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tinyfaery's avatar

Would you accept a government ruled by a "philosopher king"/ benign dictator?

Asked by tinyfaery (36297 points ) July 29th, 2008

I know these two ideas are not exactly the same, but they are the best way to explain my question. What if the country/world was at the behest of a true humanist, but we had no participation in our own government? This might be a little outside of the “possible”, but what if?

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16 Answers

kevbo's avatar

The King of Bhutan is one such person. You’ll have to dig more to read more about him.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I would probably accept it just fine if it was what I had grown up with, and what I was used to.

However being brain-washed by American history textbooks, etc, I don’t think I would take too kindly to it.

marinelife's avatar

No, I don’t believe in one individual having the right, hereditary or power grabbing or otherwise, to rule others.

tinyfaery's avatar

@kev Thanks for the link.

tinyfaery's avatar

So a corrupt, capitalist society, full of inequality and mental, emotional and physical hardship, is more acceptable than a dictatorship where people could actually be happy, with all needs being met?

marinelife's avatar

When all our needs are met, we stop striving. We stop wondering if we are not allowed to wonder freely. We stop creating if we do not have freedom to create.

Also, how can anyone else say what “all our needs” are?

In this system, you can change jobs, because you feel you are not making enough salary. Who knows what the rules of the kingdom are?

You and I will have no say in those rules. So, this monarch is benevolent, what about the next one? What guarantees that?

I want a government that is removable.

poofandmook's avatar

Is this my other option to Dubya? If so, sign me up.

nina's avatar

The idea of a rational benign dictatorship is extremely tempting. And this is how the world begets Hitlers. Unfortunately, human society, for its own good, has to resign itself to the evils of democracy, because everything else is… worse

btko's avatar

benign to me may not be to you

lifeflame's avatar

I think we sort of have to assume in this “What if” question that the king is unquestionably wise and has the capacity to take care of us..Practicalities such as “how do we know he really is benign” or “how do we ensure his or her successor is also wise” are outside this question.

I think though, one of the problems with the philosopher king is that having someone “take care” of us can lead to the citizens becoming like sheep.

Citizen participation is good for the citizens. Participation cultivates a sense of responsibility and dialogue, which is important for the community. We shouldn’t just allow one person “take care of us”—not necessarily because of a checks and balance things (because in this hypothetical, there is no need for checks and balances), but because it is healthy for us to participate and thinking, caring citizens.

I assume that the philosopher-king would be smart enough to see that.
But in any case, if it was a benign dictatorship, my personal acceptance of the king would be largely irrelevant.

tinyfaery's avatar

@life. Great answer.

drhat77's avatar

There would be resistance. how would a “benign dictator” treat opposition? let them preach and undermine the authority? “relocate” them so they do not trouble the populace?

Bottom-line, politics is not for the kind-hearted.

Jiminez's avatar

I’m against all hierarchy.

DREW_R's avatar

Not for a second.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Return to the Sage King.

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