Is this grim prophecy what America is in for?
It is a scenario all too familiar to historians. A given society becomes chaotic. Its economy impoverishes the ordinary citizen, stealing away hope. Crime becomes rampant, instilling fear. Corrupt government officials, instead of remedying the problems, make them worse. Wealthy landowners take refuge behind walls secured by armed guards. Basic rules of civil discourse are trampled, as each faction vilifies the other and, soon, physically attacks them. The military begins, perhaps reasonably, to fear the possibility of foreign invasion, but then itself seeks targets to attack.
For some societies, this is the end, as they fragment and dissolve into obscurity, becoming the footnotes in history books.
For others, the opportunity is ripe for a would-be dictator to take over. Indeed, the public clamors for just such a man, the archetypal "strongman," the one who promises to keep the trains running on time, and the subsidy checks as well. There is no shortage of such men, and a contest among them ensues. The winner emerges, having crushed all rivals, surrounding himself with acolytes willing and able to carry out his decrees.
Almost inevitably, this last man standing is the worst of the lot, the most ambitious and ruthless, whose talents for controlling a society are both Machiavellian and Orwellian. He plays all the factions of society against each other, thus weakening them and making them dependent on him.
The people have gotten that which they demanded: him whom they have ensconced permanently in power. After a brief period of celebration and optimism, the dictator consolidates his support structure, and then he quickly turns against his former allies, who soon realize their grave error, but too late. From that moment, the nightmare begins. The clever despot arranges just enough bread and circuses to misdirect any serious attempts to overthrow him, but otherwise, he drops all pretense of benevolence.
Dissidents are identified and neutralized, whether by imprisonment, death, or other means. If one man resists, his entire family is punished. If his family resists, the entire village is cruelly demolished. Rebels soon learn the brutal lesson, which is that one slip of the tongue brings down the treachery of his fellows, even those who hate the tyrant as much as he does.
There is a common saying regarding financial crimes: "people kill for that kind of money." It applies even more so to absolute power. Those who lust for it tend to be sociopaths, utterly without conscience, mercy, or pity for anyone. Josef Stalin, when informed by his staff that his son, Yakov, had been captured by the Nazis, is said to have replied, "Yakov? I have no son Yakov."
America is now on the cusp of an internal violent uprising. Often it has been pointed out that, once America goes down the dead-end road of tyranny, there is no one on the planet willing and able to rescue us. We stand alone.
Everything has now been reduced to deception and force. The lines are drawn. The suffering is increasing, along with the desperation it produces.
Our Founders understood the dynamics of revolution, when they said, as penned by Thomas Jefferson: "Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable," than to rebel. Eventually, however, the limit is reached, and then a spark sets off a chain of events beyond human control.
Image via Good Free Photos.