War and Peace, Freedom and Tyranny

by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer

When I was a child, I asked a childish question. Why do people obey the government? After all, the people outside of government outnumber those inside the government. How can so few people force so many people to obey them?

Just as soon as I began to understand the rudiments of representative government, I became aware of something called a dictatorship. I learned that there was a place called the USSR (now Russia) where one man could command the entire nation. I also learned that there had been a man named Hitler who commanded all of Germany, and led it to utter ruin and desolation, after which its starving people survived only at the mercy of the families of those whom German armies had killed in war.

While the question changed, it never really went away. How is it possible that, in a nation of millions of people, one man can become the all powerful leader?

We’re all aware of the basic principles involved. That sole man is able to surround himself with a few ruthless accomplices, and then through deceit, treachery and violence, he slowly increases his cohort until he can place selected individuals into certain key places of power: banks, schools, the military, police, news media and so forth.

Eventually, a tipping point is reached, after which any dissent can be quickly and brutally crushed. Word gets out, that if you oppose the leader, you die, after which terrible things happen to your family. Fear sets in, until there is no longer any significant opposition to the leader’s commands.

One irony of this is that the people who feared to die in the name of righteous opposition, now die in the furtherance of the leader’s power. Instead of being killed by the leader for opposing him, the people are killed by the leader’s policies for following him. The families also suffer, often horribly. Either way, it’s death.

This forces the question, why not oppose tyranny from the very outset, before it can achieve such dreadful power? Why be afraid to die in the cause of righteous opposition, when the alternative is death in the cause of the very tyranny that will kill us all anyway?

Part of the answer is that dying defiantly is done today, while dying obediently is done tomorrow. It seems better to live that one extra day, in the faint hope that tomorrow will somehow bring the end of the tyranny, in which case, death and suffering can be put off until old age.

American men died at the very outset of the Revolutionary War. At Lexington, Concord and on Breed’s Hill, men died on the very first day of those lost battles, battles which would, however, lead to a victorious war. Somewhere, some American warrior was the first one killed in the long and painful conflict that would bring liberty to the new nation.

He need not have done so. He could instead, had he so chosen, remained at home with his wife and children, tending the farm or shop which put food on the family table. He could have chosen to live a long and prosperous life, while others suffered and died in his place.

Had he chosen the easy path, then the next man in line would have faced the same choice, and he too could have chosen to live instead of to risk his life. And one by one, so could all twenty-five thousand of the American soldiers who perished in the coming few years. They could all have lived, not in freedom, but under tyranny, they and their children.

Instead, they fought. They suffered terribly. Many died, not only of bullets and bayonettes, but more often of disease, and from bitterly cold weather.

Because of the choice those men made, we live in freedom today. And yet, we also face the same choice. Our freedom has never been free. It has always demanded a very high price.

Today, our freedom is once again at risk, both from abroad and at home.

Over the years, those in power have accumulated ever vaster numbers of accomplices to aid them in expanding their power. Eventually, a tipping point will be reached, the point at which, to dissent is to die.

On that day, I will choose to resist, by peaceful means if possible, but otherwise, by whatever means are necessary to the preservation of liberty. It’s easy for me, for I am old. I weep for the children, for the young men, and for the women to be widowed during those terrible days, and for the children to be orphaned and enslaved.

If we are to avoid such horror, we have but little time to return Constitutional power to the people. We have little time, for we no longer govern ourselves, but are ruled by overlords who find it too much trouble to read the laws which they vote upon, laws which they must pass to find out what is in them. They take care only to exempt themselves from the onerous burdens which they place on us. The tipping point will soon be reached, and on that day, to dissent will be to die.

If the Republic is not yet dead, it is on its deathbed, unless we rescue it, and reclaim the powers that the Constitution says are ours. It will not be easy to do so. It will be agonizingly difficult and painful.

The consequences of not doing it will be unimaginably worse.

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