More about dictators – and not just about dictators in (and after) the Pandemic Panic.
As I pointed out in Part A (months ago), dictators are NOT the same as tyrants. At least in the view of libertarians and others who are opposed to the evil called Statism. Tyrants are not just given something close to “absolute power” over a polity; they use and abuse that power they are given (or seize). In ways that are aggression against others and usually to gain more power, wealth, and prestige. You can be a tyrant without being a dictator.
Indeed, many tyrants work for dictators: they are not the ultimate authority (though they may pretend to be).
But dictators and tyrants share a few common traits. For one, they ultimately rule with the consent of the governed. Even if the governed “consent” simply by not rebelling and resisting sufficiently to cause the dictator or tyrant to fail.
Indeed, if an outsider comes to a country (or county or city) and removes that dictator from power in spite or, or without, the consent of the governed, the governed are likely to put that(or another) dictator BACK into power, sooner than later. That is precisely what happened in France in 1815. Napoleon Bonaparte was not removed from power (as l’emperor) by the people of France but by the grand alliance of Britain, Prussia, and others. When he escaped from Elba, many (even most) Frenchmen “jined right up again” and followed him to Waterloo.
Even if they don’t put exactly the same dictator back in power, the people of a nation are likely to find a “good” replacement and let someone else take over as dictator, de facto or de jure. Consider Argentina. For that matter, consider even today’s Russia.
Dictators MUST be resisted by the people (and businesses) that the dictator claims control of. Those rebels may be supported by outsiders, but they must take the lead.
Like I said, consider Russia in 2020. Or even more to the point, consider the Fifty States today. How many once-elected mask-brandishing dictators are up for reelection in November? How many of them will get re-elected? I suspect that most if not all will. As for the big prize, Massa of dese Untied States? While there IS a distinction on dealing with the Pandemic, there are far too many similarities between them to make a lanb’s tails bit of difference. WHAT Biden will be tyrannical about WILL be different than what The Donald is a tyrant over, but it is a difference in flavor, not in effect.
If more than half the eligible voters in the Fifty States (and DC) turn out and vote for one of those two, it will provide heartbreaking evidence that their tyranny is, yet again, facilitated and supported by the consent of the governed.
And that is a sad state of affairs.
But that said, everything in these Fifty States, at the FedGov level, State and local and tribal levels, indicates that it is not just tyranny that is accepted. It is actual dictatorial powers. Not just for the Pandemic Panic, but for the dozens of states of emergency. Unlike the Romans, we have no time limits on how long a dictator can rule. (If some jurisdictions do, I am confident that the “representatives of the people” will extend them, indefinitely.
After all, it seems that a majority of the people of these Fifty States already think that we ARE electing a dictator every four years, who can be thwarted only by the most drastic of measures. And of the minority that do not believe that, far too many want to get rid of what we have so that they can institute their own dictatorship – whether it is Lenin’s much-vaunted “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” or some other form of “Progressive” regressivist ideology.
Again, that is a very sad state of affairs.
Pingback: What is a dictator? (Part B) – Rational Review News Digest
It’s hard to tell where the inflection points are. For example, on foreign policy:
– Truman intervened in Korea without going to Congress for a declaration of war, then came back later and asked for “permission” in some other format. And the range of presidential military action on that kind of thing stayed reasonably the same from then until the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. The president either asked Congress for “permission” first, or asserted an emergency in the moment but came back for that “permission” afterward.
– Obama intervened in Libya and Syria, doing weird rhetorical dances around the need to get any such “permission” at all (“it’s not a war, it’s a kinetic military action”), but giving a nod to the concept that such “permission” might be needed in other circumstances.
– Trump just does whatever he damn well pleases and implicitly dares Congress to do anything about it.
Those last two points indicate we may be moving down the curve toward both dictatorship and tyranny at a faster pace, but HAS been a progression, not a case of one or two uniquely evil individual presidents.
All excellent points, Tom. Trump threatens even more than he actually does, and not just dares Congress but eggs them on! Like a kid poking an anthill with a stick, I think. And Congress, no matter how they squawk, pretty much rolls over. Kinda like the SPQR and Augustus, now that I think about it.