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My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs) … The most improper job of any man … is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.
J. R. R. Tolkien, in a letter to his son Christopher Tolkien (29 November 1943)
While looking for a quote to describe the spiraling madness of the recent lockdowns, I noticed something interesting. The classical view of tyranny was the ruler unbound by laws and higher authority. (“Between a tyrant and a prince there is this single or chief difference, that the latter obeys the law and rules the people by its dictates, accounting himself as but their servant.” John of Salisbury in the 12th century) The noble king, worthy of obedience, serves God and obeys the law. The tyrant acknowledges no power above himself. We sometimes see this in the current crisis – witness Chicago’s mayor getting a haircut during the lockdown, or Gov. Beshear persecuting the Church and violating the constitution – but the problem here is something different.
While taking the train to visit family, I noticed the well-labeled, clearly-marked emergency brake handles. Next to each of them were signs indicating the legal liability for using them improperly. It is just as vital that the capability is there as it is vital that it should never be used lightly, for fear of the consequences. There are plenty of similar cases, including ejection seat handles, fire alarms, and the nuclear football. Similarly, we have some powers in our society that are labeled “IN CASE OF EMERGENCY BREAK GLASS”, and it is important to have them. If America was faced with an invasion, an ongoing actual natural catastrophe, or something else horrifying, we can temporarily engage the emergency measures, even though we know it will have its own risk and costs. That is how most people understand these powers, but not everyone.
What some people see here is not a disaster, but an opportunity. They sprinted to hit the big red button as soon as they had the opportunity. For these evil, horrible people, this epidemic nightmare is their dream come true.
It’s understandable, really. Everyone desires power of some sort. However, those who are not humble enough to know their own limitations are usually constrained by the knowledge that no one will tolerate this for long. Eventually, people will turn against their fantasy of absolute power brought to life. But these lockdown addicts apparently believe they can get away with it, or are having too fun getting their oppression on. They need to be reminded – if this use of power is not justified and directly related to the crisis, as our editor says, it undermines the very foundation of government.
Remember this on Election Day, if not sooner, and begin preparing tar, feathers, and a rail.Published in