The Quote by Thomas Paine on Tyranny
“The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes” – Thomas Paine on Tyranny
When the above quotation by Thomas Paine on tyranny popped up on my Instagram feed, I immediately knew that I had to write about it. Lots of what I cover on this blog relates to liberty, tyranny, Big Government, and gun rights, all of which tie into the theme Paine is getting at.
What is that theme? The idea that tyranny isn’t usually framed, or even immediately seen, as a foreboding, malevolent force. Instead, it’s often seen as a cure for society’s evils.
Two examples in particular come to mind.
Example #1: Tyranny in Virginia
The first is what is currently happening in Virginia. The state legislature, supposedly spurred by the semi-recent shooting in Virginia Beach, has proposed numerous unconstitutional gun bills. Those bills have been vociferously opposed by conservatives in the state. Their protests culminated in an all-day rally on Monday the 20th of January, which I recently interviewed an attendee of.
Like all good patriots, they recognize that those bills are a path towards government tyranny. But, in the view of the Democratic legislature (if their statements are taken at face-value), those bills aren’t meant to be controlling and are rather meant to stymie gun-related violence.
Unfortunately, it looks like the bills will pass despite the best efforts of some of Virginia’s finest patriots. The red flag bill, for example, already has.
So, gun control is one way in which tyranny is perpetrated in the name of a noble cause. All Americans want to discover the solution to the horrific mass shootings that we’ve experienced recently. But, liberals and conservatives differ over it. Conservatives know that Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper was right; self-defense is the only solution. Liberals, on the other hand, think that the solution to mass shootings is gun control. That’s statism, and it’s wrong.
That’s obviously wrong because it’s the path to tyranny rather than liberty. As Benjamin Franklin so eloquently stated, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” There will always be a tension between liberty and safety. But, when in doubt, choose liberty, not gun control that only punishes law-abiding citizens. It’s the American choice, and also it is the choice that is less likely to land you in a Soviet-style gulag for thought crimes.
Example #2: Freeing the Serfs
Communists like to claim that their revolutions and paths to power are just and righteous because of the previous leaders that they overthrew. Che Guevara, the mass-murdering maniac that he was, is a great example of that tendency. That makes them a terrific example of how this quote by Thomas Paine on tyranny is so accurate.
The first communist nation, the Soviet Union, was created after the fall of the Tsar and in tandem with the liberation of Russia’s serfs. Please excuse that dramatically oversimplified historical abbreviation, but in essence, it’s accurate and shows how the premise of the Russian Revolution and liberation of the serfs might have seemed like a good thing at first.
But, unfortunately, Paine was right. The communists, especially Lenin and Stalin, became autocratic overlords that controlled every aspect of life in the USSR and ruled with a vicious, bloodthirsty fist. In my view, the greatest mistake of the 20th Century was not fighting against them and strangling the communist infant in its cradle, so to speak.
What had started as a noble cause- overthrowing an incompetent autocratic and freeing the semi-modern equivalent of slaves, quickly degenerated into one of the worst forms of tyranny the planet has ever seen. The death toll of communism was in the millions. It was horrific, especially Soviet-style communism was the highest ever (other than, perhaps, Chinese communism).
So, hopefully you can see why this quote by Thomas Paine on tyranny is astoundingly accurate. I only gave two examples, but it’s a statement that has held true throughout history.
Good intentions turn into evil outcomes. Remember that when you start to see people coming up with “solutions” to societal problems that require a restraint of your liberty. Those restraints come in all sizes. Gun control. Limitations on what you can smoke or drink. Higher taxes. Limitations on free speech. And, of course, many more things. Each and every one of those restraints is not just unconstitutional (as you’ll see if you learn how to interpret the Constitution), but also evil.
When it comes to Big Government, often the cure is worse than the disease itself and will prove far more deadly than simply allowing people to live free. Choose to live free and call out tyranny like the patriots in Virginia.