Thought for the day: fear sustains dictatorships
“…there is…a second integrating principle of a political system: fear of an enemy. Fascist political thought asserts that the creation of a national community is conditioned by the the existence of an enemy whom one must be willing to exterminate physically. Politics denotes not the construction of a good society but the annihilation of an enemy. Anything-religion, art, race, class antagonisms-may be or may become political. If the concept “enemy” and “fear” do constitute the “energetic principles”‘ of politics, a democratic political system is impossible, whether the fear is produced from within or from without. Montesquieu correctly observed that fear is what makes and sustains dictatorships."
If freedom is absence of restraints, the restraints to be removed today are many; the psychological restraint of fear ranks first. It is the existence and manipulation of fear that transforms a people into a mob. The anti-democratic theories of Maistre, Bonald, Donoso Cortes, Spengler and a host of others assert that democracy must, by its inner logic, degenerate into mob rule. Such necessity is a myth, very often promoted by those who wish to demonstrate the superiority of dictatorship."
But the transformation from democracy into dictatorship seems to arise when the political system discards its liberal element and attempts to impose a creed upon its members, ostracizing those who do not accept it. This will be successful if, in John Dewey’s words, we attain the ‘stage of development in which a vague and mysterious feeling of uncertain terror seizes the populace.’ “
- an excerpt from 'The Concept of Political Freedom' by Franz L. Neumann
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.
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