Would a Beneveolent Dictator be the answer to a country's problems?

@babykay (2133)
Ireland
February 25, 2007 6:43pm CST
When you think about it, elected representatives are only interested in re election either for themselves or their party. So any policies they implement must show their benefits within the time they have in office (elections are usually every 5 years in Ireland). Therefore, policies which might be of great benefit to the country in the long term are most unlikely to be implemented. So, would a benevolent dictator who did not have the worry of keeping power or re election be the answer? Of course the world has born witness to many dictators, few if any of them having benevolence as a trait. Perhaps we should vote in presidents for longer periods of time, so they might actually do something of longer term benefit but this entails huge problems. Any thoughts?
2 people like this
4 responses
@snowflake5 (1579)
• United States
26 Feb 07
There is no such thing as a "benevolent dictator". It was Lord Palmerston who said "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" Dictators have absolute power and they all go bad, no matter how well-intention at first (even Saddam Hussain started off concerned for his people and then gradually got more and more corrupt and repressive). The first part of the saying "power corrupts" is what you are worried about, and making sure that someone steps down after a certain number of terms is a good thing. I hear that in the US house of representatives, it is so gerrymandered, that if you get elected you are in there practically for life. That has to be wrong. Finally, a saying from Churchill: "democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time!"
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@babykay (2133)
• Ireland
26 Feb 07
Yes indeed I cannot argue with one word you say. However, in theory at least, it would seem like the best option for mankind is to be ruled by a wise person with mankind's best interests at heart. Such a pity that the human condition prevents the amalgamation of goodness and the ability to keep power!
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@babykay (2133)
• Ireland
27 Feb 07
If I may guess at your meaning, are you saying that there are no absolutes Urban? If so, I agree. Never say never. What we need right now is a benign, strong, wise dictator if there is to be a chance for our continued presence on the planet beyond the next few generations. Urban, please give us a few examples of benign dictatorships that I may use to bolster future arguments.
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• United States
27 Feb 07
There have been good, wise, kind kings in history (Marcus Aurelius is pretty much the only one I can think of right now). The problem is, they die and their replacements tend to be evil and corrput (Like Marcus' son, Commodus.)
@urbandekay (18308)
26 Feb 07
Well the real power seems to lie with business and the media and that is the real problem. A benevolent dictator might solve that problem (I am available at short notice by the way) but how do you ensure they are, and remain benevolent? all the best urban
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@urbandekay (18308)
26 Feb 07
Another problem would be that if the dictator left a free press then the press would be harping on continually about lack of democracy inciting riot and revolution. If the dictator suppressed the press then he would be open to charges of not being so benevolent! Catch 22 all the best urban
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@babykay (2133)
• Ireland
26 Feb 07
Perhaps the way to ensure that the dictator is of a benevolent disposition is to select her or him from a panel of people who are not actively seeking to be a dictator, or indeed power of any kind. Nevertheless, we would be seeking to recruit someone who displays intelligence, competence with a track record of public service, not to mention the ability to stick to their own opinion despite difference with others. How to make them remain benevolent...perhaps the buzz they experience from their public service would act as an incentive for continued benevolence?
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@babykay (2133)
• Ireland
26 Feb 07
Re the dictator and the press, she or he would have to strike a fine balance between giving the press some freedom but controlling them enough that more unpopular moves are reinterpreted and presented as acceptable to the public. Sorry just musing aloud!!
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Mar 07
Oh gosh no. I don't think a dictator is the answer.
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• United States
26 Feb 07
I read a book where the people were creating a government, based on the USA's. They elected their president for one six year term of office, with no ability for re-election. One term, and that's it. That might solve the problems, but then there'd still be all the party politics. Frankly, I think if being a politician was a volunteer job (i.e., they didn't get paid for it), there might be more honesty and less corruption. It's a cushy life, being a politician, one that encourages lies and deceitfulness. If it's no fun, the self-serving, corrupt politicians will leave, making room for people who genuinely want to make their country a better place.
@babykay (2133)
• Ireland
27 Feb 07
yes indeed - if there was no material reward for being a politician, all those greedy so-and-so's wouldn't bother, they would be off running businesses. But then again it is difficult to conceive of how power would never appear lucrative in some respects.
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