Why do people support a dictator?

Date: Thu, 7 Feb 91 21:32:28 EST

I mean support in the sense of going about their day-to-day activities, not support in the sense of approval. Perhaps the pond is getting in the way of our English (ahem, American)? I think I didn't explain myself well enough. Let me try quoting from Gene Sharp's book, _The Politics of Nonviolent Action_, Part One, Power and Struggle, p. 8: Basically, there appear to be two views of the nature of power. One can see people as dependent upon the good will, the decisions and the support of their government or of any other hierarchical system to which they belong. Or, conversely, one can see that government or system dependent on the people's good will, decisions and support. One can see the power of a government as emitted from the few who stand at the pinnacle of command. Or one can see that power, in all governments, as continually rising from many parts of the society. One can also see power as self-perpetuating, durable, not easily or quickly controlled or destroyed. Or political power can be viewed as fragile, always dependent for its strength and existence upon a replenishment of its sources by the cooperation of a multitude of institutions and people--cooperation which may or may not continue. To my mind, the support (in the sense that I used it above, which is probably different than yours) is present when the obedience is present. As I said above, the reasons for obedience are many and varied. The use of nonviolence may result in great horrors. But everyone agrees that war always results in great horrors yet we perennially engage in them anyway. Or do I do nothing, support Hussein, and have my child lead a life of slavery? Or die in a war of liberation by foreign devils? He wrote: In response I wrote: In response he wrote: In response I wrote: In response he wrote: I'm not really sure. I don't think that handing the Iraqi people their freedom would work very well. Who values something they got for free? In other words, I don't think that the violent approach is going to work very well either, so why should nonviolence be held to a higher standard of success than violence?
Russell Nelson
Last modified: Thu Jul 27 10:58:40 EDT 2000