The Useful Idiots of Soft Tyranny

August 11, 2011

Two stories yesterday on the Drudge Report stand out as microcosms of the ever creeping effects of the moral declination of our society; and how they contribute to us succumbing to an ever increasing soft tyranny, as Mark Levin coined it in his best seller “Liberty and Tyranny.” Sure soft tyranny has permeated much of our lives as the ever present march of progressives grows stronger. The election of President Obama has brought about a soft tyranny that is becoming harder and harder each passing day he is in office. But, we sometimes overlook the underbelly of soft tyranny and its effects on society while we are distracted by headline grabbing London riots or angry union protests here at home.

The first story that caught my eye was one that was overlooked by the story of the senseless beatings of two men by violent ‘flash mobs’ over the weekend in Philadelphia. Also in Philadelphia, a bike rider was randomly punched in the face with brass knuckles by a group of teenage boys standing along the bike path. The punch blacked him out, fractured his skull and required stitches. Besides the horrible nature of this attack, what really stood out was the concluding reaction by the victim:

Dean says he believes the city needs to install more cameras, especially along Kelly Drive. Unless the violence is put in check.

The second story is that of a disabled woman in Columbia, South Carolina who upon being offered assistance with her groceries was then pummeled with a can of food and had her wallet stolen. Her reaction is almost commonplace from trusting victims:

Canady said she was grateful when Wilson came over to help, because she’s disabled and has difficulty reaching some items.

“I thought that girl fell right out of heaven,” said Canady. “I needed help this afternoon.”

Now with 19 stitches on her forehead and two black eyes, Canady says the incident was a wake-up call. Next time she won’t be so trusting with strangers who put up a nice front. “I want somebody to ask her why did she want to hurt me,” she said. “I still don’t know it.”

How do these two different stories in two different cities contribute to our lives being overtaken by soft tyranny? How are the useful idiots being used by our progressive leadership as they were by the Marxist-Leninists, the Nazis, and even today by the radical leaders of Islam?

In the first story the victim cries out for more governmental intervention, soft tyranny, with street cameras in hopes that more surveillance will lead to less crime. The unintended consequence of this is more intrusion into our private lives by the government and another contributor to the ‘guilty until proven innocent’ growing mindset. While street cameras are good in theory they erode privacy rights, and some claim they contribute to the perceived apathy of law enforcement who may over-rely on a grid of cameras versus the proven effectiveness of foot patrols. His plea for more cameras reminds me of this Friederich Hayek quote:

‘Emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded

The second story links the two crimes together and begins the slippery-slope of the nefarious methods by progressive to achieve soft tyranny. For soft tyranny to reach into our personal lives as moral beings it must first erode much of our common decency toward our fellow men and women. The heart of our Constitution, and the liberty it grants, is that it relies on a moral populous. Could this example just be dismissed as a random crime? Sure. In fact, it may just be that. Correlation does not imply causation; yet, it is troubling that our President pounds the bully pulpit daily of class warfare, racial inequality and oppression that can be solved if only the rich were not so selfish. Crime and violence is nothing new to our society. But, the scope of the depravity and the lack of randomness of its victims is a trend that can be traced back to the progressive roots of those who want a more centralized government. How’s that Great Society working out for us?

Mark Levin points out in the first chapter of Liberty and Tyranny,

In the civil society [a.k.a. ordered liberty or social contract – ed.], the individual is recognized and accepted as more than an abstract statistic or faceless member of some group; rather, he is a unique, spiritual being with a soul and a conscience. He is free to discover his own potential and pursue his own legitimate interests, tempered, however, by a moral order that has its foundation in faith and guides his life and all human life through the prudent exercise of judgment. As such, the individual in the civil society strives, albeit imperfectly, to be virtuous—that is, restrained, ethical, and honorable. He rejects the relativism that blurs the lines between good and bad, right and wrong, just and unjust, and means and ends. (p.3)

Unique, spiritual, moral order and faith are not conducive to a liberal leadership that is hell-bent on imposing its will upon the people. They need the useful idiots to believe the class warfare drumbeat. They need a sector of society to reject social norms and civility to further their justification for more government, more regulations, more restrictions, and more laws that only harden their grip over this Nation. Examples include the one on one crimes cited, mobs of youths accosting fair goer’s in Wisconsin or college students and unions violently protesting some Capitalist organization for their ‘injustice of the week.’ Adding fuel to the fire every liberal and their mother cries of bomb-strapped ‘tea-party terrorists’ holding America hostage, a tried and true tactic of the left to control the narrative of hate and keep their minions riled up. Think about that last statement. The leftists can’t even call the actual America hating terrorists terrorists! Again from “Liberty and Tyranny,”

… [T]he Statist has an insatiable appetite for control. His sights are set on his next meal even before he has fully digested his last. He is constantly agitating for government action. And in furtherance of that purpose, the Statist speaks in the tongue of a demagogue, concocting one pretext and grievance after another to manipulate public perceptions and build popular momentum for the divestiture of liberty and prosperity from its rightful possessors. The industrious, earnest, and successful are demonized as perpetrators of various offenses against the public good, which justifies governmental intervention on behalf of an endless parade of “victims.” In this way, [both] the perpetrator and the victim are subordinated to the government’s authority—the former by outright theft, the latter by dependent existence. (p.8)

By manufacturing a false schism between the “haves” and the “have-nots” the progressives have set forth on a path of totalitarianism by offering to right this injustice through big government. Most troubling is that the underlying result of this demagoguery is that it encourages those useful idiots to take matters into their own hands until the government can step in to save our society from ourselves. F.A. Hayek warns:

Human envy is certainly not one of the sources of discontent that a free society can eliminate. It is probably one of the essential conditions for the preservation of such a society that we do not countenance envy, not sanction its demands by camouflaging it as social justice, but treat it, in the words of John Stuart Mill, as ‘the most anti-social and evil of all passions.’

The byproduct of this is that law abiding citizens call for more police and more exertion of the government into our lives. We become uncomfortable in our surroundings with very little remedy to turn too. Unknowing to the populace, this only emboldens the centralized planners who seek to use governmental regulation to take away the private property and limit the rights of the hard-working moral individual, the “haves,” to spread around to the victims of our unjust Capitalist society, the “have-nots.” Levin continues:

When living freely and pursuing his own legitimate interests, the individual displays qualities that are antithetical to the Statist’s—initiative, self-reliance, and independence. … [T]he individual must be drained of uniqueness and self-worth, and deterred from independent thought or behavior. This is achieved through varying methods of economic punishment and political suppression. (p.9)

I would take this assertion one step further. That the individual must be drained of self-worth through the outright civil disobedience and violence against his or her person and property by the left-labeled oppressed individuals. We have heard the call for more direct action by liberal leaders from their supporters. First it was Obama during the campaign by encouraging his supporters to get in the face of those who speak ill of their candidate. Then it was the Pelosi led congress who said that healthcare would be passed by any means necessary. Next came Wisconsin teachers and Democratic senators abandoning their classrooms and constituents in unrestrained protest. We are seeing enraged protests by union goons on the lawns of private residences. ACORN, and other progressive groups are calling for more radical actions against banks in hopes of collapsing the ‘system,’ that by their definition, ‘keeps them down.’ Now it is violent and disruptive flash mobs who prey on the liberal group-think of injustice at the hand of the oppressive rich and greedy. They preach that entitlements to wealth, health and housing are a right, and that you should get more if only the rich would pay their fair share. Besides being an integral part of the Communist Manifesto and the evil screed The Coming Insurrection, all these beliefs only lead to discontent and moral decay from those whom should embrace the liberties and opportunities available. Instead what our progressive leaders have learned is that these useful idiots are the invisible army that will assist in bringing about centralization and more control of the people through coercion and the decaying values of our Constitutional society.

In conclusion, it is not just soft tyranny the liberal progressives want, it is a totalitarian utopia that ultimately will dictate every aspect of our lives. Societal values will not matter as individualism and responsibility will be replaced by Statism and self-worth gauged on what the government allows us to do. Once again, Mark Levin says it best:

The Modern Liberal believes in the supremacy of the state, thereby rejecting the principles of the Declaration and the order of the civil society, in whole or part. For the Modern Liberal, the individual’s imperfection and personal pursuits impede the objective of a utopian state. In this, Modern Liberalism promotes what French historian Alexis de Tocqueville described as a soft tyranny, which becomes increasingly more oppressive, potentially leading to a hard tyranny (some form of totalitarianism). (p.4)

Anyone up for a violent flash-mob or London style riot?

John Lunardini

Note: A thank you to Mark Levin and “Liberty and Tyranny” and to F.A. Hayek




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