Fear and Tyranny

‘Fear not Tyranny but the lack of courage to stand against.’

Too many people are only willing to defend rights that are personally important to them. It’s selfish ignorance, and it’s exactly why totalitarian governments are able to get away with trampling on people. Freedom does not mean freedom just for the things I think I should be able to do. Freedom is for all of us. If people will not speak up for other people’s rights, there will come a day when they will lose their own. – Tony Lawrence (apl@world.std.com) 12/28/95

In Germany they first came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was nobody left to speak up. – Reverend Martin Niemoller, Germany, 1930’s

No constitution, no court, no law can save liberty when it dies in the hearts and minds of men. – John Perkins

“In the United States Senate, one of the things I observed in the early days – and it’s still used – and that is that you take someone’s argument and then you misrepresent it and misstate and disagree with it. And it’s very effective. I’ve done it myself a number of times. But eventually, eventually people catch on.” -Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, speaking at the National Press Club in Washington

Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom. – Alexis de Tocqueville – “Democracy in America” (1835)

The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do. It is the freedom to refrain, withdraw and abstain which makes a totalitarian regime impossible. – Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind, p 176, 1955

The people of Asia were slaves, because they had not learned how to pronounce the word ‘no’. – Winston Churchill (citing Alexander the Great), in a radio address – 10/16/1938

“The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”
― Karl Marx

Courage, also called fortitude, is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation. It can be divided into “physical courage” — in face of physical pain, hardship, and threat of death — and “moral courage” — in the face of shame, scandal, and discouragement.

“Do remember, though, that sometimes the people you oppress become mightier than you would like.”
― Veronica RothInsurgent

Courage is also known as fortitude, it is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation! It can be divided into physical courage in the face of physical pain, hardship and the threat of death and moral courage in the face of shame, scandal and discouragement.  As a virtue, courage is covered extensively in Aristotles Nicomachean Ethics, it’s vice of deficiency brings cowardice and it’s vice of excess brings recklessness.

True courage…has so little to do with Anger, that there lies always the strongest Suspicion against it, where this Passion is highest. The true Courage is the cool and calm. The bravest of Men have the least of a brutal bullying Insolence; and in the very time of Danger are found the most serene, pleasant, and free. Rage, we know, can make a Coward forget himself and fight. But what is done in Fury, or Anger, can never be plac’d to the account of Courage.

Discovering our inner courage is something which presents a different challenge to every one of us because we are all unique and different; we have different fears, different strengths and different weaknesses.   Contrary to popular opinion, courage is not the absence of fear; it is the decision to take action in spite of your fears.  By the way, most of the fears which people have are nothing more than an undeveloped skill set which we have yet to master.  There are good fears, such as those which make us cautious when faced with people, places or things which pose a legitimate danger; and there are unfounded fears such as the fear of failure which can be overcome by taking intelligent action.  Weakness is nothing more than a mental ability or physical muscle set which is undeveloped; weakness can be overcome with exercise in the form of taking action!

“Leaders who do not act dialogically, but insist on imposing their decisions, do not organize the people–they manipulate them. They do not liberate, nor are they liberated: they oppress.”
― Paulo FreirePedagogy of the Oppressed

“I Learned That Courage Was Not The Absence of Fear, But The Triumph Over It. The Brave Man Is Not He Who Does Not Feel Afraid, But He Who Conquers That Fear” Great men and women throughout history have understood courage: I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”– Nelson Mandela

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