The ideal form of government for getting anything done on a small scale. Its success, however, depends on the following circumstances:

A prime example of a wildly successful benevolent dictatorship is an artistic group and their leader; it could be a choir the choir director, a play and its director, or a student and teacher. These are situations which work extremely well given the right dictator, and simply fall apart if there isn't a strong sense of leadership present.

One might think that these groups could work even better given the right Commonwealth Model. Everyone would have a say, votes could be taken if there is widespread disagreement, the group would be stronger for relying more on the individual and less on authoritative mandates. However, experience clearly shows that this is not the case. A vote leaves things strangely unresolved. Precious time is wasted quibbling on minor points that could be solved in 1 second by a knowledgeable and experienced leader. The leader is always free to ask for input, but will often refuse it when they already have a good idea of what they want.

Also, if the dictator is personable, the group often has a feeling of pride and inspiration in having the privilege of working for them. If nothing else, there is always a respect for their abilities that causes the group to value their opinions and respect their decisions.

A commonwealth could decide what time a rehearsal starts and ask everyone to be on time, but this almost invariably leads to people waltzing in whenever its convenient for them. However, when a dictator says "don't waste my time, and I won't waste yours" and means it, people magically manage to arrive ahead of time.

The difference between the clumsy commonwealth and the focused dictatorship is very dramatic and very noticeable if you watch them side-by-side. It's amazing the work ethic and sense of purpose that the right dictator can give an otherwise disorganized and scattered situation.

What could be better than an altruist with absolute power, vision, and intelligence? The benevolent dictatorship is, bar-none, the perfect form of government. Given that you can maintain it...

Unfortunately, maintaining a benevolent dictatorship is nearly impossible. Once the dictator is overthrown (or dies of natural causes), a malevolent dictator usually steps in, and takes advantage of the heavily centralized power structure that the benevolent dictator left in place. Another poor end can come about if the dictator is too weak to resist the axiom that "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely". Overall, the possible consequences of enacting a benevolent dictatorship are generally viewed as outweighing the benefits. So they are doomed to happen only as accidents of history...

There are actually several examples of benevolent dictators in history: Katherine the Great of Russia, and Fredrick the Great of Prussia were both, I believe, relatively benevolent dictators. As were a string of emperors in ancient Rome, including the emperor Hadrian and the emperor Claudius.

This is, of course, all predicated on the assumption that the populus is on average too stupid or uninformed to make good decisions about governance. Which I have to admit I agree with. I'm an elitist. Democracy is stable, but it's guaranteed to be mediocre.

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