Thought Archive

Saturday, July 19, 2008

In defence of Autocracy

Autocrats of the World, while still ruling with iron fist in many a country, always seem to be on retreat and do not posesss a narrative and ideology to counter the critique from West and associated with it liberal ideology of humans rights. They are forced to stage elections and and play fake democracy to play along in the game of convenience.

Of course the reason that this is the case is that most of the autocracies run by thugs devoid of any ideology and even a practical wit to create an ideology suited for their affairs. They are run as family or clan enterprise. A failure to create such an ideology lead those autocracies to lose a battle for hearts and minds of the people and eventually fall. However there are many other types of autocratic governments that work well

Absolute monarchies can be authoritarian, Gulf monarchies being a great example. The absolute monarchs are generally benign rulers in the current world climate. Succession in the monarchiest is the easiest problem
  • Individual dictators also be authoritarian, though there have been many cases of benevolent dictators. My favourite and best-loved example is Ataturk
  • Fascist nations are always authoritarian.
  • Military autocracies countries run by high-ranking military officers, are almost always authoritarian. Note that militarchy does not necessarily mean a dictatorship or a junta, but a generally thoroughly militarized state.
  • Theocracies are almost always authoritarian. Iran seems to be a partial exeption
  • Consentual dictatorships seems to proliferate in the South Eastern Asia.
    In the late 20th Century political elites in East and Southeast Asia argued that countries with authoritarian regimes were more likely to be economically successful than democratic countries. Examples given to support this argument were South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan all of which were authoritarian and experiencing a period of rapid growth. China is now a great example of flourishing authoritarian state.

3 comments:

NoolaBeulah said...

Your final paragraph is correct. It is perhaps here that the ideological borderline will be drawn for the coming century.

Actually, it was in the same place in the last century, but then it was obfuscated by other elements, both economic and social. By now, the economic argument is more or less over and the associated social one, too. We are left with the division between the autocratic and the liberal.

I've often wondered if autocracy was a necessary stage on the path to liberalism. If it was merely a means for a traditional society to industrialise quickly. Such development would create a large middle class which would not tolerate for too long being excluded from power. Thus the passage to a liberal democracy.

Whether this is in fact the case is the great question of the next 50, or 100, years. My money would still be on some form of liberalism coming out even of such places as China. But it seems a far less certain thing than it did only a few years ago.

Hazar Nesimi said...

Sorry for poorly written piece - but the essense of it to me is correct.

I am not sure where path leads us to, but we can have all varieties of governments without pushing the universal solutions to societies that culturally are not predisposed to them. I am not sure that universal franchise idea is a great one in a place like Mali for example. At least it did not do any good.

Riri said...

No Noola, it is liberalism that is not a necessary but ideal path to autocracy.

You know what they say, the quickest way to cure one from a fantasy is to live it out. Much like those people who spend their lives regretting never getting it on with their high school sweet heart, only to end up divorcing them if life reunites them at a later stage.

Aren't human beings funny things.