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Tyranny

  • There is an interesting resemblance in the speeches of dictators, no matter what country they may hail from or what language they may speak.

  • People who disagree with His Excellency, the President for Life and 'Chief of Chiefs,' are frequently found to be the victims of car crashes (their bodies mysteriously riddled with bullets); or dead in their beds of heart attacks (their bodies mysteriously riddled with bullets); or the recipients of some not-quite-fresh seafood (their bodies mysteriously riddled with bullets).

  • From all around the Third World, / You hear the same story: / Rulers / Asleep to all things at / All times - / Conscious only of / Riches, which they gather in a / Coma - / Intravenously.

  • When you stop a dictator there are always risks. But there are greater risks in not stopping a dictator.

  • In my view dictators do not surrender. They have to be well and truly defeated.

  • Thought ... is still possible, and no doubt actual, wherever men live under the conditions of political freedom. Unfortunately ... no other human capacity is so vulnerable, and it is in fact far easier to act under conditions of tyranny than it is to think.

  • ... truth ... is the first casualty of tyranny.

  • ... tyranny and injustice always produce cunning and falsehood.

  • ... all social relations exist and grow in the human mind. That one despot can rule over a million other men rests absolutely on their state of mind. They believe that he does; let them change their minds, and he does not.

  • Once you get a tyranny, you don't easily get rid of it. Much better to remember about eternal vigilance.

  • The dictator is also the scapegoat; in assuming absolute authority, he assumes absolute guilt; and the oppressed masses, groaning under the yoke, know themselves to be innocent as lambs, while they pray hypocritically for deliverance.

    • Mary McCarthy,
    • "Ghostly Father, I Confess," in Mary Louise Aswell, ed., It's a Woman's World ()
  • Every benevolent mind revolts at the Idea of Foreign powers forcing a Ruler upon a Nation, the majority of which reject him.

    • Abigail Adams,
    • letter (1787), in John P. Kaminski, The Quotable Abigail Adams ()
  • There's a tedious sameness about tyranny ...

  • Every dictator uses religion as a prop to keep himself in power.

  • It is an illusion to suppose that a Dictator makes himself; at most he seizes an opportunity made for him by passive, stupid, incompetent, and above all, unsatisfied and fearful men.

  • ... none can be Tyrants but Cowards.

  • Power, when invested in the hands of knaves or fools, generally is the source of tyranny ...

  • The more complete the despotism, the more smoothly all things move on the surface.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1 ()
  • He was, so to speak, the most excellent of tyrants; his sway was absolute, but he used it well. ... both wife and children were affectionately inclined toward him — for some people are happiest in being thus ruled; it takes away so much moral responsibility.

  • The doctrine of blind obedience and unqualified submission to any human power, whether civil or ecclesiastical, is the doctrine of despotism ...

  • Fear has always been the driving force behind all dictators' repression.