Tyranny

Two incidents have been taking place over the last two weeks on which I haven’t written a single word – in Iran and in West Bengal. That’s because injustice at an individual level affects me more than one at the “thousands of people” level. Meaning I can sympathize with the agitators in Iran, and Lalgadh, but it doesn’t affect me deeply – I don’t get as agitated as I do in cases where the State uses force against an individual or a small group of individuals.

Well, I just wanted to link to this article

Iranians who voted for Mir Hossein Mousavi, only to see their votes disregarded, now discover their country is ruled by an organized-crime gang that is prepared to use any means to maintain its grip.

That comparison may be unfair—to the Mafia, which at least doesn’t compound brutality with deceit by claiming to administer the will of God or act in the best interests of its victims. The difference between a despot and a gangster is that a gangster is seldom hypocritical.

Hypocrisy, it has been said, is the tribute vice pays to virtue. Even the most vicious tyrants feel a compulsion to masquerade as servants of the people, by holding sham elections, writing meaningless constitutions, and setting up Potemkin courts. But when they begin to believe their own propaganda, they are often disabused of the fantasy.

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  • K. M.  On June 26, 2009 at 1:51 am

    “That’s because injustice at an individual level affects me more than one at the “thousands of people” level.”
    Yes, that is part of the reason for my lack of reaction to the alleged attrocities in Sri Lanka. But I am not fully sure why that is. As I wrote in my post, I think it is because I regard places where such mass injustice happens as badly sub-human in the first place. Thoughts?

    • Aristotle The Geek  On June 26, 2009 at 11:45 am

      I haven’t thought about this too deeply, but I’ll try to list out some reasons why I feel the way I do.
      * Individuals being at the receiving end of injustice hits closer to home because we ourselves are individuals first, part of some wider group later – I feel vulnerable because one does not have to do anything “illegal” before being subjected to arbitrary action.
      * In these mass protests, “wars” etc, I cannot always identify specific cases. We are looking at an abstraction. Same is the case with millions of children dying of malnutrition, or people dying of something as easily manageable as malaria. I am unable to “feel” for an abstraction, though I know what’s going on is bad.
      * The idea you refer to, the sub-humanity of it all, is true in some cases, but not all. I recollect that you think its difficult to care about the fate of people who don’t care about their own lives – the case of the Sri Lankan civilians.

      But take the case of Tiananmen. China is still a relatively closed society. However, the students did come out to protest twenty years ago. They fought for their rights; many died. As I said, I understand the protest, I can empathize with the many nameless protesters, but I don’t “feel” – the protest, and the subsequent massacre is an abstraction for me. What I do feel for? The law professor who has been shunted out to China’s equivalent of Siberia, as the BBC called it, for dissenting. I don’t remember his name, but I did see him talk – teach, suffer because of an “idea.” And people like him.

      I would say the same thing about the Holocaust. Unless I can put a face to an event, I can only empathize. Even if a face does appear, my “deep” sympathy will be limited to such a face.

      I think that is the answer – abstractions. Every thing else seems to be secondary in nature. Does the fact that there is only so much humans can bear psychologically have anything to do with it? Maybe. But I will go with the abstraction theory.

  • K. M.  On June 27, 2009 at 12:44 am

    “I think that is the answer – abstractions”
    So you are saying you need concrete details to fully sympathize. Yes, that is probably the most significant factor.
    “the sub-humanity of it all, is true in some cases, but not all.”
    I agree. Especially after your recent post on Carl Menger. That rational individuals existed and could not prevent their world from being taken over despite their best efforts is proof that sub-humanity need not be universal.

  • blr_p  On June 27, 2009 at 1:46 am

    That’s because injustice at an individual level affects me more than one at the “thousands of people” level.

    Isn’t this a contradiction ?

    An injustice can ONLY affect “thousands of people” by starting at an individual level and buiding onwards.

    Individuals get beaten up which stymies the movement and ultimately “thousands of people” lose out.

    You have no qualms criticising govt. on other matters so why is this any different ?

    • Aristotle The Geek  On June 27, 2009 at 2:36 am

      Its not a contradiction. I don’t say the government is right, or that I don’t care. Only that I don’t care so much that it makes me want to write four paragraphs on the subject. Its just one (or two) more political protest which doesn’t agitate me so much that I write my regular post slamming everyone in sight. On why that is so, psychologically speaking, refer to my comment above.

  • jjoshuajj21  On May 19, 2010 at 7:39 am

    Injustice creates crime, and Injustice creates terrorism, and the the perpetrators of crime and injustice is the judiciary. At the end of my case/petition, there is a decoded message hidden in an ancient text, it’s about judges and injustice, and you will like what it reveals >>>> http://amurderconspiracy.wordpress.com/ <<<<

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