I try to avoid the simplistic distinctions between liberal and conservative, but I seem to notice that among my more liberal leaning friends and more openly liberal celebrities there is a tendency to wish for the ‘benevolent dictator’ form of govenment. In conversations there is this impatience with the American people and democratic system for not supporting their ‘obviously correct’ stands on gun control, health care, immigration or whatever the important position dejure is.
I think this explains the support of many of Hollywood’s left for the likes of a Hugo Chavez who proposes to fight for the poor yet openly suppresses dissent and an open society. It is the story of many a populist ‘Evita’. It is possibly the position of some of the candidates on the campaign trail.
The problem with a benevolent dictatorship is that when the dictator is no longer benevolent he is still a dictator. What follows is the mass murder of a Mao and a Stalin or the Balkanization after the demise of a Tito in Yugoslavia. Remember that the Nazis were the National SOCIALIST Party.
A consititutional democracy on the other hand can survive a bad president, particularly with the checks and balances our system has built. Before we deliver power and authority to a position we should ask what if our worst nightmare came into that position; how could that authority be abused.
Those who yearn for the benevolent dictator solution will insist that it is only their dictator that should be handed the power. Long term I wouldmuch rather have a bad leader in a constituional democracy that a good leader in the position of a ‘benevolent’ dictator.