In this article, we will explore the benefits and drawbacks of a dictatorship – a government that one person rules with no other party or parties to keep them in check. Although citizens living in such regimes may not label their leader as a dictator, it can still be deemed authoritarian if all government leaders support its formation. Similarly to how people in democratic countries tend to dissent against dictatorial rule, those who live under said circumstances oppose it with great determination. Even though living in a free country is an enormous blessing, there can be positive aspects to life under a dictatorship. Let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of this type of regime.
Pros of a Dictatorship
1. Dictators Can remove government Corruption Immediately
In a democracy, it is unavoidable to accept that there can be corruption within the government. Elected officials are protected and cannot be charged with any crime until they leave office. However, this isn’t so in an authoritarian regime; here, the leader holds authoritative power over everyone else and has complete control of the government – if wrongdoings occur on their part, then this behavior becomes legal due to nobody having authority over them. Bribery and other unethical activities become legitimate as unable to hold anyone accountable for such actions while they remain in power. If the dictator is not pleased with an influential figure, they will be immediately removed from their position.
2. Dictators Improve International Diplomacy Using Their Personality
The success of any dictatorship hinges on the morality and personality of its leader. Strong-willed individuals can use their influence to sign treaties, form alliances, and create beneficial trade agreements with other world leaders. However, a successful dictator must also recognize when compromise is necessary for running an effective government; through this practice, many dictatorships can succeed.
3. The Dictator Appoints the Government Leaders
The citizens of a dictatorship can feel at ease knowing that their leader has personally chosen individuals to manage the government. These leaders have often been brought up within the system and groomed for this position since childhood, so there is no chance of an uninformed or unqualified individual being placed in power. With such assurance from those in charge, dictatorships can maintain stability without risking changes from outside forces.
4. Dictatorships Provide More Stability
In a democracy, leaders are elected every four or eight years. This guarantees that citizens must adjust to new leadership and various administrations often. Yet, in contrast with this regular change of hands, dictators remain unchallenged in their power for lengthy periods – ensuring stability within the country. The population can rest assured knowing who will continue leading them and how they will do so annually with no surprises.
5. A Dictatorship Can Promote Innovation
Dictatorships can be viewed as engines of innovation since they are freed from the restrictions on progress imposed by democratic systems. A notable example is Germany during World War II, which had no regulations withholding them from creating the first mass-produced assault rifle in history. The lack of rules and regulations allows dictatorships to attain technological advances more quickly than democracies; if a dictator desires something made or accomplished, there are no bureaucratic hurdles for them to clear before it gets done.
6. Leaders Can release government Resources Immediately
In a crisis like an epidemic or terrorist attack, the nation and its people require sufficient financial aid to start rebuilding. In contrast with democracies, where bills must be passed through both houses of government before being signed by the president – sometimes taking months due to disagreement among parties – dictators can immediately deploy funds since they hold sole power over decision-making.
The current world crisis is a prime example of the clash between Democrats and Republicans. The pandemic has caused our country to shut down, leading both sides to propose an economic stimulus package to help needy citizens. Unfortunately, disagreements over this solution stalled its passing for some time – until the two opposing parties eventually came together on one accord.
During this period, the citizens of America endured considerable hardship. In a dictatorship, such an agreement would be practically instant; once a leader conjures up a proposal, it swiftly becomes law and is immediately enacted. Unfortunately, only one individual needs to sanction the implementation of autocracy – while immediate financial aid might seem advantageous at first glance, it doesn’t always reflect equity.
The dictator can decide who gets the funds, often granted to those with a specific social status. The lower-class people don’t always benefit from these funds, but their government as a whole does.
7. Crime Levels Decrease
Within a democracy, individuals are blameless until proven guilty and earn the right to due process. In contrast, within an authoritarian regime, justice is served immediately with unrelenting severity for lawbreakers to discourage any understanding of wrongdoings. Of course, this does not indicate zero crime; however, violations tend to be considerably fewer as laws can be modified at the leader’s discretion. For example, when The Philippines shifted from democratic principles into dictatorship rule, criminality fell 50 percent in nearly no time!
The decrease in crime is beneficial, yet the fear of hefty punishments and even death discourages people from breaking the law. People are not only deterred from committing crimes but also prevented from violating laws out of sheer terror.
Related: Pros and Cons of Fascism
8. Dictators Try To Be Relatable To the Average Person
Most dictators ascend to power due to their natural charisma and talent for relating with the people. This connection demonstrates that the leader is just like them, almost as if they were a trusted friend. People then believe that this influential figure only wants what’s best – a better life – for his constituents. Sadly, however, things soon turn sour, which leads us to reveal some disturbing aspects of dictatorship rule.
9. Benevolent Dictators
Beneficence bestows to mind with caring and considerate feelings. Such a trait is not commonly related to government officials, but on rare occasions, this term can be appropriately used when referring to some dictatorships. Unfortunately, despots are generally assumed as heartless and authoritative; however, there have been cases of benevolent rulers who accomplished astonishingly beneficial outcomes for their countries. Undeniably, many benevolent dictators have come before us – such as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk from Turkey in the early 1900s, Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, and France-Albert Rene, who presided over Seychelles from 1977 to 2004. While they may have adopted authoritarian methods of governance, their ultimate goal was always to improve the lives of their citizens. Therefore, we must remember these historical figures for what they achieved: working towards a better future for those around them. They don’t oppress, persecute, or degrade those in their country. Benevolent dictators ensure that the most beneficial policies are being implemented and will not tolerate any misuse of power nor permit bad governance or practices which could bring about destruction. Even so, corruption can often corrupt even the best intentions of a benevolent dictatorship, making it unlikely to come to fruition.
10. Dictators are Extremely Patriotic Toward their Nation
Most dictators are passionate nationalists, demonstrating their absolute commitment and dedication to protecting their nation. A patriot cares about their country’s prosperity, constantly striving to promote its best interests; meanwhile, a dictator will ensure that it is represented adequately and push further the boundaries of what is possible for them or their people.
11. Dictators can be Very Charismatic
An inborn charm is a must-have for dictators. It’s the trait that allows them to lead – even if their people loathe them. Those with this alluring quality know how to draw an audience and command attention, allowing them to impose their will upon nations with impunity. Even when faced with fierce opposition, these personalities use their innate charisma to persuade the masses into either supporting or accepting the government’s rule – whether begrudgingly or not.
When pondering if an average person could take over and rule a nation, it’s essential to contemplate the charisma of iconic figures like Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Edi Amin, and modern leader Kim Jong Un. All these men were charismatic in their own right, with enough charm to captivate nations worldwide, yet this cannot be used as justification for their horrific actions. It is clear that a special kind of magnetism is needed to thrive as a dictator – but no matter how much charisma you have on offer, some deeds are too terrible to even for that!
12. Dictators can Change a Nation’s Way of Life
Every nation has a unique way of life that its citizens adhere to. The United States, for instance, is typically focused on attaining wealth and spending time with loved ones, and participating in social activities. On the other hand, Vatican City — an independent state — prioritizes religious activity and worship while also attempting to secure economic stability. Then there are countries like Costa Rica, where people take a more laid-back approach to daily living. If a dictator could seize control over any one of these nations, they would be capable of drastically altering their mode of being.
Dictators possess the capability to alter a nation’s outlook almost instantaneously. They can take an affluent state and turn it into one of deprivation or cause content citizens in a serene environment to become disgruntled and tumultuous. In addition, dictators can make their population financially destitute as they rob the people’s pockets with immense taxation, even granting themselves excessive wealth in some cases. The bottom line is that dictators can easily influence society through forceful control measures – either positively or negatively.
13. Dictators Gain and Keep Experience in Running a Country.
People must comprehend that nearly all despots who acquire power in a country have had previous political experience. That kind of thing may have been typical among monarchies centuries ago. Still, it doesn’t occur anymore with most modern nations– dictators don’t just miraculously show up and suddenly rule over an entire nation.
Although most individuals cannot simply ascend to a position of dictatorship, some who are already involved in the government may have an opportunity. Specifically, military leaders can take control if they can garner support from their troops and command respect due to charisma or experience. Despite its potential advantages, many people still prefer living in democracies since the drawbacks often outweigh any benefits of a dictatorship.
Cons of a Dictatorship
1. Dictators Can Rewrite the Laws At Any Time
In a democracy, rulers cannot just change laws as they wish. Instead, these must first be approved by both chambers of Congress. This is not how it works under the autocratic rule; the leader can give a mandate and instantly put any decree into law – even if this only disadvantages a certain demographic! The people don’t get their say in what does or does not become legislation – instead, all power rests with one dictator alone.
Sadly, dictatorships often give way to great wealth for the minority of upper-class citizens. Unfortunately, these same policies are detrimental to those in the lower classes. This can be advantageous for wealthy people; however, when a dictator loses power and is toppled from their position of authority, there is always the risk that a new government structure could seize any accumulated riches. The lifestyle disparity between the higher and lesser classes was never more poignant than with this potential: one day, you may find yourself living as an affluent citizen only to wake up as an impoverished peasant overnight!
2. There Is Often Reduced Productivity In a Dictatorship
Dictatorships force their citizens to work using fear. Fear is not an effective strategy for motivating individuals – people do the bare minimum necessary to comply with governmental regulations, and their main priority is simply getting through each day. This lack of motivation can have a detrimental effect on manufacturing and agriculture, as we observe in North Korea: while members at the top receive all they desire, most citizens are grappling with more basic needs, such as food or warmth for their homes. As these struggles consume them, work performance decreases, and economic prosperity weakens.
3. Dictators Target Innocent People
To hold onto their authority, dictators must instill fear in the citizens of their countries. Such regimes are often known for swift and brutal retaliations, even if there is only a faint hint that someone is plotting to overthrow them. The dictatorial rulers will not wait until they know whether an attempted coup d’état is genuine; instead, anyone who could have been involved with it will be imprisoned without question. This serves as a warning sign to others – dictators recognize that their power can quickly dissipate unless people fear them.
4. Opposition Is Not Allowed To Exist
In the United States, citizens are privileged to oppose unjust laws or government acts. Recently, police brutality protests took place throughout the country and were met with no resistance from authorities due to every American’s right to freedom of speech and assembly outlined in the First Amendment. Despite their wishes, higher powers could not interfere with peaceful protest activities as it is a cornerstone of democracy that all Americans hold dear. Democracy grants citizens the luxury of opposing the government without fear; unfortunately, this is not a privilege in dictatorships. Here, any form of opposition is met with swift and severe punishment – hence why no room exists for dissenting opinions.
5. The Dictatorship Can Lose Control If the Leader Is Removed
Many dictators will set up a succession plan to avert potential chaos that benefits them the most. To maintain power, these leaders may even take extreme measures, such as the rumored assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother, to protect their political influence over time. Without this plan, instability could ensue and make life more arduous for citizens everywhere if there is no clear successor following a dictator’s death or resignation. In Kim Jong-un’s dictatorship, it was widely accepted that he had issued the orders for his death. In true democracies, their respective people would hold a leader accountable for such an act. Dictatorships do not even view this as wrong or inexcusable behavior.
6. A Dictator’s First Priority Is Remaining In Power
A dictator’s priority is staying in power, no matter what it takes. Leaders should be given the power to make decisions that benefit their citizens, but this authority can lead to disastrous outcomes. Just look at what happened during Hitler’s reign – 50 million lives were lost due to his misguided policies. Dictators do not prioritize their people; instead, they are primarily concerned with maintaining their control and will react violently when faced with any attempts of removal from power. Governments worldwide must ensure such authoritarianism does not occur as it places its citizens in an incredibly vulnerable position where nothing can be done if disaster strikes.
7. The Citizen’s Personal Rights Are Greatly Restricted
In a democracy, we are each graced with an array of freedoms: expressing ourselves through thought and speech and choosing our career paths and religions. We can also pick what shows we watch in our spare time or what books line the shelf–the possibilities for entertainment are endless! However, these rights hardly exist in dictatorships; citizens have no control over their personal lives as the government decides which faith they must follow (and punish those who don’t abide by this) while propagating censored information that ultimately manipulates its people’s minds.
8. Dictators Rule Through Fear
To retain ultimate and perpetual control, dictators must instill fear in their citizens. By ruling with a heavy hand and showing no mercy when someone speaks out of turn, dictators can keep the population under control. This leaves no room for the principles of justice when dealing with those who challenge authority – only an oppressive leader will suffice if power is to be maintained indefinitely.
9. The People Have No Control Over the Leadership Of Their Own Country
In democratic countries like the United States, citizens can exercise their right to select leaders by voting. Nominees provide an insight into how they would run government operations if chosen, and then it is up to people to decide who they want in power. This choice doesn’t exist in a dictatorship, as all heads of government are appointed by one leader, leaving no room for public opinion or input on laws that govern the country. In this circumstance, there aren’t many people who can do but accept the leadership imposed upon them and try their best to live with it despite any distaste they may have towards either.
10. Citizens Are Cut Off From the Rest Of the World
The world at large will not endure the vast majority of dictatorships. Residents living in a dictatorship cannot flip on their television and watch an American show since the control of the ruling forces what they can hear, see, or express themselves freely. For example, they’re restricted from participating in conversations with individuals outside of their own country due to social media policies. Furthermore, anything that goes down is closely monitored through constant manipulation – this way, its leader can ensure citizens cannot comprehend life beyond the nation’s confines. Leaders only allow their people to observe what they desire, yet the disadvantages of this far outweigh any benefits. Most individuals would prefer the freedom to do what they please instead of having stability and reducing crime at a cost – being constantly fearful due to government control. Without a doubt, no one wants such an existence under authoritarian rule.
11. Dictators can be too Extreme with Views
Joseph Stalin’s fatalistic declaration that “Death is the solution to all problems” showcases a particularly toxic mentality, regardless of one’s station in life. This misguided assertion that everyone can be killed to resolve challenges is irrational and wrong-headed. Unfortunately, too many tyrants utilize this same type of destructive reasoning when dealing with their subjects.
The urge to be draconian often drives dictators as they realize that fear is paramount in maintaining power over their country. Furthermore, creating terror, among others, serves as a deterrent to competing for leadership. By conveying these extreme views and beliefs, dictators can shape the thoughts and actions of both citizens and followers alike; even when those ideas directly oppose what people want or agree with. For example, many individuals followed along with Hitler’s Nazi party despite knowing its wrongdoings- demonstrating how influential oppressive rule can be on society.
12. Dictators Erroneously Believe that War Answers All
Dictators often rely on the power of warfare to make a point. This is especially true if they are stronger than their opponent; it enables them to put forth an impression that their word matters and must be followed. At times, powerful dictators even use strength against other strong countries – think about how Hitler fearlessly attacked France, Poland, and Great Britain!
Most countries strive to remain in peace, yet several dictatorships ruled by autocrats are no strangers to conflict. It is these leaders who engage in warfare as an attempt to demonstrate their power and impose fear on other nations that oppose them or disagree with their ideologies. Unsurprisingly, aggressive men tend to have military forces that mirror this mentality, which explains why many despots often resort to war to advance their agenda.
13. Dictators often create Bizarre Lifestyles for Themselves and their Citizens
Although dictators often come off as authoritative and commanding figures, it doesn’t take away from their odd behavior. Many will go so far as to build a harem of females taken from nearby universities or even primary schools. Hygiene is an afterthought for some rulers who consider themselves above such practices; the media has been known to declare their deities in some cases. This only further cements the eccentricity of these world leaders.
Dictators tend to have bloated egos and impose this mentality on their people. They often enforce peculiar regulations, such as requiring them to worship the dictator or refer to them as gods. In some cases, they even dictate how citizens should dress and act and look to coerce compliance with their rule. Many of these strategies are employed to brainwash individuals into submission.
14. Dictators are known for their Intense Persecution of People
The tyranny of dictators is well-known, with most autocrats guilty of persecuting innocent people to retain their power and eliminate any group that could challenge them. Under Marxist rule in Russia, individuals endured indescribable fear and despair. Vladimir Lenin has been dubbed one of the cruelest despots throughout history. This tyrant held nothing back in his cruel persecution of innocent people. He was unbothered by the deaths of those who dared to oppose him, his ideals or even question his authority and power over them. With no regard for human life, he only sought what he deemed best for the nation without allowing any room for debate – if one disagreed with him, they were sure to meet their demise soon after expressing it.
Lenin laid the groundwork for Stalin’s reign of terror, and his tactics even inspired Hitler. In the early part of the twentieth century, dictators worldwide studied under Stalin to learn how to oppress their people. He taught them strategies that allowed them to brutally murder millions without a thought – all to protect his power and control over Russia.
15. Some Dictators Dread Change
Dictators often dread change, as they would much rather be the ones in control of all social trends and revolutions. They are very hesitant to let movements form from members of the lower classes unless it is with their approval; if not, they will take action immediately. Because these rulers want to stay at the top, any changes they don’t execute can threaten how long they maintain power. Keeping power is the number one objective of a dictator; without power, they can’t rule. If too many people or the correct type of people begin to question what is going on, they could quickly be ousted from their position.
16. Dictators are not in touch with Reality.
Dictators often suffer from a dangerous level of self-aggrandizement that disconnects them from reality. Unfortunately, this makes them unable to perceive how detrimental their actions can be. One such dictator was Hitler, who was well aware of the cruelty behind Nazi policies yet chose not to challenge them. This allowed his megalomaniacal ambitions to almost come true, as he nearly became ruler of the world. Even after Germany’s defeat in 1945, Hitler remained convinced that Aryan supremacy would eventually prevail. However, his unchecked optimism in the German army and economy, coupled with a lack of awareness about their limitations, caused him to lose touch with reality. As a result, he was never able to succeed and his disconnected mindset likely contributed to Germany’s ultimate defeat.
This article is solely for educational realities and should not be perceived as a demonstration of endorsement for tyrannical leaders or the ideology behind this type of government.