Tag Archives: Hitler

Dictatorship: Such an Efficient Form of Government

From the standpoint of efficiency, dictatorship is attractive. No lengthy election campaigns. No disagreement among the dictator’s supporters. No troubling scrutiny from a questioning press.

After a period of wars and uncertainty, some populations welcome a strong man (usually a man) like Hitler, who will end strife and allow citizens more certainty to go about their lives.

The problem is that even the most patriotic strongman is often corrupted by the power he possesses. He will begin to believe that he has all knowledge and that everything he does is ordained by a higher reality. He often attempts to pass power to family members and close friends, founding, in reality, a family fief.

No legislature or judiciary holds a dictator in check. The progress he might make when first taking office dissipates into cronyism and nepotism, a selfish dividing of a country’s resources among a few top contenders.

Representative government, by contrast, can be messy and time consuming, but over the long run has the potential to better serve the citizens.

However, the disadvantage of representative government is that, if it is to work, competent people must be elected. For that to happen, the electorate must be informed about issues.

In other words, effective government is more about us, not the leaders. It has to do with the responsibility we take or don’t take as citizens to learn and vote intelligently.

Simple Solutions Can Be Deadly

 ” . . .when a man is driven to despair he is ready to smash everything in the vague hope that a better world may arise out of the ruins.” So wrote a former German official, Erich Koch-Weser, in 1931, as the spellbinding Hitler hovered on the periphery of power. A beaten down people saw in Hitler a chance to rise again. Their misery was real, but their choices in dealing with it caused tragedy for themselves and most of the world.

While the misery in this country has not reached the level suffered by the German people during that time, we can still note the tendency to grasp at simple solutions. They range from “down with government” to “down with Wall Street” to “down with religion.” Atheism would answer the problem of religious intolerance, for example, by simply ridding the world of religion. That solution gets rid of religious intolerance but offers no help for our intolerance of differing political views or ethnicity. Could it be that the underlying issue is not religion (or government, or Wall Street), but our sinful tendencies?

Solutions, most likely, will require difficult choices and the overcoming of our inclination to fight only for our tribe or group instead of the common good, not a magical waving of some political wand.