If you wonder about this question as much as I do, you’ll love this column. The author cites two historical examples as a guide to determining when the time “to throw off such government” has arrived. He surveys the early German resistance to the Nazis, which failed because while it waited for one big assault on liberty, Hitler instead increased the government’s power incrementally. (Hmmm. Where else do we see that in play?) The delay also allowed the Nazis to attack dissidents individually, arresting and imprisoning them. “Because their would-be tyrants represented ‘the government’ and cloaked their wolfish actions in ‘legal’ sheepskin, because their own ‘leaders’ could not or would not give the order [to revolt], they all ended up in a concentration camp — leaders and followers — without ever having struck a blow.”
The writer contrasts the German experience with that of the Founding Fathers, who rebelled despite living in some of the freest — if not the freest — conditions in history. Eighteenth-century Americans understood the seeds of tyranny the British Empire was sowing in its colonies and did not wait for the crop to germinate, sprout and flower into full-blown slavery.
Thanks to Bill Martin for calling my attention to this powerful comparison and lesson.10:06 am on September 19, 2014