Tyranny is not a method, like authoritarianism, but a condition under which one exists when leadership is motivated by something other than the health of the organic nation as a whole. It needs to be the nation as a whole because otherwise it becomes divisive as one group is favored over others, which is one of the many paths to tyranny.
A tyrant might rule for his own sense of power and importance. He might favor one group over others. He might represent a foreign power wishing to destroy the society. Or, he might simply be in the grips of a messianic universalist dogma like Communism. In all cases, the result is the same: the organic nation loses, and the tyrant grows more powerful.
What is this organic nation? Mostly intangible patterns to tangibles like heritage, culture, history, values, faith, morality and wisdom. These are intangible between they are invisible relationships between objects over time, and not objects themselves. The pattern of a nation is first a genetic founding group, and then the culture and values that nurture it to be the best according to its purpose, a nebulous term indicating a position in an order like an ecosystem, where each tribe of humans exists in a balance with nature and have a certain role among both human and animal tribes.
Watching the storm die down in Houston, it has become clear that natural disasters, by interrupting the infrastructure and institutions of civilization, create a type of temporary anarchy which is profound in what is missing: the sense of being able to conduct an ordinary life according to the purpose assigned to the tribe to which one belongs. This, more than “freedom,” is what the healthy person desires. They want the ability to live so that they make something of their lives that is worth living and dying for.
Houston, in the final analysis, will be seen as a typical city like Detroit or Chicago that has run itself into debt because the voters wanted social benefits more than flood control drainage. But more broadly, it shows us why the Confederacy wanted to retain the rights of states, instead of joining an all-powerful Union.
The reason for this, ironically, was the same reason that the original colonies seceded from England in the first place.
The Civil War began based on the pretext of slavery, but the cause ran deeper: the destruction of the Southern economy by Northern industrial interests. Let us look at a primary source, the Declaration of Causes from Georgia:
The material prosperity of the North was greatly dependent on the Federal Government; that of the South not at all. In the first years of the Republic the navigating, commercial, and manufacturing interests of the North began to seek profit and aggrandizement at the expense of the agricultural interests. Even the owners of fishing smacks sought and obtained bounties for pursuing their own business (which yet continue), and $500,000 is now paid them annually out of the Treasury. The navigating interests begged for protection against foreign shipbuilders and against competition in the coasting trade.
Congress granted both requests, and by prohibitory acts gave an absolute monopoly of this business to each of their interests, which they enjoy without diminution to this day. Not content with these great and unjust advantages, they have sought to throw the legitimate burden of their business as much as possible upon the public; they have succeeded in throwing the cost of light-houses, buoys, and the maintenance of their seamen upon the Treasury, and the Government now pays above $2,000,000 annually for the support of these objects. Theses interests, in connection with the commercial and manufacturing classes, have also succeeded, by means of subventions to mail steamers and the reduction in postage, in relieving their business from the payment of about $7,000,000 annually, throwing it upon the public Treasury under the name of postal deficiency.
The document begins by talking about slavery, but then picks up to the actual cause: Northern taxation, tariffs and other impositions upon the South which were designed to crush its industry, which would then allow it to be purchased and controlled by Northern industry, which wanted vertical integration of its industry, much of which (including textiles) used the raw output of Southern agriculture.
Georgia explains this here:
After having enjoyed protection to the extent of from 15 to 200 per cent. upon their entire business for above thirty years, the act of 1846 was passed. It avoided sudden change, but the principle was settled, and free trade, low duties, and economy in public expenditures was the verdict of the American people. The South and the Northwestern States sustained this policy. There was but small hope of its reversal; upon the direct issue, none at all.
All these classes saw this and felt it and cast about for new allies. The anti-slavery sentiment of the North offered the best chance for success. An anti-slavery party must necessarily look to the North alone for support, but a united North was now strong enough to control the Government in all of its departments, and a sectional party was therefore determined upon. Time and issues upon slavery were necessary to its completion and final triumph. The feeling of anti-slavery, which it was well known was very general among the people of the North, had been long dormant or passive; it needed only a question to arouse it into aggressive activity. This question was before us. We had acquired a large territory by successful war with Mexico; Congress had to govern it; how, in relation to slavery, was the question then demanding solution. This state of facts gave form and shape to the anti-slavery sentiment throughout the North and the conflict began. Northern anti-slavery men of all parties asserted the right to exclude slavery from the territory by Congressional legislation and demanded the prompt and efficient exercise of this power to that end. This insulting and unconstitutional demand was met with great moderation and firmness by the South.
The South was an agrarian economy that provided raw materials; the North was an industrial economy that took those raw materials, finished them into textiles and other goods, and then sold them overseas. The South, realizing that its goods fetched better prices in England and mainland Europe, began selling directly overseas and receiving higher prices. This sustained Southern independence from the North and frustrated Northern manufacturers, who realized that there was great profit in buying low and selling high.
To counter that, the North imposed a number of tariffs on European goods, and Europe raised reciprocal tariffs in response. This forced the South to sell its goods to the North at reduced prices; when America raised her tariffs, other nations raised theirs to American goods, and so the only market was domestic. However, the Walker Tariff Act of 1846 lowered tariffs, in part to pacify British concern over the borders that were drawn for Oregon earlier that year. That meant the South could keep its economy.
In response, Northern politicians paired up with industry and came up with a compromise: the forerunners of today’s liberals objected to slavery on a moral basis, and so this aegis of righteousness could be adopted in order to conceal the financial motivations behind the desire to crush the South. That ideological crusade then became the pretext, or excuse, for war.
Texas added another complaint:
The Federal Government, while but partially under the control of these our unnatural and sectional enemies, has for years almost entirely failed to protect the lives and property of the people of Texas against the Indian savages on our border, and more recently against the murderous forays of banditti from the neighboring territory of Mexico; and when our State government has expended large amounts for such purpose, the Federal Government has refuse reimbursement therefor, thus rendering our condition more insecure and harassing than it was during the existence of the Republic of Texas.
Much of the contentious behavior that preceded that war involved the annexation of new territories in the Northwest and former French colonies, namely because the Northern states — under the guise of opposing slavery, but actually in a competition of economic systems — refused to allow the South any of this territory, and used other means of artificially limiting the size of the South.
With the election of Abraham Lincoln, who made anti-slavery part of his campaign, it became clear that inevitably the larger territory of the North plus its larger population would defeat the popular vote and Electoral College both, and slavery would be abolished, which was significant in that it would gut the Southern economy, allowing it to be purchased by the industries of the North so they would have guaranteed supply of raw materials.
As part of its desire to intensify the pressure on the South, the federal government stopped providing many promised protections, offloading more cost onto the governments of the Southern States in an attempt to weaken them. By allowing Indians and Mexico to attack Texas, the government hoped to force the State to pay for its own defenses and distract itself with more immediate threats.
In other words, the South could either go to war, or be destroyed by the ballot box.
The American Civil War reprised the French Revolution in that ideology was used as a cover for theft. In the French Revolution, the lower classes wanted wealth and power, and some elements of the mercantile middle classes wanted to remove any barriers to their further profits, so an ideological pretext was invented for the overthrow of the kings. In America, the same was done using slavery, when the actual motive was the $16bn Southern economy.
Abraham Lincoln formalized the metapolitics of ideological pretexts with what would become American policy, from a letter to Karl Marx:
Nations do not exist for themselves alone, but to promote the welfare and happiness of mankind by benevolent intercourse and example.
Today, we call that globalism, which might be better understood as worldwide Leftism, or a doctrine of the equality of all human individuals. This idea makes people feel warm and fuzzy inside because it promises an end to struggle for social acceptance, and so it is a powerful way to motivate masses of people as is required by democracy, and upon its success the US — like the French Revolutionaries and Bolsheviks — adopted it as the most fundamental policy of American rule.
At this point, we have come to the root cause of the American Civil War: it was an attempt to preserve an early form of democracy from the later form into which democracy, aided by the mercantile middle classes and lower class revolt, evolves. As one famous discourse explains it:
The following conversation between English ship Captain Hillyar and Capt. Raphael Semmes-Confederate Ship CSS Alabama occurred during the war on August 5th, 1861. It is a summary from a well-educated Southerner who is stating his reasons for fighting…
Semmes: “Simply that the machinery of the Federal Government, under which we have lived, and which was designed for the common benefit, has been made the means of despoiling the South, to enrich the North”, and I explained to him the workings of the iniquitous tariffs, under the operation of which the South had, in effect, been reduced to a dependent colonial condition, almost as abject as that of the Roman provinces, under their proconsuls; the only difference being, that smooth-faced hypocrisy had been added to robbery, inasmuch as we had been plundered under the forms of law.”
Captain Hillyar: “All this is new to me,” replied the captain. “I thought that your war had arisen out of the slavery question.”
Semmes: “That is the common mistake of foreigners. The enemy has taken pains to impress foreign nations with this false view of the case. With the exception of a few honest zealots, the canting hypocritical Yankee cares as little for our slaves as he does for our draught animals. The war which he has been making upon slavery for the last 40 years is only an interlude, or by-play, to help on the main action of the drama, which is Empire; and it is a curious coincidence that it was commenced about the time the North began to rob the South by means of its tariffs. When a burglar designs to enter a dwelling for the purpose of robbery, he provides himself with the necessary implements. The slavery question was one of the implements employed to help on the robbery of the South. It strengthened the Northern party, and enabled them to get their tariffs through Congress; and when at length, the South, driven to the wall, turned, as even the crushed worm will turn, it was cunningly perceived by the Northern men that ‘No slavery’ would be a popular war-cry, and hence, they used it.
It is true that we are defending our slave property, but we are defending it no more than any other species of our property – it is all endangered, under a general system of robbery. We are in fact, fighting for independence.”
The Union victory in 1865 destroyed the right of secession in America,which had been so cherished by America’s founding fathers as the principle of their revolution. British historian and political philosopher Lord Acton, one of the most intellectual figures in Victorian England, understood the deeper meaning of Southern defeat. In a letter to former Confederate General Robert E. Lee dated November 4,1866, Lord Acton (author of the famous phrase, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – Editor) wrote, “I saw in States Rights the only available check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy. I deemed you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization and I mourn for that which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo (defeat of Napoleon). As Illinois Governor Richard Yates stated in a message to his state assembly on January 2,1865, the war had “tended, more than any other event in the history of the country, to militate against the Jeffersonian Ideal ( Thomas Jefferson ) that the best government is that which governs least.”
The Jeffersonian ideal consisted of the notion that government was a necessary evil that could be mitigated by limiting its size and power. This is the modern conservative ideal of “small government,” which means not just a government of few employees, but one of few powers, which requires that government not have an ideology such as the one Lincoln adopted above, but merely be a caretaker of its people. The flaw in the Jeffersonian view is that it focuses on restricting government, but does not find a way to compel government to affirmatively reach toward positive goals, which creates a pattern of history where government ignores obvious problems, and then to fix them, as Plato related regarding tyrants, demands more powers which are not rescinded after the crisis passes.
Critics of democracy have long observed that it inevitably grows in power over time because it changes the people over which it rules. Plato notes that men under democracy become solipsistic because of the focus on “freedom” instead of virtue. Alexander de Tocqueville described this risk to human psychology as well in Democracy in America, Volume 2, Section 4: Chapter VI, “What Sort of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear”:
Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?
Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things; it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits.
After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.
In Federalist Paper No. 10, James Madison quotes John Adams as saying:
Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.
The hope of that paper was to establish that a Republic — essentially a democracy limited by laws, rights and procedures — was fundamentally different than a democracy, despite being a variety of democracy. What history has shown us in the intervening years is that if even a highly architected document like the Constitution cannot limit people from voting changes to their Republic to make it into a democracy, there is no hope for democracy at all, because any infection of democracy into a political system will inevitably lead to full democracy and the tyranny of the majority, as happened in the American Civil War.
In Houston, we see a similar failure: a city that was warned about the potential of a catastrophic flood, but chose instead to spend its money on social benefits, as the majority wanted. Who is this majority? Steve Sailer reminds us that Houston became a minority-majority city in the 1980s, and since that time, has leaned Leftward, including toward policies that increased the amount of concrete in the city, avoided vital drainage projects, and enhanced benefits, causing the city to be deeply in debt.
The dynamic of the current situation in Houston is similar to that of the Confederacy, which was held hostage by a more numerous voting majority in the North comprised of mixed-ethnic people who were sympathetic to the underdog narrative of the abolitionists. Anti-Immigrant sentiment blossomed in America for the four decades prior to the Civil War, and in fact pro-immigrant emotions of the time parallel our current national narrative:
Although a smattering of Irish Catholics had lived in America since the colonial period, there was no significant immigration to the United States until the catastrophe of the Potato Famine (1845-1853) set it in motion. The first non-Protestant group to arrive in large numbers, the Irish often faced both religious and ethnic prejudice from the then largely Anglo-Saxon population. Anti-Catholic, particularly antiâ€“Irish Catholic, feelings led to the formation of the American or Know-Nothing Party, which enjoyed a brief period of influence in the early 1850s before the growing sectional dispute pushed the Catholic immigrant issue to the sidelines.
…Nevertheless, the firing on Fort Sumter and President Abraham Lincolnâ€™s call for volunteers evoked a sense of patriotism to the Union that was fanned by Irish newspapers and political and religious leaders. Patrick Donohueâ€™s Boston Pilot, the â€˜Irishmanâ€™s bible,â€™ enthusiastically supported the war to restore the Union. Archbishop John Joseph Hughes of New York, the â€˜bishop and chiefâ€™ of the New York Irish whose influence was nationwide, also urged his flock to help suppress the rebellion. But early in the war he pointedly warned the Lincoln administration that if Irish-American soldiers had â€˜to fight for the abolition of slavery, then, indeed, they will turn away in disgust from the discharge of what would otherwise be a patriotic duty.â€™
…Of the approximately 140,000 Irish-born soldiers in the Federal armies, about one-third came from New York. Ambitious Irish New Yorkers fanned out across the country, encouraging state governors to approve the Irish formations in other states while securing commands for themselves. Scattered Irish regiments were formed in the West, but the East provided the bulk of officially designated Irish units.
Any immigrant group or group in a diverse society that does not perceive itself as being in control will feel a similar sentiment: it resents and tries to subvert whatever group is above it. This is one of the many reasons that diversity does not work. Another is a loss of social trust which results in alienation even within ethnic groups.
More importantly, however, each identifiable group acts in its own interests — this extends to race, religion, ethnicity, class and politics — and will use politics as a means to enrich itself while damaging other groups. This is exactly what happened in Houston, where Mayor Sylvester Turner supports benefits to the mostly-minority city services workers while opposing any increase in drainage systems:
Metro Houston, which includes smaller communities and unincorporated parts of Harris County, has added more than a million people since 1992, while the amount of water-absorbing wetlands per capita has been halved. Paved surfaces in the county increased by well over 25 percent in that period, according to researchers.
Paved land generates five times more runoff than woodlands.
…More than a quarter of the $726,000 in contributions to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner last December came from developers, engineers, builders and real estate interests. Some of the money for Turner, a Democrat who won a Dec. 12 runoff, was collected at a Metro National fundraiser.
The situation gets more interesting when one considers the nature of Houston: it is a commercial downtown surrounded by suburbs, which are highly segregated by race despite the massively diverse and cosmopolitan character of the city. The suburbs, especially the white suburbs, pay most of the taxes; the recipients of social benefits are mostly minorities. Like the South paid for the North, the suburbs are paying for the city.
For this reason, voters have divided into two camps: those who rationalize the situation and convince themselves to support it, and those who do not, but know that they will never win because the city is only 24.9% white, and therefore between combined minority and Leftist votes, will always approve the Leftist agenda of more social programs and benefits. This is why Houston has elected blacks and lesbians as its recent mayors, and why it is a very blue region in a red state.
Much like the Confederacy, European-Americans are held hostage to a similar pattern: the cities of the coasts, who are blue, have the numbers and the money, so they control the media and the voting, but it is the European-Americans in the center of the country who are the middle class and upper class voters squeezed to provide most of the taxes. In Houston, this occurs through property taxes based on the value of the home. Tenement homes pay very little in taxes; middle-class and above homes pay the vast majority.
Real wages have not budged for decades, corresponding to the introduction of welfare and entitlements programs in the federal budget, which means that the squeeze on the middle class is becoming more pronounced at a time when, owing to the influx of third world immigrants whose lower IQs make them destined to be poor, costs are steadily rising.
As in the past, a refusal to look honestly at the situation and the need for producers to be rewarded and not parasitized has set the conditions for a civil war. While the waters recede, many European-Americans in Houston are realizing that the money taken from them went to another group, and now those European-Americans pay the price with flooded homes and ruined businesses.