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Monday, November 28, 2016

The problem with dictators (Williams)

The problem with dictators lies not in what they do:  some make trains run on time, and some start wars, and some do neither and some do both, but it would be fruitless to rank them on this basis.  The problem is not which groups they victimise—though it is a problem that it will always be somebody, the cornerstone of control being to divide and scapegoat.  The problem is not even that strongmen can’t get on with each other, for all the anxiety it brings, waiting for the inevitable confrontation as one immovable, volatile autocrat comes head to head with another.

No, the problem is that the power annexed by one big daddy hasn’t come from nowhere:  it is power surrendered by everyone else, whose human destiny is then smothered by their political impotence.  Whether you are explicitly denied the vote or simply rendered irrelevant by a winner-takes-all authoritarianism, you are left infantilised and directionless.

Zoe Williams

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Michael C. Rush
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