“All around the truthberry bush
The monkey chased the weasel.”
All dictators are bullies.
All bullies are cowards.
Therefore, all dictators are cowards.
In case you don’t already know that.
Dictators secretly believe, like Voldemort, that if only they are cruel enough and destroy enough “enemies” they will live forever.
In the attempt to kill off all their enemies, they will make more enemies. Therefore they will stay afraid all their lives. They are not just running from enemies; they are running from life. To embrace life, whether you are dancing, loving, creating, building — there is always some degree of danger.
If you dance, you may fall.
If you love, you may lose your love.
If you create, you might fail.
If you build, things might fall on you.
But what is the alternative?
The alternative chosen by dictators is to surround himself (or, rarely, herself) with sycophants. Sycophants, in case you don’t know, are even more cowardly than the dictator. In return for small favors, they tell the dictator whatever the dictator wants to hear. As a result, the dictator becomes more and more unhinged from reality. This makes them ever less effective. As they grow less effective, they realize that they must lie even more to keep their power. As they do so, it becomes more and more obvious to everyone that they are ineffective. At first, people who are distant from the dictator realize the ineffectiveness of the dictator. But over time, as the ineffectiveness increases, even people close to the web of lies see that how absurd the whole thing is. Yet, if they are close to the dictator, they’re in a bad position. If they do tell the truth, they’ll be the first to go.
This behavior is nicely portrayed in the movie, The Deathly Hallows: Part Two. The destruction of one of Voldemort’s horcruxes staggers him. One of his minions asks whether he’s okay. What does Voldemort do? Does he say, “Thanks for your concern, but I’m fine.”
Oh, no. He performs the killing curse on his own follower; in this case, the follower wasn’t betraying his master or even questioning him explicitly. But implicitly, his comment questioned whether Voldemort was perfect, immortal, invincible. And, to a deranged Voldemort, that is the very issue he is destroying the world in order to keep himself from realizing: that he is vulnerable. Of course he is. Everyone is. The only things that are invulnerable are dead things.
But in the extreme case, precisely because vulnerability so obviously is part of all life, Voldemort fights more desperately to deny the truth. As it turns out, it’s precisely the bullies and the cruel dictators of this world who are the actual snowflakes “who can’t handle the truth.”
“All around the lie-berry bush,
The monkey chased the weasel.”
Essays on America: The Stopping Rule
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