to question makes it impossible for tyranny to ever be a lasting method of rule, and while every tyranny or dictatorship can exist, it will not be able to do so without constant challenge and question, regardless of the attempts to silence or eliminate the opposition.

Simply put, it’s far easier to ask “Why?” than it is to submit to tyranny and accept that things exist undeniably. Tyranny might be a human inevitability, but challenge and opposition is a human necessity.

As always, this has been your Admin, the Avid Blogger; comment, subscribe, and criticize, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

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