Authoritarian Weakness 

The greatest weakness of authoritarian leaders is that they always end up believing their own propaganda. Even when they come to power on a wave of popular support, they stop listening to anything but their own narratives and confuse them with the truth. Hitler, Stalin, Franco, Putin – they all find themselves trapped in their own lies. 


12 thoughts on “Authoritarian Weakness ”

  1. Real question: Did Stalin “come to power on a wave of popular support”? My reading of history is that the Party might have had such popular support but that Stalin was little known/esteemed as a political figure (in comparison with Trotsky, Lenin, and Bukharin).


  2. Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency in India in 1975, the only blot on its democracy since it gained independence. She ruled the country like a dictator and suspended all civil liberties, including freedom of the press. Newspapers and radio stations were banned from criticizing the government.

    What she didn’t realize was that the media was her only source of information as to what the ‘man on the street’ felt about all of this. All she had were sycophants around her who told her what a wonderful job she was doing of ruling the country. Emboldened with this ‘information’ she ended the emergency in 1977 and called for fresh elections to be held. And lost big time.


  3. Is that a unique feature of authoritarian leaders? It’s not like anyone else, most of all politicians of any kind – that is to say people who can by definition only get information about reality through layers upon layers of other humans – walk around narrative-free, perfect access to reality.

    Old age got more of the fuckers than any misjudgement of circumstances on their part.


    1. Most of us are forced to hear the truth about ourselves, at least occasionally. Although it’s true that many people practice voluntary deafness very well.


  4. Unrelated: this shit pisses me off so much.

    Republicans called in the big guns to Kansas this week, hoping to ensure they win the first congressional race of the Trump era on Tuesday — a race that has become surprisingly close.

    Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas flew in to Wichita for a rally, telling a crowd that “our enemy right now is complacency.” Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump recorded robo-calls. Advertising dollars came pouring in. The president took to Twitter.

    The state Democratic Party initially declined to give Thompson’s campaign money even for a mailer, then relented and gave him $3,000. Even as the race narrowed in the past week, new DNC Chair Tom Perez told the Washington Post that the national organization wouldn’t be pouring money into the Kansas race.


    1. Unbelievable. No, I don’t believe it. Even with the low opinion that I have of this party’s leadership, I can’t believe they are throwing away Kansas. Why, why would they do something so pig-headed.


      1. The last time a Democrat won that district was in 1992. Also Pompeo won that district by 30 points before he resigned.
        Although why the hell they wouldn’t even try if that close is ridiculous. They need every vote they can possibly get if they want to be effective opposition.

        Maybe they feel burnt by reports that HRC had surprising polling numbers in Texas and Utah before the election.


  5. The race is close. It would be symbolic (and sold politically as symbolic) if dems take it.


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