is it ever justified to overthrow the government?


Fidel Castro, in the Havana Declarations makes the case that it is lawful and even a duty to overthrow a regime that is tyrannical

There is a lot of written material that support this position from the US declaration of independence to writings by Locke, Greeks and Roman philosophers, and even from Africa and Asia where it was the practice in some places to send to the maker a tyrant.

Why, then, do we have few insurrections when obviously we can count many countries living under a despot?

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

44 thoughts on “is it ever justified to overthrow the government?

  1. Neil Rickert says:

    it is lawful and even a duty to overthrow a regime that is tyrannical

    The American Revolution had a similar idea.

    Like

    • basenjibrian says:

      I would argue that the British government was less “tyrannical” than simply beginning to threaten…or even just talk about threatening…the vested interests of certain landed and wealthy interests. I mean, come on, limits on genocide and land theft against the natives on the western frontier? How are our land speculation ventures going to make big money? And what is all the noise from the motherland that maybe, just maybe, chattel slavery may not be a great thing? That is heresy! TYRRANY, man, Tyranny!

      Like

    • makagutu says:

      It seems these days people would rather live under a tyranny than dare revolt

      Like

  2. maryplumbago says:

    Yes..but they ones in authority usual have all the weapons…and if the military and police forces side with the authoritarian power…not much hope

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  3. mugo says:

    I’m going to go with my old go-to answer for Social Studies question 57 and say Lack Of Superior Weapons

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The justification I see the most support for is one where a government is in breach of its social contract. Basically if a government can’t improve quality of life beyond what people can do for themselves, it’s useless. But one would have to replace it with a government that is less useless.

    And all of this is assuming there’s an objective reflection on the means that justifies the ends. Revolutions have this way of producing people who are unjustifiably kind to themselves after the fact…

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      What happens for example if the despot overthrows the constitution? Bans the legislative assembly and all. Such a government lacks legitimacy but survive usually. Are people tired or they just don’t care?

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      • It depends on the situation. Apathy sure can be part of the problem in some ways. I think fear also plays into it. Revolutions are scary, often violent, and exercises in controlled chaos. And there’s no guarantee when they have to end.

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        • makagutu says:

          You are right, I think in all counts.
          Then there is the issue of organization. How to get the masses organized and trained to fight with their spoons and forks

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  5. Barry says:

    It’s a case of which is the lesser evil: living under a tyrant or being dead. Most people prefer the former hoping others will risk the latter

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  6. Ron says:

    Usually, the despots have an army and the citizens are unarmed. Hence the reason for the second amendment.

    “For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well organized and armed militia is their best security.”— Thomas Jefferson

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    • makagutu says:

      I fail to see how private citizens having guns translates to a well organized and armed militia

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ron says:

        See: Switzerland

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        • basenjibrian says:

          Switzerland has a completely different history and culture than the United States. An armed citizenry has nothing to do with their freedoms. For one thing, they have deliberately refused to become an imperial power that thinks it knows how the rest of the world should be run.

          Liked by 2 people

          • makagutu says:

            With military bases everywhere to protect their interests. Is it Butler who said that America should have her soldiers within 200miles of the sea line. No one is trying to attack her. I think he was right

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      • basenjibrian says:

        I know I feel MUCH SAFER watching obese old white rural dudes parading around with automatic rifles whining about the TYRANNY of masks.

        And that is my fear….any revolution will replace the current system with something out of Handmaiden’s Tale. Luckily, so many of the televangelists are so ridiculous that they may not be able to take power anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. shelldigger says:

    I keep saying when the revolution needs me call!

    I’m not saying it for S&G’s.

    With any luck the election will solve our more immediate issues. But I have little faith in that. They are working diligently take this country from the people. And the people are too blind to see. It almost appears they are welcoming a dictatorship with open arms.

    I’m not a praying man, but please jeebus let sanity win the day come Nov.

    Like

    • basenjibrian says:

      Agree except I am much less sanguine about the character and virtue of “the people”. I listen to some of my coworkers and their friends and it is not good! Remember, it was not a member of the “They” cohort who showed up at a pizza parlor with no basement looking for the Sekrit Pedafile Ringg in the basement that “the liberals” were running.

      I would also claim that the United States has ALWAYS struggled with the money power versus the “common good”. In fact, it has been far, far worse in past times. Look at some of the scandals in our history!

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      • makagutu says:

        Brian I like you. You keep us on the true and narrow. The wisdom of the people has to be rightfully questioned.

        Liked by 1 person

        • basenjibrian says:

          This may be very politically incorrect, but I watch the groupthink, smugness and silliness of some of the current “activist” crowd, and I am not even very sanguine about “left wing youths” who are supposed to save us all, either. If you have time to devote to politics and “activism”, I question whether power hunger and self righteousness are not a big part of a life that is otherwise not very usefully occupied? Politics sucks. It is necessary, but those that make it their defining passion are often suspect to me. Damn, am I cynical.

          Like

    • makagutu says:

      The way things are going, that election may not solve the immediate problem. There is a chance Trumpsky might win.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree with the thought that it is lawful and and even a duty to overthrow a regime that is tyrannical…. This is because the regime values and govern should be that of the interest and benefit of the people.

    There is no regime if there is no people therefore people make the government and People have full authority to give and take away power.

    With every powerful insurrection it should come forth with a pegged mindset…

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  9. What do revolutions teach us? The idealists are usually playing into the hands of the new class of aspiring rulers. While they, having achieved their martyrdom, outlived their usefulness and being discarded afterwards. As always the masses, having the least to gain, paying the highest price with their blood.

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      As always the masses, having the least to gain, paying the highest price with their blood.

      This is true, almost all the time. We can consider the struggles for independence in the colonies as revolutions and even here, the greatest beneficiaries were/ are few.

      Like

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