Thesis: The biggest irony is that when people rise to power rebelling against totalitarianism, these people become the next tyrants, and that’s because we are intrinsically built to be corrupted by power.
Apple’s 1984 commercial is coming true, but with a twist
A long, long time ago in a place far, far away, in Tampa, Florida in 1984, a commercial played during Halftime that blew everybody away. It was an Apple add that featured a dystopian society that resembled George Orwell’s 1984. It showed a woman who threw a mallet at a screen that pictured the omniscient and omnipresent Big Brother, destroying it. There was then a voiceover that said: “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984.’” Of course, Apple didn’t say anything about 2016.
Apple’s philosophy vs Apple’s reality
Apple’s philosophy has always been about “Think Different”, about the “rebels, the misfits, the round pegs in the square holes” and about how “those who are crazy to think they can change the world are the ones who do”. Steve Jobs especially prided on being the pirates, the rebels who fought against the Empire. But what are we seeing today? Now Apple is the most valuable company in the world, selling products that many people can’t imagine living without like a slightly bigger iPhone or a watch that keeps you in constant communication with people and can track every single thing you do, practically governing our lives. Who’s Big Brother now?
Anecdote of me watching Mockingjay and my impression of President Coin
Understanding the entire dynamic of Katniss, Snow, and Coin
I watched both parts of Mockingjay during Thanksgiving break, and couldn’t help but feel a sense of deja vu when SPOILER ALERT (if you haven’t read the book or watched the movie, plug your ears) Katniss kills President Coin instead of President Snow. I don’t have time to get into all of the details, it was exceedingly ironic that Coin exhibited her newfound power after taking over Panem by proposing a “symbolic Hunger Games” in which the children of the Capitol would be killing each other, even though it was the Hunger Games and the injustice that comes with it that the rebels were fighting against in the first place! Where have we seen this type of behavior before? Oh yeah, ALL THROUGHOUT HISTORY!
Phenomenon of rebels becoming the next tyrants: the irony
If any of you have payed attention in history class, you’ll know what I’m talking about. When it comes to world leaders, it seems to be the norm rather than the exception that people who rebel against tyrants and take over become the next tyrants, and so on and so forth. People feel that a ruler is being unjust and cruel to his/her people, and then when they gain the throne, they are no better, and most of them they are even worse!
Examples: Napoleon, Communist Revolution
One classic example of this phenomenon is Napoleon Bonaparte. The French Revolution was a classic example of the people responding negatively to the negligence and cruelty of the royalty, which included King Louis XVI and his wife Marie-Antoinette. After the monarchy was abolished, of course, there was the Reign of Terror, which killed over 40,000 people. That was the first example of rebels becoming tyrants. Then in came Napoleon Bonaparte, who was viewed as the savior of the French Revolution. He took power as a general and became the first emperor, despite the fact that the French wanted a government in which there was equality. Napoleon would turn out to be brutal and callous military dictator who killed thousands of people throughout Europe. The French fought against tyrants and got another one to replace the previous ones. Who’s next?
One of the greatest ironies of all time is definitely the Communist Revolution that created the Soviet Union. Like in the French Revolution, the people of Russia didn’t like the tyrannical rulers that governed the country, so they fought for a system of government in which everyone would truly be equal, communism. After several people attempted to take power, Joseph Stalin was the one on top, silencing many of his former partners and many enemies. The biggest irony is that the government under Stalin wasn’t even true communism, it was totalitarianism, with which Stalin supposedly killed millions who didn’t support him, all so that he could have absolute control over the nation. Some sources say that Stalin killed even more people than Hitler! This is what happens when people rebel against tyranny; you get someone like Stalin who is the epitome of tyranny!
Why this occurs: we are intrinsically corrupted by power
It’s easy to blame all of this on the people who became tyrants, arguing that those people were just bad from the very beginning. But the truth is that humans are intrinsically corrupted by power. Young revolutionists genuinely believe in what they fight for, but once they gain power, they find it sweet and enjoyable, and they will do anything to hold onto it, even contradict their own morals and values that got them to that point in the first place. The scary thing is that nowhere in these peoples’ minds is the thought that once they attain power, they will become tyrants. Before they get there, they truly believe that they will be different from other rulers. Look what happens afterwards.
Takeaway: don’t view leaders as evil and corrupted because we would be the same if put in similar circumstances
My main point is that we cannot look at world leaders, seeing all of the terrible things that they do, and then condemn them as ‘bad’ or even ‘evil’. Why? Because nobody is born evil and corrupted, but when given power, humans are transformed into tyrants, and that includes anyone. Therefore, we should stop having a negative view of leaders because we wouldn’t be any better if we were put in similar circumstances. We can’t judge other people unless we step into their shoes. The problem is that if we get that high, it might be too late for us.