Communism and Nazism are two of the tyrannical 'isms' that produced untold misery and death in the first half of the 20th century. Their propaganda seduced countless millions into their control. But more 'isms' of tyranny are now forming. If we don't recognize their common elements we'll succumb to them again - as we are doing. Here's how to recognize them…
*When does a tyranny start?
The United States was formed for the sole purpose of securing the unalienable rights of its citizens. Those rights are individual rights. The Bill of Rights stated a few of these rights - freedom of speech, religion, assembly, right to bear arms - in a positive fashion, and other rights expressed as restrictions - the 'due process' rights - on government from interfering into the lives, property, and choices of people.
These rights are freedom-preserving rights; they take nothing from others but allow us to enjoy our freedom which exists when these rights are secured for all. There is no greater good than securing these unalienable rights.
The Bill of Rights states that many unalienable rights are not enumerated in it. That's because our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness engulfs endless rights of choice to act upon. Thomas Jefferson best summarized what our rights - our rightful liberties - are when he said,
"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others."
By the equal rights of others, he meant that government laws should not favor anyone over any one else. But Jefferson continued his quote, above, by adding,
"I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual."
And that defines when a tyranny occurs: when the government makes laws to support the unalienable rights of some at the expense of others - unequal rights.
*Governments are expected to become tyrannical over time
Jefferson also noted,
"Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny"
The principles of freedom and justice can be destroyed by simple corruption of government officials. That happens most often when government becomes too big and reaches far beyond its duty to secure the unalienable rights of the people.
But far more sinister is when government's duty is usurped by ideologues who want to seize control of government to implement their ideology. That's when tyranny reigns according to Jefferson since totalitarianism is based on denying the unalienable rights of some or all.
The particular ideology defines its 'ism', like communism and nazism (national socialism) as examples. But all tyrannical 'isms' use common elements to entice people to support the 'ism's seizure of government control to impose their ideology.
That enticement always begins with the ideologues proffering some benefit - a new 'right' or entitlement - to garner support for their ideology. But those benefits or phony rights come at the expense of real rights - unalienable rights - of some or all. That fact is always obscured or propagandized away.
I call these seductive benefits, phony rights or entitlements 'greater good' ideas or excuses to stress that 'ism's ideology justifies transcending the unalienable rights of some or all. The tyranny occurs when the government forces implementation of such 'greater good' ideas or excuses to the exclusion or diminishment of those unalienable rights of individuals.
*The five elements common to 'isms' of tyranny
Ideologues must seduce the public into submitting to their ideas and then they must seize control over society and its people to maintain their particular ideological 'ism' of tyranny. That means using the government to implement their 'greater good' ideas to produce their vision of society. Of course, they won't affirm their denying of unalienable rights of anyone nor will they use the term 'greater good' reasons to justify those denials - that would be too obvious.
Marxism was the first modern age 'ism' to cater to the natural desire to blame others for one's own woes. It forms the basic proposition that all tyrannical 'isms' use. Here are their common elements…
1. Establish an ideologically perceived wrong and the need to re-structure society using 'greater good' laws to correct it:
The 'ism' defines what it perceives as a societal wrong. The 'unfairness' of this wrong justifies their own solution for its remedy. And that generally requires a significant re-structuring of society using their proffered 'greater good' laws - new rights, obligations, entitlements or benefits to help accomplish that. This entails deconstructing at least part of society's institutions and the history that brought society to its ideological wrongful ways.
These 'isms' believe in the moldability of people to its ideology. And likewise that people's views have been distorted by society. It's the ideologues that see clearly and what must be done.
They'll use clear distortions of facts and circumstances to serve their ends and redefine new 'rights' (i.e. phony rights) to obscure denial of the 'real' unalienable rights of people.
2. Define who is oppressed to win support and then vilify their oppressors:
The unfairness of society is attributed to an oppressor victimizing the oppressed. This is the basic proposition. It's critical to devise how oppression takes place to justify the need to re-order society to remedy and prevent further oppression. History and present circumstances are explained in terms of their ideology to support their view of oppression as a reality.
Vilification of oppressors is imperative to justify actions against the oppressor - and in favor of the oppressed. Such actions would not be allowed under real freedom and justice which would uphold protection of everyone's unalienable rights. But that's not part of the 'ism'.
3. Implement government enforcement of 'greater good' laws to stop victimization of the oppressed:
It's essential to take over state administration and the judiciary to implement the greater good laws that favor the oppressed and harm the oppressors. Doing so gets objections and control of choices out of the hands of the people. As law, the people must comply.
Getting ideologues into power positions helps enforce the ideology and its phony rights. It allows the 'ism's elites to oversee what must be implemented in the name of the ideology's agenda. That includes instituting a new jurisprudence that favors the oppressed group while denying judicial protection for the oppressor group.
Such a code of justice is consistent with 'the end justifies the means'. That code is contradictory to the liberty principles of unalienable rights and a justice system that protects them.
4. Propagandize to control people and maintain adherence to the ideology's 'ism:
Propaganda is essential to all tyrannical 'isms' to force compliance of the people. It must continually promote its benefits and promises to maintain adherence to it. Doing so helps justify destroying society's institutions that would challenge the authority and control of the ideologues. (So, often these are the family and religious institutions.)
Censorship against criticizing the ideology keeps public objections and scrutiny at a minimum. Hate speech is implemented as a crime. Lastly, propagandizing an ongoing 'unfairness' keeps implementation of the 'ism's ideology necessary to protect the oppressed.
5. Maintain cover up of the denial of individual rights:
Cover up not only of explicity denial of individual rights - especially of the oppressors- but of all the harm that the tyrannical 'ism' is producing for persons. Restrict media and other public information only to what benefits the 'ism'; supress the rest. Use ideologues or dupes in media positions.
*Freedom's importance to Man
'Ism's of tyranny are characterized by governments that deny individual rights - the real, freedom-preserving unalienable rights as stressed above - at least to some. But there is another important characteristic of them. Their ideology is not consistent with the natural characteristics of men and women, nor with the fairness that lives in the hearts and minds of them. That's why the 'ism' needs so much propaganda and control over people.
Only freedom - established by securing the unalienable rights of all - is fully compatible with the nature of man and produces the greatest benefits for society and happiness of its people. But it can be undermined by political seduction and failed vigilance as Jefferson warned.
Now can you recognize another 'ism' of tyranny that has infiltrated society over these last 40 years?
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