The engine of tyranny is a blind, indifferent juggernaut, insensible to reason, justice and equity, and so necessarily inimical to them. It matters not the good intentions of the hand that launches it into the affairs of men. Once started, it moves almost of its own volition, corrupting, consuming and destroying everything in its path. It is a fundamentally nihilistic phenomenon. Its power is both centripetal and centrifugal, on one hand drawing its potency from that which it can corrupt; on the other, crushing or flinging aside the incorruptible.We are seeing the war engine of tyranny chewing up what is left of our liberties on a daily basis now. Doug Reich just called it a "clumsy but swift campaign" straight out of Sun Tzu's Art of War.
The juggernaut of Parliamentary supremacy collided with the American colonies' incorruptible sense of liberty, which could be neither crushed nor flung aside. The result was a spectacular explosion: the American Revolution. That explosion was neither necessary nor foreordained. The colonies could have submitted to that supremacy, and existed for a time in a haze of semi-legality, occasional concession, and dependent prosperity. But British-Americans valued their liberty and were willing to claim it whole, come what may. Therefore, the clash between them and the legislative authority of Parliament could be postponed but never resolved. The colonials would not allow their claim to unabridged liberty to be corrupted. In the course of that political transfiguration, they became Americans.
Whereas the juggernaut of tyranny ran up against "the American colonies' incorruptible sense of liberty" two hundred and thirty years ago, it is now finding a relatively compliant and subservient American populace. The Tea Parties offer a spark of the fire that once raged in the colonies, but the question remains whether it is too little, too late, or too isolated in a swampland of irrationality to ignite an "incorruptible sense of liberty" in the minds of Americans today. Are there enough true Americans left, namely, those who understand and value unabridged liberty? (This is, and always will be, the fundamental definition of "American.")
Billy Beck has this to say about what is left of the American sense of life:
The spirit of this place that was not born of the slave's obesience [sic] will require this government to bare its fangs. I still believe that. The ways in which and the singular souls from which Americans select their values are not yet so beaten to any alien molds so well that they will peaceably stand for the conformations that this government will eventually require and demand -- not "ask".The colonials refused to submit, and the Parliamentary juggernaut bared its fangs. Anyone who thinks our government wouldn't do the same is evading reality and the lessons of history. Such is the nature of any government that rules, because if you have rulers, you have people being ruled, and that means by force.
Beck goes on to say that things will likely have to get much worse before the breaking point is reached. I agree. But the "conformations that this government will eventually require and demand" don't seem that far off anymore. The campaign being waged against liberty is both very clumsy and shockingly swift -- the frightening prospect of a juggernaut traveling at 100 mph.
When thinking about the world I'll be leaving for my children, I used to think that they would be long gone and their great-great-grandchildren would be living their lives before this country might be unrecognizable as a bastion of liberty (at least more so than it is now), and that there was still plenty of time to reverse that course. Events of the past year have me reevaluating that assessment.
I haven't given up on the possibility of a rebirth of reason and a just government in my or my children's lifetimes, and will continue to strive for it and support others who do the same. Working to realize my values has benefits even when the odds seem poor. Perhaps one of the few bright spots in recognizing the nature of tyranny, and how it is at work today, is that history shows it can be stopped.
Update: (06/23/09) Revised closing paragraph.