The Breakdown of Nations

“. . .it is not submissive disposition that leads to the misery of tyranny, but tyrannical power, growing in proportion to the size of the community, that leads at a critical magnitude to the condoning spirit of submission. Submissiveness is thus not a human quality that could be explained to a significant extent as the result of upbringing, tradition, national character, or the mode of production. Like most other social attitudes, it is the adaptive reflex reaction with which man responds to power. Its degree varies directly with the degree of power, just as its opposite reaction, the assertion of freedom, varies inversely with it. Where there is power, there is submission, and where there is no submission, there is no power. This is why, historically, the seemingly most freedom-loving peoples have accepted tyranny as submissively as the seemingly most submissive ones, or why it is safe to say that even Americans would submit if our federal structure permitted the accumulation of the necessary volume of governmental power. For, as young Boswell confided so touchingly to his London Journal, ‘when the mind knows it cannot help itself by struggling, it quietly and patiently submits to whatever load is laid upon it’.”