In the old days, kings would demand their enemies' heads on a platter
. The Bible tells the story
of Beheading of St. John the Baptist
; Herod, ruler of Galilee, succumbs to the wife of his brother, Herodias and her daughter who ask for, and get, the head of John the Baptist on a platter. The historian Flavius Josephus
has the story slightly differently: "lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his [John's] power and inclination to raise a rebellion ... [so Herod] thought it best [to put] him to death"
These days we consider ourselves way more civilized
. Our rulers
today no longer ask for heads on a platter
; When they can't marginalize and bankrupt their enemies, bombs and drones to kill them and to torture
them is so much more "fun".
In a 1914 debate
, John Basil Barnhill
claimed: "Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty".
That is not exactly true. Fear, or the lack thereof, is not a very good measure of liberty
. When we voluntarily serve our own brains on a platter
to our "dear leaders" and conform
to their authority
, we may have nothing to fear, but is that liberty
? No one understood the Stockholm syndrome
It is said that "a well-informed citizenry is essential for liberty"
. But, Thomas Jefferson was a little more nuanced
: "Wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights"
. That leaves the door open to not trust the people with their own government. Or possibly, to ensure that they stay in a state of perpetual ignorance. Remember, John the Baptist
was a threat because he informed