On Despotism and The Freedom Continuum

Imperfect America wonders about despotic governments and how far our own government has moved in that direction:

In the absence of government, anarchy sets in. In the presence of an all powerful government you have totalitarianism. In both cases a man’s attention must be focused on attending to the immediacies necessary for survival. In the former, dangers can be found around any corner as everyone fends for themselves. In the latter, dangers can be found around every corner as the government controls and sees all.


At what point does a government cross the threshold to be considered totalitarian? If it stops you from speaking? If it stops you from reading or writing books? If it stops you from practicing your religion? Most people would answer yes… obviously. What about if it decides it can tell you how and where you must spend your money? What if it seizes citizen’s property on a whim without providing you with just compensation? What if it suggests you might be a threat to national security simply because you once served in its military? What if it makes laws then exempts its friends from obeying them? If the government can do just about anything it wants, is it any less totalitarian just because its stormtroopers are not yet kicking down your door?

Anarchy and totalitarianism are the opposite ends of the freedom continuum. We move away from anarchy to preserve and protect ourselves, but others usually choose for us to move toward greater totalitarianism to preserve and protect the power which they have accrued.

Entropy helps with the move away from freedom. Human nature helps with the move away from freedom. History tells us that the move away from freedom is the story of essentially every government which has ever been in existence.

To fight for the return to freedom which this country was founded upon requires us to go up against entropy, against human nature, against history itself. If we believe that the struggles of our nation’s founding were worth the freedoms which we and our forbears have enjoyed, then there is no question now that continuing the struggle for freedom will be worth it to our children and our children’s children.

To use a current expression, they paid it forward. Are we doing the same?