"It seems foolhardy to assume that the armed state will necessarily be benevolent. The American political tradition is, for good or ill, based in large measure on a healthy mistrust of the state." ~ Sanford Levinson
How to Establish a Government: Lesson 3 - Dealing With Rebellions
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In lessons one through three we have learned how to create your own empire (lesson one), how to maintain power (lesson two), and how to deal with uprisings and rebellions (lesson three). It is time to evaluate great contemporary and historical rulers and see to what extent they have managed to be true despots. This also gives us a chance to see the real effects of acting as a ruler, and what happens if you fail.
History is full of people seeking and claiming power, but only a few have managed to become true rulers, awed for generations and even centuries. But how do we evaluate rulers in history? That's easy. As we have learned in the previous lessons a successful ruler manages to rule his people having them beg for him to liberate them even more for each part of their lives he takes away. A great ruler is thus someone having oppressed his subjects and who is then mentioned a 'great man' and 'liberator' in the history books.
For example, Alexander the Great would not be seen a great man if he were not to defeat all opposition and anyone he saw as enemy. If he had lost, he would have been known as 'Alexander the Horrible' or perhaps the 'Butcher from the Balkans.'
I have chosen only a few people of interest to the future ruler (that's you), to exemplify what they did right and wrong. And why it matters, at least to their reputation.
This guy had potential. He knew exactly what it means to be a ruler, he pointed out a certain limited group in society having the perfect characteristics for the task: they had a distinct common characteristic that they even claimed themselves, and the rest of the population, however diversified, had the jealousy for this group in common. He used and strengthened this conflict in order to gain power and enforced the majority's identity through claiming their historical right to the country and the world. To this point he did everything right.
Hitler was however not a perfect ruler. He tried taking on the world before making sure he had what it takes: one must win to be remembered a great ruler. With the Russian change of sides in World War II he was eventually forced to a defeat, and that is why he is today remembered as a maniac rather than as a great ruler and enlightened despot. Had he won, there would have been no limits to his reputation just as is the case with the next ruler in this short analysis.
The difference to Adolf Hitler is not very great except for the fact that Hitler lost his wars. Lincoln waged a war on his own people in order to enforce and strengthen his powers as the ruler of the land, and he succeeded. The great sacrifice of that time is today forgotten and he is celebrated as a true hero and one of the great men of history.
The Lincoln story teaches us that there are no limits to rule except for unsuccessful undertakings. Since the outcome of the war was to Lincoln's advantage his actions are celebrated and the sacrifices seen as 'necessary' even though many, many thousands of his subjects were killed to enforce Lincoln's power. Had he lost the war, he would have had the same reputation as Adolf Hitler: he would have been a craving lunatic causing only death and suffering. Simply through being victorious history is written totally different.
Fidel Castro and Kim Jong Il
These contemporary leaders are enjoying status as 'great rulers' in their own lifetime. Their rule is problematic since they have managed to gain recognition domestically while being greatly hated abroad. In time, their actions may be recognized as divine but they may also be called lunatics.
Being a great ruler today is a difficult task, since the world is getting ever more integrated. This means a ruler cannot focus only on his own territory, but has to make claims on other territories as well. Through speaking to the oppressed collectives of other rulers' territories, contemporary rulers can gain recognition as rulers and liberators, who set the standards for future rulers of other countries.
George W. Bush
The contemporary example of such a ruler who may come to be recognized as a true leader and liberator is U.S. President George W. Bush. While rather neglecting difficult problems 'at home' he directs attention to more serious problems abroad. Through using the excellent illusion of the War on Terrorism he took on a foreign dictator to 'liberate' the Iraqi people and save the world from a clear and present danger.
One might claim Bush was lucky because he happened to rule the only super power in the world at a time of the first attack in its own territory and that his father, former President George Bush, already had tried the stunt of attacking Iraq and its excellent ruler Saddam Hussein. Lucky as he may be, he saw the opportunity and seized it as any true ruler must.
The problem for Bush is that he has not managed to brain-wash his own subjects sufficiently, and he experiences great opposition from the masses living in the territories on the eastern neighbor continent Europe . Bush has, though, shown great capabilities as a ruler and it is possible that he will manage to make his subjects and European critics realize his greatness through finally forcing democratic state rule on the Iraqis and thereby creating a sense of legality for the war on Iraq . ('Democratic' is a word of unlimited positive connotation that you, as a ruler, should use often to define your actions.) This would no doubt make Bush known as a great president and liberator in the sense people today celebrate Lincoln , rather than being seen as a thug like Adolf Hitler.