Bombings and terror attacks in Bangladesh, the United States, Baghdad, Paris, Belgium and Turkey have left the world stunned. Sniper attacks on police officers providing overwatch on a peaceful demonstration leave us speechless, wondering where as a nation do we go from here?
Yet for many millions of people in other parts of the world, this sort of lawlessness has been, and still is an everyday reality. How many years have dictatorial warlords terrorized citizens in multiple nations? How many decades did the Soviet Union operate as a sort of legitimized crime family? Saddam Hussein’s authoritarian governance yielded rape rooms, torture and executions to instill fear and obeisance into the people. China’s Mao Zedong retains the title for the highest body count at around 65 MILLION. Going back a few more decades we recall Pol Pot and his ‘killing fields’, and before him Stalin, Hitler and Lenin were responsible collectively for an estimated 80 million deaths. Eighty MILLION human beings killed directly through execution or indirectly from starvation.
It doesn’t happen overnight, this decline into despotism. As a refresher, despotism is defined as “a system of government in which the ruler has unlimited power’. (And its best to think outside of the box when pondering that definition.) That is one reason the authors of the American Constitution ordered the government into three branches… to prevent the rise of a despot, known more properly in their time as a tyrant. Ah, but those darned loopholes.
In some cases, existing forms of ‘government’ easily lend themselves to the installation of a dictatorial monster. Japan had its share of Emperors who viewed themselves as divine beings, and were responsible for horrific body counts. Afterall, its hard to be wrong if you’re a god. Monarchies can certainly beget a narcissistic heir to the throne. And Communism’s leadership and power structures are populated through nepotism, which is fraught with opportunities for extortion and coercion, not to mention positions filled regardless of qualifications.
All of the above is merely a prelude to this question: Why do nations succumb to the siren call of despotism? And more specifically, having the perfect clarity of 20-20 hindsight, why do we in America still cry out for despotism?
Oh, you don’t think we are crying out for despotism? Do you not know that every cry for Socialism is an embrace of Socialism’s own nurturing root - Communism? Socialism is just the pretty flower that attracts the worker bees. And wherever you find Communism, you find a despot operating, either overtly or covertly. Every crime family has a boss. Even I know that much, and I’ve never watched The Godfather. Observing the free world demand Socialism is like watching the Titanic being intentionally set upon a course to intercept the iceberg.
And the greater question in all of this is: Why do the people in a country such as ours feel drawn to putting themselves under the thumb of despotism?
The most rational explanation is that it stems from discontentment, which can lead to malcontent in many people. When people are discontented, they seek change. Malcontents seek change by mobilizing parts of the population to do their bidding. Regardless, it is almost always a personal issue. Some people, and apparently that percentage of the population is growing drastically, are dissatisfied with their life circumstances and put their hope in government to remedy that, because, well, because they can’t just go and outright ask their neighbor to fix it for them. They live life sensuously, prisoner to a need to ‘feel good’ all of the time, and believe that inner, abiding contentment can be gained through external, physical and material means. Sensuous living is fraught with opportunities for dissatisfaction. The last ‘high’ just wasn’t quite as good as the one before it. So something new and different is needed. Better toys, better electronics, better wheels, better drugs , better boyfriend/girlfriend. Life could always be better if it is based on sensuousness.
This dissatisfaction is wholly rooted in envy…a personal problem, indeed a spiritual problem. CS Lewis made an interesting observation about materialism, and pride. “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man… It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, pride is gone.” On the other side of pride, lurks envy. If those who have more than others can be fueled by pride, then those who have less can be equally fueled by envy. Neither is a good option. And neither issue should be subjected to redress by government. Government can only leverage these conditions as a means of extracting more power from the citizenry for itself, in the case of democratically elected governments.
How so? To put your hope in government, you must first endow that government with the power to make things right. Whatever that means. Is that really a smart move? As more power is given to a government, it grows. And as it grows, it garners more power because it draws more money from the peasants in the fields (taxation of workers) needed to sustain its growing self. By ascribing savior status to a government, its citizens are ceding their own powers to an entity over which they have VERY little control. Oh sure, we like to believe that in our ‘representative republic’ we have control over our political representatives (“Vote them out in November” goes the refrain). But slap yourself a couple of times and then ask if that is reality, or a pipe dream.
Ask yourself, has your government ever lied to you? Is there some reason you assume that just because a politician is elected/appointed to public ‘service’ he/she is inherently a ‘good’ person, a selfless person immune to the putrid dynamics that snake through the halls of congress, and yes, even the offices in the White House? Do you operate on the assumption that because a person is black, or white, male, or female, gay, or straight, Democrat or Republican, that somehow that makes them better suited for a role in your governance? If identity politics float your boat, you are being set up for despotism.
Why? Because you are blinded to the rule of law, and the fact that only the rule of law - whereby rule of law is applied equally to every single citizen and resident of a country, even its political representatives - can maintain a free and civilized society. Example: When we prescribe extra penalties for crimes against only particular identity groups, we denigrate the rule of law because we are saying that some people’s lives are worth more than others. And face it…these sorts of laws, known as Hate Crime laws, are enacted solely to secure the votes and appease the malcontents of those specific voting blocks. If politicians didn’t have to schmooze us by tossing us a bone now and again to keep our vote, do you think these kinds of laws would ever be written up and voted into law?
You heard it here first: Despots don’t care about voting blocks, a fact they don’t hide. They don’t care about ‘their citizenry’. They care about running their world their way. On any given day. Period. Despots are strictly into power, and every lust for power has at its root a very strong love of self.
Hillary Clinton is certainly benefiting from the dissolution of the rule of law. And this is how blind we are in our own identity politics: because she is a woman and a democrat, the majority of democrat voters and a certain segment of the female population, will give her a pass, and thus give the system a pass, and drive one more nail into the coffin entombing the remains of Rule of Law. Rule of Law is a product of rational thought, and requires at least a basic appreciation for its authority. And yes, it must be equally applied, fairly for every person, not according to race, creed, gender, etc. Or, I might add, political connections. But, as the Western world moves more and more toward sensualism, rational/critical thinking is subducted beneath the ‘feels good’ platform of liberalism. And we whistle merrily as we are busy constructing the walls of our own prison.
Oh don’t be deceived, sensualism pulls at us like a tractor beam, silently, invisibly. One look at the drug culture, and the compulsive behavior of its addicts reveals the dynamic. One high is never enough. And the last high surely wasn’t as good as the next one will be. Despite the violent mayhem America’s lust for ‘feeling good’ is wreaking in the country of Mexico and on our own southern border, Americans resolutely demand their fix. The body count attributable to the quest for America’s next high is abhorrent, and we remain unindicted co-conspirators. Nothing changes because the people are gripped by their own quest to feel good.
Rule of Law is the safeguard of freedom. The despots named at the beginning of this missive circumvented rule of law by various means, with horrific consequences on an unimaginable scale. When we as citizens close an eye to white washing of the rule of law, we lay a little more of our freedom on the altar of government, making a political contribution of a different kind to the next despot/tyrant who will pass across the stage of history. In the West, we won’t see him/her coming in the distance; but we will rue the day when we laid waste to Rule of Law, and find ourselves instead living under the Rule of the Despot.
I can promise you this: it won’t ‘feel good’.