In times of totalitarian or autocratic rule, music (indeed culture in general) is often the only avenue of independent thought. It is the only way people can meet as equals, and exchange ideas. Culture then becomes primarily the voice of the oppressed and it takes over from politics as a driving force for change.
The US has developed two coordinate governing classes: the one, called 'business,' building cities, manufacturing and distributing goods, and holding complete and autocratic power over the livelihood of millions; the other, called 'government,' concerned with preaching and exemplification of spiritual ideals, so caught in a mass of theory, that when it wished to move in a practical world it had to do so by means of a sub rosa political machine.
You can understand Tunisia revolution as a failure to censor the internet. And Libya had that failure too. It's very difficult for governments that are autocratic and don't have broad popular support to be in power when a lot of people have these devices. That was what Arab Spring was about, that people could express this and lead to revolution.
I have long been aware that when an independent intellectual stands up to an autocratic state, step one toward freedom is often a step into prison. Now I am taking that step; and true freedom is that much nearer.
The president(Obama) comparing him to a kid in the back of a classroom, I think, is very indicative of the president's lack of appreciation of who Vladimir Putin is. He's an old KGB colonel that has no illusions about our relationship, does not care about a relationship with the United States, continues to oppress his people, continues to act in an autocratic fashion.
I actually bought the argument that if we democratized Iraq, we could create a space for venting some of the stuff that's going on in the Middle East in these autocratic regimes that is expressing itself through jihadism, because it has nowhere else to express itself.
Our object now, as then, is to vindicate the principles of peace and justice in the life of the world as against selfish and autocratic power, and to set up among the really free and self-governed peoples of the world such a concert of purpose and of action as will henceforth insure the observance of those principles.
Pnin slowly walked under solemn pines. The sky was dying. He did not believe in an autocratic God. He did believe, dimly, in a democracy of ghosts. The souls of the dead, perhaps, formed committees, and these, in continuous session, attended the destinies of the quick.
An autocratic system of coercion, in my opinion, soon degenerates. For force always attracts men of low morality, and I believe it to be an invariable rule that tyrants of genius are succeeded by scoundrels. For this reason I have always been passionately opposed to systems such as we see in Italy and Russia to-day.