Tyranny in theory and in practice

Man, because he is the image of God, would rather have even the practice of wrong than the theory of it.  He would rather endure tyranny than admit tyranny.  Therefore most of the rebellions against oppression have been made, not at the moment when the oppressor first began to oppress, but only at the moment when the oppressor first declared himself as such.  It was when Gesler put his own hat on top of a pole to be worshipped that William Tell arose.  Probably Gesler had put any number of other people’s heads on poles, without in any way attracting Tell from drinking ale or practising archery in his back garden.  Caesar was assassinated because he was trying to be a king, not because he had already become an autocrat.  What smashed the Stuarts was their divine right, not any of their human wrong.  It is always the claim that maddens men, much more than the acts.  There is never any real revolt against any human abuse, until it has made its open and monstrous claim upon humanity.

The Illustrated London News, 13 November 1909.

Published in: on April 28, 2010 at 6:38 am  Leave a Comment  

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