Sunday, April 10, 2005

When the dam breaks

As the Iraq war, the use of torture at Abu
Ghraib, the Patriot Act, and the pathological
lying of the Bush administration make clear, most
people are too cowardly to openly confront the
state when it is engaged in its most abusive
practices. Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and other
tyrants knew what their modern wannabes know,
namely, that most people will suppress and
internalize their resentment of despotic acts.
But such feelings remain a source of discontent –
both within the individual and society –
contributing to the turbulence that threatens the
state. Like water that builds up behind a
weakened dam, some marginally insignificant event
may unleash the restrained forces and overwhelm
the structure.

See what Shaffer thinks could break the weakened

Full essay.