By Brandon Smith
All people seek to control their environment to a certain degree. They want a reliable level of management over their world, and to remove whatever doubts they might have about their survival in the future. If they can, people will take measures to remove any potential pain or struggle and establish a life of perpetual comfort. The easy road is the dream for most, and in order to get it human beings see power as a formidable tool.
I’m exploring this common condition because I want to make it clear that almost ALL PEOPLE desire power to a degree. Sometimes this even means controlling the actions of others to prevent them from disrupting the oasis of comfort we construct around us. Sometimes there are destructive people that we feel we are forced to inhibit and cage in self defense. And still other times, we try to control those around us out of irrational fear.
The tyrannical mindset is not exclusive to the Stalins, Maos and Hitlers of history, it is a deep rooted shadow that lurks in the majority of us at times. It is this condition that political tyrants try to exploit to their advantage, because no authoritarian government can ever be successful without the help of millions of little tyrants supporting them. They find a way to feed our desire for control and predictability while simultaneously enslaving us.
The point is, tyrants need us. We all have a little dash of tyranny in our souls; we are linked, but we are different.
This is not to say that order in itself is evil or that social structures are inherently oppressive. People need boundaries because not all people are good or sane; some are vicious, some are lazy, some are crazy, some are incompetent and some are dishonest and they drag the rest of us down. Anarchy is not the solution, but neither is totalitarianism. It’s all about who sets the boundaries and how.
This is where we uncover a specific human element that is obsessively attracted to control, not because they are afraid, and not because they want comfort, but because they enjoy the feeling of power. They are addicted to it. I’m speaking specifically about narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths; they are members of our species but they are lacking the key psychological traits that make us human, such as empathy, conscience, imagination, love and shame. In almost every case of government gone wrong it is because these types of people were able to slither into positions of authority and take advantage.
Despite the exaggerated depictions in movies and TV, your average psychopath is not all that complex or interesting – The fact of their existence is interesting, but as people they tend to be boring. The idea of them is fascinating because they are a biological anomaly, an evolutionary mistake or maybe a spiritual deformity. Around 1% of any given population is prone to psychopathy and an even smaller percentage are high functioning psychopaths that are adept at hiding their monstrous natures.
Most average psychopaths eventually end up in prison or involved in an endless succession of life failures. They can’t get it together and maintain relationships and build a normal life because they are too self obsessed and dangerous and eventually the people around them notice. These types of people are what I would call the “little tyrants.” They seem to rise to the surface of society when times are desperate; when people are distracted by crisis is when psychopaths feel it’s safe to show their true natures.
For example, during the covid pandemic lockdowns and the government attempts to introduce draconian vax mandates the little tyrants were everywhere. They just appeared out of the ether and swirled around the authoritarian vortex like it was a feeding frenzy. They took pleasure in the opportunity to order others around about masks and vaccines and “social distancing,” even though none of these measures made ANY difference whatsoever to the spread of covid or the rather minor median Infection Fatality Rate of 0.23%.
They were being tossed scraps from the table of power and they savored every minute of it. The real science wasn’t on their side, but they didn’t care; the media and the government were on their side and that’s all that mattered. They were happy to be used as weapons against other citizens that just wanted to be free.
Beyond the symbiotic (or maybe parasitic) relationship between big tyrants and little tyrants, there are a set of standards that have to be met for tyranny to be successful: