4.5 – OBEDIENCE to Tyrants due to:- Self-interest (2 of 10)

April 5th, 2012

This is Ethiopian Review Policy Research Center’s series on From Dictatorship to Democracy extracted/quoted from books and articles published by Albert Einstein Institution and similar sources.


Civil disobedience. . . is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience

“When large profits or small are obtained under a tyrant, there are found almost as many people to whom tyranny seems advantageous as those to whom liberty would seem desirable. . . . Whenever a ruler makes himself a tyrant, all the wicked scum of the nation … all those who are corrupted by burning ambition or extraordinary avarice, these gather around him and support him in order to have a share in the booty and to constitute themselves petty chiefs under the big tyrant.”

There are many people who may say they intensely dislike their oppressor, yet they actively support him. Examining the role of self-interest and personal rewards that are available to those who support the tyrant adequately explains this paradox.

For example, what personal rewards are given to members of the armed forces for complying with unpopular or even brutal policies?
Promotions, decorations, prestige, special privileges, or retirement income may be factors.

In a state controlled economy where most people are employed by the government, it is in the person’s interest not to lose his job, since there may not be any alternative employment.
Others may gain significant financial rewards for supporting a regime.

We should not condemn everyone who supports the tyrant out of self-interest. Each person has his own reasons for doing so.
Many believe there is no other alternative.

Our challenge is demonstrate that it may be in their self-interest to disobey. “…..Tyrants would distribute largesse, a bushel of wheat, a gallon of wine, and a sesterce: and then everybody would shamelessly cry, “Long live the King!” The fools did not realize that they were merely recovering a portion of their own property, and that their ruler could not have given them what they were receiving without having first taken it from them.”

To view the How Civil Disobedience Movements Dissole the Power of the Tyrants, WATCH THE SHORT UTUBE REPORT BELOW: