(Cross-posted at The Line is Here)
There's a saying that goes, "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis talks about a tactic the demons use to ensure people won't believe in them which gives them a better shot at their soul.
If any faint suspicion of your existence begins to arise in his mind, suggest to him a picture of something in red tights, and persuade him that since he cannot believe in that (it is an old textbook method of confusing them) he therefore cannot believe in you.
I bring this up because when most Americans think of a tyrannical government, they think of the "Devil in red tights, holding a pitchfork." They see Hitler with swarms of jackbooted army men with armbands, hands held in the air in salute, or 1984 where every person is part of the secret police and Big Brother is on every TV screen. None of these are "realistic" to us and when you think about them in that terms, it seems ridiculous that tyranny could ever happen here.
And the trick is played on us once again.
If, like the darkest fantasies of the extreme left believe, Bush actually canceled the 2008 elections, declared himself president for life, repealed the Bill of Rights, etc. the revolt would be instant and devastating. The devil would have overplayed his hand.
No, tyranny will not come to us in one, fell swoop. Instead of red tights and a pitchfork, tyranny will come to us in a dull gray suit, a $12 Supercuts hairstyle, and come across with all the banality of a quarterly meeting of dental hygienists.
Take for instance the case of Ezra Levant, a Canadian publisher brought up before the laughable "Human Rights Commission" for the unspeakable act of publishing the Mohammad cartoons. Watch the videos he has of his ordeal. Watch how detached the "human rights officer" is from the whole affair. For her, it's just a job. She gets a sheet of paper that says do X, she does X. The fact that she is is a tine in the pitchfork of fascism is lost on her. The fact that she is instrumental in crushing free speech bothers her about as much as deciding what she will be having for lunch.
The ploy works too. People will watch these videos, not see the wispy mustached villain with his army of storm troopers, decide there is no tyranny to fear, and get back to watching American Idol.
We, as Americans on the whole, have stopped jealously guarding our liberty. We've been sold the devil in the 3 piece suit of "For the Children", and "The Common Good", all of which have been packaged into small, digestible bites so that we only see the parts and not the sum. Each small violation of our liberties is tolerable when you don't realize the additive nature of control.
We allow our local police, people we gladly give authority to, to become militarized S.W.A.T. teams with soldiers' training. Instead of protecting the populace, they're attacking the enemy. That enemy is us.
We buy into the lie of public education as "free", removing the market incentive for a school to perform well and then wonder why throwing more money at the problem doesn't seem to work.
We're enamored by politicians who give us great sound bites, are charismatic, and promise to solve all of our problems if only we'll give them ultimate power over the minutiae of our lives. And we do. Over and over.
When something goes awry in this country, the first thing that happens is the incessant screams of those wanting the government to step in and fix the problem. Bridge collapsed? More government funding for roads. School shooting? Ban guns! Someone is a little too happy? Regulate entertainment.
The devil of tyranny has not only convinced us he doesn't exist, but has managed to con us into wanting him to nonetheless.