How much more can the public take? Plenty if recent events are any indication. Consider Tim Caulkins, professor of world history at VirginiaTech. Caulkins has studied the impacts of regressive authoritarian systems on the general population dating from some of the earliest recorded cultures and found that the determining factors in tolerance of a repressive government by its subjects boils down to the basics; food, water and shelter. “People will grouse and complain under the yoke of a demanding government, but what sends them over the edge is starvation.” Caulkins says. “As a people we are still subject to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and until our rulers begin to chop away at those basic requirements we will put up with anything.”
Caulkins elaborates by describing several current incidents where governments abuse the people they supposedly represent and the resulting outcomes. In the US he points to our persecution of individuals who point out the government’s shortcomings and intrusions and our ho-hum response to these transgressions. But on the other side of the globe, where several repressive regimes have persecuted their populace to the extremes of poverty and starvation he notes that the citizens have taken up arms and revolted. Just how far a citizenry will permit abuse is directly tied to it’s food supply.
Caulkins states that, regardless of the alarms raised by several factions in the US, both reasonable and eccentric to the point of ludicrous, the general population here is a long way from incipient revolution. “We may amass stores of ammunition and arms, build bunkers and fund the mansions of entrepreneurs who sell survivalist supplies but we’ll put up with corrupt leaders, invasive spying and loose interpretations of our rights until the refrigerator is empty.” He says.