On the Nature of Tyranny

For the longest time I thought the main fight was between the franchisors and the franchisees. The more I looked into it, the more this bad guy :: good guy idea stopped explaining the behavior I was seeing.

And then I started to go over some authors that I had, as a young man, been unable to understand. One of them was Northrop Frye who wrote Fearful Symmetry: A Study of William Blake in 1947.

His interpretations of Blake’s ideas have stood up well and their insights about tyranny were interesting to me. Blake believed the following about tyranny:

1. Tyranny is seldom (in the long run, never) imposed on people from without; it is a projection of their own pusillanimity [the victim's passivity, small mindedness, lack of imagination] p.57

2. Tyranny is the co-operation of parasite and host; no tyrant maintains itself by force, but by trading on his victim’s fears. So although “A tyrant is the the worst disease, and the cause of all others,” the tyrant can at any rate be seen, and the imagination can handle anything that can be seen.

3. Tyranny requires a priesthood and a god first, and these make it permanent. p.60

4. …the real war in society is the “Mental Fight” between the visionaries [prophets] and the champions of tyranny. The latter are not the tyrants themselves but visonary renegades: poets like Virgil who write for Caesar; philosophers who “teach doubt & Experiment”…[the Apologists of tyranny] p.68

5. The source of all tyranny is the mental passivity induced by abstract reasoning the the victim’s mind, and until he has got rid of all rulers will be compelled to be tyrants. p.130

There are no Bystanders: The tyrant and the tyrant’s apologists prey on the victim’s fears. The victim builds the fears up and assists in forging his own chains.

  • The franchisor and his priests [franchise bar] trade on the franchisee’s fears.

The “victim” franchisee responds by wanting revenge for his “wrong”.

Listen carefully:

For those who live under the curse of the law…retribution is not only bad in itself but a waste of time. Wars, penal codes and persecutions never become positive acts: and while the will always exist as long as the world is fallen, they are never more than the endless working-out of a decimal proved millenniums ago to be recurring. p.69

The Curse of the Law:“…the endless working-out of a decimal proved milleniums ago to be recurring.” If that isn’t the best description I’ve ever seen of the wasted time and money in a legal approach to franchising problems.

Blake’s Prescription

  1. renunciate all forms of punishment (do not sue or push for laws),
  2. separate the acts from the actor, and
  3. release your imagination. p.69

Go ahead, it’s your funeral: Seek revenge. An eye for an eye. Pound of flesh. Try to have them feel as much shame as you do. [Should a cat feel guilt in successfully hunting a bird?]

My experience is this approach just ends up in bitterness and pain.

I’ll cover Blake’s idea of the Visionary role in another posting.

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One Response to On the Nature of Tyranny

  1. Carol Cross says:

    The tyranny of the majority of those “special interests” in franchising no doubt justifies that the “end does justify the means.” I’m sure that all franchisors justify the malicious legal contract and the failure to disclose “material” facts concerning unit performance of the system to new buyers as their contribution to the public policy that has been developed to support the industry. It is not difficult for all of the actors to rationalize that the status quo of franchising and the law does serve the “greater good.” If only 50% of the startup franchisees survive even to five years, who can say that the 50% who survive, together with a certain percentage of failures whose assets still serve the franchisor, are not essential to the local economies of the world?

    All of the actors take comfort in blaming the victim for their failure to do due diligence with an expert, and take no responsibility for their failure to disclose the risk demonstrated in historical UNIT performance data, and for their cooperation in obscuring the real risk of the investment from the view of the new unsophisticated buyer of the franchise. “The victim didn’t do due diligence and, therefore, deserves the outcome of not conducting efficient due diligence with experts in the industry, etc.”

    Of course, if unit performance statistics were mandated to be disclosed to new buyers by the system proprietor and owner of the gross sales of the system, this would negatively impact on ALL of the activity that surrounds franchising. There wouldn’t be as much litigation because prospective franchisees would know “upfront” the odds of failure or success and the odds of earning profits, etc.. and would have given their informed consent to these odds when they signed the franchise agreement. They wouldn’t feel cheated, as they do now, because they will have given their “informed consent” to the purchase when they signed the franchise agreement. The need for due diligence experts and advisors would not be as great, etc.. Those who make a living helping “entrepreneurs” to franchise would not be able to offer the prospective franchisor the kind of protection and ability to maximize profits that the FDD now gives to franchisors as an inducement to franchise a business.

    The parable of the broken window and the tyranny of the majority all come into play when public policy is developed and supported by law and process.

    The Curse of the Law is always with us and is like “silly putty” in the hands of those “powers that be” who shape law and process to serve their own interests. Has it ever been otherwise?

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