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BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?

GUEST,The Shambles 02 Feb 05 - 11:39 AM
GUEST 02 Feb 05 - 11:40 AM
GUEST 02 Feb 05 - 12:23 PM
GUEST,Joe Offer 02 Feb 05 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,MMario 02 Feb 05 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,Amos 02 Feb 05 - 12:52 PM
GUEST,Amos 02 Feb 05 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,Joe Offer 02 Feb 05 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,MMario 02 Feb 05 - 01:17 PM
GUEST,Bee-dubya-ell 02 Feb 05 - 01:19 PM
GUEST,MMario 02 Feb 05 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,hen pecked 02 Feb 05 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Bee-dubya-ell 02 Feb 05 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,Wolfgang 02 Feb 05 - 02:06 PM
GUEST,Amos 02 Feb 05 - 02:20 PM
Bert 02 Feb 05 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,Mrr 02 Feb 05 - 02:45 PM
Wolfgang 02 Feb 05 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,Clint Keller 02 Feb 05 - 02:54 PM
gnomad 02 Feb 05 - 02:56 PM
freda underhill 02 Feb 05 - 03:14 PM
Teresa 02 Feb 05 - 03:17 PM
Uncle_DaveO 02 Feb 05 - 03:23 PM
Raedwulf 02 Feb 05 - 04:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Feb 05 - 04:45 PM
Uncle_DaveO 02 Feb 05 - 04:51 PM
Folk Form # 1 02 Feb 05 - 05:29 PM
Tannywheeler 02 Feb 05 - 06:09 PM
Bill D 02 Feb 05 - 06:34 PM
GUEST,Ooh-Aah2 02 Feb 05 - 07:21 PM
Uncle_DaveO 02 Feb 05 - 07:32 PM
Greg F. 02 Feb 05 - 07:33 PM
Bert 02 Feb 05 - 07:35 PM
dianavan 02 Feb 05 - 10:31 PM
GUEST,heric 02 Feb 05 - 10:51 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 02 Feb 05 - 10:57 PM
Little Hawk 03 Feb 05 - 01:51 AM
dianavan 03 Feb 05 - 01:53 AM
The Shambles 03 Feb 05 - 02:14 AM
Little Hawk 03 Feb 05 - 07:05 PM
GUEST 04 Feb 05 - 07:51 AM
Gypsy 04 Feb 05 - 10:47 PM
The Shambles 05 Feb 05 - 07:11 PM
The Shambles 06 Feb 05 - 06:43 AM
Uncle_DaveO 06 Feb 05 - 12:03 PM
akenaton 06 Feb 05 - 01:28 PM
akenaton 06 Feb 05 - 01:30 PM
NH Dave 06 Feb 05 - 09:39 PM
dianavan 07 Feb 05 - 12:20 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 07 Feb 05 - 01:41 AM
Donuel 07 Feb 05 - 11:24 AM
Irish sergeant 07 Feb 05 - 05:00 PM

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Subject: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 11:39 AM

Is there such a thing aa a benign dictatorship - or is the belief in such a concept just a dangerous illusion?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 11:40 AM

1) no.

2) yes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 12:23 PM

This is a matter of definition, at least in part.

What is "a dictatorship"?   A strong central state, certainly. More on this in a few moments.

But even that asks the question: "What is 'A strong central state'? How strong is strong?

What constitutes "benign"? Or "unbenign", if that's a word?

Every state maintains order and/or economic balance by some degree of force and coercion. But what is the state's picture of order to be maintained? Who is to be benefited by that maintenance of order or proper economic balance?

Depending on the answers to these questions, it then depends upon whose ox is gored, whether the ends pursued by the state are legitimate, and whether the degree of force or coercion used is justified by the ends sought.

The state cannot do anything without harming or disadvantaging some persons in the population, to the benefit of some others in the society. Those disadvantaged may be the class we call criminals, and most of us would applaud that end, if not taken too far. (Again, a matter of degree.) But what activities, and what population groups, are to be defined as "criminal"? A business entrepreneur may well feel that his enterprise is legitimate, the product of his hard work and intelligence, and even beneficial to the population, but the state may decide that enterprise, for various reasons, is a criminal one. The entrepreneur thus criminalized, or at perhaps deprived of his business, may well feel that the state that punished him is a dictatorship.

The thread title, "Is a benign dictatorship a reality?" is a far more complicated question than may at first appear.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST,Joe Offer
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 12:33 PM

...makes me wonder if I'm the "benign dictator" being discussed...

-Joe Offer, whose benignity was once thought to be incontrovertible-


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 12:44 PM

then you get into the concept where if the decisions are made by the state - the "citizen's" begin to feel that either

1) they don't need to make any decisions themselves...

or

2) any decision they make they aren't responsible for.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST,Amos
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 12:52 PM


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST,Amos
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 12:53 PM

Whoops!!Damn TAB key.

Is this a case of subtle innuendo, Joe?As in "Bend over and..." innuendo?

:D



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST,Joe Offer
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 01:04 PM

Innuendo aside, it's an interesting question. We're studying the period between the world wars in homeschool history this week, covering Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, and Franco. Not much benignity in them - but what about some monarchs? It seems to me that government is a service we pay for. Most services we purchase are reasonably good, and we have very little input on how they're conducted - other that the choice of whether to buy the service or not. I guess we don't have that choice with government, unless we have elections.

Still, a benign monarch doesn't seem inconceivable to me. Is Prince Rainier benign? Was King Hussein of Jordan? Pope John XXIII?

I had a benign car mechanic once. I put my faith in him for twenty years, and did whatever he told me to. Was he a dictator over my garage? He retired, and now I'm undergoing a crisis of automotive faith.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 01:17 PM

See? Joe - you illustrate my point. Your mechanic took excellent care of your automotive needs for 20 years. On the face of it this is benign - and you could even say a benign dictatorship as you say you did whatever he told you to do.

BUT - had you had to choose between various reccomendations, or multiple mechanics you would most likely be in a more informed and advantageous position *NOW*.

Thus your mechanics excellence is not "benign" in the long run - but rather detrimental.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST,Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 01:19 PM

Isn't the only difference between a dictatorship and a monarchy that a dictator has seized power by might of his own arms while a king's power is by virtue of one of his ancestors having seized power by might of his arms years ago? I don't think anyone would deny the possibility of a benignancy in a monarchy, so why not in a dictatorship?

There is the consideration that, since a dictator has seized power himself, he is apt to be more highly concerned than a monarch that someone else might try to seize that power from him. And since staying in power is, presumably, a dictator's primary concern, when a policy he has deemed necessary to insure continuation of his power runs contrary to the public good, the public is going to lose every time.

On the other hand, if a dictator's policies are such that he achieves a wide enough support base that usurpation of his power becomes unlikely, then why wouldn't he institute policies that work toward the public good?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 01:22 PM

dictators may have seized power - but not necessarily from might of arms -

and monarchs- depending on the exact form of monarchy - may have little to no power at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST,hen pecked
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 01:35 PM

Is a benign dictatorship a reality?


yes....


all too real...


marriage


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST,Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 01:59 PM

dictators may have seized power - but not necessarily from might of arms

I was gonna say, "Oh yeah! So gimme an example, Leo!" when the obvious answer of Hitler hit me in the face. But even in a case like that, where someone is elected to office and then usurps power beyond the bounds of that office, isn't might of arms what keeps him in power? How many assassination plots did the SS foil?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST,Wolfgang
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 02:06 PM

I'm with Plato here and say yes, a benign dictatorship is possible.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST,Amos
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 02:20 PM

I think it is arguable that a truly benevolent monarchy would be the most enlightened form of government -- BUT the monarch would have to be intelligent enough to bypass the "self-debilitation" problem that MMario identifies above of giving up personal responsibility because someone else is willing to solve issues for you. That wisdom would involve social inventions which left tot he monarch himself only those issues that could not be well-resolved by others for themselves, or in lower levels of the group.

The big problem with benevolent monarchy is lways the issue of succession -- ensuring it is benevolent and qualified for monarchy. DNA-driven monarchy is a weak succession mechanism. (E.g., the house of Hanover).







A


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: Bert
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 02:44 PM

It seemed to work reasonably well when Sheikh Isa Bin Sulman Al Kalifa was in charge of Bahrain. People were fairly free, Shias were allowed to celebrate in a Sunni run state.

While freedom of speech was not necessarily a right, it was certainly a fact. When I was there it was at least as free as it is now in the US. If fact more so than in some States I've been in. There was plenty of work and a very low crime rate.

A couple of attempts to establish a parliament didn't work out, but I don't know why. Maybe the Sheikh didn't want to give up too much control.

Such a state certainly has the potential of being dangerous and I don't know how the new guy is getting along.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 02:45 PM

Sure is - ask any parent!


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 02:46 PM

As I understand Plato he opts for democracy. Not because it is necessarily better than monarchy, but because its evil twin ochlocracy is still much better than monarchy's evil twin, tyrannis.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST,Clint Keller
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 02:54 PM

I wouldn't chance it.

clint


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: gnomad
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 02:56 PM

On the domestic scale, rather than the scale of nations, I have known both benign dictators, and despotic regimes supposedly run as by team or committee.

Also the other way round, of course.

One could also cite instances in religious organisations where powers of a dictator are exercised by someone appointed by a variety of means, with the deliberate intent that they should exercise those powers. Whether such dictators are benign or not has certainly been a source of debate.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: freda underhill
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 03:14 PM

its a fantasy. any truly benign person would not have a need for absolute power and total control.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: Teresa
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 03:17 PM

In tribal societies, the chieftain or clan leader had better be benevolent, or he'll find himself banished from human society.

I think it's possible in tribal and smaller groups; not just nation-states, but any organized activity.

Less probable in larger entities, but there have been a few ... wasn't there one recent one in Thailand? And as Joe mentioned, King Hussein of Jordan? He was an erudite and fair-minded man.

Teresa


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 03:23 PM

Someone (I'm too lazy to look back for who it was) said, in part:

a dictator has seized power by might of his own arms while a king's power is by virtue of one of his ancestors having seized power by might of his arms years ago?

WRONG, on both counts!

Julius Caesar was assassinated because of the fear of his becoming--what, a dictator? No. A king.

He was a dictator, and I would say a benign one. The office--and it was not just an invidious characterization, but an office--was what might be called a constitutional one in the Roman system. When the City was in dangerous times it was possible for the Senate to make some well-qualified person extraordinary powers, with the TITLE of dictator. But by their system, a dictator's term of office had a time set for expiry (say six months or a year), and could be ended sooner if the dictator was able to dispose of the emergency sooner. Julius Caesar was such an appointed dictator, with extreme and extraordinary powers. I forget the nature of the state emergency which called for his appointment. He seems to have been doing fine with the emergency, but he was "ambitious", a populist crowd-pleaser, as the charge went against him, and some were afraid that he was going to make himself a king. Rome had, in earlier times, had kings, and the idea was absolutely unacceptable.

Now, as to actual kings, England (or maybe it was Britain by this time) at least once, and perhaps more, invited a properly royal personage to come in and fill the post of king for them. No strength of arms involved, either of the new king or his forbears, at least as far as England was concerned.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 04:24 PM

The only problem with tyranny is finding the right person to be tyrant....

The only problem with choosing the tyrant is finding someone who will do the job, but didn't want it to start with!

Democracy is a lousy way to run a country, whether it's the Italian, UK, or US version. The people who stand are those who want the power because they think they know better than you do (who would you not choose, if you had a choice?). Hitler is an extreme example of the breed (he was elected, just!), but how many disagree with errrrrmmm... certain Western rulers they feel ignore their wishes? ;-)

A benign dictatorship is possible & has arguably occurred many times through history. The real difficulty, though, lies in the dictator's successor - how often have there been two succeding, successful, & popular, dictators?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 04:45 PM

Of course it is quite possible to have a malevolent democracy...


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 04:51 PM

We should always remember the USSR's "Dictatorship of the Majority".

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: Folk Form # 1
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 05:29 PM

Oliver Cromwell was a benign dictator.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: Tannywheeler
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 06:09 PM

I think the phrase is a classic oxymoron.    Tw


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 06:34 PM

sure it is possible...just give me a chance!


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST,Ooh-Aah2
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 07:21 PM

Here is Edward Gibbon in 1776 in 'The decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' on some of the best Roman Emperors (Marcus Aurelius among them):

The labours of these monarchs was overpaid by the immense reward that inseperably waited on their success; by the honest pride of virtue and by the exquisite delight of beholding the general happiness of which they were the authors. A just but melancholy reflection embittered, however, the noblest of human enjoyments. They must often have recollected the instability of a happiness which depended on the character of a single man. The fatal moment was perhaps approaching, when some licentious youth, or some jealous tyrant, would abuse, to the destruction, that absolute power which they had exerted for the benefit of their people.
                        
There you have it (could that man write or what!) Dictatorships can be great in the short term but are ultimatley not desirable because of the possibility of enormous power falling into the hands of one evil man.

The sooner the Americans reading this get the point and start campaigning for a constitutional monarchy the better!


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 07:32 PM

I fair to understand how the existence of a constitutional monarchy would prevent dictatorship. Granted, it is unlikely that in that case the king or queen will become a dictator, having been shunted out of real power by the constitutional monarchy constitution. But if we take it as true that most or even many dictators come to power by force, I don't see any less potential for that to happen in such a country.

Indeed, come to think of it, I believe that both Spain and Italy were constitutional monarchies when they came under Franco and Mussolini respectively.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: Greg F.
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 07:33 PM

The Slaveocracy of the southern U.S. thought they were running one.
The slaves, however, thought differently.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: Bert
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 07:35 PM

Oliver Cromwell benign? Don't say that in Ireland.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: dianavan
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 10:31 PM

Some might argue that the Pope is the benign dictator of the Vatican.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 10:51 PM

Joe is absolutley benignacious!


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 10:57 PM

My Dearest Mr. Shambles,

I believe you are referring the Greek ideal of a "Philosophy King."

Yes, it exists.

Yes, it is in the form of MudCat Cafe.

Fortunately, for its continued existance the MC has not sat upon the sholders of a "single king" but exists in a multi-bunal form.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

PLEASE Mr. Shambles ...go out and creat a web-location where those of your commone ilk may gather!


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 01:51 AM

A reality? Well, it's a possibility...

Consider putting William Shatner in charge of everything, for instance.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: dianavan
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 01:53 AM

Whats the difference between an autocrat and a dictator?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 02:14 AM

The question was is it a reality - everything is possibly a possiblity.

But the problem is as has been pointed out one of what comes next. The systems that would have been set-up by this benign dictator - on their death - are open to whoever may have been appointed to come next. Assuming they are accepted and not replaced immediately by someone else.

It is similar to the current position in Germany (not that this is a benign dictatorship. For powerful laws (that are on the side of the angels) - to prevent the promotion of hatred etc - can be used to quite different aims - if a new Govenment subsequently comes in to power which chooses to.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 07:05 PM

It is impossible to prevent the promotion of hatred with a law...unless you think that hatred is only hatred when it's directed toward certain special interest groups. The $ySStem itself markets various forms of generally acceptable hatred on a daily basis.

Hypocrisy, in other words.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Feb 05 - 07:51 AM

It is possibly for a selfish man to undertake an unselfish act.

It is possible for a dictator to undertake a benign act.

Does this single act make the selfish man unselfish and the dictator into a benign one?

I would suggest not. It is the repeating system - set up over time that is the test and which needs to be benign - not the single well-intended moments in time, that may be contrary to the usual approach. These moments are certainly possible - a benign dictatorship - I would suggest is system that is not.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: Gypsy
Date: 04 Feb 05 - 10:47 PM

I dunno. consider the average workplace. That is DEFINITELY a dictatorship.....and it works, in most cases. Or any small organization.........due to the lack of volunteers, that winds up being a dictatorship, of sorts. As for democracy, just what nation has a democracy? Last i looked, the US was a republic.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 07:11 PM

Benign is fine.

Hate a dictator.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Feb 05 - 06:43 AM

Could a dictator (like Hitler, Stalin etc) really still be thought as benign - if individuals were fully aware of how unjustly and inhumanly he treated others - but considered him and his rule as a benign dictatorship - because and as long as they could say things like - 'well he was always very nice to me personally' - you know?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 06 Feb 05 - 12:03 PM

The Shambles: The human capacity for rationalizing, and for ignoring unpleasant facts, is immeasurable!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: akenaton
Date: 06 Feb 05 - 01:28 PM

Nobody mention Fidel Castro in Cuba??

As near as were likely to get .
Fidel percieved as the "father of the nation", leading by example,loved by most of his people.
It must have been hard for him ,given the American sanctions , the assasination attempts, the poverty of his people in financial terms.
But he has managed to instill a sense of Nationhood without rancour, and an appreciation of Cuban cultre ,music and dance.

Of course other posters are correct what will happen when Fidel dies?
But it just shows what can be achieved by one man through example.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: akenaton
Date: 06 Feb 05 - 01:30 PM

Of course, it helps to have a corrupt ,war-mongering neighbour as an alternative..


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: NH Dave
Date: 06 Feb 05 - 09:39 PM

I would suggest the reign of Tito in what was then called Yugoslavia. He was able to keep people of differing ethnicity and religion from killing each other, something we barely manage now in the countries that have calved off from his Yugoslavia.

    Dave


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: dianavan
Date: 07 Feb 05 - 12:20 AM

Dictatorship is a malignancy that can invade any part of the world.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 07 Feb 05 - 01:41 AM

The Shambles: The human capacity for rationalizing, and for ignoring unpleasant facts, is immeasurable!

Well - the trains did run on time.............

As for Tito. The probably is the best example of what happens when the lid that has been firmly kept on during the life of the dictator -finally does blow-off. And big-time


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: Donuel
Date: 07 Feb 05 - 11:24 AM

Tito was my suggestion too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is a benign dictatorship a reality?
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 07 Feb 05 - 05:00 PM

the basest kind of illusion. to quote Lord Acton "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely." the manb was a bloody genius in understanding that. Neil


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