History has seen many who claim to be deliverer and saviour of the people. They might come with force and violence and parade their might and splendour as conquerors. The pharaohs of Egypt, Sennacherib king of Assyria, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, Darius of Persia, Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Napoleon, Clive of India, Bismarck, the Kaiser, Hitler, Stalin. The story and scene is always the same. They claim to deliver the people from bondage and to establish justice, freedom and peace. They come in might, riding in splendour, dragging prisoners.
Fear is the State's psychological weapon of choice to frighten citizens into sacrificing their basic freedoms and rule-of-law protections in exchange for the security promised by their all-powerful government.
First Afghanistan, now Iraq. So who's next? Syria? North Korea? Iran? Where will it all end?' If these illegal interventions are permitted to continue, the implication seems to be, pretty soon, horror of horrors, no murderously repressive regimes might remain.
Mis-define the law of brotherly love by giving men a claim on their neighbors and you have destroyed freedom, justified despotism, and assumed that there can be a master mind, in an ordinary human being, as the mind of God.
Earthquake means destruction; dictator means destruction! In the case of earthquake, you need a strong building; in the case of dictator, you need an educated rational mind, because an irrational ignorant mind always serves the dictator!
The Greeks made Space the subject-matter of a science of supreme simplicity and certainty. Out of it grew, in the mind of classical antiquity, the idea of pure science. Geometry became one of the most powerful expressions of that sovereignty of the intellect that inspired the thought of those times. At a later epoch, when the intellectual despotism of the Church, which had been maintained through the Middle Ages, had crumbled, and a wave of scepticism threatened to sweep away all that had seemed most fixed, those who believed in Truth clung to Geometry as to a rock, and it was the highest ideal of every scientist to carry on his science 'more geometrico.
…egalitarianism and despotism do not exclude each other, but usually go hand in hand. To a certain degree, equality invites despotism, because in order to make all members of a society equal, and then to maintain this equality for a long period of time, it is necessary to equip the controlling institutions with exceptional power so they can stamp out any potential threat to equality in every sector of the society and any aspect of human life: to paraphrase a well-known sentence by one of Dostoyevsky’s characters, ‘We start with absolute equality and we end up with absolute despotism.’ Some call it a paradox of equality: the more equality one wants to introduce, the more power one must have; the more power one has, the more one violates the principle of equality; the more one violates the principle of equality, the more one is in a position to make the world egalitarian.
From this moment there would be no question of virtue or morality; for despotism cui ex honesto nulla est spes, wherever it prevails, admits no other master; it no sooner speaks than probity and duty lose their weight and blind obedience is the only virtue which slaves can still practice.
From being a movement aiming for universal freedom, communism turned into a system of universal despotism. That is the logic of utopia.
Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement.
The actions of government, we are told, bear down only on imprudent souls who provoke them. The man who resigns himself and keeps silent is always safe. Reassured by this worthless and specious argument, we do not protest against the oppressors. Instead we find fault with the victims. Nobody knows how to be brave even prudentially. Everyone stays silent, keeping his head low in the self-deceiving hope of disarming the powers that be by his silence. People give despotism free access, flattering themselves they will be treated with consideration. Eyes to the ground, each person walks in silence the narrow path leading him safely to the tomb.
A society that robs an individual of the product of his effort, or enslaves him, or attempts to limit the freedom of his mind, or compels him to act against his own rational judgment ... is not, strictly speaking, a society, but a mob held together by institutionalized gang-rule.
The peoples owe all political rights and privileges which we enjoy today in greater or lesser measure, not to the good will of their governments, but to their own strength. One need only study the history of the past three hundred years to understand by what relentless struggles every right has had to be wrested inch by inch from the despots.
Even despotism does not produce its worst effects, so long as individuality exists under it; and whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called, and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.
The right-wing Tories and the conservative Whigs fought Napoleon as the Usurper and the Enemy of the Established Order; the liberal Tories and the radical Whigs fought him as the Betrayer of the Revolution and the Enslaver of Europe; they were all agreed in fighting him, and his notion that their disagreement signified national disunion was mere wishful thinking. All dictators since his time have fallen into the same trap: themselves blind to the values of liberty, they cannot conceive that people who disagree on its meaning can nevertheless unite in upholding their freedoms against patent despotism.
As a nation, we began by declaring that 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it 'all men are created equal, except negroes.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.' When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.
If there is one fact we really can prove, from the history that we really do know, it is that despotism can be a development, often a late development and very often indeed the end of societies that have been highly democratic. A despotism may almost be defined as a tired democracy. As fatigue falls on a community, the citizens are less inclined for that eternal vigilance which has truly been called the price of liberty; and they prefer to arm only one single sentinel to watch the city while they sleep.
Man does not necessarily begin with despotism because he is barbarous, but very often finds his way to despotism because he is civilised. He finds it because he is experienced; or, what is often much the same thing, because he is exhausted
The foremost, or indeed the sole condition, which is required in order to succeed in centralizing the supreme power in a democratic community, is to love equality, or to get men to believe you love it. Thus, the science of despotism, which was once so complex, is simplified, and reduced, as it were, to a single principle.
â€¦egalitarianism and despotism do not exclude each other, but usually go hand in hand. To a certain degree, equality invites despotism, because in order to make all members of a society equal, and then to maintain this equality for a long period of time, it is necessary to equip the controlling institutions with exceptional power so they can stamp out any potential threat to equality in every sector of the society and any aspect of human life: to paraphrase a well-known sentence by one of Dostoyevskyâ€™s characters, â€˜We start with absolute equality and we end up with absolute despotism.â€™ Some call it a paradox of equality: the more equality one wants to introduce, the more power one must have; the more power one has, the more one violates the principle of equality; the more one violates the principle of equality, the more one is in a position to make the world egalitarian.
The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading subjugation on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it: for man is an imitative animal.
The fall of moral civilization has always been brought about by those who were just doing their jobs.
Europeans have sometimes been beguiled by a despotism that comes concealed in the seductive form of an ideal – as it did in the cases of Hitler and Stalin. This fact may remind us that the possibility of despotism is remote neither in space nor in time.
But now I understand something more fully that I once only understood abstractly. I see how utterly ridiculous it is to think that the state can be the right means to help those who are poor or living at the margins of society. The state is their enemy, as it is for everyone else.
No despotism, no privileged monopolies, no police societies, no divine rights of the emirs or feudal landlords or shady priests and sheikhs. All had the same equal footing—the rich and the poor, the noble and the common.