A tyrant (Greek τύραννος, tyrannos), in its modern English usage, is a ruler of a cruel and oppressive character who is an absolute ruler unrestrained by law or constitution, and/or one who has usurped legitimate sovereignty. (emphasis is mine) The original Greek term, however, merely meant an authoritarian sovereign without reference to character, bearing no pejorative connotation during the Archaic and early Classical periods, though it was clearly a bad word to Plato, and on account of the decisive influence of political philosophy its negative connotations only increased down into the Hellenistic period, becoming synonymous with "Authenteo" - another term which carried authoritarian connotations around the turn of the first century A.D.
Plato and Aristotle define a tyrant as, "one who rules without law, looks to his own advantage rather than that of his subjects, and uses extreme and cruel tactics—against his own people as well as others" (emphasis mine) . During the seventh and sixth centuries BC, tyranny was often looked upon as an intermediate stage between narrow oligarchy and more democratic forms of polity. However, in the late fifth and fourth centuries, a new kind of tyrant, the military dictator, arose, specifically in Sicily.
America is loading up their cars this weekend with kids, picnic baskets, camping gear, fishing rods, hitting the road for family fun on this holiday to honor those that have fallen in consummation of their oath to defend our Constitution from all enemies. In light of the State of our Union and current events, I ask the age old question likely uttered by children for thousands of years within the first ten minutes of an eight hour trip. Likewise America is now a little over half way into our 8 year trip with President Obama. In light of recent revelations and abuses of power, and given the Webster and Wikipedia definitions; my question for America begs an answer in regard to tyranny....
“Are we there yet?"
Michael R. Bednarz