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Despots and how they fail

It suddenly occurred to me, the other day, that the ‘baddies’ of this earth, those monsters and despots who would take over the whole world if they could, never finally succeed in their ambitions. They are infamous rather than famous!

The good leaders though, go down in history as famous, remembered for their efforts on behalf of mankind, people like Winston Churchill, Albert Schweitzer, Mother Theresa and John F. Kennedy. Their work and achievements generally tend to live on, long after their death.

I’m concerned here with the other side of the leadership coin, the men and women who attempted to introduce regimes that did little good for anyone but a few cronies, and usually at immense cost, both in lives and wealth for millions of people.

Think of the Nazis and Hitler — they tried to wipe out the Jews, and for a time they very nearly succeeded, until the forces for good realised something had to be done and he and his crew were wiped out. Not until millions of lives were lost though and not just Jews, but people from many other countries as well, both from Germany itself and from the free world.

Communism, under Lenin and Stalin was another venture into a ‘bright new world’ that failed, mainly because the leaders tried to establish a regime where everyone was equal; an impossible idea! No two of us can be exactly alike — we all possess different skills and talents and deserve to be rewarded in different ways, according to the value of those skills within society. The trouble with the communist system was that, because of the enforced equality, there was no longer any incentive for the naturally clever to rise above the less fortunate, so ambition was killed and many brilliant minds simply languished with the loss of many new ideas! (Remember Animal Farm by George Orwell, where “some were more equal than others”, too).

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Look at one of the very few states that still calls itself ‘Communist’ — Cuba!

It’s a country in ruin with little if anything to cheer Cubans; cars are almost all at least 30 years old, shops have little stock to sell, with empty shelves everywhere, and pretty well everything, is way out of date, belonging to a past era. How can this be claimed as a success?

The list of despots is almost endless, if we follow history right back to early recorded history, from Hannibal and King Herrod, right up to Mussolini, Idi Amin, Muammar Gaddafi, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos and Saddam Hussein to name but a few. Every one of them has eventually failed in what they set out to do, except perhaps the Marcos’s who seem to have been very wealthy by the time Ferdinand died and his wife left for Europe with her thousands of pairs of shoes! I suppose in their case, they weren’t so much despots, as a couple of cheeky con-artists who got away with a large portion of their country’s wealth — something some people would admire.

As a general rule, good will win in the end it would seem, as much as anything because ordinary people, who are prepared to put up with enormous inconvenience for the sake of peace and quiet, eventual stir themselves and do something about putting things right. Thank goodness we do; the world would be a dreadful place to live in if any of these people actually won and had their way — had Germany won the last war for instance, I have no doubt we would all be blond now and speaking German, while the Jewish race would have ceased to exist! What an appalling thought.

What do you think about what Brian has to say? Who are the other tyrannical rulers you can think of? What do you think makes a good leader?

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