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Default Is a dictatorship better than a democracy?

May 2nd, 2014, 10:41

I am starting to wonder if the guy in the video is correct or not.

Today's people tend to bipartisan and have no real clue about the issues they talk about. It can be really frustrating to me to think that these people are voting for peoples futures. Worse still the politicians are tight lipped on many of these issues and will never tell us the "real deal".

Benefits of Dictatorships:

Stable Government
As in a dictatorship, the decision-making lies with only one person and others do not have any say in the working of the government, it offers a kind of stability to the country. Problems such as frequent elections, as in the case of democracy, or a disruption of peace due to political factions, do not arise in a dictatorship.

Less Room for Corruption
A dictator is very stringent with regards to the rules, regulations, penalties, punishments and rewards. This makes the people working under him less liable to corruption.

Most Efficient During Emergencies
When a country faces any kind of emergency, such as a war or a health epidemic, a dictatorship government can prove to be the most efficient one. The reason being that all the decisions are taken by one person, so there is no ambiguity with regards to the plan of action as well as individual responsibilities that are fixed to cope with the emergency. So one of its main advantages over democracy is that it is better equipped to face emergencies.

Lesser Crime Rate
Most of the dictatorship governments are police states. So, in a way there is low crime rate under such regimes. Another reason for a better law and order situation in these states is that various laws are passed immediately, without any discussion or waiting for the public opinion on them. This leads to better control over crimes too.

"Things Happen" Quickly
In a dictatorship form of government, all things, whether related to governance or businesses or anything else, happen much quicker than in other types of government. The reason for this is the same i.e. decision-making lies with a single person.

Advantages of Democracy

Democracy is considered to be the best form of government these days. Most of the countries in the world have adopted it. The following arguments have been given in favour of Democracy:

(i) Safeguards the interests of the people:

Chief merit of democracy lies in that it safeguards the interests of the people. Real power lies in the hands of the people who exercise it by the representatives elected by them and who are responsible to them. It is said that social, economic and political interests of the individuals are served better under this system.

(ii) Based on the principle of equality:

Democracy is based on the principle of equality. All members of the State are equal in the eyes of law. All enjoy equal social, political and economic rights and state cannot discriminate among citizens on the basis of caste, religion, sex, or property. All have equal right to choose their government.

(iii) Stability and responsibility in administration:

Democracy is known for its stability, firmness and efficiency. These days tenure of the elected representatives is fixed. They form a stable government because it is based on public support. The administration is conducted with a sense of responsibility. In representative democracy, people's representatives discuss matters more thoroughly and take reasonable decision.

Under monarchy the Monarch takes decisions as he pleases. Under dictatorship, the dictators do not involve people at all in decision making, people have no right to criticise the decisions of the dictator even when they are bad and against people's welfare.

(iv) Political education to the people:

Another argument given in favour of democracy is that it serves as a training school for citizens. People get impetus to take part in the affairs of the state. At the time of elections political parties propose their policy and programme in support of their candidates. All means of propaganda-public meetings, posters, radio, television and speeches by important leaders of the parties- are used to win public favour. It creates political consciousness among the people.

(v) Little chance of revolution:

Since democracy is based on public will, there is no chance of public revolt. Representatives elected by the people conduct the affairs of the state with public support. If they don't work efficiently or don't come up to the expectations of their masters i.e., the public, they are thrown in the dustbin of history when elections are held again. Gilchrist opines that democracy or popular governments always function with consensus and therefore question of revolt or revolution does not arise.

(vi) Stable government:

Democracy is based on public will. It conducts state business with public support. It is, therefore, more stable than other forms of Government.

(vii) Helps in making people good citizens:

Success of democracy lies on its good citizens. Democracy creates proper environment for the development of personality and cultivating good habits. D. Tacquville is of opinion that "Democracy is the first school of good citizenship. Citizens learn their rights and duties from birth till death in it."

(viii) Based on public opinion:

Democratic administration is based on public will, public opinion lends it strength. It is not based on fear of authority. Gettel is of opinion that democracy stands on consensus, not on power; it admits the existence of state for individual, not individual for the state. It lends development and progress to individual and arouses his interest in social activities. Individuals readily take active part in such a government. And this is because of the eminence, devotion and conviction in man found in the nature of democracy itself.

Disadvantages of democracy:

(i) More emphasis on quantity than on quality:

It is not based upon the quality but on quantity. Majority party holds the reigns of government. Inefficient and corrupt persons get themselves elected. They have neither intelligence, nor vision, nor strength of character to steer through the ship of the state to its destinations.

(ii) Rule of the incompetent:

Democracies are run by incompetent persons. It is government by amateurs. In it, every citizen is allowed to take part, whereas everybody is not fit for it. Locke calls it the act of running administration by the ignorant. He says that history records the fact that a few are intelligent. Universal adult franchise grants right to vote to everybody.

Thus, "a few manipulators who can collect votes with the greatest success get democratic power." The result is that democracy run by the ignorant and incompetent becomes totally unfit for intellectual progress and search for scientific truths.

(iii) Based on unnatural equality:

The concept of equality is enshrined in democracy. It is against the law of nature. Nature has not endowed every individual with intelligence and wisdom. Men's talents differ. Some are courageous, other are cowards. Some healthy, others not so healthy. Some are intelligent, others are not. Critics are of opinion that "it is against the law of nature to grant equal status to everybody."

(iv) Voters do not take interest in election:

Voters do not cast their vote in a spirit of duty as democracy requires them to do. Contestants of election persuade them. Even then, it is generally found that turn out comes to 50 to 60 percent only. This forefeits the very tall claim of holding elections.

(v) Lowers the moral standard:

The only aim of the candidates becomes to win election. They often employ under-hand practices, foul means to get elected. Character assassination is openly practised, unethical ways are generally adopted. Muscle power and money power work hand-in-hand to ensure success to him. Thus, morality is the first casualty in election. It is a big loss for 'when character is lost, everything is lost' becomes explicit in due course.

(vi) Democracy is a government of the rich:

Modern democracy is, in fact, capitalistic. It is rule of the capitalists. Electioneering is carried out with money. The rich candidates purchase votes. Might of economic power rules over the whole process. The net result is that we get plutocracy under the garb of democracy-democracy in name and form, plutocracy in reality.

It cares a fig for the common man. The rich hold the media and use it for their own benefit. Big business houses influence dailies and use these dailies for creating public opinion to their favour. Influence of moneyed people over politics is probably clear in England, America and India.

Consequently, communists don't accept it democracy at all. According to them, Socialist democracy is democracy in the right sense of the term because the welfare of the labour class and farming community can be safeguarded properly only under socialist democracy.

(vii) Misuse of public funds and time:

Democracy is a huge waste of time and resources. It takes much time in the formulation of laws. A lot of money is spent during the elections. Ministers are proving white elephants. They are a heavy burden on public exchequer as they waste public money on their tours and recreations.

(viii) No stable government:

When no party gets absolute majority, coalition governments are formed. The coalition of political parties with a view of sharing power is only a marriage of convenience.

Whenever there occurs clash of interests, the coalition is lost and governments crumble down. Thus, stable governments under democracy generally don't exist. France lost the World War II because there was no stable government in the country at that time. We, in India, have been experiencing the same thing for the present.

(ix) Dictatorship of majority:

Democracy is criticised because it establishes dictatorship of majority. The majority is required to safeguard the interests of minority but in actual practice it does not. Majority after gaining success at the polls forms its ministry and conducts the affairs of the state by its own sweet will. It ignores the minority altogether; the minority is oppressed.

(x) Bad influence of political parties:

Political parties are the basis of democracy. A political party aims at capturing power. Its members are to safeguard the interests of the party. Sometimes, they overlook the overall interest of the state for the sake of their party.

They try to win election by hook or by crook. Practising the immoral methods, empty ideals, inciting hatred, spreading caste feelings, communalism has become a common practice. It lowers the national character.
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May 2nd, 2014, 11:50
A dictatorship or power monopoly would be great with a kind and wise dictator - and not great with a stupid and self-serving dictator.

Problem is, people who strive for power are rarely of the first kind.
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May 2nd, 2014, 12:28
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
A dictatorship or power monopoly would be great with a kind and wise dictator - and not great with a stupid and self-serving dictator.

Problem is, people who strive for power are rarely of the first kind.
Agreed. A wise dictator can push a country forward very far. A foolish dictator gets his country trampled.
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May 2nd, 2014, 17:25
As others have said, a dictatorship can be much better, but it is very much a high risk high/reward proposition. There's a paper, I forget the author's name, but the premise is a democracy is not inherently more wealthy or efficient than a dictatorship, they just don't have large scale disasters like the Chinese famine thanks to the free flow of information.

China is a perfect example of both the flaws and benefits. Mao basically ran the country into the ground, and thanks to the lack of free flowing information in the system, created the largest famine in the history of the world. Once China overhauled it's economic policies, the economy has exploded and the citizens are freer now than anytime under Mao (granted it can still get better).

Edit: In the interest of avoiding a possible tangent, yes China is now authoritarian, not a dictatorship, though there are enough notable similarities that I still see them as a useful example (single entity in power, people lack of voice/influence in gov't, choices of get onboard or get run over, and control of information) .
Last edited by greywolf00; May 2nd, 2014 at 18:05.
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May 2nd, 2014, 18:18
Most contemporary democracies are actually oligarchies.
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May 2nd, 2014, 18:59
Democracy isn't perfect, but it's far better then dictatorship. If you want to see how bad it can get, just take a look at North Korea.
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May 2nd, 2014, 19:20
Most important: sooner or later dictator will be old and dead. The life, politics and ecnomy of the country will be prarlyzed while dictator is ill, since only dictator can take important decisions. And when he die there'll be no one on the top who can replace dictator, since anypne capable of thinking and making decisions was pushed away from the political top long before.
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May 2nd, 2014, 20:25
Is a dictatorship better than a democracy?

It is in my household, just ask my wife.
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May 3rd, 2014, 00:29
Just take a look at history. It will answer.
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May 3rd, 2014, 02:11
Stable Government
Unless the one person is killing off all rivals he/she will never be the “one” making decisions. See how Octavius ran Rome. Stability at the cost of innocent lives is not worth it (it just a different form of instability). One person making decisions is not always the best idea anyway. People, even good leaders, are not perfect.

Less Room for Corruption
On the contrary, corruption runs rampant. At the end of Rome they still had emperors (who were still considered gods) and corruption, especially of the legal system, was everywhere. What to defend yourself against a civil suit? Better plan on moving the regional capital, paying the judge everything he asks for, and having more to pay than the other half. Oh, and it may take a decade of payoffs to end settle it.
Most Efficient During Emergencies
Rome burned while Nero fiddled. In his defense, he was out of town when it happened, and he did work hard to rebuild the city. So you may get a great response if he happens to be on scene and aware of all the facts, but in a huge empire, he better be ready to share the power but take all the responsibility. I do think having a unity of command/executive to lead is important. I don’t think they need to a dictator to be effective.

Lesser Crime Rate
Police states mean no security for anyone who lives there. Stalin, Hussien, and others, have shown this just leads to death squads/camps. Law enforcement, outside of west, is often what gang rules the street, regardless of government type. I can’t compare what a lesser crime rate would be, but history shows crime wouldn’t be the focus of the thugs and death squads. They want power and money.

"Things Happen" Quickly
What about things that don’t need a quick decisions? Am I forced to suffer through the dictator’s emotional split second decision? And if I don’t follow his gut, do I get sent to a death camp?
Plato thought a wise philosopher dictator would be the idea form of government for the reasons you stated. Yet people (myself included) are not particularly wise. I understand Plato’s key point: you can’t trust a mob, and democracy is mob rule (esp. at his point in Athens’s history). You can know and trust a person (though how would everyone in a country be close enough known/trust a ruler?). But as Plato also pointed out, the person who is willing to take power, is not the person you want having power. By wanting power the person in inherently flawed enough that it would be a disaster.
Little story about Plato I recall reading a long time ago. He was in Crete talking to the King. The king called Plato a windbag, so Plato called the king a “tyrant”. The King ordered Plato put into chains and sold him off as a slave. I don’t think anyone needs that much power. But how can he be the great ruler with power of life and death over everyone? History shows dictators feel having power of life and death to be very important to them.
Demo. Are controlled by the rich.
All governments are controlled by the rich. In a democracy at least everyone gets a chance at selecting the government without taking up arms.
All this leads to Churchill, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." (from a House of Commons speech on Nov. 11, 1947).
I read these forums every day and have for years, but I rarely post. I am hearing more and more of this talk of dictators being great leaders from many different areas of my country, the USA (not just in my favorite gaming forum). I am started to get scared that too many people are going to start believing in the idea again and my peaceful country will come to an end. The west was been very stable for a long time now, with checks on the powers of our governments. Just how bad dictatorships are has been forgotten, so I feel the need to post. Thank you for bringing it up, though. Nothing against you Damian.
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May 3rd, 2014, 15:15
ALL Democracies have ONE very, very, very big problem that got NEVER solved :

How to prevent power-hungry people and Kleptocrats from distorting any Democracy into the shape they want to ? (Currently Hungary, Italian Berlusconi, African Kleptocrats …)

The ancient Greek Democracy had a simple way to battle this : The Orstraca. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostracism

However, since then, this model, this way was never researched firther on. and not implemented at all.

Why ? I almost assume nowadays that this wasn't done because the shapers of let's say German Democracy were kind of power-hungry themselves, meaning that they really didn't want to install a system that would put them out of power when criticised.

Power sometimes has an influence on people as if it was some kind of universal instinct, or some kind of meta-being. People do literally everything to get power - and this sometimes looks as if they have become Slaves of their hunger for Power.

It has never been researched upon why people do that - why power seems to be so important for humans.

And because everyone is more or less bound by power - or corrupted by it - systems that immediately put people out of power never got installed in ANY democracies in the first place.

And even systems that can put people out of power are shaped so that those power-hungry people can cling to it to the last second - and delay that action that puts them out of power as long as possible (Berlusconi comes to mind).

The woirst thing I realized in the recent years is that so-called "Western" Democracies rather liked Dictators to rule Arab countries than true Democracies being there (Egypt, Lybia, Warlords in Afghanistan …)

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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May 3rd, 2014, 16:05
I agree with Mr. Churchill:
“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
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May 9th, 2014, 18:13
I was going to answer this thread and then saw that Lord_Brownie had already posted a reply in the format of how I was going to reply!

Well, if I repeat Brownie, take it as a compliment rather than as a plagiarism! I've no doubt I'll echo a few of his points.

"Benefits of Dictatorships:

Stable Government"

This is quite a big fallacy. Dictatorships are no different to democracies, it's just that any opposition has to be secret instead of public or vocal but powerless. Anyone is quite free to oppose a dictator or their policies, the method of finding a winner is just different. Dictatorships can't do succession either and the turmoil of a change of dictators will always be more catastrophic for stability than polite elections.

"Less Room for Corruption"

The reason there appears less corruption in a dictatorship is because a dictatorship is entirely corrupt. It's just another way of assigning a corruption monopoly to one specific faction and, by doing so, they change the laws so that corruption is no longer referred to as corruption when it is performed by the dictatorial faction.

"Most Efficient During Emergencies"

A dictatorship is often less efficient in an emergency because they have no motivation to appear concerned. A dictator can say "tough cookies, it's the will of the Gods, here have a gold denario and praise my generosity (or else)" whereas a democracy requires that every leader go out of their way to maximise their visible concern for fear of being branded an asshole.

"Lesser Crime Rate"

This is a topic way beyond the topic at hand. Crime itself is a self-creating spiral. Crimes are invented by lawmakers based on public outcry. There is no point having a law if it is not enforced, so lawmakers require enforcers. Once you have set up a dependency on criminals you will have to perpetually create criminals regardless of social uncivility levels because if crime did cease then no-one could justify the financing of lawmakers and enforcers. Dictatorship or democracy, crime levels (aside from riots and full-scale anarchy) will always be at a level the lawmakers and enforces are comfortable with. In both societies the prisons will always be at their maximum.

""Things Happen" Quickly"

This would depend entirely on what it was that was supposed to be happening. If the dictator wanted all Manchester United fans arrested, then, yes, that could happen quickly, but if the dictator wanted Manchester United to win the European League then he'd have to wait for the end of the season like everyone else. In essence, the things that 'can' happen quickly are, more often than not, the kind of things that people don't want happening quickly. Also, while a dictator could tunnel-vision specifics, such as better housing for everyone, by putting everything into that the dictator would likely be neglecting something else, such as innovation and invention which could render all the housing outdated in 10 years anyway.

This isn't to say that democracy is that great. By arguing against a dictatorship one does not automatically become a democrat, it's just that the pitfalls of outright dictatorship are well known and in any appraisal such as this thread it's best if the truth of the subject matter is examined before we move on to debating the merits of a different form of government.
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May 9th, 2014, 18:48
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Power sometimes has an influence on people as if it was some kind of universal instinct, or some kind of meta-being. People do literally everything to get power - and this sometimes looks as if they have become Slaves of their hunger for Power.

It has never been researched upon why people do that - why power seems to be so important for humans.
I thought this was well known?

It's sex my friend, sex.

Power is the best aphrodisiac.

In a world of complete sexual freedom, why would anyone choose to have sex with someone who they had no interest in (prostitute themselves)? You might say 'money', but 'real' prostitution isn't really about just the money, that's just something the small-time players take as a compensation. The 'real' prostitution is the sex-for-power levels of prostitution.

And this can manifest itself in the most innocent of arenas. Young girls love their boy bands. if those lads just walked down the street then they might get some giggles and looks, but they wouldn't get total adoration, but something about them having 'fame' seems to send young girls 'over the edge - throwing themselves at them'.

While it is a cultural taboo to think along such lines, young men too have a very similar instinct to that of the girls, it's only anti-gay propaganda over a few centuries which 'tries' to prevent males being like this. All this achieves, however, is lots of confused boys who will channel their 'fanboyism' into something else and probably get violent if overly challenged on the topic. But, basically, and similarly, if some girls walk down the street then the boys might wolf whistle, make remarks or whatever, but they wont be immediately infatuated like they would be if those girls were Charlie's Angles at a Comic Convention.

I use fame as an example of power because that seems to be what a lot of people associate power with in an age of 'screens', but in the past the exact same process would be happening with Men in Uniform, Royalty, Landowners, whatever - the innate, subconscious human desire to want to submit to something of a greater power - the power in itself being the primary definer of what we consider 'attractive'.

A good way to imagine this kind of scenario is to imagine someone who you personally consider to be very unattractive. I dunno, some old drunk at the bar, mid-40s, overly fat, greying, too forward for your own comfort. On any 'normal' night, you'd be trying your best to 'avoid' them. Now imagine someone whispers in your ear that the person you were trying to avoid was someone vital to your personal interpretation of power-destination - a famous pop star, a well loved politician, the manager of your favorite football club, the owner of a large retail chain - oh my, all of a sudden, does your brain suddenly become more 'forgiving', suddenly more 'playing along' than 'rushing away', suddenly more 'empathetic'. Maybe not quite willing to have sex yet, but a noticeable and definite change in 'perception' which, for some (enough for the system to be stable) could well lead to sex, especially if there was a very real chance for some form of long-term gain, be it subconscious wishful thinking or actual obvious prostitution (termed prostitution because it's still not a 'love' reaction).

Here-in lays the undefeatable quandary of 'how do we solve power-lust'. And also the opposing question of 'is love the real abnormality' because 'real love' kind of goes against the 'natural system'. "You've fallen in love with THAT loser? Oh well, good luck with that!" etc etc.
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May 9th, 2014, 20:15
Lord_Brownie & MinorityReport - I like the way you guys think
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May 10th, 2014, 00:51
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Benjamin Franklin, Memoirs of the life & writings of Benjamin Franklin
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May 10th, 2014, 05:04
Nice answers in this thread.
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May 17th, 2014, 14:09
A democracy is always better than a dictatorship. The will of the people needs to be representend in the parliament. In such a way so that it is the common will of the
people who will be represented by a majority in the parliament in a country.

However, my personal belief is that there needs to be a check and balances system -
a bit like the one in the US.
Or like the one they have in Germany in which the Verfassungsgericht (constitutional high court) has a say in what laws the politicians make in parliament. As we all know too well the will of the peole can - and will be - manipulated some times.

Therefore, I find, it is necessary to have a system in which the head of state can deny or abstain from signing a law into effect/existence. I also find the idea of having a second chamber to be a very good idea; it serves to ensure that the sometimes manipulated
will of the people blends with rationality and coolheadedness.

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May 18th, 2014, 01:26
Not always. A good dictatorship can be better if people dont understand the issues at hand especially if people are mostly bandwagoners which is a problem now.
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May 19th, 2014, 12:39
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
It has never been researched upon why people do that - why power seems to be so important for humans.
I believe it's a very widely researched field, actually.

The most common and most widely accepted theory is that since humans started as pack animals, and then formed tribes, there was always a strong internal power struggle among the males - Much like in so many modern animal species. The alpha-male got a lot of benefits (and responsibility) that the other males didn't. And it's not just the alpha who has power, there is a clear chain of command all the way down to the omega male, who is a public punching bag.

The higher the male was in the chain of power, the better changes he had with females. Alpha-males got the most children, and the entire pack was guardians for the alpha children, who's survival was the priority of the pack.

So it's natural that we all carry power-hungry genes in us, and we have natural respect/desire/fear/etc for those in power. It's nothing more than just normal pack animal behavior, and it can be easily observed in countless of other pack animals.
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