What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
Americans, content with their American Idolism and bread and circuses, have largely fallen into what can best be labeled as an Obliviotocracy. Such a mentality is fostered when people fall into the common misconception (held by men throughout the ages and in different civilizations) that their elected leaders, wise and well-intentioned, will do the right thing.
In American Communications Association v. Douds, Judge Robert H. Jackson wrote:
It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error. (via Quoty)
Such watchful vigilance is certainly the antithesis to everything today’s obliviotocracy stands for. Who has time for such an arduous task? There are episodes of Desperate Housewives and 24 to be watched, mind you!
Wendell Phillips, in a stirring speech before the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in 1852, instructed us all on the price to pay for liberty:
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty—power is ever stealing from the many to the few…. The hand entrusted with power becomes … the necessary enemy of the people. Only by continual oversight can the democrat in office be prevented from hardening into a despot: only by unintermitted Agitation can a people be kept sufficiently awake to principle not to let liberty be smothered in material prosperity. (via Quoty)
Eternal vigilance?! Who has time for such things? There are lakes to be visited and parties to be planned, mind you! After all, is liberty that important? Wise are the words of President Benson:
I don’t know how you feel, my brethren and sisters, but I’d rather be dead than to lose my liberty. I have no fear we’ll ever lose it because of invasion from the outside. But I do have fear that it may slip away from us because of our own indifference, our own negligence, as citizens of this land. And so I plead w/ you this morning that you take an active interest in matters pertaining to the future of this country. (via Quoty)
Or perhaps the condemning words of Patrick Henry might suffice to rebuke those of the obliviotocracy:
We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth… Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not…? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth. (via Quoty)
Plato offered a warning for those subscribe to such a mentality:
The penalty good men and women pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. (via Quoty)
We are seeing those words being fulfilled before our very eyes. Indifference and apathy, the fundamental principles of today’s obliviotocracy, will only lead to one destination: tyranny.