Power affects people in strange ways. In great nations (the ones we admire most - not necessarily the ones that are the most powerful), power is generally expressed quietly in most instances and is only expressed dramatically when events necessitate it. This was largely the case for most First World countries in, say, the 1950's. However, as a nation declines, and as its people have less and less faith in their respective governments' authority to rule them, governments typically tend to beef up the level of force.
Of course, the reader can see where this observation is going - Today, in Europe and America, we are seeing increasingly draconian laws being passed to allow the powers that be to express their dominance ever more forcefully and arbitrarily. There can be little doubt that the objective is to instil a level of fear amongst the population that their leaders still hold the mace and that it can come crashing down at any moment.
In recent years, this has been seen dramatically, especially in America, with the passage of the Patriot Act some ten years ago and the more recent National Defense Authorization Act one year ago, along with a host of other, similar laws.
But other First World countries are just as involved in this effort. The degree of authority has been ramped up dramatically recently; however, autocratic rule has generally been on the rise for several decades.
Along the way, Europe and America have also been at work at controlling the rest of the world. In the last twenty years, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which is made up of thirty countries and is headquartered in Paris, has led a campaign to force all countries to adopt the same financial standards that they adhere to. Any country that fails to burden its people with a level of tax equal to OECD countries is threatened with being cut off from First World banking transactions.
In addition, should a citizen flee from a First World country and seek asylum in a foreign country, the First World countries have, increasingly, been dictating to other countries whether or not their offers of asylum will be acceptable.
Just fifty years ago, this sort of behaviour was almost unheard of. Yet today, we have become accustomed to accepting that "the big guys can bully the little guys if they wish."
Whilst bullying by the most powerful nations has existed for millennia, the world has never before seen the sophisticated minutiae of dominance that we are now witnessing, universally.
So, what is the logical outcome of this trend? Certainly, thanks to computers, the internet, etc., the breadth of opportunities for power-centre control will become ever-greater as the future unfolds. But the question is whether the unlimited power that political leaders typically seek will be possible.
Certainly, the present economic crumbling of the First World may play a major part. If currencies collapse, if stock markets tumble, if entire governments fall, what level of power will these countries have to continue their effort of ever-increasing force?
Whilst there can be no doubt that the desire to control will not diminish (and the bluster from political leaders indicates that they continue to believe in their omnipotence), if we are watchful, we may begin to spot fissures in the ramparts that were not there previously.
At present, these cracks are small - Greece laying off a large percentage of civil servants, cities in the US cutting back on basic services, such as police and fire departments, the UK closing public buildings due to lack of funds. All of these suggest a trend in the collapse of the bureaucracies that provide force. Although this trend is only in its beginning stages, each time we see these minor cracks in the walls, we should step over to the mental blackboard and make another chalk mark next to the examples that are there.
As we remind ourselves that these initial occurrences are taking place, we can begin to balance them with the claims that the leaders are an unstoppable elite force that will one day have total power.
"Ecuadorean court ratifies political refugee status for Belarus former investigator"
- MercoPress, 28 August, 2012
The quote above is from a Uruguayan newspaper. The publication is a useful daily read, as it regularly reports events that often do not see the light of day in the First World media.
The headline refers to Aliaksander Barankov, a Russian whistleblower who had the temerity to reveal that the family of Russian President Alexander Lukashenko had been involved in fraudulent activities. Ecuador announced last year that they would provide Barankov with asylum. Recently, Russia appealed the decision, putting increased muscle on Ecuador. In response, Ecuador's highest court threw out the renewed Russian request for extradition. Whilst this may not be news in the First World, First Worlders may be aware that Ecuador recently granted asylum to another whistleblower, Julian Assange, who feared his death if the US authorities were to get custody of him.
Chalk up another one for Liberty.
Again, at present, these events are small demonstrations of refusal to the bigger, more powerful countries. In themselves, they are of little importance to the average world resident. However, historically, whenever the "little guys" have gotten fed up with the tyranny of the "big guys" and sensed that the big guys were weakening, it has always been small incidents such as these that have been the bellwether of things to come. The more often such resistance occurs and the more light is shone on such occurrences, the more other "little guys" tend to question whether, in fact, the "big guys" still maintain the power to bully them to the degree they wish.
The fact is, as any empire begins to crumble, it finds itself short of the funds to pay to fight such battles, as other, more critical areas are short of funding and must be attended to. Historically, the maintenance of the periphery of the empire (be it geographical or ideological) becomes increasingly unmanageable.
At some point along the way, the resistance from the little guys begins to succeed and, through general awareness, grows. When this occurs, the reaction by smaller countries becomes more unified, as they realise that "We don't have to tolerate this nonsense any longer."
In recent history, there have been quite a few examples of Second and Third World countries that have experienced diminished control, but, to date, no First World country has had to concede its ability to dominate over smaller countries.
So, are we at the tipping point? Unfortunately, no, but the cracks are now showing. Every crack is a step in the right direction - the liberty for small sovereign nations to determine their own way forward, without the interference of the "big guys."
For those who value liberty, this concept is of central importance. If the country in which we live is headed in a direction that is not to our liking, we would like to believe that there are other, more favourable countries that we could choose to relocate to. In recent decades, Europe and America have worked to close off or neutralise these possible exits.
As we observe the Great Unravelling, we would do well to keep an eye on increasing resistance by the rest of the world to dominance by the big guys. As a growing trend, it can only mean greater freedom for all people, the world over, to be able to choose where they wish to reside.
Presently, our consciousness is focused on the increased effort of the world's biggest powers to enforce subjugation of their populations. Historically, this is always an endgame move, as the powers grow nearer to the end of their run. In the coming years, we would do well to regularly assess the opening-up of other jurisdictions as the old leaders decline.