In the early days of man’s history, tyranny was ideologically crude and built upon openly seizing power and suppression of the people. Not a lot of fancy theories were trotted out to justify it. Men like Akhenaten, Attila, Genghis Khan, Henry VIII, and Cesare Borgia ruled because they were brazen enough to want to rule, strong enough to recruit the needed henchmen, and smart enough to know that most people would let them be dictatorial.
But with the coming of modernity (circa 1800 A.D.), tyranny has had to take on a more subtle and sophisticated approach. It now needs to make use of perpetual propagandists and obfuscators to sell enslavement to the people via clever sophistry. Today’s schools are the predominant propagandists for despotism, and next in line are the media who play the role of “Praetorian Guard” for the educational Orwellians that dominate our children.
Truth and the requisites of freedom must always be hidden from the people if tyranny is to prevail. Thus the Orwellians of the media must always be ready to suppress any truths that might threaten the collectivist zeitgeist that has been constructed. Examples of this suppression are rife throughout the television and Hollywood milieus. Recently a blatant example leaped off the TV screen at me.
Saving the Republic
The movie, Gladiator, with Russell Crowe was playing on TBS. I saw it back in 2000 when it played in the theaters, but thought I’d tune in again for the first part because there is a very inspiring scene in it where the emperor, Marcus Aurelius (played by Richard Harris), is in his last few months of life. He knows he’s dying, and he is trying to convince his trusted confidante and top general, Maximus (played by Russell Crowe), to assume leadership of Rome after he dies. He tells Maximus that he will pass the mantle on to him authorizing that he be his heir and become the new Caesar. He goes into an eloquent speech about why Maximus is the only one for the job. Maximus resists, but says he will consider it. And as they are parting, Aurelius calls after him that his duty is to accept his destiny, for free Rome is dying and needs men of his gallantry. Aurelius shouts to him: “You must save the Republic, Maximus! Go back to the Republic! Promise me that you will restore the Republic.”
Those three sentences are so powerfully relevant to us today, for, of course, we need to do exactly the same thing – go back to the republic. Our once free America is dying from the same dictatorial corruption that stultified and destroyed Rome, the same bread and circuses, the same massive welfarism, cronyism, privileges, and monetary debasement.
But guess what! Those three sentences were deleted from Aurelius’ speech for this particular TV version. The scene ends with a bland generic phase out. Did the collectivists at TBS (Turner Broadcasting System) cut out those crucial three sentences on purpose? Of course, they did. They know, at least subconsciously, the power of the idea of a “republic” and what it means to their rule. They know that a republic is what the Founders meant for us to have, not the collectivist democracy that they worship and work so assiduously to promote. They know that their ideology of collectivism cannot abide a republic’s limited form of government. And they certainly do not want millions of viewers to be reminded of the fact that we have lost our republic. Such a reminder cannot be left in the movie. Thus surely some upper level TBS censor very adroitly cut the last part of the scene where Aurelius makes his eloquent appeal to Maximus to do the only thing that could have saved freedom for the Romans, and the only thing that will save freedom for modern Americans.
Big Brother’s Apparatchiks
Not one in a hundred will notice such a smooth suppression of truth. But it is a lucid example of how Big Brother’s apparatchiks are always on the lookout to manipulate our politics, our money, and our language so as to keep us from ever realizing that we are losing our freedom. I was astounded. I tuned into the movie precisely because I wanted to see the scene where Marcus Aurelius makes his inspiring speech to Maximus to “Restore the Republic.” But the collectivists at TBS played Orwell’s Winston Smith and threw the most important part of the speech down the memory hole.
They undoubtedly gave as their excuse that they needed to cut the movie to fit the time slot of that hour’s programming. But the dialogue about “restoring the Republic” took less than 60 seconds. And there are at least 10-15 minutes of other totally non-essential scenes throughout the movie that could have been deleted instead. Why would they want to delete such a crucial dramatic scene regarding the ideological requisites of freedom? For those who grasp the propagandistic base of all modern tyrannies the reason is obvious. Tyranny’s collaborators must ceaselessly play the role of thought police if they wish to run a despotic regime in the modern world. And that is exactly what today’s political elites and their Praetorian Guard, the media, wish to do.
This is but one small scene in one movie, but it is immensely important because it represents the tip of a huge iceberg of rewritten history and suppression of political-philosophical truth that is taking place throughout our schools and our media. The manipulators at TBS are just a fraction of the myriad Orwellians amongst us who mold our children from the time they enter kindergarten and continue to do so through high school and college, then into the adult world where they mold the minds of the masses of uncritical working people. They are stealing over our society like gangrene steals over the diseased limbs of a wounded soldier. American citizens are wounded soldiers, and they don’t realize the septic tyranny that is corroding them.
American patriots do realize it, though. And we are growing more prominent as each year goes by. Critical mass is approaching our movement spawned so hopefully in the 1940s with the works of Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Ayn Rand, and scores of outraged intellects who could see the inherent evil of “progressivism and mega-statism” that had descended upon the country with the inception of the Federal Reserve and the coming of FDR. Orwellian thought still holds power, yes, but it is a hollow power. The political / media elites are rotted from within. They are ripe for a challenge just as the Soviet Politburo was ripe. The days are numbered for the Orwellians amongst us.
Nelson Hultberg is a freelance writer in Dallas, Texas and the Director of Americans for a Free Republic www.afr.org. A graduate of Beloit College in Wisconsin, his articles have appeared in such publications as The American Conservative, Insight, Liberty, The Freeman, The Social Critic, The Dallas Morning News, and the San Antonio Express-News, as well as on numerous Internet sites.
He is the author of The Golden Mean: Libertarian Politics, Conservative Values
Email: NelsonHultberg (at) afr.org