Episode 203 S6-3
How Tyrants are Made
The Endless Night Ch 3
Tyrannical leaders are not a creation of modern times. Even the bible tells stories of leaders who once in power, abused their authority for their own selfish wants. King David was a little Sheppard boy who rose to the top. He was anointed king through the power of the Lord but he gave into lustful forbidden passions. He sent close friends to their death to cover up his evil doings.
Dictators with tyrannical authority usually come into power during times of national weakness. This can be due to an economic downturn or a national emergency. They come forth with confidence and an attitude that assures the people that they are the only individuals that can provide guidance and direction for the future. They often use weak or corrupt policies of the current governments to solidify their positions of power. This lack of authority in the system in power, allows the tyrant to point out holes in their plans while providing alternatives that seem acceptable to the people. A government that over taxes, spends or believes in a bad economy, gives them the excuses they need to take power by offering a strong voice to follow.
PhycologyToday.com explains a seven step process to becoming a dictator. The first thing that needs to be done is a gathering of people with corruption. However, the author points out that eventually the corruption will be exposed so this is not a good long term strategy. The second thing a dictator needs to do is make certain that their physical authority goes untested against any protests. This gives them a fear factor over the people. The people need to be disarmed so there is no one to stand against them.
The third thing that needs to happen is gaining a benevolent stance through the distribution of needed supplies. When provided with subsistence, people will rarely bite the hand that feeds them. The fourth thing a dictator needs to do to hold their authority is to eliminate enemies or embrace them. Whichever path is chosen the dissension must be removed so that there is no opposition to their authority. To solidify their position even further, a dictator must make a common enemy. This allows them to rally their followers against the perceived evil that threatens them. War and external threats provide this leadership opportunity.
The sixth step involves manipulation of their followers. The dictator must control the news that reaches their followers so that the people will stand firmly in sync with them. This is achieved through propaganda and media control. The last item is the creation of an ideology to justify their position. These tyrannical leaders often claim an appointment through a religious leader or an ordainment from God. Having statues of the leader built and getting religious leaders on their side, makes them god like further justifying their leadership.
There is a difference between strong leadership and tyrants. The motivation of trying to help the group versus a personal power grab is usually at the center of that differentiation. Always ask questions and keep your eyes open. It is not always easy to tell which leader speaks for the people and which one will lead their people to ruin.
Featured Quote From Today's Chapter:
"Her world was gone, and she was quite positive she ended up in hell itself."