Likable dictatorship or unlikable democracy?

Frankly it depends. I’m an ultra-liberal by US standards, but I wouldn’t have a problem with a moderate Republican party (c. 1950s or 1970s) holding elected power indefinitely if the (odd) alternative was a center-left dictatorship.

But say the choices were between an unholy marriage of Rick Santorum and Dick Cheney vs a dictatorship run by Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont). Leahy is big on civil liberties and privacy, so that dictatorship could conceivably have more expansive human rights than a democratically elected regime that happily engages in torture, sends the economy into the shithole and steals the occasional election.

So it depends.

Bill… You’re locked up in a mental institution.”
And I’ve never felt freer.”

NewsRadio S03-E20.
Freedom is as freedom does. Considering Democracy has enhanced our lives with rule by the Berlusconis, Bushs, Camerons, Sarkozys and Putins of this world, who all seem to have long enough runs to severely impact life and who are only replaceable by their colleagues, benevolent dictatorship would be superior were it so.
For the question does not pose *is dictatorship or democracy a better model *?, but would you prefer a benevolent dictatorship or a malevolent (to you ) democracy ? The terms could be switched and it would still have the same validity as a construct.

It restates glum old Milton’s wistful query as to better to rule in Hell, or serve in Heaven ( his life chose the former )— you can vote in Hell, for all the good that will do you, but God is an unelected autocrat, as a far greater writer than he pointed out.
Presumably some will think Putin not democratically elected — although he was, as much as any American president— however, even if he were a semi-dictator the Russians felt this preferable to the last episode of pure democracy, when Boris allowed the Oligarchs and the Harvard Boys to take over and millions died prematurely.

And as for Freedom, which is an Ideal as opposed to Freedoms, which are Concrete: I will note that democracy in America ( whatever it’s virtues or faults ) has approved, through reelections and declarations of solidarity, a situation where a druggie can be banged up in jail for 40 years under federal law.
Which is a slight improvement over one of the democratic system’s acclaimed papabile for presidenthood, Mr. Gingrich’s, earlier platform for executing people convicted of importing more than 2oz of MaryJane. *

  • **Drug Importer Death Penalty Act of 1996[/B

  • ‘(e) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the court shall sentence a person convicted of a violation of subsection (a), consisting of bringing into the United States a mixture or substance–

    ‘(A) which is described in subsection (b)(1); and

    ‘(B) in an amount the Attorney General by rule has determined is equal to 100 usual dosage amounts of such mixture or substance;

to imprisonment for life without possibility of release. If the defendant has violated this subsection on more than one occasion and the requirements of chapter 228 of title 18, United States Code, are satisfied, the court shall sentence the defendant to death.*

Here’s the current controlled substances bit Referred to in (A) above.

Unlikeable democracy (which is what I have) over likeable dictatorship.

Acquaintances of mine died for democracy, I carry physical scars for fighting for the right to vote for my government. What kind of a petty, selfish shit would I be, if I gave the lie to all that here, just because the rest of my countrymen are stupid idiots with a shitty taste in parties?

A whole of honest sincere people died for bolshevik communism; a lot died for catholicism; a lot died for nazism; a lot lot died for the cause of maoist communism.
Doesn’t give them the right to impose their crap, evil, system on me.

IMHO, democracy tends to lead to centrist pragmatic governments, dictatorships are more prone to be ideological, as with the examples Claverhouse has given.

One - I find it absurd when people complain that their vote doesn’t matter in a Democracy. Of course your vote doesn’t matter. You’re one person in a country of millions. The point is to pick a candidate for who a majority of voters do feel represent their views.

Two - Judging from the post above, your particular vote not mattering is the exact reason we have democracy. If by “social liberalism” you mean equal rights for women, gays, and minorities. “class-based conservatives forcing economic liberalism” doesn’t make sense.
To answer the OP, I prefer democracy as it is a superior overall system, even if I don’t particularly like the policies of the current rulers at a particular point in time.

And…you can point out where I said democracy is good because people died for it, right? I doubt it. Democracy is good whether people died for it or no. But people dying for it is why I’m not willing to be quiet about whether it is good or not.

And a monarchy is less imposed, how? Try living in a police state sometime, see how you like it.

Ever the optimist, I chose democracy. Despite it’s many flaws it is still better than the alternative.

I’d strongly support all of this, but especially what you say right here. Not only do Russians prefer the Putin regime to Yeltsin, but they also prefer the Brezhnev regime (which was unquestionably not a democracy). And that shouldn’t surprise anyone: Russians were immeasurably better off under late communism than they were under Yeltsin’s ‘democracy’ and probably poor Russians were better of under late communism than they are today.

If you consider Yeltsin a democrat, that is: there are allegations that the 1996 election was tampered with and that in a fair election the Communists would have won.

For the record, though, socialism is an economic doctrine which has nothing to do with ‘social liberalism’, per se, although both share a general disregard for tradition. One can be a socialist and be extremely anti-liberal.

“Let us kill the English! Their concept of individual rights could undermine our beloved tyrant!”

-Joan of Arc, The Simpsons

As Claverhouse notes, this is a really terrible argument (which is probably the best I can say here outside the BBQ Pit). I don’t know what country you live in, but people die and gain physical scars fighting for stupid and immoral causes all the time. Plenty of people died fighting for the Nazis, for the Confederates, for the Indian Mutiny, for Mao, for the Nicaraguan Contras, and for yahoos like Boko Haram and Al Qaeda. Did it ever occur to you that whatever ‘scars’ you might have, don’t necessarily mean you were right?

The problem with likable dictators is that they are not immortal. Support a likable dictatorship, and chances are, sooner or later you will get an unlikeable one whether you want it or not.

  1. Nobody’s telling you to be quiet. Unfortunately, as you said, you do live in a democracy, which means everyone’s yapping is allowed to be heard.

  2. Depending on the politics of the police state, I’d probably enjoy it fine. I hate to break it to you, but most people aren’t politically involved activists, most people value things like a good meal, a job, a nice house, and a well functioning society more than they value abstractions like ‘freedom’, and most people (in most places, at most times in history) don’t really care much whether they live in a democracy or a dictatorship. Plenty of people got along fine under the post-1956 communist states in the Warsaw Pact, most people in Cuba and Belarus (probably in Iran, too) seem to be fine with their governments right now, and there have been plenty of very popular authoritarian governments throughout history. As much as many Americans like to believe otherwise, there is not some kind of inextinguishable thirst for freedom deep within the human soul.

I’ll go with the dictatorship, but only as long as I get to be the despot in question.

The medieval Scholastics put it best, I think: the test of a government’s legitimacy isn’t how it got into office, it’s whether it rules according to the (natural) moral law.

“Economic liberalism” here means roughly “free market capitalism”.

The same is pretty much true of democracy, except it’s unlikely any democracy you get is going to be particularly likeable in the first place.

Medieval governments were notoriously bad at succession. Good kings were followed by bad ones, or minors, or usurpers, and wars over succession occurred with depressing regularity & great destructiveness.

This is the aspect you good-dictatorship folks are missing: even if you don’t give a shit about abstractions like freedom and human dignity and all that, democracy is above all a way of choosing governments that does not rely on some monarch’s genetic lottery, or on the sword. A good dictator may be great, but unless you are lucky - even a Marcus Aurelius (a man whose philosophy was much admired) can be followed by a Commodus.

They likely won’t be particularly horrible, either - a fact of far greater importance.

Democracy (at least that of the modern Western variety) tends to produce governments that are relatively boring, with boring elections, having to balance all sorts of interests - which is generally what people prefer to the “excitement” of constant succession chrises, if they had actual experience of both.