There have been countless articles, editorials and books about the oppression of certain governments on their people. From the Machiavellian, to the “good dictators”, to the most evil “Draconian”, to the more modern systems of control (technological age) using complex socio-economic structures, we have theorized how best these types of governments should exercise control by means of laws. In doing so, we have legitimized government statehood, and thought it best to keep the citizens of the state subordinate to the political elite. However, in opposing certain forms of control exercised by government nowadays, we tend to look at the issue of fear from the perspective of the people, only. Let’s now look at the fear that people strike casually against those atop the legal and social hierarchy of society on a daily basis.
The more fear a government strikes against its people, the more it fears its people. Tyrannical governments are generally more fearful and paranoid than their people in any society, although they hide it very well. Their leaders have more to lose and have arguably spent more time and hardship to reach that point of social status in society (unless you were an heir to a thrown, of course, then little effort was needed). They struggle for years at times and sometimes endure prison sentences, forced to be exiles, or simply labelled and condemned as outlaws of society.
Depending on their personal predispositions, some aspiring political leaders become fighters for freedom and strive for something beyond themselves. But once they reach that stage, it seems they become intoxicated by their own words and lose purpose. Furthermore, as we all know, not all of us are perfect individuals and we are not fully immune to self-indulgence and material gain. Thus, political leaders may strike fear into the eyes of their people knowing full well, exactly how much there is to lose. They may constantly be reminded of their painful past, and will do anything to protect themselves and their families from experiencing those pains again in the future.
Another point to remember is that it is not only dictatorships that cause leaders to use force and evil mechanisms of control to remain in power. In countries that have laws that protect the rights of ordinary citizens, it becomes difficult for leaders to use their powers to directly strike fear in the eyes of their people. However, they do use instead the “external threat” strategy or policy, which is used by many countries in the developed world as a means to suppress internal dissent or disunity in order to better achieve their political objectives.
Whether it is a dictatorship or a democracy, in the end, each political leader has his or her own agenda, so does each political party, and finally each country in furthering and solidifying their security and power. Within this dynamic, power breeds totalitarianism or, effectively, the need for supreme authority. In other words, there will always be the need to gain more power, constantly. This feeling that one must gain more power in order to guarantee their security and the security of the nation comes from fear.
But one must remember that the people do strike fear in the eyes of their leaders more so than one might think. The people are always more powerful than they think they are. Whether a political leader is a “dictator”, or a democratically elected leader, their job becomes heavy. They must carefully uphold a political system, maintain and protect a reputation, provide a future for their children, whether or not they remain in power; have on the back of their minds that any day, ‘I may be betrayed, setup, plotted against or assassinated!’
Ever wonder why US Presidents’ hair go grey so fast?