Tyranny Prevention Starts With You

A lot of us fear that the big changes happening in America are for the worst. Many on the Left are convinced soft-core fascism has crept into our institutions and been smuggled into our laws, and they fear the possibility that conditions will deteriorate. On the Right, many fear that the federal government, more than ever, is infringing on their liberties.

There’s plenty of evidence that democracy has been weakened since the 1980s, including the growing role of corporate money in politics, the ascendency of the military-security state, the suppression of human rights under the Patriot Act, the high rate of prisoner incarceration, and the relentless pursuit of empire.

A tyrannical leadership could indeed seize power in America. But it’s self-defeating for people to live in fear of that possibility. If we spend time in fear, we’re in danger of facilitating that vile prospect. Fear arises, whether on the Left or the Right, largely out of a sense of powerlessness, passivity, and an unconscious temptation to indulge in the the feeling that the worst is going to happen.

It obviously doesn’t pay, as an example, to go around worrying about getting cancer. Worry and anxiety in itself can help bring on the disease. Instead, we try our best to live a healthy lifestyle, and keep cancer at bay through our own vitality, sense of purpose, and ability to enjoy life, even with all its trials and imperfections.

What does healthy living involve in the context of our citizenship and our desire to defeat stealth tyranny? Prevention, not fear, is the antidote.

Prevention is first and foremost a matter of how we feel about ourselves. Each of us can strive to cultivate the belief that we have the power to make sure tyranny doesn’t develop in America. A reader might ask, “Are you talking about little, inconsequential me?” Yes, you are the most important person standing in the way of tyranny. Let me explain.

If you believe in the common good, you understand that a richer happiness depends on the quality of the relationships we have with one another. We know that each of us can contribute significantly to a greater good. When one of us realizes his potential, we all benefit. When he doesn’t, we’re all poorer for it.

Many people associate their happiness with social progress. It’s entirely reasonable of us, of course, to want the human race to practice higher levels of justice, tolerance, and peacefulness. If we believe in the need for human evolution, it follows logically that we also must believe in the importance of our own self-development and our capacity to grow in wisdom and generosity. We would be hypocritical if we were to insist that others make personal improvements while believing we were somehow beyond that need.

We can’t reasonably expect society to get better without our full participation. Evolvement requires that we discover sources from within us of our intrinsic value, goodness, intelligence, freedom, courage, integrity, and power. It all adds up to the fearless feeling that, if tyranny were ever to take root here, it would be over your dead body.

Through this way of thinking and feeling, we shift out of helplessness and angry frustration to the powerful emotional or moral position of taking personal responsibility for what's not working. We're empowered by believing in our own value and the significance of our humblest efforts.

Now, obviously, not everybody in America or the world is going to acquire this kind of grounding in self-esteem. Don’t worry that millions of us, maybe a majority, will go along with the old, weary paradigm, continuing to live through a wide disconnect from personal value and power. You’re more conscious. You’re part of the revolution in consciousness. You’re the one stopping tyranny from developing in America.

How do you break through the illusion that you don’t have what it takes? Here’s one tip: If you so choose, you can feel intense fulfillment in savoring the quality of your awareness, instead of letting your awareness of how bad things are tempt you to feel helpless and defeated. You simply make an inner shift and hold on to that good feeling. It’s like seeing a vibrant image in an optical illusion that you were never able to see before.

You can feel great pleasure in doing your best. Steer clear of the temptation to dwell on the passive feeling that progress is happening too slowly. This is a revolutionary time, and things are actually happening very fast. Don’t cop out and don’t be overwhelmed. It’s your chance to be a hero and a patriot who shows your toughness and persistence.