“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely 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.” ~ C. S. Lewis
You can count on Tom Ashbrook to reveal his position when he has a controversial topic under discussion on his radio show. He doesn’t tell you what he thinks, but you know from the guests he invites, the questions he asks, and his general way of asking them. It makes the show uninteresting, or a lot less interesting than it might be.
Tonight’s topic was gun control. Tom’s guest was someone who invited us to visit the anti-NRA site, Meet the NRA Leadership. They talked about how the NRA used to be for hunters and sportsmen: why this interest then in all manner of exotic weaponry, including military-style assault rifles? The NRA wants to appeal to the insurrectionists, his guest replied. They want to include people who believe citizens’ only protection against loss of freedom is the ability to resist tyrants with armed force.
Now the two of them had something they could set their teeth into. They didn’t call the insurrectionists crazies, but you could tell they wanted to. In response to a comment from Tom, the guest said, “One man’s tyranny is another man’s health care bill.” His subsequent comment suggested that so-called insurrectionists would use force or the threat of force to get their way in the political arena.
Some comments are too glib. Some people might describe the Affordable Care Act as creeping tyranny, and in fact the legislation involves a substantial loss of freedom. Nevertheless, the ACA is not tyranny as such. It may be of dubious constitutionality, but it doesn’t count as tyranny.
What is tyranny?
- The attack on the Branch Davidians at Waco, Texas, is tyranny. The government used lethal force to kill a large number of citizens who simply wanted to be left alone.
- Beating and gassing peaceful Occupy Wall Street protesters all across the country is tyranny.
- Keeping Bradley Manning in solitary confinement since May 2010 without charging him is tyranny.
- Waterboarding is tyranny.
- Black sites and extraordinary rendition to maintain a secret, worldwide regime of torture represent tyranny to an extreme degree.
- Assassinating American citizens is tyranny.
- Bagram, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, every prison where torture and degradation have occurred symbolize the ignominious, institutional practice of tyranny.
Have you had enough? Do you want some more? Here’s more:
- Spying on your own citizens is tyranny.
- Attacking other countries to initiate aggressive war is a war crime, and the favored refuge of tyrants.
- Waging war against civilians in another country is tyranny.
- Conducting so-called black ops, false flag attacks, assassinations, and all manner of secret warfare is tyranny.
- Torture — no matter what polite, euphemistic words you use to name it — is tyranny.
Health care reform is not tyranny, though without a doubt we have lost our freedom by inches for a long time now. Truly discouraging, beyond worrisome, is the overt practice of tyranny by our government since 9/11. The use of violence and unjustified warfare, secrecy, violation of fundamental rights, assassination and torture in the name of homeland security has brought us out of democracy to a state we have condemned unreservedly in others.
Most governments offer excuses or some kind of justificatioin for the crimes they commit. Ours does not bother with that. It merely pretends that its crimes are not crimes.