Over the past few months this author has taken some heat for an allegedly liberal use of the word tyranny. As I do not plan on using this word less liberally in the future, it is prudent to have on hand a succinct explanation for what exactly is meant when I speak of tyranny.
1. arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority.
2. the government or rule of a tyrant or absolute ruler.
3. a state ruled by a tyrant or absolute ruler.
4. oppressive or unjustly severe government on the part of any ruler.
5. undue severity or harshness.
6. a tyrannical act or proceeding.
1. oppressive power; especially : oppressive power exerted by government
2. a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler; especially : one characteristic of an ancient Greek city-state b : the office, authority, and administration of a tyrant
3. a rigorous condition imposed by some outside agency or force
4. a tyrannical act
Arbitrary or despotic exercise of power; the exercise of power over subjects and others with a rigor not authorized by law or justice, or not requisite for the purposes of government. Hence tyranny is often synonymous with cruelty and oppression.
"Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty." *
-- John Basil Barnhill. "Barnhill-Tirchener Debate on Socialism", Rip-Saw. (St. Louis, Mo: Rip Saw Publishing Company.) p. 64.