"Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day.

But a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly proves a systematic plan of reducing us to slavery." - Thomas Jefferson

Ideal tyranny is ignorantly self-administered.

Perfect slaves blissfully enslave themselves.

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Empires Then and Now

Calling Forth the Great Revolution

Yale historian shares ‘sobering’ analysis of the past


"Today the tyrant rules not by club or fist, but, disguised as a market researcher, he shepherds his flocks in the ways of utility and comfort." - Marshall McLuhan

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - CS Lewis

404 BC Thirty Tyrants are a pro-Spartan oligarchy installed in Athens after defeat in the Peloponnesian War.

The Thirty sought to exile or kill anyone who outwardly opposed the regime.

Socrates remained in the city through this period, which caused the public to associate him with the Thirty and may have contributed to his eventual death sentence, especially since Critias had been his student.

Led by Critias, the Thirty Tyrants presided over a reign of terror in which they executed, murdered, and exiled hundreds of Athenians, seizing their property.

Critias has been described as "the first Robespierre" due to his inhumanity.

Both Isocrates and Aristotle (the latter in the Athenian Constitution) have reported that the Thirty executed 1500 people without trial.

Socrates begins his legal defence by telling the jury that their minds are poisoned by his enemies.

Socrates seeks to solve the divine paradox that the wisest man can also be the most ignorant.

Socrates says that his wisdom is in being aware that he is ignorant:

"I am wiser than this man; it is likely that neither of us knows anything worthwhile, but he thinks he knows something, when he does not."

Socrates notes people who fear death are showing their ignorance, because death might be a good thing, but that most people fear death as an evil thing, when they cannot possibly know death to be either good or evil.

Socrates states a lawful authority, either human or divine, should be obeyed.

Socrates holds up the mirror claiming the greatest good occurs in Athens when a citizen' moral concern is for the souls of fellow citizens.

Socrates askes for proof of an attempt to corrupt and an accuser.

The irreverent self-defense speech angers the jurors and invites punishment.

Socrates is sentenced to death.

He prophesies death will cause youngsters to come forward and replace him.


"The foundation of tyranny in the world was trifling at first.

Everyone capitulated to it until it attained its present magnitude."

Saadi of Shiraz

"In any autocratic regime, the holders of power become increasingly tyrannical with experience of the delights that power can afford. Since power over human beings is shown in making them do what they would rather not do, the man who is actuated by love of power is more apt to inflict pain than to permit pleasure." - Bertrand Russell

Empire marketing pitch of genocide - Soviet, Maoist and Khmer Rouge - are based on the myth murder sprees are organized by a single madman.

Historians of tyranny have a mission to deliver warnings from the past of the social political conditions that brought these people to power.

If Rafael Trujillo Molina, Jonas Savimbi, Charles Taylor or Barack Obama are presented as one dimensional psychopaths with delusions of grandeur there is no warning that a culture has stumbled into the danger zone.

Nothing is learned about the chain of events and the systems of control used by the ruling class to understand how genocidal nightmares are engineered.

"Tyranny can't be isolated to just one person giving orders.

It is an entire society consisting of bullies and the bullied." - Bill Decker

Charmless psychopaths never rise to power without the backing of a culture already steeped in cultural ponerology, set in spiritual corruption.


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