On Tyranny

Introduction

There is one thing, even in our ever-divided world, that just about everyone can agree on. This is that tyranny, in all its malicious forms. is the enemy of the people. Most countries’ constitutions are based on this principle, and most politicians campaign upon it as well. Of course, the disdain the ruling classes have for tyranny is an act, and most citizenries around the world recognize this already.

The problem lies not in the realization of the prevalence of tyranny; rather, it lies in the efforts to dispel it. Once engrained in any government, tyranny is a difficult thing to kill, for it enthralls and consumes all who it is able to reach. In the words of Lord Acton, “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” Despite its difficulty, though, true change is not impossible. It simply requires a revolutionary new approach to neutering those who would have us enslaved.

Tyranny & History

First, before we delve into the approach itself, we must examine tyranny’s history throughout humanity’s many eras. Although many philosophers have pondered over the state of nature and what it was like for our distant ancestors, we have no real evidence about the tribal hierarchies of this time. We can only make conjectures based off of what evidence we have and the structures of more modern tribes. Using said methods, we can reasonably guess that the progenitors of us all lived within strict but largely egalitarian cultures. As civilization developed, the freedom of the state of nature slowly dissolved, and absolute monarchy was introduced.

Beginning at that point, the lower classes were locked in battle against authoritarianism for millennia. Slowly but surely, and after many millions of killings, their efforts started to yield results. The Age of Enlightenment brought about an exponential increase in freedom all across the globe, but this rise in “enlightened” governance was not to last forever. For the past hundred or so years, countries that were once beacons of freedom began to slip back into totalitarianism. Today, tyranny is rapidly reclaiming its death grip over populaces all over, and a real resistance is only beginning to grow.

Tyranny & Modernity

There is a multitude of movements, especially in the United States, that seek to either give back the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution or introduce new ones entirely. They all vary in their official goals; some promise a Convention of States, others promise the pressing of a reset button on the federal government, others still call for a new government, and some even call for a dissolution of government altogether. They are, of course, all united in their efforts to save the United States from the death throes it currently stares down. However, not one group is serious about a unification or even a cooperation with any other group to further their shared goals. They may preach unity on the surface, but inside, they cannot stand the thought of losing what audience they have to another ideology or organization.

They are all inherently flawed, for they all make the same mistake of thinking a top-down revolutionary structure will work in today’s world. What we need is not a whole host of bickering communities that refuse to set aside petty differences and unite to save themselves before the time has already passed. What we need is an immense civic forum, as apolitical as possible on unimportant issues, that brings together all these scattered and uninfluential groups and makes them something much greater than just the sum of their parts. This is, quite likely, the tallest order any of the many liberty-minded groups have ever faced. Still, to scoff at an idea simply because of its audacity is the mark of one who will never make a change. No longer does the United States, nor any other country, have the days to waste dawdling while tyranny continues to strengthen itself. The time to act is not tomorrow. It is now.

The Proposal (I)

George Orwell once famously declared that “the real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries but between authoritarians and libertarians.” This was, of course, said many decades ago, but it is just as true now. The left-right political paradigm is ripping the Western world apart piece by piece. In a time when we need solidarity more than ever, all we are getting is more divisiveness being thrust in our faces. The many scattered groups attempting to advance liberty (speaking specifically of those in the United States) could become a force to be reckoned with if they were only to unite. And, surprisingly enough, the process that faces anyone trying to bring about this unity is not especially difficult.

The idea is that an online and in-person civic forum, as mentioned earlier, would act as the catalyst for internal debate and external action. There is no point in trying to yet again bring about a new group to start uniting people anew. Rather, it would make much more sense to simply bring together those groups that already exist and are willing to engage in discussion and cooperation with other liberty-minded factions. Thus, the group in question would not make any single ideology its own. Rather, it would help a variety of ideologies see eye-to-eye on that which they agree on and sort out the differences they may retain.

And, most importantly of all, it would serve as a drawing board for those hoping to go out and raise real-world awareness of the issue of liberty. There is no point in making a ruckus online if no action is taken in the real world. A balance between both is important but naturally difficult to strike. Thus, there is no better way to foster the growth of the group in both sectors of life than to invite people with skills in all areas in to share their ideas and unite to act upon them. All in all, this hypothetical community would serve a variety of vital functions to any successful civil movement. With this main idea charted out, then, it is vital we delve deep into how such a group would actually function and get its message out for the world to hear.

The Proposal (II)

Our journey through the inner workings of our group must begin, as all good things do, with a name. For now, allow us to call the group Unified Defiance, as it is short, straightforward, and memorable. Unified Defiance would begin as a website and an account on both mainstream social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook) and anti-establishment competitors (Mastodon, Steemit). It and its earliest members would reach out to individuals to get them to join and spread the word about the experiment. After a respectable enough base of individual contributors is built, this base would reach out to a variety of libertarian groups. In an ideal scenario, this would include constitutionalists, right-libertarians, anarcho-capitalists, agorists, mutualists, egoists, libertarian socialists, communists and everyone in between. These groups would, in turn, spread the word about Unified Defiance to even more uncontacted groups; a process that would hopefully carry on for many months.

Unified Defiance’s website would include accounts representing both individuals and collectives, with some sort of identifier between the two. Its first main feature would be a section for articles, which could be submitted by anyone and which would be voted on by readers as of either high or low quality. Its second would be the oft-mentioned forum, which would include ideological debates, polls, discussions about real-world activism, and perhaps even more. Of course, this side of the website would receive the most attention, as it would contain the majority of bickering between different factions. The debates would be important, as their results would give outsiders a clue as to what end-goals the group as a whole could agree to be desirable. However, it would be the discussions about real-world activism that would actually be the most important of all.

As mentioned earlier, the Internet is not the only place where change needs to happen. Unified Defiance would only be rendered obsolete when the real world is freed, and so, in-person protests and campaigns of awareness would be crucial to its success. Going any further than this, though, would be a fool’s errand, considering that the group has not even been founded yet. First, we must set up Unified Defiance. Then, we must help it flourish. Then, we must wield it as a weapon against those who will have us enslaved at a moment’s notice if ever they get the chance. If we sit idly by instead, our descendants will curse our names almost as often as they will curse their unbreakable chains.

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J. W. Barlament

J. W. Barlament

History, politics, religion and the rest. Told with nerve and without reserve. Columbia 2024.