I host a socratic dialogue on my website Original Path every week, and today the text I selected was arguably the most famous novel in the 20th century. 1984.
The chief question was: how does tyranny arise. Often times in these discussions I ask and criticize yet I reserve my belief of things come about. The answers arose from media bias to an attempt to be objective to the desire for full control and power, as though one may play god.
I liken mostly to the last point, but my take is a bit different. Tyranny arises because we must assert our dominance as a civilization.
Think for a moment to the group of people you hate the most. It is often easier to dehumanize the zeitgeist than the individual. Just as in the opening pieces of 1984, the motion picture where the public watches women and children and the innocent be blown to bits, we too wish to destroy even the innocent, that so long as we can circumvent the knowledge of their being innocent for the aesthetic of them being “the other”.
Certainly, the innocent refugees don’t deserve to be blown to bits, yet there may be a group for whom you choose to escape the knowledge of their innocence in order to linger with pleasure with the dream of their being a victim to your destruction. In a calm state, few recognize the existence of this emotional drive. In a zealous or angered one, it’s far too easy, though the gravity of it is hardly dwelt on.
Burn the heretic. Cut down the commie. Down with the bourgeois. Men are pigs. Women are worthless. I’d note a plethora of racist slurs, should they not be becoming progressively more taboo. Yet there remains too, the hatred of the racist as well, and he who engages what you would call taboo, perhaps he is the worst amongst of all of them. It may be the rapist, the pedophile, the cultist, the cannibal, the necrophile— the characters bring a sense of dread and disgust, so much so that their very names feel justified in banning from any conversation. We wish to eliminate them by means of excelling our morality and behaviors above theirs, by exerting our superior moral tyranny.
Yet, we are not wrong, and a society filled with those above is no society I dare wish to live in. It is by the enforcing of my moral tyranny above their kind, and you above whatever kind you deem inferior, and our shared moment of reflecting that they are perpetually the other to us, that we maintain our society. We deem that those who engage in such taboo behavior shall be the victim of you and I as we serve as their thought police. We do this, justifiably, such that we are never their victim.
The value of tyranny comes from the fruits of being the tyrant, but few of these fruits are ever tasted and most taken for granted. We have excelled our societal views above the Aztecs, the barbarians, the Inca, the tribes, the Vandals, the Bloods, the Crips, the mafia, the Nazis, the Mongols. The value of our tyranny comes from outlining the reality we wish to have, and expelling all others.
What I have written here is profoundly distasteful to some. If it is taboo, to believe you are a sadist and tyrant as am I, I would note that those two character types are not so different and not so far away from the list of those most taboo. Not only do we hate those twisted characters in reality, we hate them in ourselves.
The value of tyranny is the value of asserting that civilization, namely our civilization or those recognized akin to it, is superior to others. We look critically at the terrorist, because we seek to oppress the terrorist, and rightfully so, for if our society dwindles into roaving gangs of warring sadists, kingpins, radicals and warlord, our way of life is threatened. And so, when a terrorist is killed, we might as well cheer in the two minutes hate, for we can recognize that our civilization, our shared way of life is and has become the purest tyrant, and we can acknowledge our ability to eliminate any and all who would challenge the authority of our “big brother” way of life.
Given a moment to grasp all the vengeance and dominance in the world, few would take it. The very term “tyrant” is itself taboo, and the moral code of western civilization does not lend to it. Yet, if you were to propose the question, “if you could get rid of all the cannibals in the world tomorrow, would you?” The answer may be quite different therein. Make something taboo, somewhat occult and twisted, and it finds itself in the shadow of a civilization. Certainly, there are things and people we should wish eliminate, for they are threats to us or the kin of our civilization. Yet we seek to be the tyrant of all that which we name as evil, and so long as there are others who would not share our definitions, there is the reason for us to dominate them.
For the shock of it,