Dictatorship: The Best Form Of Government

I recently had a discussion with a good friend on the best form of Government in theory.

There have been many trials at different governments and ruler forms over the many years of all the countries in our world. Democracy, Communism and Monarchy are the most common. There are many variations of this as well. Even the Uk has a combination between democracy and monarchy even if the monarchs don’t do that much to affect the day to day lives of their citizens.

Democracy tends to be less affective because getting a large number of people to agree on something and move forward is often very difficult. Take the last election for example. There wasn’t much in it between the two major parties and when the two that combined for the greatest majority people said that wasn’t what they’d wanted (In ‘theory’ it was what the majority of people wanted put together).

Communism is another form of government that only kind of works. On a small scale it works fairly well. In fact most homes are small forms of communism. One or two people work bringing in the cash and able others do the housework etc. Leaving an environment where the weak (such as children or elderly) can be nurtered and protected.

However, in practice and large numbers communism proves less easy. Often it takes a great deal of oversight to ensure all the weak are looked after as well as the better people not taken advantage of. What often results is a few people bearing more than their fair share of the burden and certain people not being looked after with an even more select few getting richer off the backs of others work.

The biggest challenge all the different types face is corruption. In this not perfect world corruption lingers everywhere. Often in democracy and communism it’s hard to see who’s the corrupt party let alone remove them. As a result progress is slow and often hindered.

My prefered government is therefore, as my title suggests, dictatorship. But not just any dictatorship, a benevolent dictator. If the dictator is not corrupt in any way then they have the absolute power and ability to remove anyone corrupt from any form of control or office. By definition of being benevolent they will always do what they think is best for people as a whole. I guess the trouble lies in finding someone benevolent who will stay benevolent.

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely – Lord Acton

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
8 Responses
  1. Mahtlef says:

    Your entirely right, the problem is corruption. I am glad to find someone that shares by view. I think the only other thing to mention about dictatorship is selection and succession.

    Unfortunately it would require some other form of democracy to select a dictator and there would have to be checks in place to ensure that if they became corrupt the people could do something about it. I think I have said before, it’s not about finding someone who is benevolent, it’s finding someone who will stay that way for the whole of their reign. Obviously power corrupts, but that doesn’t mean that someone can’t stay on the right side of the line long enough to see their reign end.

    Succession becomes a problem as well. In traditional dictatorships family or close friends of the dictator take power, which is exactly the wrong thing to do. Anyone who has grown up with power can never understand the feelings of the powerless. If anything I would say that a new (benevolent) dictator should be chosen from the poorest of the country because they are more likely to respect their new position.

    Cheers for the blog 😀

  2. Nathan says:

    I agree that dictatorship is probably the most efficient way of moving a country forward, but even if a dictator was entirely benevolent, he or she could not solve every single problem that arose. The dictator would have to appoint several administrators to different areas and thus we would need not only one benevolent person in charge but several that could not be corrupted. If finding one that could not be corrupted is difficult, then finding several is near impossible.

    Dictators can control their nation in two ways, by being feared or by being loved by all. Obviously, a benevolent dictator would keep his country secure by the latter, but even if the dictator was the wisest person in the world and wished the best for all. There would be a group of people who would always be disappointed with the decision. This can be better exemplified with a simple scenario. Say a group of 10 friends are going to the cinema to watch a film, several options are given, it is very difficult to find a film where all the people in the group would find acceptable and often (as in democracies) there is lots of talk, and a decision is eventually reached but it takes a long time to get to it. If one person decided that they were fed up with the long arguments and no decision being made and took it upon themselves to decide on a location, several of the group would not like it and therefore would be disappointed, disliking the person who decided on the film. Thus this person would have to give ultimatums and put their foot down. Similarly, a dictator with the best of intentions would find it near to impossible to please all, even if it is the best decision to be made, several people would be disappointed and might even create opposition to the dictatorship. People often are fickle and care only for themselves and if things don’t go their way, they often find some sort of reason to display anger. In a dictatorship this would reflect on the dictator. This is often the reason why dictators who start off well and with the best of intentions are berated and worn down until they are forced to keep in power by force and therefore fear. Thus leading to the corruption that all fear and wish to avoid.

    In regards to Mathlef’s comment about people being chosen from the powerless and poorest, I agree, it reminds me of a quote from Captain America where the doctor Abraham Erskine is explaining to Steve Rogers to why he was being chosen: “Yeah. But, there were other effects. The serum was not ready. But more important, the man. The serum amplifies everything that is inside. So, good becomes great. Bad becomes worse. This is why you were chosen. Because a strong man, who has known power all his life, will lose respect for that power. But a weak man knows the value of strength. And knows compassion.” There is nothing else to add about choosing the dictator.

    A benevolent dictatorship would work, but only if the people were also looking out for each other and seeking the best for their country rather than for themselves. If this were true and all the people worked together to their best capabilities in whichever area was needed and there was perfect communication among them, no form of government would actually be necessary. Thus, in a perfect society, anarchy (meaning absence of government rather than political disorder) would actually be the way forward.

    I could go on, but I think I will stop.

    Thanks for this blog and all the other blogs, especially the chapters of your next book. I always look forward to reading the next installment.

    • Mahtlef says:

      Thanks for the post Nathan, finally someone other than me has written a load all at once. I don’t feel nearly as bad now. There are a few things you’ve said that I want to comment on.

      Firstly, I have to admit that Captain America was in the back of my head while I was writing the comment however I’ve had the same view for a very long time. It was a bit strange at the cinema hearing him speak about the powerless they way he does. Actually in some ways I really respect comic books, on more than one occasion they have come up out some really inspiring things. Another quote that keeps ringing around my head is ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. Sorry, but there are no prizes for guessing where that one comes from 😛

      Secondly, it’s not entirely true that you would have to appoint benevolent administrators. You are right in saying that administrators would need to be appointed, but they don’t have to be perfect. So long as the benevolent leader keeps and eye on them he/she can add and remove administrators as/when they become corrupt. In essence only the person at the top needs to be incorruptible. Obviously the difficulty then lies in what defines ‘corrupt’. It would have to be up to the dictator to decide whether someone he trusted had gone down the wrong path. All humans have a tendency to not see things right in front of them, especially when they trust a person. More importantly it’s difficult to say hard truths to those you trust, it’s entirely possible for someone to become a bad person with the best intentions. After all, the road to hell is paved with them.

      You are right that it someone would always be disappointed with the selection of a dictator. Unfortunately there isn’t anything much we can do about it. It was kind of what I was trying to get at when I commented on having to use a different form of democracy in order to select a leader. It would be very difficult for the dictator and they would have to, to the best of their ability, please everyone. That is kind of where a benevolent dictatorship falls over, it’s also why we haven’t ever tried to implement one. I just wish people would spend more time thinking about what’s best for the majority and not what’s best for themselves. Again it comes down to corruption, I would say a corrupt person would be someone who thought of themselves first.

      Finally, I just want to say that I entirely disagree with your statement that anarchy is would be right in a perfect world. Your logic is sound but your missing one crucial element that makes it fall flat on it’s face: not everyone is the same. A benevolent dictatorship can allow for corruption, greed and every other sin of the world, and at the same time bring out the best in people. It is impossible for any of us to be perfect all the time. In a dictatorship this is OK, because no one is expected to behave perfectly. However, in an anarchistic situation as soon as one person wasn’t ‘perfect’ it would spiral out into the rest of society. As I said, you have missed an important point; in a perfect society we might all look out for each other and think we are doing right thing, but someone else may well think that the ‘right’ thing was looks different. A perfect society could only exist if we all had exactly the same thoughts and feelings. So to summarise what I mean: Even if everyone was the best we could be, it still wouldn’t be a perfect society. Such a think is impossible so long as we have differing opinions.

      I also look forward to seeing the next chapter of the book 😀

      • Nathan says:

        Firstly, Spiderman is awesome 😛 and yes, comics are deeper than a lot of people give them credit for.

        Secondly, I suggested benevolent administrators as they would be incorruptible, if they were not, surely it would take some time for the dictator to realise that they were corrupted. During this time, suffering and pain would be brought to those under the rule of the corrupt administrator, breeding discontentment and opposition to the administrator and by proxy to the dictator.

        There are many dictators who, initially at least, had the intention to free their people from the previous government as they saw it as flawed. They really tried to do their best for their country but ended up falling into the trap we both mentioned, trying to please all and being forced to enforce their decision. Even if they had tried to explain every decision they made, it would take just as long as a democracy.

        I understand your point about anarchy, but I still think anarchy is the best solution for a perfect society. I think we have a different idea of what the perfect society is, for me a perfect society is one where all people encourage one another in whatever field they pursue (and making sure that they do not step on each other’s toes), thus all areas in society (because people are different) would advance and therefore as whole all of life would improve. I know this is an idealistic view of life and of people, but I think we can safely say that the main ideas that have been expressed here are as impossible as each other. Thus, as Jess mentioned about communism, these ideas appear good on paper but would never work in a large scale in this world.

        • Mahtlef says:

          It’s true, the dictator would get all the blame for an administrator that became corrupt. However, that’s not necessarily unchangeable. You would just have to make the legal price for political corruption extremely high, in this case almost everyone in the public would realise it wasn’t the fault of the dictator. In this case it would probably be better to have many tiers of administrators, so a village would have a leader, who in turn would have a regional boss. Obviously this would continue until it reached the dictator themselves. However, the best way to initially select the representatives would be for the villages/towns to vote. This way the public would feel like they were getting a say. If anyone had a problem with their direct leader people could go over their administrators heads to issue a formal complaint. If the claim was found true, the administrator would be removed from office and another vote would occur for that position. This way the people would probably recognise that it wasn’t the fault of the dictator and the dictator would not have to be entirely responsible for routing out corruption. In some ways this is what they already do in america with their tiered voting system however they still vote in the president (who is essentially a dictator). Obviously the dictator would be free to assign or remove anyone as he saw fit and to override the vote if necessary.

          As you have mentioned, yes this is all fictional. One cannot actually implement these things affectively because we are all flawed. Which is exactly why the worlds political system is so screwed up, we are fighting a loosing battle. The only reason I commented on your anarchistic theory is that it is literally impossible, a benevolent dictatorship can at least work for a time but an anarchistic state would never get off the ground. Mainly, as I said, because people are all different.

          Interestingly enough, most major religions on the planet actually strive for a benevolent autocracy (dictatorship). For example, in Christianity people pray for the kingdom of heaven. In this kingdom, God would benevolently rule and the people would follow. In some ways you could think about this as similar to your anarchistic theory, everyone would be the perfect people and help everyone around them, and everyone would be the same under God. However it would still be a dictatorship, it gives the people a common point of reference to allow them to interact with each other in the same way. Other major religions also strive for the same thing. In the end, somewhere in our subconscious we all want a benevolent autocracy, but it’s possible it would never work so long as the dictator isn’t revered as superior to us mere mortals. Just food for thought.

      • DuncanG says:

        In answer to your first post, then yes in an ideal world a benign or benevolent dictatorship would be the best form of government, however people have already highlighted the main issues of corruption and succession.

        However we also need to consider that point that that dictator is not going to be all knowing and whats best for one group of people may leave some others disadvantaged.
        So in reality a trul benign dictator would need to be able to balance the needs of their people, whilst also being thoughful enough and conciencious enough to not leave any out in the cold.

        Which means that the the only real way you can have a benign dictator, is by having a ruler that does what they think is best, with the country (as a whole)’s best interest at heart. In some cases that may even mean killing people or doing other things that some would cite as not benign, but to them I’d ask this. If you had a group of say 100 people, who you knew were going to evolve and plot to kill many more people and that you would not be able to divert them from the evolution of their chosen path, would it be benign to kill those 100 people if it meant saving 1000 other lives? Or would that mean you could no longer be called benign?

        Using your super hero analogies, actually the best one would be for Superman. Supermans power are effectively limitless, vastly more so than any other superhero, and the only thing that holds that power in check is his very strong, almost absolute morals.

        The strength of will power, the sense of duty needed to stop absolute power from corrupting is when you think about is amazing.

        Not saying its impossible, but those people are true rarities and most people would struggle to name anyone in recent times who has done nothing but devote themsevles to the greater good. The only one i can think of I believe has now be sainted and that would be Mother Theresa.

        How would you ensure succession. Well in addition to having someone with the most strong moral compass, you also have to have someone who is very intelligent, so as to avoid anyone trying to grab power being able to hoodwink them.

        As to how to have a check/balance on that dictator, then you would have to have a written constitution that overrules any laws or anything and included in that would be some form of election trigger that would mean that if say more than 50% of the population voted for the dictator to leave office, they would then leave power.

        However if the dictator has the reins, how do you ensure that the vote is fair and accurate?

        Personally I believe that in theory it is possible for a benign dictatorship to happen, but a lot of detail would need to exist and maybe the best way would be to have a limited term dictatorship.

        • Jess says:

          The whole topic is rather complicated, but which form of government isn’t complicated? I just don’t see it happening unfortunately, as you pointed out Duncan, other than Mother Theresa there haven’t been any good examples of someone selfless enough to actually make a good dictator, at least, not that we know of.

          Superman is a good example of a theoretical person who would actually be good at the job but his strong sense of morals is incredibly rare and no one has his kind of power. Although in theory the idea of Batman and Ironman are not entirely impossible any more. Both are founded on money and as technology progresses their ‘powers’ will be more and mroe achievable by people. Would we want them as dictators any more than we want others though, I don’t think so. They would have already enjoyed a higher sense of power and would be more likely to be corrupted by it.

          Limited term dictatorship would have a greater chance of success but it might not be removed enough from democracy to actually stop the problem of the only people running for power already being corrupted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *