INTRODUCTION TO DICTATOR WATCH
Dictator Watch takes as its foundation principle Jefferson's declaration that all men (and, obviously, women) are created equal. (Indeed, his declaration should of course also been applied to native and african americans as well, beginning with by Jefferson himself.)
However, we prefer a more modern restatement:
We hold this truth to be self-evident, that all life is created equal and is endowed with the same inalienable rights. Further, all human social institutions derive their power from the consent of the people, and whenever any institution becomes destructive of the rights of life it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it. (FFF, Planetary Conditions)
We also clearly understand that the fundamental rule of life is that actions have consequences. Therefore, we believe the basic goals, of individuals and society, are to strive for equal and fair treatment for all forms of life; human equality, such that all class differences and also all vestiges of bigotry, bias and discrimination are eliminated; and personal responsibility. For the first, please see the Human Dictatorship campaign. For the second, all people are equal, and this begins with equality in personal value. And for the last, we are responsible for what we do. We have a free will, which we use to make choices and to guide our lives. We are not wholly determined. Therefore, we cannot ignore the consequences of our actions, or blame others for them, or plead that we are victims.
Dictatorship is in opposition to these goals. It seeks inequality, beginning with inequality in value. Dictators believe they are better. And dictatorship denies human responsibility, starting with its responsibility for its own heinous acts.
Dictatorship is the imposition of form, and this extends to all of the ways in which you are shaped, conditioned, persuaded, socialized, manipulated, indoctrinated, programmed, controlled and brainwashed, all of the techniques by which you are 'influenced' to think and behave in a particular manner. (FFF, Form) Dictatorship is determinism. It is the means by which others - the dictators - overpower your free will and get you to think and act so as to suit their purposes.
We believe that real equality, between humans and other forms of life, and among humans, and also personal responsibility, can only be achieved when dictatorship is eliminated.
There are many types of dictatorship. The traditional usage of the term refers to governmental systems, and many nations around the world remain subject to the repression of political, military and religious autocrats. But there are other forms as well, including new forms of recent evolution which are more subtle in their techniques and more pervasive in their effects.
Dictatorship starts with the individual: with every one of us. As we attempt to impose our form on other people (and species), to get them to conform to our needs, motivations and desires, we effectively become dictators. Rather than seek their assistance and cooperation (or leave them alone!), we - for the most part or in most circumstances - initiate a competition, a contest of wills, to get them to do, or to think, what we want.
Individual attempts at dictatorship percolate up to all levels of society and to all of our social institutions. Indeed, such dictatorship is structurally ingrained. All of our institutions have the form of social pyramids: power is centralized and concentrated at the top. In addition, with the exception of government, there are no term limits - leaders of the institutions can stay in power for decades - and no extension of participative, or even representative, decision making to the members of the institutions and to all others whom are affected by them.
What has happened is that
such institutions evolved, initially, to help us satisfy our needs. But over
time, the equation changed: now it is the institutions' needs which have
become paramount, and we must support them; and we have been shaped, conditioned,
so that we will do this willingly. (FFF, Declaration) Also, in
these new manifestations, the sources of dictatorship have greatly increased
their subtlety; they have learned that subtle methods, in the long run, are
far more effective than forceful ones. And we are now being controlled, being
dictated to, by these methods.
Dictatorship is a far greater issue than dealing with the world's remaining governmental autocrats. And it is only when we realize this, when we recognize that the issue of dictatorship involves everyone of us and all aspects of society, will we have any chance to defeat it.
For a deeper understanding of dictatorship, please review the following:
- Anonymity and identification. In many cases it is clear that a person is a dictator, but in others it is not. In the latter situations the dictators surround themselves with the trappings of respectability, or, they are anonymous. For the first, such misidentification must be corrected, and for the second the veil of anonymity must be torn away. Dictators have names and addresses. As with genetically-modified food, they must be labeled for all to see. (This includes of such individuals often powerful, but hidden, spouses.) Everyone who is a dictator should be called a dictator. The individual who runs China is not President Jiang Zemin (or his successor), but Dictator Jiang Zemin (and also, Mass Murderer Jiang Zemin). The person who heads Microsoft is not Chairman Bill Gates, but Dictator Bill Gates.
- The Roots of Dictatorship. Please see the linked article for an analysis of the evolution of dictatorship.
- The history of the word dictatorship. The Republic of Ancient Rome was a form of democracy, with senators elected by the citizens. However, in times of emergency the senators would appoint a dictator to lead them. The root of dictatorship is dicto, or to speak. This individual was chosen to speak for the Republic for the duration of the emergency.
With this as background, Julius Caesar was a general in the Roman Army, and involved in campaigns against northern cultures. When he crossed the Rubicon River back into Italy, he broke the law by leading his soldiers into an area other than that to which they were assigned. At the crossing he uttered his famous phrase, Iacta est alea, or, The die is cast. A three year civil war followed, which Caesar won, after which he declared himself Emperor. Through this act he created the modern conception of a dictator, of an individual who seizes power and who maintains it by force (and Rome changed from a Republic to an Empire).
- The Legitimization of Dictatorship. Please see the linked article for a review of how in modern society the idea of dictatorship has been legitimized.
- Change, and the Dictator Watch Paradigm. Please see the linked article which summarizes the prerequisites for change from dictatorship to democracy. Dictatorship constitutes a global system, and such a change is a global system change. Viewing dictatorship broadly, we want to accomplish the following global system change. (This will likely require, and define, the evolution of humanity - of homo sapiens - to a new species.)
|Nature||Conflict with and exploitation of||Steward of|
|Personal||Stressed, regular failure to satisfy needs||Needs satisfied, in balance, happy|
© Roland O. Watson 2001-3