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What is Despotism?

4709 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  cadethepagan
7 minutes into the video - "young people can not be trusted to form their own opinion."

Despotism is a form of government by a single authority, either an individual or tightly knit group, which rules with absolute political power. In its classical form, a despotism is a state where a single individual, the Despot, wields all the power and authority embodying the state and everyone else is a subsidiary person. This form of despotism was common in the first forms of statehood and civilization; the Pharaoh of Egypt is exemplary of the classical Despot.

The term now implies tyrannical rule. Despotism can mean absolutism (dominance through threat of punishment and violence) or dictatorship (a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator, not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.)

However, in enlightened absolutism (also known as benevolent or enlightened despotism), which came to prominence in 18th century Europe, absolute monarchs used their authority to institute a number of reforms in the political systems and societies of their countries. This movement was probably largely triggered by the ideals of the Age of Enlightenment.

This 10-minute film from Encyclopedia Britannica Films features Dr. Harold D. Lasswell of Yale, who was a professor of law and of political science at the school while both our current and our most recent presidents were students there.

The film, produced in the immediate aftermath of World War II, presents a spectrum from democracy to despotism. And it begins with this cautionary note:

Avoid the comfortable idea that the mere form of government can of itself safeguard a nation against despotism. ... When a competent observer looks for signs of despotism in a community, he looks beyond fine words and noble phrases.
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Since most people are unable to think for themselves (when they vote), is Despotism the result of a failed republic?

Democracy is nothing more then a mob rules form of government. Especially when the people can not think for themselves.
It's still better than a theocracy , Monarchy ,totalitarianism.
Certain things are protected by the Constitution and thus should not be subject to a democratic process i.e. freedom of speech , right to bear arms. However many other aspects of our society are things that need to be voted on democratically.
Yes and No.

Even though a right might be "protected", sometimes it does not matter.

The Sedition Act of 1918 (May 16, 1918) was an amendment to the Espionage Act of 1917 passed at the urging of President Woodrow Wilson, who was concerned that dissent, in time of war, was a significant threat to morale. The passing of this act forbade Americans to use "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the United States government, flag, or armed forces during war. The act also allowed the Postmaster General to deny mail delivery to dissenters of government policy during wartime.
A Democracy only works when people are educated on the subject, and able to make up their own mind.

A Democracy only works when there is "real" freedom of the press.

A Democracy only works when the government respects the people.

Congress repealed the Sedition Act on December 13, 1920. The repeal of the Sedition Act was the apparent result of its many abuses during World War I, including actions by the Wilson administration and the postmaster general.
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