Tyrannical Risk Factors

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by ElectronGuru, Mar 24, 2014.

  1. ElectronGuru, Mar 24, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014

    ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    Seemingly unrelated PRSI topics include explanations that the reason we must or must not allow or do or not do something is that it would encourage tyranny. As avoiding tyranny is so important, here's a thread to collect, discuss and perhaps decide on it's causes.

    A few categories and examples to get us started:

    Technology / devices
    - guns (armed populous)
    - eavesdropping / recording / reading
    - blocking communications (internet)
    - state controlled news (propaganda)

    - single party dominance
    - committee (oligarchy)
    - military rule
    - concentration of power

    Individual policies
    - meeting restrictions
    - who can talk to whom
    - movement restrictions
    - curfews
    - outlawing groups (religions, parties)
    - minority language prohibition

    Economic conditions
    - repeated recessions
    - depression
    - financial instability or panic
    - income inequality (lack of a middle class)

    Law (including enforcement and remedies)
    - reducing / eliminating remedies
    - restricting individual movement and expression (speech)
    - secret courts
    - anonymous accusers
    - eliminating need for evidence (habious corpus)
    - denying access to representation (people disappearing)
    - eliminating arraignment

    Natural events
    - epidemic
    - earthquake
    - hurricane
    - drought
    - famine
    - super storm (including flood)

    Previous tyranny
    - nostalgia for when tyranny last existed (see Putin)

    Foreign occupation and / or interference
    - deposing unfavorable government / leaders
    - collapse of colonization
    - external influences (includes private)

    - overcrowding
    - poverty
    - lack of education

    Psychological factors
    - collapse of national pride
    - violent groups
    - fanatical groups
    - fear for personal safety

    - control of access to water
    - control of access to energy
    - inadequate public health
    - distribution of food
  2. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    Funny ... I didn't see an armed populace in that list.
  3. LizKat macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2004
    Catskill Mountains
    Well the OP's "Law (including enforcement and remedies)" should cover that, no?

    I'm curious how OP sees infrastructure issues as related to tyranny.
  4. 0007776 Suspended


    Jul 11, 2006
    Well typically if they decide that they want to get rid of a perceived threat of tyranny they end up creating their own tyranny...
  5. ElectronGuru, Mar 24, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014

    ElectronGuru thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    Yeah, I tried to limit my list to categories only, avoiding examples. Clearly not the way to generate interest!

    I would put armed populous under devices (guns). Armed government agents would fall under law enforcement.

    Movement of people (roads), control of water (supply and condition), electricity and power generation. Example, collecting rainwater being illegal in Bolivia:

  6. ElectronGuru, Mar 24, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014

    ElectronGuru thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    examples added to OP, with assistance from Mrs Guru
  7. Happybunny macrumors 68000

    Sep 9, 2010
    I do think that most if not all of those so called Risk Factors which would lead to Tyranny, only exist in the minds of the fringe of Libertarian.

    I am nearly 70yrs old and the world has never been better or safer than now for at least the western world. My grandchildren will inherit a world full of boundless possibilities, theirs will be a world that I don’t think most of us can even imagine.

    Communications that we now use, will look as dated as the telegraph does to us.

    It will not be all Unicorns and Fluffy Bunnies but given mankind’s ingenuity and resourcefulness, I am certain that they the future generations will make a better world.

    Just a heads up the past was not better than the future, because the future is all you have got.
  8. ElectronGuru thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    Sorry for the confusion. Points made in many PSRI threads seem to be made of or include fear of tyranny. Liberty from tyranny, freedom from tyranny, at the point of a gun - tyranny. Usually presented at the end of an argument and then buried in more arguments - often powered by the energy introduced by the fear.

    I'm not arguing for more fear, that the world is full of the things listed above. Fear grows strongest when allowed to stay in the shadows. I'm hoping to bring in more light, dispeling some this fear. Perhaps by better understanding tyranny's MO (how/why it happens), we can move more easily from its embrace.
  9. LizKat macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2004
    Catskill Mountains
    Suppressing the use of (or instruction in) one or another language could fall into OP's "Individual Policies" I guess.

    The bottom lines of language suppression have often seemed to be fear and paranoia. Sometimes it may be more a pragmatic thing, in order that citizens of a country with many languages or dialects may more easily communicate with each other. However, since children in particular can easiliy become multilingual, it seems unnecessary to suppress indigenous languages while seeking to establish one language for common use. It has seemed more about a cultural suppression to me.

    For a time during WWII it was forbidden to teach the German language in the USA. This was absurd, of course, and damaging to the interim course of medical education and research, since most research was then published in English or German -- not both, and not translated-- and because an MD degree then required demonstration of at least some facility in German. I don't know how long that gig lasted. I just remember an uncle talking about it. He was in his last year of medical school when the ban hit, so it really annoyed him.

    The Europeans who originally explored and then settled in North and South America often suppressed indigenous languages in favor of European ones, at least at the level of public education. There were exceptions; sometimes missionaries learned the local dialect in order to present their religious messages in a familiar language. Heh, but they were meanwhile attempting to supplant the local religions!
  10. ElectronGuru thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
  11. Technarchy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2012
    All the 9/11 orphans agree that it's time to put our swords away.

    Sub-Sahara is full of happiness.

    The Chinese are so free and cheerful.

    Or were you just talking about white people in northern Europe?
  12. LizKat macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2004
    Catskill Mountains
    When is something tyranny, and when is it just something I don't like and don't currently have enough power to keep from happening?

    Is the guy who shouts "tyranny!!" always right?

    We don't call it tyranny when two big guys square off at each other. It's when the big guy bullies the little guy, right? But the little guy can sometimes be a provocateur. Ask any tall guy who ever dropped into a bar for a beer and has run into someone who's five foot eight and spoiling for a fight...

    It's so unfortunate when violence is perpetrated instead of working something out to avoid it. I think back to the mistakes that were made in the run up to the Kent State University shootings of May 1970. Or the events at Waco, or at Ruby Ridge. You feel like saying wait, just hold up a minute, don't take it to the next level. But things got out of hand. There's no re-do, re-do on shots fired in real life.

    What about when one or the other side apparently prefers a violent solution?

    It's still possible to avoid fatal outcomes in that circumstance, but it's difficult. And that's often a situation with one or more mentally disturbed individuals -- or someone who may have committed a criminal offense and is determined not to be taken alive, or someone with whom cultural communication doesn't work out --versus a bunch of police.

    And what do you do with a situation involving an incipient riot? While I might perceive a show of force as a tyrannical response to a protest that has become violent or looks to be headed that way, it might seem reasonable to people charged with maintaining something better than a state of anarchy on a campus or in the streets.

    Sometimes a question we have to ask about an accusation of tyranny is "sez who?"
  13. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    I wish I could say that the natural world was free from tyranny.

    But it ain't.

    Anyone who's ever looked closely at a beehive, or an african waterhole, or a coral reef knows differently: bigger, faster, stronger creatures kill and eat smaller, weaker, slower ones.

    Human beings spent the first million years of their existence living in tyranny. Phararoic Egypt. The Asia of Chinghis Khan. The Rome of Julius Caesar. The Africa of Mzilikazi or Shaka Zulu. The India of the Maharajahs or the Persia of the Qajars. The Peru of the Incas or the Mexico of Moctezuma. And lest we forget, Europe - from the days of Attilla the Hun, through Charlemagne, Henry VIII, Louis XVII, George III (the mad one, who liked to holiday at Weymouth) and Wilhelm II: Tyrants one and all.

    We've done a bit better recently. But we've still managed to throw up Hitler and Stalin. Pol Pot and Robert Mugabe. Vladimir Putin and.....

    Short answer: Avoiding tyranny isn't easy. It takes, more than a mere village, a whole society to keep us free from tyranny. It helps if you have functioning institutions (ie. incorruptible courts, prosecutors and police) , plus a free and competitive press and a couple centuries of traditional adherence to the rule of law.

    Simple "democracy" alone doesn't work. Neither does civilian gun ownership. (They had those in Weimar Germany and 90s-era Somalia.)

    An interesting discussion, nonetheless.
  14. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

    Jan 30, 2004
    having a drink at Milliways
    he is not saying that perfection has been reached, but that NOW is -on average- better than BEFORE, in many case FAR better then before.

    there are some limited local exceptions, but in terms of general trends, that is most certainly true for both the western and other areas of the world.

    that said, there is a lot of work yet to be done and the process is not rapid nor linear, but I agree with happybunny that the general direction is the right one.
  15. Technarchy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2012
    Yeah the patriot act, watching your wife get molested by TSA goons, having the NSA collect all your information, suspension of due process and getting drone striked, a jack booted militarized police force, attacks on journalists, wealth consolidated into the smallest number of hands the world has seen, and a big chuck of the population that believes that being disarmed is good for them.

    Life is peachy...
  16. ElectronGuru thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    Great questions. Tyranny is a form of violence but violence is not always tyrannical. In general, it's when something with more power, abuses that power to an end that is to an individual's (or small groups) benefit and not the whole. Its controlling behavior more than life, as if you are dead, you were killed, not manipulated. But someone else who was manipulated by your death was. It's also lack of choice in participating.

    If businesses all over the country bought up all the farms, then all those companies consolidated into a single company and then that single company started withholding food or charging so much that people starved, that would be tyranny. But a single company controlling all the water from a single desirable spring and charging $20 a bottle is not.

    If government (a natural monopoly) took control of natural gas supplies and kept certain cold areas from using it in the winter so people froze, that would be tyranny. If government took control of helium supplies and then raised the price to prevent waste in party balloons, so it remains available for medical and industrial applications, that is not tyranny.
  17. ElectronGuru, Mar 30, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2014

    ElectronGuru thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    My first reaction to that post was 'yeah, peachy where you are maybe'. But lets take some of your examples:

    Patriot Act / NSA
    We decided via our representatives, to give away privacy to gain safety/securty. We don't get to opt out but can decide via our representatives to get our privacy back.

    We decided via our representatives, to drastically limit the risk of another hijacking. We can choose, via our representatives to increase those risks (reduce the standard of scrutiny) to gain travel comfort. But any politician who tried would still be voted out office. Perhaps in a generation or two, when enough people who don't remember that September morning, join the voting pool. In the mean time, you can drive.

    Jack boots
    My first recollection of SWAT came out of Los Angeles, after a series of local events where police were outnumbered and outgunned. Now one street cop sees circumstances where he's likely to get perforated and he calls for 'overwhelming force' specialists. A van full of heavily armed dudes roles in, neutralizes the threat and roles away. It's been successful enough to be adopted across the country.

    The pattern of these threats is usually a symptom of a symptom, like the drug war. Private interests start laying down cover fire in an anti competitive battle and voters take objection to being caught in the cross fire. Mayor gets scared for his job and calls the police chief, who gets scared for his job and calls up the boots to be able to deal with these situations. Tyranny would be not fearing for their jobs because they could use force from the boots to protect themselves.

    Consider watching an Australian police show. First time I did I was freaking out from seeing what seemed like horrifically unsafe tactics and lack of force. But this kind of force takes on a proportionality to the threat its intended to deal with. Their threats are less, so their force is less. We can choose to reduce the causes of some of our threats, reducing the symptomatic force needed to deal with them.

    Concentrated wealth
    Wealth, like other forms of power, is not itself tyrannical. But it can be used for tyrannical purposes. People being hung from bridges in Mexico to scare people into not fighting against the wealthy drug cartels are facing tyranny. People in Africa getting water filters from bill gates are not.

    People spending millions to influence an election are not being tyrannical, but at the point when 'contributors' are directly controlling an election, they are. It could be argued that directly controlling legislation is a form of tyranny. But so far, the laws in question have not gone far enough to set off (major) alarms.

    Combining wealth and boots in a single example: the drug cartels would happily take over our streets with the kind and level of force they use in Mexico. It's our boots keeping us safe. Without them, we would have no choice but to end the drug war, taking away cartel income. We only have the freedom not to because of the boots.

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