The decline from democracy to tyranny is both a natural and inevitable one.
That’s not a pleasant thought to have to consider, but it’s a fact, nonetheless. In every case, a democracy will deteriorate as the result of the electorate accepting the loss of freedom in trade for largesse from their government. This process may be fascism, socialism, communism or a basket of “isms,” but tyranny is the inevitable endgame of democracy. Like the destruction of a sandcastle by the incoming tide, it requires time to transpire, but in time, the democracy, like the sandcastle, will be washed away in its entirety.
Why should this be so? Well, as I commented some years ago,
“The concept of government is that the people grant to a small group of individuals the ability to establish and maintain controls over them. The inherent flaw in such a concept is that any government will invariably and continually expand upon its controls, resulting in the ever-diminishing freedom of those who granted them the power.”
Unfortunately, there will always be those who wish to rule and there will always be a majority of voters who are complacent enough and naïve enough to allow their freedoms to be slowly removed. This adverb “slowly” is the key by which the removal of freedoms is achieved.
The old adage of “boiling a frog” is that the frog will jump out of the pot if it’s filled with hot water, but if the water is lukewarm and the temperature is slowly raised, he’ll grow accustomed to the temperature change and will inadvertently allow himself to be boiled.
Let’s have a look at Thomas Jefferson’s assessment of this technique.
“Even under the best forms of Government, those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”
Mister Jefferson was a true visionary. He knew, even as he was penning the Declaration of Independence and portions of the Constitution, that his proclamations, even if they were accepted by his fellow founding fathers, would not last. He recommended repeated revolutions to counter the inevitable tendency by political leaders to continually vie for the removal of the freedoms from their constituents.
Around the same time that Mister Jefferson made the above comment, Alexander Tytler, a Scottish economist and historian commented on the new American experiment in democracy. He’s credited as saying,
“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”
So, was each of the above gentlemen throwing a dart at a board, or did they each have some kind of crystal ball? Well, actually, neither. Each was a keen student of history. Each knew that the pattern, by the end of the 18th century, had already repeated itself time and time again. In fact, as early as the fourth century BC, Plato had quoted Socrates as having stated to Adeimantus,
“Tyranny naturally rises out of democracy and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery comes out of the most extreme form of liberty.”
Today, much of what was called the “free world” only half a century ago has deteriorated into a combination of residual capitalism, which has been largely and increasingly buried by socialism and fascism. (It should be mentioned that the oft-misinterpreted definition of “fascism” is the joint rule by corporate and state – a condition that’s now manifestly in place in much of the former “free” world.)
Today, many people perceive fascism as a tyrannical condition that’s suddenly imposed by a dictator, but this is rarely the case. Fascism is in fact a logical step. Just as voters succumb over time to the promises of socialism, so a parallel decline occurs as fascism slowly replaces capitalism. Fascism may appear to be capitalism, but it’s the antithesis of a free-market. As Vladimir Lenin rightly stated,
“Fascism is capitalism in decline.”
Comrade Lenin understood the value of fascism for political leaders. Whilst he retained a close relationship with New York and London bankers and a healthy capitalist market was tapped into for Soviet-era imports, he was aware that his power base depended largely on denying capitalism to his minions.
So, from the above quotations, we may see that there’s been a fairly erudite group of folks out there who have commented on this topic over the last 2500 years. They agree that democracies, like sandcastles, never last. They generally begin promisingly, but, given enough time, any government will erode democracy as quickly as the political leaders can get away with it and the progression always ends in tyranny.
We’re presently at a major historical juncture – a time in which much of the former free world is in the final stages of decay and approaching the tyranny stage.
At this point, the process tends to speed up. We can observe this as we see an increase in the laws being passed to control the population – increased taxation, increased regulation and increased promises of largesse from the government that they don’t have the funding to deliver.
When any government reaches this stage, it knows only too well that it will not deliver and that, when the lie is exposed, the populace will be hopping mad. Therefore, just before the endgame, any government can be expected to ramp up its police state. The demonstrations by governments that they’re doing so are now seen regularly – raids by SWAT teams in situations where just a small number of authorities could handle the situation just as well. Displays of armed forces in the street, including armoured vehicles, in instances of disruption.
In London, Ferguson, Paris, Boston, etc., the authoritarian displays have become ever-more frequent. All that’s now necessary is a series of events (whether staged or real) to suggest domestic terrorism in several locations at roughly the same time. A state of national emergency may then be declared “for the safety of the people.”
It’s this justification that will assure the success of tyranny. Historically, the majority of people in any county, in any era, choose the illusion of safety over freedom. As John Adams was fond of saying,
“Those who would trade freedom for safety will have neither.”
From this point on, it would be wise for anyone who lives in the EU, US, UK, etc. to watch events closely. If a rash of “domestic terrorism” appears suddenly, it could well be the harbinger that the government has reached the tipping point – when tyranny under the guise of “protecting the safety of the people” is inaugurated.
The most essential take-away here is that, although some may object (even violently), the majority of the people will trade their freedom for the promise of safety.