A thing or two

I have seen this quote fairly often of late.

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.” C. S. Lewis. God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and
Ethics.

I know a thing or two about living under that kind of tyranny. I was raised in a domestic version, and dealt with many another who has attempted the methods of punishment, belittlement, and persecution to compel me to do things, ostensibly for my own good. I know about whipping, shaming, insults and name-calling, and threats, and about being hectored, bullyragged, and ostracised. Without going into a great deal more of personal experience and hardship and how I learned it, I have learned a thing or two about how to resist that kind.

The first thing to realize is that those who act in this way are not principally motivated by your good. They are more often interested in their own, and recognizing what their self-interest is, when they are so assiduously pretending an interest in your welfare, or that of others is a key part of effective resistance. They may not even consciously realize what their interest really is.

Second is a recognition that since their methods don’t work on you, returning the same on them won’t work on them, either. Kindness is more powerful than cruelty, truth is more powerful than lies, knowledge beats ignorance, reality beats pretense, and patience beats haste.

The third is that it takes courage to stand your ground. Anyone can throw a return punch, but only a strong man, or woman, can take a beating to accomplish a higher purpose. If you have that higher purpose firmly in mind, you can be bedrock solid and no one will have power over you without your consent.

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