Who is your favourite despot?

Discussion in 'Education' started by Sodafin, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. Sodafin
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    Sodafin Senior Member

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    One theory of despotism suggests that despotism is unique in that whilst most systems of government produce an actual government, with despotism it is the other way around. Think of it as a chicken and egg situation - Stalin came first, the functions of the Stalinist state followed. Stalin created the state around him, and it existed only as an extension of him as a person. For within a truly despotic state, it is the personality of the leader which defines the functions of the state.

    This is true of Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, Stroessner, Ceaucescu, Tito and Xoxha, amongst others. Without their leadership, the state could no longer exist, or at least not on its existing form. From the time these leaders died, their states began to wither and corrode, because they lacked the force that had called them into existence.

    Despotism requires paranoia and fear in order to build a sense of belonging and community. Within a despotic society - it is us against the world, and you are either for us or against us. There is no neutrality, no third option.

    For my money, Stalin created a more perfect despotic state than Hitler, who was driven by rage and personal doubt where Stalin was more calculating, more controlled and more brutally psychotic.
     
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  2. JW Frogen
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    JW Frogen Gold Member

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    I have always thought this too, given the horrible choice I would rather have lived under Hitler, just yell out the expected anti Jewish crap, wear the right uniform, and hope no one looks too hard at your family history and you are ok, (until you are sent to the Russian front) but under Stalin no one was safe.

    Stalin created the perfect storm of fear, everyone was afraid of him. Even his own family.

    Still, my favorite despot is Papa Doc Duvalier.

    I know he was a bastard, but I just like the name.
     
  3. JW Frogen
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    JW Frogen Gold Member

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    Idi Amin Dada comes in a close second on the clown town name that despot list.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  4. JW Frogen
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    JW Frogen Gold Member

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    And Robert Mugabe’s face always gives me a good laugh, he looks like a human-prune hybrid from the Isle of Doctor Moreau.
     
  5. Sodafin
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    Sodafin Senior Member

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    I agree - under most despots you can make yourself safe by playing the game.

    Under Stalin, you were never safe. There was no loyalty strong enough, to bond close enough.

    One has to admire the calculation of the violence and insanity that creates that kind of world. Hitler couldn't stop shrieking long enough to actually plan a strategy that could be sustained beyond 3 or 4 years.
     
  6. JW Frogen
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    JW Frogen Gold Member

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    I credit a typical Georgian mother and a quick sojourn in the Orthodox Russian priesthood training program.
     
  7. Sarah G
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    Sarah G When Nothing Goes Right, Go Left Supporting Member

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    My favorite wannabe despot..

    Cheney.
     
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  8. Sodafin
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    Sodafin Senior Member

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    With that evil grin, he would have made a good despot - but was he really quite in the same class as Mao?

    I think not.
     
  9. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    Bush.
     
  10. Midnight Marauder
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    Midnight Marauder BANNED

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    Good topic, Soda.

    The watermelon scheme right now is giving ALL the old despots a run for the money.
     

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