Tyranny, Tyrants and Tyrannical Systems (4)

“Statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.” Mark Twain, Chronicle of Young Satan
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“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” James Madison. Federalist 47.
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“The chains of military despotism once fastened upon a nation, ages might pass away before they could be shaken off.” William Henry Harrison (1773-1841), American 9th US president, 1841
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“The civilized have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their ‘vital interests’ are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death: these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the ‘sanctity’ of human life, or the ‘conscience’ of the civilized world.” James Baldwin, page 489 of COLLECTED ESSAYS (1998), from chapter one of “The Devil Finds Work” (orig. pub. 1976)
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“The common excuse for those bringing misfortune on others is that they desire their good.” Luc de Clapiers de Vauvenargues (1717-1747)
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“The contest for ages has been to rescue liberty from the grasp of executive power.” Daniel Webster
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“The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.” Joe Stalin, comment to Churchill at Potsdam, 1945
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“The doctrine of blind obedience and unqualified submission to any human power, whether civil or ecclesiastical, is the doctrine of despotism, and ought to have no place among Republicans and Christians.” Angelica Grimke (1805-1879), Anti-Slavery Examiner, September 1836
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“The essence of oligarchical rule is not father-to-son inheritance, but the persistence of a certain world-view and a certain way of life ... A ruling group is a ruling group so long as it can nominate its successors... Who wields power is not important, provided that the hierarchical structure remains always the same.” George Orwell, 1984
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“The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means.” Georges Bernanos
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“The first step in a fascist movement is the combination under an energetic leader of a number of men who possess more than the average share of leisure, brutality, and stupidity. The next step is to fascinate fools and muzzle the intelligent, by emotional excitement on the one hand and terrorism on the other.” Bertrand Russell, Freedom, Harcourt Brace, 1940
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“Philosophy should always know that indifference is a militant thing. It batters down the walls of cities and murders the women and children amid the flames and the purloining of altar vessels. When it goes away it leaves smoking ruins, where lie citizens bayoneted through the throat. It is not a children’s pastime like mere highway robbery.” Stephen Crane
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“The first time it was reported that our friends were being butchered there was a cry of horror. Then a hundred were butchered. But when a thousand were butchered and there was no end to the butchery, a blanket of silence spread. When evil doing comes like falling rain, nobody calls out ‘Stop!’ When crimes begin to pile up, they become invisible. When sufferings become unendurable, the cries are no longer heard. The cries, too, fall like rain in summer.” Bertolt Brecht
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“There have been periods of history in which episodes of terrible violence occurred but for which the word violence was never used… Violence is shrouded in justifying myths that lend it moral legitimacy, and these myths for the most part kept people from recognizing the violence for what it was. The people who burned witches at the stake never for one moment thought of their act as violence; rather they thought of it as an act of divinely mandated righteousness. The same can be said of most of the violence we humans have ever committed.” Gil Bailie
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“The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests.An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy.” Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), 28th US President
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“The enemy aggressor is always pursuing a course of larceny, murder, rapine and barbarism. We are always moving forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the Deity to regenerate our victims while incidentally capturing their markets, to civilise savage and senile and paranoid peoples while blundering accidentally into their oil wells.” John Flynn, 1944
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“The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes.” Thomas Paine
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“The greatness of every mighty organization embodying an idea in this world lies in the religious fanaticism and intolerance with which, fanatically convinced of its own right, it intolerantly imposes its will against all others.” Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), German chancellor, leader of the Nazi party
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“The history of mankind is a history of the subjugation and exploitation of a great majority of people by an elite few by what has been appropriately termed the ‘ruling class’. The ruling class has many manifestations. It can take the form of a religious orthodoxy, a monarchy, a dictatorship of the proletariat, outright fascism, or, in the case of the United States, corporate statism. In each instance the ruling class relies on academics, scholars and ‘experts’ to legitimize and provide moral authority for its hegemony over the masses.” Ed Crane
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“I recoil with horror at the ferociousness of man. Will nations never devise a more rational umpire of differences than force? Are there no means of coercing injustice more gratifying to our nature than a waste of the blood of thousands and of the labor of millions of our fellow creatures?” Thomas Jefferson
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“The civility of no race can be perfect whilst another race is degraded. It is a doctrine alike of the oldest and of the newest philosophy, that man is one, and that you cannot injure any member, without a sympathetic injury to all the members.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844
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“The ideal set up by the Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering - a world of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons - a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting - three hundred million people all with the same face.” George Orwell, 1984
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“The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945), Goebbels was Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda
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“The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny.” Wole Soyinka
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“The idea of creating systems designed to threaten, coerce, and kill, and to imbue such agencies with principled legitimacy, and not expect them to lead to wars, genocides, and other tyrannical practices, expresses an innocence we can no longer afford to indulge.” Butler D. Shaffer
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“We first fought the heathens in the name of religion, then Communism, and now in the name of drugs and terrorism. Our excuses for global domination always change.” Serj Tankian
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“The master minds of all nations, in all ages, have sprung in affluent multitude from the mass of the nations, and from the mass of the nation only—not from its privileged classes.” Mark Twain
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“If you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual, it is certain that you will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot, therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are helpless and ineffectual.” Frank Herbert
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“The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.” James Madison (1751-1836), US fourth president
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“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.” Plato, ancient Greek philosopher (428/427-348/347 B.C.)
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“The minority, the ruling class at present, has the schools and press, usually the Church as well, under its thumb. This enables it to organize and sway the emotions of the masses, and make its tool of them.” Albert Einstein, letter to Sigmund Freud, 30 July 1932
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“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly...it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.” Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Propaganda Minister
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“The process [of mass-media deception] has to be conscious, or it would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to be unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and hence of guilt… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary.” George Orwell, 1984
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“Like the effect of advertising upon the customer, the methods of political propaganda tend to increase the feeling of insignificance of the individual voter.” Erich Fromm (1900-1980), psychoanalyst and social philosopher
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“There was promulgation of false propaganda by the administration about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There was promulgation of false propaganda about Iraq as a base for Al Qaeda.” Jimmy Carter
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“The most effective means of preventing tyranny is to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts.” Thomas Jefferson
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“The nation in arms is virtually a communist state: the people must be paid wages and fed and protected and regimented behind the lines as much as on the front. Minds must be kept loyal and at the right pitch of hate, so that successive drafts of fighters are accepted without murmurings. Letters and newspapers must be censored while the propaganda mill grinds on. As for decisions of strategy and overall command, they must please many masters: dissenters in the cabinet, the heads of the allied states and public opinion. Hence failures must be disguised or concealed.” Jacques Barzun, “From Dawn to Decadence”, page 710, Harper Collins, 2000
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“The plea of necessity, that eternal argument of all conspirators.” William Henry Harrison (1773-1841), 9th U. S. President - Source: Letter to Simon Bolivar, 27 September 1829
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“The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.” Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965), Prime Minister of England, November 21, 1943
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“The mission of the Gestapo expanded steadily as, from 1933 onward, ‘political criminality’ was given a much broader definition than ever before and most forms of dissent and criticism were gradually criminalized. The result was that more ‘laws’ or lawlike measures were put on the books than ever.” Shelia Fitzpatrick - Source: Accusatory Practices: Denunciation in Modern European History, 1789-1989, 1997


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