Law and Disorder: Even Tyranny Has Cracks

05/12/201937 Comments

As Corbett Report members who have watched the latest subscriber-only video will know, I spent the last two weeks in Vietnam visiting Corbett Report video editor Broc West for some fun in the tropical Asian sun. As you will also know from the video, it was a hot and humid trip, but it was definitely worth sweating it out for the chance to see another part of the globe.

As Broc observes in our chat about day-to-day life in Vietnam, the police presence in the country is neither as prevalent nor as ominous as one would expect in an officially communist state. It’s not a boots-on-the-ground military dictatorship so much as a place where you’re apt to see a communist propaganda billboard hanging right beside a Starbucks-like coffee shop, and unless you’re causing trouble you’re unlikely to have run-ins with the police.

Of course, “causing trouble” is open to a wide range of interpretation. Just ask the two journalists who exposed a major corruption scandal in the Vietnamese government’s Ministry of Transport (and who were subsequently arrested), or the Vietnamese blogger reporting on government corruption who fled to Thailand earlier this year seeking political asylum (and who was subsequently abducted and transported back to Vietnam for imprisonment). Contrast those dramatic interventions with the myriad scams and swindles one is likely to encounter in day-to-day life in a place like Vietnam, where bribes of petty officials will often ensure swift processing of applications and where groups of foreigners openly smoke “controlled substances” without interference from local police.

But counterintuitive as it might seem, this is how tyrannies operate: They leave a lot of wiggle room for low-level, everyday rule-breaking to occur without intervention, but move swiftly and decisively when someone angers the tyrant. Naturally, my readers will know by now that I do not just implicate the Vietnamese government in this statement, but all governmental tyrannies of all stripes. They all play this game to some extent or other.

In this week’s edition of The Corbett Report Subscriber James breaks down the reasons for the cracks in the tyrannical system and how we can take advantage of them. Also, join Broc and James for this month’s subscriber-only video from the sunny climes of Vietnam. For full access to the subscriber newsletter and to support this website, please become a member.

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