Guest Post: The Essential Rules Of Tyranny

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Brandon Smith of Alt Market

The Essential Rules Of Tyranny

As we look back on the horrors of the dictatorships and autocracies of the past, one particular question consistently arises; how was it possible for the common men of these eras to NOT notice what was happening around them? How could they have stood as statues unaware or uncaring as their cultures were overrun by fascism, communism, collectivism, and elitism? Of course, we have the advantage of hindsight, and are able to research and examine the misdeeds of the past at our leisure. Unfortunately, such hindsight does not necessarily shield us from the long cast shadow of tyranny in our own day. For that, the increasingly uncommon gift of foresight is required…

At bottom, the success of despotic governments and Big Brother societies hinges upon a certain number of political, financial, and cultural developments. The first of which is an unwillingness in the general populace to secure and defend their own freedoms, making them completely reliant on corrupt establishment leadership. For totalitarianism to take hold, the masses must not only neglect the plight of their country, and the plight of others, but also be completely uninformed of the inherent indirect threats to their personal safety. They must abandon all responsibility for their destinies, and lose all respect for their own humanity. They must, indeed, become domesticated and mindless herd animals without regard for anything except their fleeting momentary desires for entertainment and short term survival. For a lumbering bloodthirsty behemoth to actually sneak up on you, you have to be pretty damnably oblivious.

The prevalence of apathy and ignorance sets the stage for the slow and highly deliberate process of centralization. Once dishonest governments accomplish an atmosphere of inaction and condition a sense of frailty within the citizenry, the sky is truly the limit. However, a murderous power-monger’s day is never quite done. In my recent article ‘The Essential Rules of Liberty’ we explored the fundamentally unassailable actions and mental preparations required to ensure the continuance of a free society. In this article, let’s examine the frequently wielded tools of tyrants in their invariably insane quests for total control…

Rule #1: Keep Them Afraid

People who are easily frightened are easily dominated. This is not just a law of political will, but a law of nature. Many wrongly assume that a tyrant’s power comes purely from the application of force. In fact, despotic regimes that rely solely on extreme violence are often very unsuccessful, and easily overthrown. Brute strength is calculable. It can be analyzed, and thus, eventually confronted and defeated. Thriving tyrants instead utilize not just harm, but the imminent THREAT of harm. They instill apprehension in the public; a fear of the unknown, or a fear of the possible consequences for standing against the state. They let our imaginations run wild until we see death around every corner, whether it’s actually there or not. When the masses are so blinded by the fear of reprisal that they forget their fear of slavery, and take no action whatsoever to undo it, then they have been sufficiently culled.

In other cases, our fear is evoked and directed towards engineered enemies. Another race, another religion, another political ideology, a “hidden” and ominous villain created out of thin air. Autocrats assert that we “need them” in order to remain safe and secure from these illusory monsters bent on our destruction. As always, this development is followed by the claim that all steps taken, even those that dissolve our freedoms, are “for the greater good”. Frightened people tend to shirk their sense of independence and run towards the comfort of the collective, even if that collective is built on immoral and unconscionable foundations. Once a society takes on a hive-mind mentality almost any evil can be rationalized, and any injustice against the individual is simply overlooked for the sake of the group.

Rule #2: Keep Them Isolated

In the past, elitist governments would often legislate and enforce severe penalties for public gatherings, because defusing the ability of the citizenry to organize or to communicate was paramount to control. In our technological era, such isolation is still used, but in far more advanced forms. The bread and circus lifestyle of the average westerner alone is enough to distract us from connecting with each other in any meaningful fashion, but people still sometimes find ways to seek out organized forms of activism.

Through co-option, modern day tyrant’s can direct and manipulate opposition movements. By creating and administrating groups which oppose each other, elites can then micromanage all aspects of a nation on the verge of revolution. These “false paradigms” give us the illusion of proactive organization, and the false hope of changing the system, while at the same time preventing us from seeking understanding in one another. All our energies are then muted and dispersed into meaningless battles over “left and right”, or “Democrat versus Republican”, for example. Only movements that cast aside such empty labels and concern themselves with the ultimate truth of their country, regardless of what that truth might reveal, are able to enact real solutions to the disasters wrought by tyranny.

In more advanced forms of despotism, even fake organizations are disbanded. Curfews are enforced. Normal communications are diminished or monitored. Compulsory paperwork is required. Checkpoints are instituted. Free speech is punished. Existing groups are influenced to distrust each other or to disintegrate entirely out of dread of being discovered. All of these measures are taken by tyrants primarily to prevent ANY citizens from gathering and finding mutual support. People who work together and organize of their own volition are unpredictable, and therefore, a potential risk to the state.

Rule #3: Keep Them Desperate

You’ll find in nearly every instance of cultural descent into autocracy, the offending government gained favor after the onset of economic collapse. Make the necessities of root survival an uncertainty, and people without knowledge of self sustainability and without solid core principles will gladly hand over their freedom, even for mere scraps from the tables of the same men who unleashed famine upon them. Financial calamities are not dangerous because of the poverty they leave in their wake; they are dangerous because of the doors to malevolence that they leave open.

Destitution leads not just to hunger, but also to crime (private and government). Crime leads to anger, hatred, and fear. Fear leads to desperation. Desperation leads to the acceptance of anything resembling a solution, even despotism.

Autocracies pretend to cut through the dilemmas of economic dysfunction (usually while demanding liberties be relinquished), however, behind the scenes they actually seek to maintain a proscribed level of indigence and deprivation. The constant peril of homelessness and starvation keeps the masses thoroughly distracted from such things as protest or dissent, while simultaneously chaining them to the idea that their only chance is to cling to the very government out to end them.

Rule #4: Send Out The Jackboots

This is the main symptom often associated with totalitarianism. So much so that our preconceived notions of what a fascist government looks like prevent us from seeing other forms of tyranny right under our noses. Some Americans believe that if the jackbooted thugs are not knocking on every door, then we MUST still live in a free country. Obviously, this is a rather naïve position. Admittedly, though, goon squads and secret police do eventually become prominent in every failed nation, usually while the public is mesmerized by visions of war, depression, hyperinflation, terrorism, etc.

When law enforcement officials are no longer servants of the people, but agents of a government concerned only with its own supremacy, serious crises emerge. Checks and balances are removed. The guidelines that once reigned in police disappear, and suddenly, a philosophy of superiority emerges; an arrogant exclusivity that breeds separation between law enforcement and the rest of the public. Finally, police no longer see themselves as protectors of citizens, but prison guards out to keep us subdued and docile.

As tyranny grows, this behavior is encouraged. Good men are filtered out of the system, and small (minded and hearted) men are promoted.

At its pinnacle, a police state will hide the identities of most of its agents and officers, behind masks or behind red tape, because their crimes in the name of the state become so numerous and so sadistic that personal vengeance on the part of their victims will become a daily concern.

Rule #5: Blame Everything On The Truth Seekers

Tyrants are generally men who have squelched their own consciences. They have no reservations in using any means at their disposal to wipe out opposition. But, in the early stages of their ascent to power, they must give the populace a reason for their ruthlessness, or risk being exposed, and instigating even more dissent. The propaganda machine thus goes into overdrive, and any person or group that dares to question the authority or the validity of the state is demonized in the minds of the masses.

All disasters, all violent crimes, all the ills of the world, are hoisted upon the shoulders of activist groups and political rivals. They are falsely associated with fringe elements already disliked by society (racists, terrorists, etc). A bogus consensus is created through puppet media in an attempt to make the public believe that “everyone else” must have the same exact views, and those who express contrary positions must be “crazy”, or “extremist”. Events are even engineered by the corrupt system and pinned on those demanding transparency and liberty. The goal is to drive anti-totalitarian organizations into self censorship. That is to say, instead of silencing them directly, the state causes activists to silence themselves.

Tyrannical power structures cannot function without scapegoats. There must always be an elusive boogie man under the bed of every citizen, otherwise, those citizens may turn their attention, and their anger, towards the real culprit behind their troubles. By scapegoating stewards of the truth, such governments are able to kill two birds with one stone.

Rule #6: Encourage Citizen Spies

Ultimately, the life of a totalitarian government is not prolonged by the government itself, but by the very people it subjugates. Citizen spies are the glue of any police state, and our propensity for sticking our noses into other peoples business is highly valued by Big Brother bureaucracies around the globe.

There are a number of reasons why people participate in this repulsive activity. Some are addicted to the feeling of being a part of the collective, and “service” to this collective, sadly, is the only way they are able to give their pathetic lives meaning. Some are vindictive, cold, and soulless, and actually get enjoyment from ruining others. And still, like elites, some long for power, even petty power, and are willing to do anything to fulfill their vile need to dictate the destinies of perfect strangers.

Citizen spying is almost always branded as a civic duty; an act of heroism and bravery. Citizen spies are offered accolades and awards, and showered with praise from the upper echelons of their communities. People who lean towards citizen spying are often outwardly and inwardly unimpressive; physically and mentally inept. For the average moral and emotional weakling with persistent feelings of inadequacy, the allure of finally being given fifteen minutes of fame and a hero’s status (even if that status is based on a lie) is simply too much to resist. They begin to see “extremists” and “terrorists” everywhere. Soon, people afraid of open ears everywhere start to watch what they say at the supermarket, in their own backyards, or even to family members. Free speech is effectively neutralized.

Rule #7: Make Them Accept The Unacceptable

In the end, it is not enough for a government fueled by the putrid sludge of iniquity to lord over us. At some point, it must also influence us to forsake our most valued principles. Tyrannies are less concerned with dominating how we live, so much as dominating how we think. If they can mold our very morality, they can exist unopposed indefinitely. Of course, the elements of conscience are inborn, and not subject to environmental duress as long as a man is self aware. However, conscience can be manipulated if a person has no sense of identity, and has never put in the effort to explore his own strengths and failings. There are many people like this in America today.

Lies become “necessary” in protecting the safety of the state. War becomes a tool for “peace”. Torture becomes an ugly but “useful” method for gleaning important information. Police brutality is sold as a “natural reaction” to increased crime. Rendition becomes normal, but only for those labeled as “terrorists”. Assassination is justified as a means for “saving lives”. Genocide is done discretely, but most everyone knows it is taking place. They simply don’t discuss it.

All tyrannical systems depend on the apathy and moral relativism of the inhabitants within their borders. Without the cooperation of the public, these systems cannot function. The real question is, how many of the above steps will be taken before we finally refuse to conform? At what point will each man and woman decide to break free from the dark path blazed before us and take measures to ensure their independence? Who will have the courage to develop their own communities, their own alternative economies, their own organizations for mutual defense outside of establishment constructs, and who will break under the pressure to bow like cowards? How many will hold the line, and how many will flee?

For every American, for every human being across the planet who chooses to stand immovable in the face of the very worst in mankind, we come that much closer to breathing life once again into the very best in us all.

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Ahmeexnal's picture

keep them under submission.

easily done with religion.

Spirit Of Truth's picture

Little do you know how right you are:

Tis a matter of self-fulfilling prophecy, especially in the case of Iran:

Fortunately, God's a step ahead of man.

JW n FL's picture

Jesus is coming back with the God of Iran!


I never knew that Iran considered Jesus a Holy Man that would be traveling with their God to unite the World in Peace.. that is something that CNN / CNBC and / or other will NOT! be letting the America Public know! for all of you that think I am kidding becuase I more often than not do kids around.. this is really what the People (majority) beleive.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

It's amazing what you can discover simply by doing a little bit of research instead of blindly accepting "what everyone knows to be true".


NidStyles's picture

You mean to say Organized Religion. Read some Nietzsche. He covered the topic very well. It's Organized Religion that put's people into the scope of being controllable.

AldousHuxley's picture

Abraham Lincoln believed that assassinating a leader is morally justified when a people has suffered under a tyrant for an extended period of time and has exhausted all legal and peaceful means of ouster

mayhem_korner's picture

He was a Godly man.  And God condoned - in fact ordered - the same on several occasions throughout the Scriptures.  See, e.g. 1 Samuel 15, where Saul loses favor with God for NOT annihilating all of the Amalekites as directed.

falak pema's picture

Man's law and god's law are not compatible. Secular state law is the only way out. If we act according to God's law than we admit it is superior to our laws; which means that the Salafist charia and fundamentalist christian doctrine, the type that killed the infidel without fair trial for valid reasons, the kind that burnt the heretic similarly, takes prescience over Solon's laws and their heritage. This was the basis of theocratic rule proposed by the popes, now by the Ayatollahs and Salafists. 

Regression, negation of our civilization, where to know how to seek truth is our essence, not what that truth is according to preconcieved notions, but based on fact and logic, irrespective of age old custom or ingrained prejudice. 

So keep Saul out of the argument and assassination of tyrants a thing to be proscribed if the people have faith in their power, in their republic.

sun tzu's picture

The USSR and Nazi Germany were full of secular laws. China has secular laws. 

GoinFawr's picture

Yeah, theocrazies are renowned for their civilized behavior towards those moving to the beat of another drum. (sarc)

JW n FL's picture

ALL of you professing that you have no belief in the Holy Bible and / or God are just scared that Home Land Security will kick your door in.. You can believe in the Bible or you can belive in the Constitution of the United States of America.. but if you believe in BOTH! You are a Home Grown Terrorist!


I understand why you cant say You Love God! its ok.. God knows you are scared of the Home Land Security People kicking in your door!

JW n FL's picture

America's Founding Documents


The Magna Carta

The Mayflower Compact

The Declaration of Independence

The Constitution of the United States of America

The Bill of Rights

The Federalist Papers

The Anti-Federalist Papers

The American Creed

Washington's Farewell Address

The Gettysburg Address


I am downloading copies of everything! I am then going to print out copies and maybe have some other copies made to pass around!

Home Grown Terrorist! Passing out copies of the Constitution! PLUS! PLUS!! PLUS!!! WOW! someone call crime stoppers and collect the reward! Hurry!

I may pass out Bibles at the same time! but I dont want to send the NSA / FBI over the edge! they may have to order a shoot on site for me if I keep this up!


sun tzu's picture

I may pass out Bibles at the same time! 


You better scratch that. I believe that people seen to be on the religious right would be considered possible terrorists by Mr Napolitano. In government we trust.

JW n FL's picture

While passing out copies of the Constitution and the Bible.. I was thinking I would as well pass out these.. (to law enforcement / Nazi PIGS)

***** "A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) intelligence assessment was published to the Internet this week, warning that opposition to federal government policies could foment a resurgence of "rightwing extremism." The DHS report is the latest indication that many law enforcement agencies regard advocacy groups as intelligence targets and lawful political dissent as a potential sign of terrorism." *****

***** "

This is at least the fourth time in three months that government domestic intelligence reports have been leaked to the public. Earlier this month, a report entitled "The 2009 Terrorism Threat Assessment" leaked from the Virginia Fusion Center to the Internet. The Virginia Fusion Center's report lists a wide variety of groups (of which many are clearly associated with terrorism, but many others have terrorism connections that are speculative or nonexistent) and uniformly recommends that law enforcement investigate the groups and their affiliates. The Virginia report comes on the heels of a report leaked from the North Central Texas Fusion Center in February, and yet another from the Missouri Information Analysis Center in March. The Missouri and Texas reports have already been roundly criticized and retracted. None of these reports indicate a specific threat, just a never-ending array of potential hazards that are "likely to grow in strength." *****

Most of the links above are to the Home Land Nazi Hand Books that describe the Home Grown Terrorists.. like the guy in Norway who hated Muslims.. so he killed Christians and Christian Children.. becuase he hated Muslims.. Yeah, thats what happened.. more like.. this! Happened!! "Jews will be at the Center leading role of Multi cultrism or Europe will be destroyed / not survive" says her!

You hear that whitey! the jews are coming for you!



JW n FL's picture

Multiculturalism has Failed in Europe - And that's Official !

British PM: Multiculturalism has failed David Cameron’s remarks on West's policy draw fire from Muslim community

HarryHaller's picture


"I am then going to print out copies and maybe have some other copies made to pass around!"


In 1923 Upton Sinclair read the Bill of Rights in public as a protest and was summarily arrested.  The arresting offcier was quoted as saying "We'll have none of that Consitution stuff"...

HarryHaller's picture


"I am then going to print out copies and maybe have some other copies made to pass around!"


In 1923 Upton Sinclair read the Bill of Rights in public as a protest and was summarily arrested.  The arresting offcier was quoted as saying "We'll have none of that Consitution stuff"...

Ghordius's picture

Hello? This guy writes an excellent article about citizenship and the comments are about religion? I don't get it....

sun tzu's picture

All it takes is one douchebag to get it started

windcatcher's picture

In reply to Ghordius: 

This is exactly the diversion in thought and attention to the real world that the author is describing. The shallow discussion has turned away from the real issues to religion because the readers are afraid of discussing the real issues of tyranny that is starring them in the face.


GoinFawr's picture

Historically religion and tyranny go hand in hand.

Silver Dreamer's picture

Organized religion is tyranny.

Cistercian's picture

Being anti-religion is in vogue today.Which is a shame, on multiple levels.Yet the rampant criminality of Wall St and the Gov continues apace.One has to organized religion worse than the scumbags currently looting the planet...probably not.Pol-Pot,Stalin and Mao killed more people together than any religion ever has.Organized religion isn't the problem...Evil is.And it's relentless minions.And yes, it has also infected organized religion.One has only to look at the fruit to discern the actor's intent.

Sledge's picture



  Religion is not the same as having a relationship with God. Jesus said if you want to pray go into a closet. What I think He meant was you don't need a church, mosque, or synagogue; anywhere will do if you BELIEVE.  No Golden Mosque, or tall white castle in the sky church will bring you closer to God. You are getting lost in edifices, a pope or imman, not God. If you can't find God in a flower or blade of grass or in the eyes of a fellow human being than you are lost. If you are lost you will search for someone to lead you. That's how religion gets you. Once you give up that personal light speed connection to God and replace it with  a middle man you are subject to deception and political influences of the state.
  I TOTALLY understand how people hate religion. It has been used throughout history to kill brothers and sisters and spread hatred throughout the world. I could give a rat's ass what a "religious leader" has to say about that. I know that God would not approve and boy will these hypocrites pay!!! There is one God and the people of Earth are His children. To the degree which you do not understand this, we ALL will suffer.

falak pema's picture

That is spirituality and subjective vision of it. A man, his beliefs and his vision of eternal perfection. That has always existed and even Aristotle addressed it in his Metaphysics.

That has nothing to do with the religious creed, source of ideological tyranny, religious dogma that effectively says "you are with us or against us" the hegemonic mantra expressed in terms of ideology.

When there is a church, a Pope, to decide for the people and a multinational organistion to implement it, it is totalitarian in nature and has been since the Gregorian reforms and 'dictatus papae' in Occidental lands.  

Spirituality yes! One to one with God and free individual will, yes! But not a Pope, holy intermediary with the eternal. Not a clergy who decides who gets burnt at the stake.

akak's picture

Exactly, Ahmeexnal!

I am always struck, even here on ZeroHedge, by how many can see through the absurdities and lies of statist mythology, even while fervently defending the absurdities and lies of religious mythology.  Both are just tools of social (and sociopathic) control, most especially the malignant monotheisms of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

If Jeebus REALLY existed as portrayed in the Bible (which I doubt), I would have gladly hammered the nails into the cross myself.

Free yourself from the absurdity of religion!

Meanwhile, junk away Christo-fascists!

cpnscarlet's picture

Too bad you and others have not learned the difference between religion and spirituality. His name is JESUS and you nailing him to the cross would not have changed the result of His sacrifice.

May God have mercy on your soul.

akak's picture

I am fully aware of the difference between religion and spirituality, and I find precious little of the latter in the former, at least in the outrageously socially and morally destructive, perverted and twisted monotheistic religions.  More people have been killed in the name of Jahweh, Jesus and Allah/Mohammed than have been otherwise killed in all the wars throughout history.  To deny that Christianity, Judaism and Islam are finely-engineered tools of social and political control is to deny reality itself.  Christianity as practiced and believed today would have been considered a gross perversion to any first or second-century AD Christian, and with good reason.

But keep desperately and pathetically clutching your insane mythology if it makes you feel better.

cpnscarlet's picture

Heard it all before, thanks.

Jesus Saves. Or is that to clutchy, pathetic, or insane for you?

faustian bargain's picture

Which Jesus? the gnostic one, the catholic one, the protestant one? the metaphorical one, or the historicist one? they are all different, with widely varying practical implications.

And I guess the Jews and Muslims are just out of luck, eh. Not to mention the millions of buddhists, hindus, and others.

sun tzu's picture

Why do you care what Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists believe? It's none of your business. 

Ahmeexnal's picture

you forgot the gay jesus

GoinFawr's picture

And the Buddy Christ

Like cigarettes, you gotta "hook 'em while they're young."

piceridu's picture

How about Brian?

Brian: I'm not the Messiah! Will you please listen? I am not the Messiah, do you understand? Honestly! 
Girl: Only the true Messiah denies His divinity. 
Brian: What? Well, what sort of chance does that give me? All right! I am the Messiah! 
Followers: He is! He is the Messiah! 
Brian: Now, fuck off! 
Arthur: How shall we fuck off, O Lord? 

sun tzu's picture

I worked with the gay Jesus when I was in high school. He was the busboy. I think his last name was Lopez. Are you looking for him?

mayhem_korner's picture


There is only one Jesus.  The variants exist from perversions of the Scriptures or people that leverage the Scriptures for power by withholding information (that's what happened for the first 10 centuries AD). 

READ the Bible and then decide for yourself.  That will also answer your inquiry as to the Jews, Muslims, etc...

GoinFawr's picture

Yeah, no cross referencing allowed. In fact, ignore everything else altogether.

mayhem_korner's picture

Cross reference all you want.  Read and study everything.  But if you don't know what the Bible says, don't pretend you do.

GoinFawr's picture

Exactly. So, which version do you wanna play with?

mayhem_korner's picture

Why don't you start with a point, instead of an empty inference, and we can discuss it.

GoinFawr's picture

NP. I mean, I can understand your fascination with the bible (St.James' I'm guessing, you seem like a monoglot, New Testament kinda guy) but personally, when it comes to magic and fairytales, I prefer "The Two Towers" best; though admittedly some (goldbugs mostly) say that you can find deeper meaning in "The Philosopher's Stone". On the other hand, "The Fellowship of the Ring" introduces a nice contrast of good vs evil and it's here where we first encounter some original sin in the Gollum character ("Evil oft mars itself" and all that cal). But nothing beats the wealth of magic and miracles found in "The Goblet of Fire"...

Anyway, it's all here in Marcus Brigstocke's work:

mayhem_korner's picture

How can you understand my fascination with something you've never yourself read?

GoinFawr's picture

Heh, you're making assumptions about things you yourself don't know, again.


mayhem_korner's picture

So you've read the Bible cover to cover (pick a version), and have rejected it?

GoinFawr's picture

Do I stutter or something?

No, I don't wholly reject it.

The 'jesus' character is a gravely misinterpreted secular humanist. If he was a real person he was probably forced to at least pretend to adopt some of the doctrinal superstitions of the day, if he wanted anyone to take him seriously.

A recurring theme, the basic tenet at the heart of practically every religion is the 'treating of others as you yourself would like to be treated'.

I don't have a problem with that at all. But like Kropotkin says: practicing that doesn't require everyone to believe in some supernatural paternalistic unicorn overseeing all of existence (paraphrased, as I have no Russian).

mayhem_korner's picture

No I don't wholly reject it...If he was a real person he was probably forced to at least pretend to adopt some of the doctrinal superstitions of the day, if he wanted anyone to take him seriously.

If you do not accept Jesus as a real person, how is it that you do not wholly reject Christianity?  And BTW, the accounts of His life are pretty clear that He rejected the doctrinal superstitions of the day that were being imposed on people (i.e., "organized religion").

A recurring theme, the basic tenet at the heart of practically every religion is the 'treating of others as you yourself would like to be treated'.

Basic tenet of Christianity: we are each broken and enslaved to sin and unable to save ourselves from its consequences.  But God in His mercy saved us from that fate through Jesus.  Subordinately, is our response to love thy neighbor.  We are incapable of doing so absent God's mercy. 

GoinFawr's picture

"If you do not accept Jesus as a real person, how is it that you do not wholly reject Christianity? "

By your own arguments jesus wasn't/isn't a 'real person' anyway, he was/is a 'supernatural'. But that's just me showing you that I can quibble over gold leaf distinctions too. I can see how to a zealot someone not accepting any single piece of dogma as unquestionable fact automatically qualifies the offender as a blaspheming heretic, but from my perspective that's throwing the baby out with the baptismal bathwater.

"...the accounts of His life are pretty clear that He rejected the doctrinal superstitions of the day.."

Right, but that certainly doesn't negate the possibility that jesus feigned some of the more tightly held beliefs as a way to remain credible to his audience, as I said. Also, from a marketing standpoint, the anodyne of eternal paradise is a much better hook than the 'bane of mortal man' being offered by some other religions of that era.

"Basic tenet of Christianity: we are each broken and enslaved to sin and unable to save ourselves from its consequences. But God in His mercy saved us from that fate through Jesus. Subordinately, is our response to love thy neighbor. We are incapable of doing so absent God's mercy."

And here is where we arrive at my essential point: the dogma of the first two and last sentences is superfluous,  self promoting, and untrue. The sentiment of 'loving thy neighbour' is something inherent in humans and necessary for the success of all social beings, which is why it is the key tenet of such a large cross section of belief systems the world over and not exclusive to Christianity.  IE We are NOT born 'evil', we are taught that.