Thursday, January 26, 2006

Who's YOUR Favorite Dictator?

Let's conduct a poll on an issue that's increasingly relevant for this world. Dictator chic has become an undeniable aspect of international fashion, a disturbing yet severely amusing form of cult worship, and a undying political reality. If we try to be honest for a second, we might realize that all of us were ruled by dictators (or kings, elder tribesmen, lords, dukes, gentry, priests, etc) at some very recent point in our history. Wherever your family originates, I guarantee that a single merciless human being ruled over your people with little regard for either the rule of law or political equality. This is not to say that all societies were always ruled by shameless dictators, but there's something rather common about what we now call the "dictator."

I don't want to condone the infinite number of moral transgressions committed by every strongman as he abuses his power and attempts to wield influence over his subject people. In consolidating political power, Leviathans generally do not exhibit much sympathy. This is an obvious point of human history. Moreover, the augmented breadth of technology makes it ever-more possible to control and to oppress large numbers of people. Without a doubt, I would prefer to live in a society other than one ruled by an authoritarian dictator, but the ill-conceived malevolence and shifty power trips that make dictators so impudent and loathsome also may create a saintly ethos that surrounds the ruler. Are some of these rulers shapeshifters? Perhaps some are card-carrying Free Masons? What would you do to become a 3rd World dictator?

Take the almighty Fidel, any of the Ayatollahs, or Hu Jintao, and you will find millions upon millions of humans who not only lionize these figures but would shed blood for them in an instant. This might be mere worship of power and those who wield it, but many so-called dictators also promise their subject peoples better lives ahead and even suggest that maybe the American way isn't optimal. Virtually all the dictators below are outside of the West and tend to reject a lot of the Western value system, even if their countries are in the midst of some degree of Westernizing. A lot of these dudes are on the American shortlist for regime change. Either way, I want to know which is YOUR favorite dictator! Here's a few to choose from, but feel free to pick your own:

Muammar al-Qaddafi, Libya
Fidel Castro, Cuba
King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia
Aleksandr Lukashenko, Belarus
Omar al-Bashir, Sudan
Kim Jong-il, North Korea
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe
Hu Jintao, China
Seyed Ali Khamane’i, Iran
Than Shwe, Burma
Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan

Parade Magazine's List - (this blog inspired by the release of the 2006 listing).


Bunny said...

Kim Jong-il all the way! Mainly because I initially thought he was a butch woman. Even after he was on the cover of Time in '04.

Sam said...

I'm gonna have to go with Teodoro Obiang Nguema from Equatorial Guinea. That dude is harsh, rich as fuck from the oil reserves, and no one ever talks about him or his nation. He's got that shit on lock. I'm surprised he's only number 10 on Parade's list.

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