1. A dictatorship is best defined as having the following traits:Honest question: how do you fine dictatorship? I had this argument with somebody in real life, recently. To me, a dictatorship is mostly determined by its intolerance for freedom of political views and lack of popularly elected leadership, as opposed to necessarily having an all-powerful executive. But, my friend argued that a dictatorship has to have a single executive.
In my case, monarchies are essentially dictatorships, as are bureaucratic governments like the First French Republic, Soviet Union, and People's Republic of China, as well as any Latin American junta. Actual absolutist governments are extremely rare. You're right, though, that feudalism doesn't really fit the description I gave. You can view it a number of ways: an entirely different sort of society, a privatized society taken to the extreme, a bureaucracy governed by tradition with hereditary posts. It still has the trait, though, of unelected leadership and I believe (could be wrong here), usually, intolerance of competing political ideologies.
In the case of the second bit, you have a point. My point about democrats being cowardly is more in reference to individuals within democracies, not the spirit of the society as a whole. It's also arguable that this is skewed a bit by more advanced civilizations having been the ones that developed democracies, so their successes are possibly attributable to their other advancements, rather than to their democratic structure itself. There's a few examples that suggest the latter may have been a hindrance, like:
- The Romans using their "dictators" to govern instead of the Senate during crises.
- The United States electing the same guy four times in a row during the Depression/WW2, and basically just flat-out destroying hostile political parties unconstitutionally.
- The War of 1812, when democratically-elected officers in military units got their asses handed to them by professional, autocratically-structured British military units.
I guess we can take it to a private conversation or a different thread, if you want. Your description of the gifted program sounds a lot like what they did in my county. We didn't really learn anything; it was just games and stuff. Activities meant to make you more creative, or something gay like that. But still more useful than regular class. For whatever reason, I never got bullied in school, and mostly liked high school, though I hated junior high. Too asocial to make any friends, though. Didn't do that until university.
Sorry to everybody else for taking this so off-topic; I'm real bad for that. Jew bad
- The executive office is a lifetime position.
- The executive office has no or token checks on power and has legislative power.
- Citizens are considered to have zero, or close to zero, unalienable rights (or effectively have zero unalienable rights).
Not necessary but common features include a certain level of a personality cult, a tendency towards draconian legislation (punishment of minor crimes with public beatings, maimings, or execution, highly arbitrary laws with no sense of jurisprudence, laws suddenly changing outlawing extremely common behaviors or objects, etc.), and a tendency towards military adventurism.
The First French Republic was an Oligarchy in theory, as governance was conducted by a small, elite group with divided powers (effectively, though, it was an anarchy, and did have many of the second-order features of a dictatorship). The USSR was a complex case: it was definitely a dictatorship under Stalin, but was much more oligarchical afterwards.
I would agree that dictatorships are very effective: I simply disagree that efficiency is the defining virtue of the human condition.
In regards to medevial societies and oppression of competing ideologies: you'd be quite wrong there. The Guild system, for example, was a "threat to society", but despite sporadic efforts to stop it, the guilds were effectively tolerated. The same would go for Christianity, which in many cases would directly undermine the local rulership if the local rulers were acting contrary to doctrine.