View Full Version : Who's your benevolent dictator?


peterthenerd
01-01-06, 04:08 AM
I would say Ataturk. He is literally perfect. The ratio of the good he did to the bad, if any, stands unsurpassed in history. And he's cool, too. As President Franklin Roosevelt said, "My sorrow is that, there is no more possibility to fulfil my strong wish about the meeting with this man." Cool, isn't it.

Ophiolite
01-01-06, 04:18 AM
Lee Kaun Yew. Transformed a third world nation into a first world nation in one generation.

The Devil Inside
01-03-06, 04:26 PM
Lenin.

Baron Max
01-03-06, 06:42 PM
I would say Ataturk. He is literally perfect. The ratio of the good he did to the bad, if any, stands unsurpassed in history.

Perhaps. But what did he leave in his wake? What happened when he died? Benevolent? If so, he should have provided for the future of his nation ...which he did not.

That being said, I don't think the Earth has ever seen a "benevolent" dictator ...at least one that was human!

Baron Max

Facial
01-03-06, 07:12 PM
Lenin.

Baron Max
01-03-06, 07:45 PM
Under Lenin, Russia was not a very good place to live and raise a family! There was lots of starvation, hunger, disease, sickness, poor education, poor living conditions, etc. So how do you figure that Lenin was such a benevolent dictator?

Baron Max

The Devil Inside
01-04-06, 07:31 AM
i live in a family that has 4 generations going back to lenin.
he was a benevolent dictator.
a true humanitarian, whether history books paint him as such or not.

his concern was truly for the people of the russian nation.

River Ape
01-04-06, 08:33 AM
Lee Kaun Yew. Transformed a third world nation into a first world nation in one generation.
Lee Kuan Yew is an interesting choice -- though I am not sure how he would feel about being described as a dictator.

But it is interesting to consider how far Singapore's undoubted success is down to him. Maybe Stamford Raffles continues to deserve a lot of the credit, for believing in "location, location, location" (to borrow a phrase). Singapore is a prime piece of real estate and only the Japanese invasion has badly interrupted a long history of fairly continuous commercial success.

Maybe the success of Singapore (like that of Hong Kong) also speaks for the utility of the City State. Generally, urban clusters are what people live in. Anything bigger (nations, federations) is by way of being a political invention and imposition upon the geographical reality. City States can respond to problems more quickly; officials are not forever engaged in communicating between national and local levels; key individuals can know each other personally; people can better assess what is really going on.

Long Live the City State! Independence for Cheltenham now!

kenworth
01-04-06, 09:50 AM
bob marley,or does it have to be a person who has been a dictator in the past?

Hapsburg
01-04-06, 05:33 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhumibol_Adulyadej
King Rama IX, the current King of Thailand. Quite the benevolent, progressive, and beloved monarch, as noted that he is still alive, and is already gained the epithet "The Great".

Also, Prince Hans-Adam von und zu Liechtenstein. I likes him, he's a good ruler.

The Devil Inside
01-05-06, 05:47 AM
rama part four IS an excellent choice!

Baron Max
01-05-06, 06:58 PM
Is there no internal conflicts and political problems in Thailand? And if so, doesn't that mean that there are some Thias who don't like what the king is doing? and if so, if he was a benevolent dictator, then he'd solve their problems, right? Why don't he?

Baron Max

The Devil Inside
01-06-06, 05:04 AM
why are you going to argue an opinion, max?

mountainhare
01-06-06, 05:34 AM
Baron Max:

if he was a benevolent dictator, then he'd solve their problems, right? Why don't he?

Since when does benevolent = all powerful and perfect? You really are shifting the goalposts, Baron. NO leader or political body in history could fit your requirements, including governments elected by indirect democratic processes. It's also amusing how you fob off Ataturk, conveniently ignoring all the good he done for Turkey. A leader is responsible for ruling their nation after they are dead? That's... fascinating, Baron.

In the following, I'm going to assume that benevolent dictators = dictators who made or maintained a successful country/nation/empire. Success hinges on a number of factors, including population happiness, strength of the economy and military, land available, life expectency, etc.

Personally, I think that the first 10 Ottoman Sultans were quite 'benevolent' for their time. They built and maintained a brilliant empire which incorporated many people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Persia and the Arab Empire also had their far share of benevolent dictators.

Julius Caesar was a wonderful dictator. Many of the Roman emperors were quite impressive, although Augustus and Vespasian seem to come to mind most readily.
António de Oliveira Salazar was also a rather good dictator, although he did lose Portugal's colonies (but then again, who wasn't losing their colonies in the late 1900's?)

Baron Max
01-06-06, 07:54 AM
Baron Max: Since when does benevolent = all powerful and perfect? You really are shifting the goalposts, Baron.

No, I don't think I'm shifting goalposts. For one thing, benevolent does NOT mean being partial to one group of citizens, while ignoring the needs/wants of another group. Thus, if Thailand has political turmoil and insurgent rebels, then the leader can't rightly be called "benevolent". Perhaps, "pretty damned close to benevolent, but not quite"??


NO leader or political body in history could fit your requirements, including governments elected by indirect democratic processes.

No, they're not MY requirements, they're requirements of the definition of "benevolent leader". And ye're right, no leader in history would or could qualify for that term in my humble opinion.


...benevolent dictators = dictators who made or maintained a successful country/nation/empire.

Successful in what terms? For all of the people? Or just most of the people?

I would also question your idea of "...made or maintained..." I.e., Hitler made and maintained a successful nation for a while, didn't he? So by your definition, Hitler was a benevolent dictator. And there have been many such "benevolent dictators" who have had some short-term successes. So now we have to limit the times involved? Can we call Hitler a benevolent dictator ...for a few years?? I don't think that's what we'd like to say, is it?

Baron Max

Baron Max
01-06-06, 07:56 AM
why are you going to argue an opinion, max?

No. But that doesn't mean that I can't make comments on the opinion of others, does it?

Baron Max

tablariddim
01-06-06, 08:23 AM
General Castro seems to be loved by most Cubans, even though they're poor. If the USA didn't impose so many sanctions against them, it may have been a different story, but the fact still stands.

The Devil Inside
01-06-06, 09:59 AM
seemed a tad inflammatory, if you ask me, max.

Baron Max
01-06-06, 12:52 PM
General Castro seems to be loved by most Cubans, even though they're poor.

And just where have you gotten that impression?

I will say that, in the beginning, Castro WAS loved ...but in later years, as his power became more and more dictatorial and tyrannical?? No, I don't think so. But if you can show some evidence, I'd love to read it.


If the USA didn't impose so many sanctions against them, it may have been a different story, but the fact still stands.

The reason for most of the sanctions is because of Castro's horrendous human rights abuses. Surely you can't abide by that, can you, and want the USA to tacitly approve of the abuse by trading freely with him?

Baron Max

leopold
01-06-06, 01:48 PM
who is my most benevolent dictater? the united states government thats who.

Hapsburg
01-06-06, 02:28 PM
Is there no internal conflicts and political problems in Thailand?
None that are particulary plaguing, no.

And if so, doesn't that mean that there are some Thias who don't like what the king is doing?
He was given the regnal epithet "The Great" while he's still alive...that's usually a good indicator that he's well-liked by pretty much all Thais.

and if so, if he was a benevolent dictator, then he'd solve their problems, right? Why don't he?
Did you even read the article?

Hapsburg
01-06-06, 02:40 PM
Oh, almost forgot: Emperor Haile Selassie I of Abyssinia (Ethiopia). National Geographic once commented on Ethiopia during his reign: "it is nominally a constitutional monarchy; in fact [it is] a benevolent autocracy."
That's pretty fuckin' good, IMHO.

jhuang
01-06-06, 05:29 PM
only one i can think of right now is napoleon...

mountainhare
01-06-06, 06:18 PM
Baron Max:


No, I don't think I'm shifting goalposts.

Yes, you are. You're also engaging in semantics, as usual. Whenever you disagree with someone, the first thing you always do is quibble over the definitions of words. Even worse, you NEVER supply YOUR definition of the word, but merely leave you opponent hanging.



For one thing, benevolent does NOT mean being partial to one group of citizens, while ignoring the needs/wants of another group.

Actually, benevolent dictators can favour one group over another.



Thus, if Thailand has political turmoil and insurgent rebels,

The key word here is 'if'.



then the leader can't rightly be called "benevolent".

Yes he can. You can't please everyone.



Perhaps, "pretty damned close to benevolent, but not quite"??

Ahh, but you assume that benevolent = perfect, which once again is shifting the goalposts. You're defining your own terms. Nobody here would dare claim that there is such a thing as a 'perfect' dictator, so you're effectively inventing a straw man argument.

Here is a more accurate definition from wikipedia:


The benevolent dictator is a more modern version of the classical "enlightened despot", being an undemocratic or authoritarian leader who exercises his or her political power for the benefit of the people rather than exclusively for his or her own self-interest or benefit, or for the benefit of only a small portion of the people.




No, they're not MY requirements, they're requirements of the definition of "benevolent leader".

As I demonstrated above, your definition for 'benevolent dictator' is made-up. Benevolent dictator =/= perfect dictator.

Quite simply, you're being rather foolish by merely focusing on the weaknesses of a country during the rule of a dictator. No ruler is perfect. It would be far more accurate to determine whether the dictator done NET GOOD for his country. In otherwords, he improved its success, or maintained its level of success.



Successful in what terms? For all of the people? Or just most of the people?

Both of the above. A nation which provides adequately for all or the majority of its people could be termed as successful.



I would also question your idea of "...made or maintained..." I.e., Hitler made and maintained a successful nation for a while, didn't he? So by your definition, Hitler was a benevolent dictator. And there have been many such "benevolent dictators" who have had some short-term successes. So now we have to limit the times involved? Can we call Hitler a benevolent dictator ...for a few years?? I don't think that's what we'd like to say, is it?

It's not what we'd 'like to say', but that doesn't change the fact that Hitler was a wonderful dictator until he started WWII, and engaged in a suicidal war against Russia. Nevertheless, Hitler initially gave the people what they wanted. Law and order, and employment.

The Devil Inside
01-07-06, 05:21 AM
on castro:

The reason for most of the sanctions is because of Castro's horrendous human rights abuses. Surely you can't abide by that, can you, and want the USA to tacitly approve of the abuse by trading freely with him?
Baron Max

wrong.

the correct answer is: the reason for most of the sanctions is because of his unwavering adherance to communism. also his loyalty to our enemy during the cold war...the USSR. im sure you remember how castro ok'd nukes to be placed 90 miles from usa soil?

read a history book for god's sake.

River Ape
01-07-06, 07:38 AM
only one i can think of right now is napoleon...
Well, Napoleon is reckoned to have been responsible for the deaths of at least four million people -- so this is a strange interpretation of "benevolent".

However, he did round up all the jailrats and vagabonds in France, enrol them in his Grand Armée, take them to Russia and kill them (mostly from starvation, disease and cold). Getting them killed in pursuit of war was regarded as morally acceptable, whereas gassing or impaling (for example) would definitely have been regarded as wrong. The benefit to France in genetic terms may have been considerable, perhaps comparable with Sweden's programme of eugenics (1934-76).

Hapsburg
01-07-06, 05:04 PM
Napoleon waged his wars to help improve the lot of his people, which is what an enlightened/benevolent despot does...sometimes at the expense of other nations' peoples...but not usually his own, at least not intentionally.

Another one of my favorites: Maria Theresa of Austria...did some serious reforms for her people's benifit during her rule.

Baron Max
01-07-06, 06:48 PM
Here is a more accurate definition from wikipedia:

“The benevolent dictator is a more modern version of the classical "enlightened despot", being an undemocratic or authoritarian leader who exercises his or her political power for the benefit of the people rather than exclusively for his or her own self-interest or benefit, or for the benefit of only a small portion of the people.”

So ...from that definition, in particular the part that says, "...for the benefit of only a small portion of the people", Saddam Hussien is/was a benevolent dictator. So, too, was Hitler. So, too, was Stalin. And if you think about it much, haven't all dictators catered to a small portion of his people? And if so, then all of the dictators in history have been "benevolent dictators", right?

Hey, you did say that was a accurate definition, didn't you?

Baron Max

QuarkMoon
01-07-06, 09:03 PM
So ...from that definition, in particular the part that says, "...for the benefit of only a small portion of the people", Saddam Hussien is/was a benevolent dictator. So, too, was Hitler. So, too, was Stalin. And if you think about it much, haven't all dictators catered to a small portion of his people? And if so, then all of the dictators in history have been "benevolent dictators", right?

Hey, you did say that was a accurate definition, didn't you?

Baron Max


Do you know how to read? Did you notice the phrase "rather than" in that definition? Here, I'll highlight it for you:
“The benevolent dictator is a more modern version of the classical "enlightened despot", being an undemocratic or authoritarian leader who exercises his or her political power for the benefit of the people rather than exclusively for his or her own self-interest or benefit, or for the benefit of only a small portion of the people.”

Meaning a benevolent dictator is someone who does not excercise his/her political power for themselves or for a small group of people.

River Ape
01-08-06, 07:16 AM
Napoleon waged his wars to help improve the lot of his people . . .
Come off it! He grew up among the militaristic Maniot (Greek) population of Corsica and dreamt of becoming another Alexander the Great. Afterwards he had "La Gloire" drilled into him at Brienne Military Academy. His motivation was ambition and personal glorification.

His ultimate failure (Waterloo) led to the end of 167 years of France at top dog in Europe, and the restoration of the Bourbons.

jhuang
01-14-06, 09:48 AM
Another one of my favorites: Maria Theresa of Austria...did some serious reforms for her people's benifit during her rule.

I agree. She and her son Joseph II really did a lot. Unfortunately none of their reforms held; perhaps they were just ahead of their time.

Hapsburg
01-17-06, 12:51 AM
Yeah, that and also Francis II/I was a bit of a reactionary.
I personally think Leopold II was better than Joe Two...he reconciled with a lot of the higher-ups that Josef II pissed off. Not to mention that, under his tenure as Grand Duke, Tuscany flourished, as much as a sattelite state can.


who is my most benevolent dictater? the united states government thats who.
Heh. Benevolent my ass. They're even cruel, abusive, and malevolent to thier own leaders (JFK)... :p