Sunday, March 09, 2014

“The conventional word that it employed to describe tyranny is ‘systematic’. The true essence of a dictatorship is in fact not its regularity but the unpredictability and caprice; those who live under it must never be able to relax, must never be quite sure they have followed the rules correctly or not. Thus, the ruled can always be found to be in the wrong.”
-- Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir

...When men are caught in the trap of non-objective law, when their work, future and livelihood are at the mercy of a bureaucrat’s whim, when they have no way of knowing what unknown “influence” will crack down on them for which unspecified offense, fear becomes their basic motive...

....Non-objective law is the most effective weapon of human enslavement: its victims become its enforcers and enslave themselves.

...It is a grave error to suppose that a dictatorship rules a nation by means of strict, rigid laws which are obeyed and enforced with rigorous, military precision. Such a rule would be evil, but almost bearable; men could endure the harshest edicts, provided these edicts were known, specific and stable; it is not the known that breaks men’s spirits, but the unpredictable. A dictatorship has to be capricious; it has to rule by means of the unexpected, the incomprehensible, the wantonly irrational; it has to deal not in death, but in sudden death; a state of chronic uncertainty is what men are psychologically unable to bear.
-- Ayn Rand