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Mon Sep 23, 2019, 11:13 AM

A good read on dictators and their fools

The paradox of the modern dictator is that he must create the illusion of mass support while turning the population into a nation of terrorised prisoners endlessly condemned to faking enthusiasm for their oppressor. Frank Dikötter, a brilliant historian with a prize-winning trilogy on Mao’s China behind him, takes eight of the most successful 20th-century dictators: Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Kim Il-sung, Nicolae Ceausescu, Papa Doc Duvalier and Mengistu, and shows with chilling brevity and clarity how this is done.

The road to dictatorship is depressingly predictable. Once power is stolen, the problem is to keep it. Anyone who might develop a separate power base must be struck down. Eradicate rivals, rule through force and fear. Trust no one, particularly family, friends and the army. Keep everyone on their toes with random executions, unpredictable policy changes and imaginative public tortures. So far, so historic. It could be a Shakespeare play.
What distinguishes modern tyranny, Dikötter argues, is the cult of personality. Total control of the information space keeps the modern dictator in power.


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Reply A good read on dictators and their fools (Original post)
packman Sep 23 OP
BigmanPigman Sep 23 #1

Response to packman (Original post)

Mon Sep 23, 2019, 11:42 AM

1. This was exactly how a new school superintendant

destroyed my district in less than two years. This is a popular business model too.

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