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  Federalist Papers Teach How to Become a Tyrant in 3 Steps

Tyranny defined: 

   ordinary acts are condemned/sinful/illegal.
How does a tyrant come to power in a home, community, town, state, or country?
1.  Declare Your Devotion
"History teaches us that men who have overturned the liberties of republics usually began their career by proclaiming their devotion to the people." Federalist Paper Number 1, paragraph 4*.
You tell each person that you agree with their pet peeves, you understand their frustrations, and you want to help them.  You tell each person what they want to hear.  This may seem counterintuitive.  Until I read Federalist Paper Number 1, I didn’t realize that this is the first step of every tyrant.  Then I thought about Hitler.  I had always wondered how he had gotten so much power. 
It was a quick step to realizing how people in everyday life gain power over other people.  I’ll mention a few examples and perhaps you can add some more from your own experiences:

  • A pimp picks up a runaway at the bus station, proclaiming his desire to protect the youngster like an older brother.

  • A con artist guarantees to increase the value of a person’s life savings as he empathizes with their desire to support their elderly parents.

  • A gang promises a teenager that they will be his family and his protector.

  • An abusive spouse was originally the most doting and romantic date.

  • The cult leader promises happiness, even utopia, then tyrannizes his followers.

2.  Create an Emergency
"…Tyranny…frequently grows out of the assumptions of unconstitutional power that is needed in an emergency…"  Federalist Paper Number 20, paragraph 18
Some emergency situations are obvious:  a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, tsunami, or war can devastate a community, state, or country.  Individuals can experience emergencies: illness, accidents, job loss, and abuse.

Remember that as a potential tyrant, you want to make ordinary acts illegal.  What can you do if there is no emergency situation?  Create an emergency!

  • Wife’s emergency: infidelity

  • Husband’s emergency: bankruptcy

  • Preacher’s emergency: hell

  • Mayor’s emergency: obesity

  • State’s emergency: deforestation



3.  Make a tyrannical law/rule that only applies to other people.

As a tyrant, you need to create behavioral rule that (1) will not solve the "emergency" and (2) doesn’t apply to you.

  • Wife’s rule: husband can look at no other women, including in movies and television.

  • Husband’s rule: block wife from all sources of the family’s money.

  • Preacher dictates his congregation’s apparel, dating habits, and marriage partners.

  • Mayor bans large glasses of soda and coconut oil in movie theater popcorn.

  • State bans removing dead trees from publicly owned forests.

The drafters of the U.S. Constitution understood that the people who make the rules/laws, must be subject to the same rules/laws as everyone else. 
"…Every law the House of Representatives passes will operate on the Representatives and their friends, as well as the society.  This is another restraint on the power.  This creates a strong bond and common interests between rulers and the people.  Few governments have this feature.  And without it, every government degenerates into tyranny…If the people of America ever tolerate a law that does not apply to legislators, as well as on the people, the people will be prepared to tolerate anything but liberty." Federalist Paper Number 57, paragraphs 12-13
History Proves the Theory
If you don’t believe that an entire country can be scammed, think of what we’ve seen in the last hundred years:  Lenin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, and Mao Zedong. 
More important to our discussion of the U.S. Constitution are the “assumptions of unconstitutional power that is needed in an emergency” by the United States federal government.  In hindsight, we easily see that Japanese-American internment camps during World War II are an example. 
Other assumptions of unconstitutional power may be less easy to notice because they are accepted parts of the national fabric, they seem innocuous, and/or they seem to actually solve an emergency problem.  For example, national parks, federal department of education, and affordable health care.  However, on examination, each is a tyrannical use of federal power.  And tyranny in any form is unacceptable.

* All quotes are from The Federalist Papers: Modern English Edition Two, which is available at

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