# Dictatorship is an appropriate temporary step toward freedom, agree or disagree?

Discussion in 'History' started by tim840, Aug 4, 2008.

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## Dictatorship is an appropriate temporary step toward freedom, yes or no?

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1. ### Challenger78Valued Senior Member

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Sure, LKY, stayed in power for a long time, he shared that power with the office of the President of Singapore, which contrary to popular belief is not just a ceremonial role any longer.

Really ? Which biographies.
I'm not saying he isn't power hungry and has held on to power too long, but that is a long shot from a dictator, In the sense of the word, A dictator is ruthless, and has unlimited power, Lee's power was not unlimited, nor was he controlling every facet of government. There were still opposition parties, and they were not under heavy persecution. The people still vote, A dictator is where there is no vote, and no other parties. If the PM of singapore became a dictator, (which I will admit is likely), there is still the option of voting in members for another party.

3. ### Mrs.LucysnowValued Senior Member

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Challenger78: Really ? Which biographies.
I'm not saying he isn't power hungry and has held on to power too long, but that is a long shot from a dictator, In the sense of the word, A dictator is ruthless, and has unlimited power, Lee's power was not unlimited, nor was he controlling every facet of government. There were still opposition parties, and they were not under heavy persecution. The people still vote, A dictator is where there is no vote, and no other parties. If the PM of singapore became a dictator, (which I will admit is likely), there is still the option of voting in members for another party.

A benevolent dictator is still a dictator. I never thought of Yew as being 'power hungry' or even as holding power too long, what he has done for Singapore has been mostly very positive. If Yew didn't control every aspect of government directly he most certainly controlled every aspect of Singaporean life, the control he exerted over government is mostly through proxy. All government aligned itself to the wishes of the paternalistic head, so yes this makes him a dictator. As far the vote is concerned I think you have are using a very narrow definition of a dictator, in todays international political climate one only needs a veneer of political freedom. For example everytime there is a vote in Cambodia for example there is either a political assasination, not of the opposition leaders but usually a journalist who supports them, there are various forms of intimidation like the threats to national security if one party loses. Concerning Singapore at Thinkcenter.com there are some Lee Kwan Yew haters (like i said I am not one of them) and one Tsui Hong Kwong sums up how the pressure is placed very nicely by saying this:

'...there is general election every 5 years. There are still opposition parties. Why didn't the people choose another government? Actually this is the very question Lee Kuan Yew and his People's Action Party pose whenever there is criticism. Legitimacy is still important, however superficial. This is the scientific part of this police state. The objective is absolute political power. But the best way to it is not suppression of all opposition, but only all VIABLE opposition. It is a sophisticated system of control. Some dissent is sometimes heard in the papers, art performances, and most recently, a Speakers' Corner in a park. But there is always a complicated system of application, approval, and censorship, to keep the content, the readership, the audience size, and the influence within a narrow limit.'

This is the best way to function as a dictator while not allowing the opposition to name you as one.

Dr. Juan leader of Singapore's opposition party SDP writes in an article for Robert Amsterdam Perspectives on global politics and business how Yew "used the Internal Security Act to detain without trial opposition leaders, brought the mass media under the control of his government, and systematically dismantled civil society, including trade unions." Its mostly a negative spin.

http://www.robertamsterdam.com/2007/12/the_last_time_we_heard.htm

Its a pretty good article as well as this one titled 'Singapore Leads the Good Life Under a Benevolent Dictator' which gives a positive spin

http://www.sustainer.org/dhm_archive/index.php?display_article=vn210singaporeed

So basically I disagree with you on two fronts. First I don't believe that a the voting mechanism is an insurance against dictators and second that a dictator is necessarily a bad thing all the time and under all circumstances, though I am not saying a democracy isn't a viable system. I believe democracy works well when you have an educated well informed population that doesn't have its cultural roots based on a hierarchical system. I asked a woman who she had voted for in the last election here in Cambodia and she said 'I voted for my father', she meant Hun Sen. He is considered the father of the country, their leader as much as the old King was considered 'father' of the nation, this is not a good solid basis for a democracy but leads to a perversion of the system. There will always be a vote in Cambodia and as long as Hun Sen is alive they will always vote for him unless something deeply radical occurs (which would inevitably mean violence) and when he finally relinquishes power they will vote for his son whom he is already prepariing for the role.

I will have to get back to you on the biography as I am not at home and don't have the book at hand.

Last edited: Aug 13, 2008

5. ### NonsenseNon doesn't make sense.Registered Senior Member

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I agree with Asguard. However the question was, "Dictatorship is an appropriate temporary step toward freedom, yes or no?" Keyword being temporary here. When I look at the US and its democratic republic I really sometimes wish a few people we elected to serve our best interested would take an "executive" decision and move this country forward. At least the get the ball rolling. China in a way is like this, but unfortunately many of their actions border immoral and purely in self interest of the individual and not public.

7. ### AsguardKiss my dark sideValued Senior Member

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how long is "temporary"?
after all look at zimbuwie

8. ### NonsenseNon doesn't make sense.Registered Senior Member

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It is a subjective term.

9. ### Mrs.LucysnowValued Senior Member

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Nonsense: China in a way is like this, but unfortunately many of their actions border immoral and purely in self interest of the individual and not public.

Which individual? What actions does China take as a State that works in the self-interest of one individual?

10. ### NonsenseNon doesn't make sense.Registered Senior Member

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I would not say individual as in one person, but most definitely China acts in the self-interest of a few select and elite. Can you give me a reason as to why the US outsources all its production to China? The answer is simple... Labor is god awfully cheap with certain citizens not making even $1 a day. In other words a few rule the many. Also to support my previous claim I would like to point out that China has a ridiculously high real GDP growth rate of 11% or so. The US only has around 2%. The leaders of the China are simply working the country's people overtime and paying them near to nothing therefore making the GDP grwoth rate so high. But as history will tell you it is only a matter of time before the country runs out of steam and slows down or even worse collapses. I can't wait for the day that the Chinese people will look at the Americans and ask questions such as, "$8 an hour is minimum wage!?!?!? I make that in a week!"

11. ### tim840Registered Senior Member

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1,653
chiang kai-shek in taiwan. after taking control of the island in 1945, he imposed martial law over the island, limiting political freedoms while rebuilding the economy by securing US financial aid and allowing capitalism to flourish. He did not allow other political parties to exist, but there was freedom of religion, freedom of movement, private property. when he died his son reformed the system to make Taiwan into today's democracy.

12. ### Challenger78Valued Senior Member

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I appreciate that, The PAP has been in power for too long, and there has been censorship of the press, but I still disagree with the OP, Dictatorship is not an appropiate step towards freedom.

However, I have yet to see evidence of opposition parties completely eliminated in singapore.

13. ### NorsefireSalam Shalom SalomRegistered Senior Member

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Dictatorship isn't bad. A powerful government is not bad. A powerful government is a powerful government.

The bad part is the abuse. However it doesn't HAVE to exist. We need simply the right people in charge.

14. ### Mrs.LucysnowValued Senior Member

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Nonsense: The answer is simple... Labor is god awfully cheap with certain citizens not making even $1 a day. In other words a few rule the many. Also to support my previous claim I would like to point out that China has a ridiculously high real GDP growth rate of 11% or so. The US only has around 2%. The leaders of the China are simply working the country's people overtime and paying them near to nothing therefore making the GDP grwoth rate so high. But as history will tell you it is only a matter of time before the country runs out of steam and slows down or even worse collapses. I can't wait for the day that the Chinese people will look at the Americans and ask questions such as, "$8 an hour is minimum wage!?!?!? I make that in a week!"

'An average Chinese wage of $0.57 per hour -- or$104 per month' Now the BBC notes that 'Last year the average rural income was 2,936 yuan ($362)' You should find this article very interesting. http://www.manufacturingnews.com/news/06/0502/art1.html Anyway I have been to China and compared to several years ago the Chinese are doing much better and there is more financial growth. The problem is that many rural people are leaving the countryside for the cities, for better jobs. Before a certain standard of living was secured but now as the government opens up its marked by a widening gap in incomes (hello free market economy). There is a growing middle-class and more wealth but when you have such a huge population its difficult to raise everyones standard of living without controlling the market place. The wages you mentioned are not unusual in this part of the world and you must also consider that the cost of living is not what it is in the West; I have a housekeeper who makes$65 per month and that is considered a very good living wage. Consider that here I can buy a meal for 50 cents.

Last edited: Aug 15, 2008
15. ### NonsenseNon doesn't make sense.Registered Senior Member

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Now in response to the two articles. Both very interesting, but please don't just type in Google a search and take the first results. The date on the first article is May 2, 2006, while the second one is even older by 3 years written on September 21, 2005. This is not to say that what these articles say is irrelevant but it is not truly accurate because of the time gap. But for the sake of argument even if these articles represented the current events, my statement that China is acting in the self-interest of a few select and elite is still valid.

"An average Chinese wage of $0.57 per hour -- or$104 per month -- is about 3 percent of the average U.S. manufacturing worker's wage, according to data collected by Banister." Yet again where does the rest of the worker's wages go? The pockets of the elite... This is not to say that the article is wrong in saying that China is a manufacturing powerhouse, but at the cost of the SOL (standard of living) and well being of its citizens. Also your point about the cost of living being different in the West and Far East, this is true but the gap in wages is too significant to make that argument.

"However, the most affluent one-fifth of China's population earn 50% of total income, with the bottom one-fifth taking home only 4.7%." This is from the second article from the BBC you provided. This is the numerical manifestation of what I said about the few "owning" the many. So in the end these sources you have provided further support my opinion, something that has been going on even 2 to 3 years ago.

16. ### Simon AndersValued Senior Member

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Hey, I know. We could vote for them. Maybe every few years.

17. ### NonsenseNon doesn't make sense.Registered Senior Member

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Hahaha what an idea!

Only if people would be willing to leave their living rooms and actual know two ounces about how the economy works.

18. ### Simon AndersValued Senior Member

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Which is why our democracies are so much like dictatorships. I just thought it was funny that Norsefire essentially thinks we should be smart about picking our dictators which to me shows he either 1) does not really understand how these things work OR 2) he wants to be dictator. Certainly some dictators have been chosen, but generally they made it very hard not to choose them or to know that they were the right kind of dictator or that they would become dictators.

19. ### NonsenseNon doesn't make sense.Registered Senior Member

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If people were only able to "govern" themselves. I work in corporate America and I find that the manager is maybe the biggest waste of a job. If you really think about the job of a manager it is to make sure other people are doing their job. What a waste but unfortunately a necessary occupation.

20. ### Simon AndersValued Senior Member

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And what if the existence of the manager creates the need? In other words what if the hierarchal structure and the implicit competetition, power plays and unfairnesses contribute to people's half-heartedness and lack of identification with the work?

21. ### NonsenseNon doesn't make sense.Registered Senior Member

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Valid point. I am not ruling out the occupation of the manager. But for what the position is being used is neither correct nor efficient. There was actually a book published sometime during the Industrial Revolution, I do not remember the author's name unfortunately, but anyways the book detailed the steps to creating the perfect efficient worker. A few points I took from it were that the worker needs to understand exactly what and why they are doing their job, and even more they need to see and feel that they are part of the "big picture." I mean if you could imagine working on an assembly line doing the same movement over and over again. One would simply feel useless, somewhat like a monotonous, soulless machine. But in showing them the importance of even screwing in that one screw will make them work 10 times harder and with great dedication seeing that what they are doing matters.

Oh and I forgot to add that it in the capitalistic world we live in, the worker needs to see what is in it for them.

22. ### synthesizer-patelSweep the leg Johnny!Valued Senior Member

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but how do citizens in a dictatorship ensure the right people are in charge without some kind of "sale-or-return" dictator selection process? how do citizens in a dictatorship remove a dictator who might have seemed right but turns out to be wrong without bloody conflict and chaos?

It may be simple to deal with for individuals like yourself Norsefire who - lets be honest now - are meekly submissive to any strong masculine figure of authority (frankly mate, when all's said and done, if you were any further in the closet you'd be in Narnia) - but those of us with a backbone aren't going to put up with it.

23. ### NorsefireSalam Shalom SalomRegistered Senior Member

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On the contrary, I view democracy as too soft and too weak and lacking a backbone. Dictatorships are the only way things can get done; all we need is the right people in charge.