A Tyrant's-Eye View

in anarchism •  3 years ago  (edited)

It’s easy to imagine that “the powers that be” are all-knowing and all-powerful. But they are neither. And often even pro-freedom people do themselves and others a disservice by overestimating the power of the parasite class. After all, if the good people imagine that the ruling class knows everything and can do anything, those good people will likely self-censor and self-limit, for fear of the all-knowing, all-powerful rulers squashing them if they do, say, or think anything out of line. The irony is that if an aspiring tyrant can get people to think that way, and imagine that to be reality, then the tyrant doesn’t need to have any actual power at all. If the subject class can be scared into passive, quiet submission and obedience, it doesn’t really matter if what they were scared of is real or not.

At the same time, underestimating the nastiness and power of those in “government” can also be hazardous. So it behooves good people to figure out just what the control freaks are, and are not, actually capable of. And in order for average people to understand the reality of the situation, it’s helpful to occasionally picture the world from the viewpoint of the political sociopath. Yes, he may have basically unlimited funding, and a lot of order-obeyers who will stupidly do whatever he tells them to. But he will always be vastly outnumbered by those he seeks to oppress. For example, if you’re a tyrant trying to rule the U.S., you have to continually extort and control over three hundred million people, over a hundred million of whom are armed. And there is no army on Earth which could do this by brute force alone.

That is why, as an aspiring tyrant, propaganda is key. You need most of your victims—I mean, “constituents”—to imagine that you have the moral right to forcibly dominate them, and you need to make them think that you are enslaving them for their own good. And for those who aren’t silly enough to believe that, you have to make them believe that “resistance is futile”; they have to think that you are all-knowing and all-powerful. If they know how badly they outnumber and outgun you, and decide to resist you—or even just ignore you—you won’t nearly have the resources to dominate them all.

Imagine yourself even as a lower level political parasite—let’s say the governor of a state—and you’re riding in your fancy limo through the biggest city in your state. What do you see? People, people, people, and more people. You don’t know what they think, what they know, what they believe. You don’t know what their daily lives are like.

The idea of you subjugating all of them is utterly ridiculous, unless you can basically dupe them into subjugating themselves. Sound impossible? Well it would be if people were rational and objective, but most aren’t. So you can do something like this:

1 - Demand money from all of them, but instead of calling it extortion (which it is), you call it a “law,” and “taxation,” and you say it’s for their own good. You don’t talk as if they are just giving you money. No, they are “contributing to society” when they pay your protection racket fees. Yes, I know how stupid that sounds, but most of them will believe it.

2 - You then pay some of your subjects to rob the rest of your subjects. You tell them that they’re brave and noble for “enforcing the law” (extorting their neighbors), and you tell both them and their victims that not paying tribute to you is a sin, and makes someone a despicable criminal. Yes, again, I know how stupid that sounds, but most of them will believe it.

3 - With the money you steal from them, you hire some of them to force the rest of them to obey your will. Obviously you don’t personally have the physical power to dominate them, so you have to dupe them into dominating each other. So with some of the loot you steal from them, you should give the little slaves “free education,” which mainly teaches them that obedience to you and your underlings—which you call “obeying the law”—is a virtue, and that disobedience is a sin. Yes, again, I know how stupid that sounds, but most of them will believe it.

I could go on, but hopefully you get the idea by now. Modern tyranny is 99% indoctrination, and only 1% brute force (used against the few whom the indoctrination didn’t work on). But that means that in reality, the tyrant is extremely vulnerable. If the propaganda ever fails, the whole game crumbles, and then there will be millions of rather angry former slaves. The moment they don’t see you as “authority,” you aren’t authority. And that’s the day you will probably die.

Yes, by way of their unthinking enforcer thugs (police and soldiers), the political parasites do have the ability to hurt, or outright murder, a few uppity individuals. But they have to be careful about doing this. They need to do it just enough to scare the rest of the flock into obedience, while not triggering an angry backlash. It’s the same dynamic as a schoolyard bully: every now and then hurt some little weakling so the other children remain scared of you and do what you say. But don’t try to fight a bunch at once, and don’t make things so intolerable that they having nothing to lose by ganging up on you.

Incidentally (and this may annoy a bunch of pro-freedom alarmists), the specter of nationwide “martial law” is a complete and total joke. Just do the math, and figure out the number of soldiers, tanks, guns, etc., that it would take to create the whole cliché “soldiers marching around everywhere and harassing everyone” scenario in a country of 300,000,000+ people spread over several million square miles. Yes, they can do that on a very small scale, to some degree, if they focus most of their personnel and equipment in one area at a time.

But it is utterly impossible for “the powers that be” to pull that off on anywhere near a nationwide scale. Even if every single law enforcer, at the federal, state and local levels were on duty, and even if all 150 U.S. military basis around the world were evacuated to bring back all U.S. troops on the planet for “domestic enforcement” purposes (which would never happen), and even if they called up every one of those who are in the “reserves,” and even if all of those people agreed to violently dominate and oppress their fellow Americans, and even if they were all on duty 24 hours a day every day (which is physically impossible) … all of those forces combined would still be outnumbered well above 100-to-1 by the non-police, non-military Americans. Study this graphic carefully until the reality of the situation really sinks in:

In conclusion, pro-freedom people would do well to understand and remember how much political power depends upon deception and scare tactics, and how little physical power the politicians actually have compared to the general public. A dramatic demonstration of this is the fact that, if everyone simply ignored the IRS, without even trying to resist, the “tax” system would immediately crumble. It works now only because the serfs rob themselves (by filling out tax returns and sending in money), and rob each other (by way of withholding). Each one is scared to be the one who resists, but if they all just disobeyed at once, there wouldn’t even be a big, dramatic confrontation. The whole “paper tiger” illusion would just evaporate. Two hundred million former “taxpayers” would simply pay no attention to the hundred thousand or so paid thieves at the IRS, and that would be the end. They wouldn’t have anywhere near the resources to prosecute even 1/1,000th of those disobeying (which would be 200,000 people), and when they tried to prosecute anyone, they would lose, since the juries would also be made up of the disobedient former extortion victims.

“All this havoc, this misfortune, this ruin, descends upon you not from alien foes, but from the one enemy whom you yourselves render as powerful as he is. ... Where has he acquired enough eyes to spy upon you, if you do not provide them yourselves? How can he have so many arms to beat you with, if he does not borrow them from you? The feet that trample down your cities, where does he get them if they are not your own? How does he have any power over you except through you? How would he dare assail you if he had no cooperation from you? What could he do to you if you yourselves did not connive with the thief who plunders you, if you were not accomplices of the murderer who kills you, if you were not traitors to yourselves? … From all these indignities, such as the very beasts of the field would not endure, you can deliver yourselves if you try, not be taking action, but merely by willing to be free. Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces.” - Étienne de La Boétie (1548)

So it is with all “governments” and all bogus man-made “laws”: the people are enslaving and oppressing themselves as a result of being duped into viewing the tyrants as “authority,” instead of just as immoral parasites. Once that lie fades, there won’t even be anything to fight against or overthrow. The enforcers of authoritarian evil are also victims of the lie. And if those enforcers were ever to stop believing it, the former tyrant would be left all alone, whining in a corner like a lunatic about how important he is and how much everyone else must obey him. And no one else would care. Or notice.

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What a great post to get extra perspective on things, especially in relation to the information we get from the propagandist news we get all over the place. Awesome article, thanks for sharing and namaste :)

their strength is in their ability to coordinate efforts, not in their numbers.

Which in turn generates the creation and coordination of dependance and dependants.

Right, hence the potential value/threat of an enlightened distributed system, so long as there is a cohesive consensus - but with no center or authority in a prevailing patriarchal hierarchy, it's a slippery slope!

I agree. I myself have been giving too much "credit" to the parasitic class, in fact they cannot know what all people doing all the time: We are many they are few.

I was planning to comment with that Boetie quote, but you already included it yourself.

It's a quote... It needs to be repeated... Go for it!

Everyday I ask myself what can I do to make a real difference or what shouldn't I do today to make a real difference.

Very good point. Never saw it that way.

Well said as always :-)
I think education is the key. If we can have privatization and competition there everything else will follow.

Outragesus post, i like the way you write, the way you compose your taughts in this text. upvoted.

One small point to add: the illusion of authority is also enforced by no one willing to be the one the authority will make an example of in case of disobedience. No one wants to be singled out for punishment, knowing that support from neighbors and friends is likely to immediately fade away the moment the authority decides to step in. There just isn't enough solidarity and unity among people, and the authority works hard to ensure this continues. Divide and conquer, etc.

In his short story "The Last Article", Harry Turtledove posits a very different outcome resulting from mass defiance.

He examines a fictional period in which the German Army of WW2 has invaded India. The people of India respond by adopting a policy of mass non-compliance. A little bit of blood and iron quickly whips the Indians back into obedience.

I would think that Turtledove's outcome is perhaps more likely than yours ... that the IRS would just "pack up and go home".

The cultures of 1940's India and the U.S. today are drastically different. A foreign invasion would immediate be met by widespread, violent resistance, not "peaceful protests."

Nice piece Larkin, so easy to understand. I believe since government attacks the individual and isolates them from others. Others have a tendency not to help and thank themselves that it wasn't them. Hopefully, the time of the swarm is at hand, and gosh darn it that there internet sure does make it hard to govern, don't it?

Outstanding. Absolutely brilliant.

Good article, what I have always wondered is what kind of indoctrination does the military put their personell under, and I mean any military in any country. They will do what whomever is in control orders, even if it goes against their own families, this happens nearly every day in some country. What makes these soldiers, policemen etc. strike against their own people?
Anyone have an answer for this?

The coup in Turkey 2016 is a good example of this.
The people barehanded defeated the Turkish army.
Not with force but with their minds.

An in-depth article about the birth of political power.

Excellent read. I never tire reading your perspective on things that should matter most to individuals and how we are the only cure for the woes and chains that we put upon ourselves.

Those of us who espouse this way of thinking have to continue spreading the message even though it is extremely difficult to open eyes wide shut.

Keep up the good work, though.

This article should have more upvotes than nearly anything you've posted on Steemit. I get so tired of the fearmongering, alarmism from the general public as well as some of these "pro-freedom" pundits.

For me, the all-powerful ruler that is only imagined to be is reminicent of The Wizard Of Oz.