Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Random Thoughts On Dictators

Yo! Long day. I didn't have time to put together an article, so let me share some thoughts about dictators. I've been watching a documentary on Papa Doc Duvalier recently, some stuff on Hitler and some stuff on Stalin (quit Stalin and get on with it! :) ). And here are some thoughts about liberals in particular as well.

1. Dictatorship is the herd instinct gone wrong in the extreme.

2. It is impossible to control another person... not a stranger, not an employee, not a friend, not a spouse, not a child. You can contain them for a while and you can make them pretend to be controlled when you're looking, but actual control is an illusion. And the more you try, the more they resist. This is why oppressive regimes always fall and why government control always fails.

3. You can't change humanity. We are creatures of our evolution and we don't change. So when your goal is to make humanity something it is not, you've already failed. Socialism, Communism, Religion, Political Correctness... none of it has been able to remake humanity. The only thing that changes humanity is experience, and even those aren't fundamental changes.

4. Judging a person on their personality rather than their actions is stupid, but it's also very liberal. Papa Doc took control in Haiti with the full support of leftist/liberal journalists because they thought he seemed like a nice guy. They were shocked SHOCKED when he started having people beheaded. This is why liberals should never be allowed any say in power. They overlooked the fact that Duvalier decided to form his own secret police because they assumed he was nice. They ignored the fact these were murderers recruited out of prison because they assumed he was nice. They ignored his harassment and murder of opponents because they assumed he was nice and wanted to do good things. By the time he had killed all his enemies and bathed with their severed heads, it finally sunk in to these liberals that he was bad. Idiots. Judge a man by his actions, not your fondest wishes for who he is deep down.

5. Ever notice that dictators kill their friends? The official line is that they worry these people might challenge them. I suspect the reality is that their friends remind them that they really can't control other people and that becomes an obsession.

6. Dictators lie. They set up fake elections. They create false economic data. They invent excuses to murder their opponents. This is why truth is so important, Farrell, and why you can't say, "well, everybody lies."

7. It amazes me how sentimental liberals get about dictators. In Cuba, many liberals point to the ice cream parlors as a reason to love Castro. They routinely fall for photogenic images. They fall for flashy wardrobes. They fall for roguish sexual behavior. Are these really reasons to overlook the murders, the oppression and the destruction?

8. Ever notice that it isn't the intellectuals who take over after a socialist revolution? It's typically the most brutal thugs and peasants who float to the top. Then they ship the intellectuals to the gulags.

9. Did you ever notice that after authoritarians fall out of favor, liberals try to dismiss them all as deviants and psychological weirdos. I guess it's hard to accept that ideas you loved so much turned out to be evil.



Anthony said...

1. Dictatorship is driven less by the desire to not stand out than by fear and a desire for change (putting an end to the fear).

Germany was in a bad place when Hitler took power, as was Cuba (for a big chunk of its citizens) when Castro took power.

Desperate fearful, people who no longer believe in a country's existing institutions and a charismatic, ruthless guy who promises he can save them if they place their trust (and the government's power) in his hands are the combos that make dictatorships.

The charismatic guy often doesn't make that argument all at once, he usually kind of creeps into the absolute part, shedding friends and allies as he ascends.

2. Control is very possible. Much depends on what one wants to control and what steps one is willing to take to control it.

The more visible something is (technology is steadily increasing visibility) the easier it is to control.

The more abhorrent the public sees something (and public opinion can be swayed) the more likely they are to support extreme measures in order to eradicate it.

Granted, absolutist regimes don't last forever, but what does? If guy murders a bunch of people, gets rich and dies in bed, what does he care if his regime collapses later?

3. I disagree. One can change humanity and humanity throughout its existence has been in a constant state of flux, with different people in different places (even within the same country) having very different mindsets. Technology and events on the ground change the possible all the time. To point to one example, look at the decline of marriage in the US. There are a lot of factors involved, including improved communication and transportation tech, as well as the fact that to have a realistic hope of providing for a family, one has to study for years and years (marriage used to take place at the onset of puberty, now it is a distant memory for most people getting married).

4. Nobody loves their dictators like the left, but both sides fall into the trap of romanticizing them, thinking their dictator is a special snowflake, nobler than the rest. Putin, Pinochet, Franco and Rios Montt (Guatemalan dictator) are four dictators who have/had a lot of fans on the right, guys who argued that those alleging that their buddy was willing to kill people merely to preserve his own power were liars.

5 & 6. Information is power, as is access. Friends who rose through the ranks with dictators, were entrusted with their secrets and know who the dictator knows become liabilities as the crimes of the dictator become increasingly monstrous. Dead men tell no tales.

7. Agreed.

8. I don't see how whether or not someone is an intellectual matters. Mussolini was an intellectual (teacher and a journalist). Didn't make the people who died as a result of his many horrible decisions any less dead. Dictators are like armed robbers. Some are more brutal than others, but a willingness to bloody one's hands is a key ingredient for success.

9. Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan.

Critch said...

I remember my Uncle Frank saying one time that, "Everyone knew Castro was a commie, except Eisenhower." I am a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment because I know that an armed population is very hard to control. No matter who is trying to run things, right or left wing, they both fear an armed populace.

AndrewPrice said...

Critch, Agreed. It's hard to oppress people who can shoot back.

AndrewPrice said...


9. The point is more that they try to rewrite them as insane rather than just as failures.

8. The point on intellectuals is that they typically lead the revolution at the beginning, but they never end up in control. So all those college commies who want revolution and see themselves running the country should realize they will most likely end up in a camp as some guy who drives a mop right now ends up running the show.

5&6. True, but I think there's more to it. I suspect there's a lashing out going on as the dictator starts to realize the limits of their power. It's like parents who take out their own "worldly impotence" by bossing around their children.

4. I see some on the right who envy the "tough" stances of their favorite dictators, but nothing like the left who LOVE them personally.

3. You can make changes around the edges -- such as shifting the age of consent or the degree to which we tolerate minority positions -- but I've never seen any evidence of fundamental changes.

Gays are a good example. The debate is false. The debate says, gays have never been accepted in the past, but now they are. Not true. Gays have always been accepted to some degree. The only change is how openly we acknowledge this. Now, that's not to say that some people haven't tried to un-accept them, but the public at large is set for tolerance on that issue. On the other hand, there is no evidence that our sexuality can be changed regardless of how much/how little tolerance is extended.

And when it comes to issues like being driven by self-interest v. altruism, motivated by spite v. self-focus, our propensity toward violence when we become emotionally invested, etc., the human race hasn't changed since we fell out of the trees.

2. Control isn't possible. If you have enough force, you can temporarily create the appearance of control, but it's an illusion. Look at the utter lack of control in prisons the moment the guards aren't looking, the things kids do behind their parents backs, etc. Even in S&M sexual relationships, where the submissives are psychologically driven to be controlled, they still only obey when they want to. Just about the only true measure of control is kidnappers/hostage takers, and they can't change minds and they lose control the moment the other person gets the chance. Heck, look at the war on drugs, the banning of guns in Europe, the failure of harsh sentences to stop crimes, the failure of retaliatory violence by authoritarian regimes to stop insurgents/resistance, the failure of religion to stop sinning, the failure of "love" to stop family members from doing wrong, etc. We don't accept control. Control really is an illusion.

1. The problem with dictators is that people decide to put their faith in one man to save them and they are giving that man power to use force to do things they couldn't achieve by consensus. That's a flawed start that has the seeds of its own failures and excesses already in it, even if the motive is altruistic.

Critch said...

When I was in college we had an econ professor who actually thought that a benevolent dictatorship would be great for the USA...he was a strange man.

Jersey McJones said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AndrewPrice said...

Welcome back, Jersey. I see you're still a moron, but then I think you knew that.

Sorry about the election. Do you need a puppy?

Rustbelt said...

Nothing much to add to your observations, Andrew. I wholeheartedly agree.
My only question is with the losses of Francisco Franco, then Kim Il-Sung, and now Fidel Castro, who's going to fill the void in the old Chevy Chase "[murderous old rogue dictator] is still alive" joke?

Ah, well. Maybe it's all for the best. It's just nice to know that while society might be briefly fooled, it cannot be controlled by a single...ALL HAIL!

Kit said...

In the 1960s and 70s you had some love on the (Catholic) right for Francisco Franco because of his staunch Catholicism and anti-Communist* stance. Brent Bozell, Jr. even moved there, I think.

There was a brief flirtation again with Putin when he began getting tough on the gays —which died out among everyone except Pat Buchanan after he shot down a passenger plane.

And now it seems to have returned with Trump.

*Didn't stop Franco from helping prop up Fidel Castro, though.

Kit said...

The love Throne and Altar Catholics have for Francisco Franco really is something to behold.

All criticisms of his regime are just "left-wing propaganda."

tryanmax said...

Anyone calling themselves a liberal should have a knee-jerk rejection of dictators. That modern liberals don't is telling. That modern liberals cast a blind eye to dictatorship when said dictator is a Marxist is even more telling.

Kit said...



AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, They'll find somebody... probably Trump.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, The right often praises these guys when they "get tough" on groups the right thinks want to undermine society. But they never fall for these guys like the left falls for them.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, It is telling. It's funny to me how liberals will tolerate oppression when they like the oppressor. Liberals are actually quite easy to manipulate in this regard. You just have to say the right things and it takes them decades to realize they've been had.

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