Most of us probably remember that standard elementary-school threat, “I’m gonna tell!” which meant that an appeal to authority for redress was in the offing. The one issuing it was sometimes a tattletale, but, regardless, since children aren’t fully-formed beings, their lives often have to be micromanaged. They don’t enjoy the freedom of adulthood.
And when citizens are in the habit of “telling” on each other, it means they don’t, either. Such a situation is often associated with tyrannies such as Nazi Germany, where people had to watch their tongues around others (even their own children), lest they get a visit from the Gestapo.
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