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Discussion » Statements » Rosie's Corner » Why do some people PREFER dictators tyrants authoritarians to "lead" them? What needs do such people have that dictators fulfill?

Why do some people PREFER dictators tyrants authoritarians to "lead" them? What needs do such people have that dictators fulfill?

Posted - August 1


  • 2292
    Whether "preferring" it or not, it's probably the air of certainty and security that attracts them.

    My beliefs are that:-

    A democracy is fundamentally uncertain because its party-politics moves from side to side over the years, supporters of one party dislike the other parties winning elections, and its governments try to please everyone whilst not necessarily succeeding entirely.

    Nevertheless, when people have a comfortable and reasonably secure life in such a nation, they like their individual freedoms; but if the world seems to be falling apart around them and with little or no hope, they are likely to become insecure and so take notice of someone offering what looks like firm but benevolent help even at some costs to personal liberty.

    If that someone succeeds in chipping away at the real problems in society, even if also finding convenient scapegoats, that notice by the insecure will increase. it does though need the insecure to be personally unaffected significantly by the chipping-hammer so think it a valuable tool worth apparently small prices to pay.

    By the time they realise what they are losing by the accumulating controls, things are going too far.


    In countries with basically restrictive, conformist societies anyway (by our standards), an autocrat who offers to reinforce the social norms against what are perceived as external pressures to change, is likely to find widespread support. This is almost stereotypical in hard-line theocracies like Iran and Saudi Arabia,  but even some "Western"-style democracies appear to see nothing wrong in their own versions of that stifling desire for rigid convention.   


    So I don't think people "prefer" the autocracy to the democracy. They prefer certainty and security to the lack of both, and it's the clever and manipulative autocrat who has the better chance of winning that fight.
      August 1, 2020 3:10 PM MDT

  • 91448
    So we are DOOMED then? Certainty and security PROVIDING THAT you support obey never criticize remain docile. That's a pretty steep price to pay for some of us. See chilcren being torn from their parents arms and locked up in kennels and cages with some kind of tinfoil blanket and say nothing. Hear nothing but LIES day after day after day and never point them out. That's pretty near IMPOSSIBLE to look the other way for some of us. Is it "brave" when you criticize or is just being stubborn? Is it cowards who will accept anything to achieve this "certainty and security" Durdle? I don't know any more. What some Americans not only accept as tolerable but celebrate it and deend it and cheer it on is unbelievable. Yet here we are. It's very scary. Acceptance. Thank you for your thoughtful reply. Do you see any light at the end of this tunnel worldwide? Happy Sunday to thee and thine! :)
      August 2, 2020 1:55 AM MDT

  • 7650
    Which people? Can you identify them and tell us how many, or is your question based on no underlying logic or knowledge?
      August 1, 2020 3:23 PM MDT

  • 2292
    Doomed? No, I don't think the USA is doomed at all.

    You see I did not mention any specific country other than two that have been dictatorships for a very long time anyway, and they are both ones whose political systems reflect their very rigid societies. Those two are based on a predominant religion that is very much more a way of life rather than a part of life.

    Countries having democratic political systems but many tight regulations affecting private citizens' individual choices tend to be ones with tightly conventional societies.

    The USA and the UK do not fit either of those. We are too independently-minded, although there is a big political difference. Britain probably has many more regulations thanks to having been in the European Union, and does have complicated public health, education, social-care, industrial safety and environmental-protection systems to a much greater degree than in the USA. 

    Nor are they so unstable that autocrats are likely to take over even by stealth. 

    The difficulty instead is that public fears of social problems like rising crime or civil unrest - or pandemics -  tends to lead to laws that are or are perceived as chipping away at individual liberty or privacy, by governments responding to those fears. In effect the worried populace demands that, and the government is caught between acting but risking criticism for being anti-libertarian, or not acting then being criticised for that! The control though in a full democracy is the freedom to debate the proposed actions, both supporting and criticising them. 

    A British example of that is the widespread use of surveillance cameras in town streets, to help fight crime. When first introduced they were met with a lot of opposition from people afraid of something they could not clearly define;  but now they are accepted for their intended purpose. as at least helping in fighting crime.

    Extremists and conspiracy-fantasists who espouse dictatorships are a noisy minority, mainly just boring and boorish nuisances best ignored or laughed out of existence; but they can be physically dangerous, fuelling fears of a collapsing society.

    In reality a strong democratic society bumps along from one crisis to the next problem but survives overall. It does though have to address those problems, and must do so constructively. Knee-jerk reactions are too easy and too attractive, but do not help anyone and can result in unnecessary new laws and restrictions, ill-considered policies and possibly, greater divisions. Examples of " knee-jerkery" are those new laws named after the victims of individual crimes, where the real answer is simply to strengthen the laws already covering the crime. Often, knee-jerks show basic ignorance or poor understanding of the problem or of the law.

    A classic knew-jerk reaction not involving crimes or social divisions was the German government banning nuclear power after a Japanese plant was swamped by a tsunami that destroyed its emergency power-supplies - the former hardly a threat in the Baltic, the latter by a simple design-flaw. Another was the jailing by the Italian authorities of the head of its geological service for under-estimating the likely power of a predicted earthquake.

    Social and political extremism attracts disaffected, disillusioned people who feel either somehow excluded from society at large or society is too inclusive - particularly in the USA and to a lesser extent elsewhere, by the racial divide.

    Others attract some of those most afraid of certain social developments - particularly in the UK and much of Europe, the large flow of refugees from wars and famines in Africa and the Middle East. The MacCarthy era in the USA was a governmental expression of this fear - notably the UK government did not ban even the Communist Party of Britain even at the same time, though no doubt kept a very close watch on what still exists but was only ever a small fringe party.

    I think the real manipulators nowadays in a democracy are not politicians, but the few huge, US-owned companies that have taken over the Internet (Microsoft, Google, Facebook etc.) and their commercial clients. It is indeed ironical that President Trump seeks to ban Tick-Tock from the USA, because those US-owned sites also compromise their users' privacy for their own purposes; but you use such sites by choice, and choose what to post on them. Besides, endless floods of individuals' innocent chatter and party-photos are not important to any government or police-force.

    Do the US Presidents have such powers, or can they only make proposals that become law only if agreed by the Senate and Representatives? If they really have that power, I would worry about them.    

    I do know that Donald Trump has done some appalling things within the USA and made very bad international decisions; but your country does still have good administrators despite him, and more significantly has the right to elect someone else next time round, in the hope he or she will do better.

      August 2, 2020 3:53 AM MDT