The events that unfolded in Cyprus in 2013 are an example of what can happen if the citizens of a country become too complacent with their government.
The people of Cyprus are no different than anyone else living in a country with democratically elected officials. They try to live their lives just like everyone else. They run businesses, work, raise families and send their kids to school.
The one thing they don’t do very well is the same thing than we don’t do very well here in the United States. They are generally complacent when it comes to their government. Very few people are involved in or even care about politics. They just want to live their life.
Well that all changed when the government decided to shut down the banks in the country as part of a bailout deal. The government then decided that the private property of its citizens was something they could just take whenever it wanted to. The government of Cyprus decided to take 10 percent of all savings in all bank accounts in Cyprus. You heard that right. The freely elected government of Cyprus thought it was a good idea to take 10 percent of everyone’s money directly from their savings accounts.
If that sounds insane, it’s because it is. A government in a democracy is supposed to serve its citizens, not the other way around. When a government can do whatever it wants to with its citizens, it is no longer called a democracy. It’s called tyranny. Go take a look at the eighteenth century if you want to see how well that worked out.
It’s amazing that a country in Europe is having to fight against a tyrannical government in the modern day. Revolutions against monarchies and dictatorships happened way back when. Why are we facing similar issues today? Is history repeating itself?
The answer is a complacent citizenry. The ultimate check and balance against a tyrannical government is citizens that are actively involved in their government. Democracies that don’t have active citizens will slowly move to a more and more powerful government. Little by little people will sacrifice their freedoms in the name of safety. Until one day they wake up and find out their government thinks that 10 percent of all bank deposits should become the property of the government.