There are numerous factors that determine this outcome, but through all the various totalitarian systems in history there are common denominators - elements that must be there for tyrants to prevail.
When we can identify
these common elements in an objective manner, we make it far more
difficult for despotic structures to stand.
It is one of the few
cases in which I would encourage people to "otherize" another group.
Tyrants are psychologically abnormal to such an
extreme that is is difficult to classify them as human.
They are present in about 5% to 10% of any society at any given time. In the vast majority of cases, these traits remain "latent" and do not affect a person's actions or relationships to a great extent. In a minority of cases, however, narcissism and sociopathy become the defining factors of a person's psyche.
This occurs in less that
1% of a population.
What I am referring to
here are HIGH LEVEL narcissistic sociopaths - the kind of
people that become murderers, rapists, pedophiles, and yes, tyrants.
They are incapable of empathy for others and see people as a kind of food and fuel source rather than fellow travelers in life. They consider their lack of conscience as an evolutionary advantage:
You would think these creatures would be easy to pick out in a crowd, but it is not always so simple.
They have the ability to mimic behaviors of those around them in order to appear more human. Sometimes this does give them away because they can't help but parrot or steal behaviors and mannerisms from people they meet to the point of obviousness.
For those inexperienced
with narcissistic sociopaths, though, the tactic works for a
time, because what people think they see is someone just like them;
a reflection. Imagine it as a survival mechanism, like a chameleon.
Thus, these "people" seek
to create chaos, and then to reorder society to act more like they
act, or think more like they think. When the masses have been
convinced to abandon conscience, then the monsters can come out into
the light of day without fear.
The most dangerous assumption when it comes to tyranny is to say,
The question that needs
to be asked, though, is are they really "right" according to the
facts? If the answer is "no," then they are probably fueling a
This bias is the root of
many catastrophes in history.
This is where tyrannical
manipulators tend to help them along.
In this state of mind, when individuals melt together into a mob, assumptions become cult dictates and "winning" becomes paramount.
False assumptions and
biases can be used to turn normal upstanding people into monsters,
all because they refused to accept that their ideological position
was flawed; all because they were afraid to feel embarrassed or
admit they had been conned.
Even when people are entirely honest about the facts on hand and agree on basic principles of human decency and freedom, they will STILL disagree on what solutions should be used to deal with the problems in front of them.
This creates a spectrum within society that is ever present; it cannot be helped or avoided.
Tyrants understand the
basis of this spectrum and try to use it to their advantage to
manipulate people away from thoughtful discourse and towards
Tyrants then use them to
drive the spectrum to the furthest opposites, until both sides adopt
an attitude of zealotry.
Zealotry happens when a
person embraces an ideology to the point that it overrides their
personality and their soul, and they are no longer able to think
clearly as an individual. This includes considering the possibility
that they are on the wrong side of history and morality.
The threat of civil breakdown and economic suffering helps. Ideological opponents must be painted as an imminent and vile threat to the very fabric of society.
In some cases they are a
real and created threat (controlled opposition); in other cases they
are a paper tiger meant to drive another group to support tyrannical
If a person does not conform to the views of the zealot, then he
must be immediately treated as a threat. This causes an endless echo
chamber which destroys all dissent or disagreement, no matter how
And as some nerd somewhere once said,
Apathy breeds complacency and inaction, and it also encourages delusional thinking. Apathetic people tend towards the philosophy of pacifism as a means to vindicate their own behavior, but this is merely a mask designed to hide their fear.
They might fear
suffering, they might fear loss, they might fear failure, but they
certainly have fear, and it stops them from standing in the way of
developments that they know are evil in nature and that require an
Tyrants conjure scenarios in which the public is made to believe positive "change" is about to take place, usually through politics. But, there will be no change for the better beyond the cosmetic. Things only get worse.
In this process of
conditioning, tyrants raise up the hopes of the masses, and then
dash them to the ground over and over, until the public gives up.
Stepping outside the
constraints of that game requires us to take matters into our own
hands rather than waiting around for others to make changes for us.
It requires risk. If the farce of tyranny is to ever end, all awake
and aware people will have to take many risks.
This is the pinnacle of
the pathetic mindset. It is the dark void of nihilism.
If tyranny is a human
constant, then rebellion must also be a human constant, otherwise,
humanity dies or is turned into something unrecognizable.