When Lies and Treachery Take Root – Part 2

In part 1, we introduced the sinister situation in The Last Battle – the created crisis, the prevailing atmosphere and the thin veneer of tyranny.  Now let’s continue our list of thoughts and ponder matters of authority, tyrants and how subjects are treated.

7. True authority is always kept out of reach.  A Boar asked the Ape about seeing Aslan properly and talking to him.  But it was not allowed.  In a truly free modern society, the authorities serve at the pleasure of the citizenry.  Ultimate power lies with the people, not in a palace, nor a secret government discussion.  In a dictatorship there is really no access for thinking subjects, only a carefully staged presentation that will have an impact on the crowds.  The Roman Caesars would go into hiding and then appear in a spectacular show of splendour.  “He is a god!”  The crowd would cry. But it was all staged. 

8. Tyrannical authority always knows better than you.  Accused of being an Ape, the Ape declares,   “I’m not.  I’m a man.  If I look like an Ape, that’s because I’m so very old: hundreds and hundreds of years old.  And it’s because I’m so old that I’m so wise.  And it’s because I’m so wise that I’m the only one Aslan is ever going to speak to.  He can’t be bothered speaking to a lot of stupid animals.  He’ll tell me what you’ve got to do, and I’ll tell the rest of you.  And take my advice, and see you do it in double quick time, for he doesn’t mean to stand any nonsense.”  Notice there is no reasoning, no discussion, no debate.  The tyrant knows better than you and so you must obey.

9. The subjects of tyranny are always necessarily treated as stupid.  Since the authoritative council of stakeholders is made up of experts, it means those under their rule must necessarily be treated as stupid.  “Stupid animals!”  They are to take what they are given and do as they are told.  It has always been true in every dictatorship down through history.  When you can smell disdain from on high, know that tyranny approaches again.

10. Freedom is turned into slavery.  Some of the horses were speaking about getting the work done quickly, in order to return to freedom.  “Well, you can get that idea out of your heads at once.  And not only the Horses either.  Everybody who can work is going to be made to work in future.  Aslan has it all settled with the King of Calormen – The Tisroc . . . All you Horses and Bulls and Donkeys are to be sent down into Calormen to work for your living – pulling and carrying the way horses and such-like do in other countries.  And all you digging animals . . .”  The Ape had no intention of releasing control and letting the Beasts run free again.  When freedoms are taken away, they are seldom returned without a struggle.

11. Slavery is described as for the common good, but it isn’t.  When the Beasts howled about being sold into slavery, the Ape snarled back, “None of that! Hold your noise!  Who said anything about slavery? You won’t be slaves.  You’ll be paid – very good wages too. That is to say, your pay will be paid into Aslan’s treasury and he will use it for everybody’s good.”  The repeated commonality in coups across the globe is the utopian vision of the betterment of society.  It is for your benefit!  Yes, there will be some work involved.  There must be, to make things better.  But your slavery, that is, your work, will make you free!  The Ape made promises to the Beasts of Narnia.  The Nazis put that assertion over the gates at Auschwitz.  The Communist Party always promises a collective utopia beyond the struggle.  And yet, who benefits?  It is never the common man and woman.  It is always the ruling elite.

12. The goal of the common good is described as a form of utopia, but the cover always slips.  The Ape described the goal of their newly imposed future.  “And all for your own good. We’ll be able, with the money you earn, to make Narnia a country worth living in.  There’ll be oranges and bananas pouring in – and roads and big cities and schools and offices and whips and muzzles and saddles and cages and kennels and prisons – Oh, everything.”  Actually, Narnia was pretty good before slavery was imposed.  The future only seemed to mean added restrictions and silencing for the subjects, but luxuries and control for the ruling elite.  Oh, you will own nothing, and you won’t be able to go too far, but you will be happy.  Utopian dreams with revealing slips.

13. The new and false freedom is defined by the tyrant.  “You think freedom means doing what you like.  Well, you’re wrong.  That isn’t true freedom.  True freedom means doing what I tell you.”  A truly free society is a rare commodity on this earth.  Even in Narnia it seemed easily lost.  When tyrants take over, they get to set the rules.  And when they do, the people suffer.

Next time, we will continue our list. . .


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