Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dictatorship 101

A dictator is an authoritarian ruler (e.g. absolutist or autocratic) who assumes sole and absolute power.

In modern usage, the term "dictator" is generally used to describe a leader who holds and/or abuses an extraordinary amount of personal power, especially the power to make laws without effective restraint by a legislative assembly. Dictatorships are often characterized by some of the following traits:

1. suspension of elections
2. Suspension of civil liberties;
3. proclamation of a state of emergency;
4. rule by decree;
5. repression of political opponents without abiding by rule of law procedures; these include single-party state, and cult of personality
6. Indoctrination of children
7. Seizure of private assets and capital
8. Redistribution of assets according to a political formula

Modern dictators have usually come to power in times of emergency. Frequently dictators have seized power by coup d'├ętat as Benito Mussolini did in Italy at the culmination of his March on Rome. But some dictators, most notably Adolf Hitler in Germany, achieved office as head of government by legal means. However, once he was elected in office, Hitler imposed additional extraordinary powers. Stalin was one of the leaders sharing power in the Soviet Union after Lenin's death until he prevailed in a power struggle and created a dictatorship.

With respect to the list above, let us see how Obama scores:

1. Not yet, but a move is afoot to institute universal voter registration at the federal level. I expect him to jump on this opportunity.
2. He has attempted to use DOJ to silence opposition during the campaign and criminally prosecute donors to conservative causes
3. He continually refers to the economic emergency as justification for unconstitutional ideas
4. He is doing this in a fledgling state on the change.gov site – and has decreed an office of the president elect when no such office exists
5. See 2 above, campaigning in Germany, infomercials
6. Mandatory national service plan (since revised based on deafening public opposition)
7. 401(k) plan and radically increased taxation
8. Notions of fairness and bailouts proposed by democrats

This is why I am concerned.

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