Benevolent Dictatorship Is The Best Form Of Government For Contemporary Africans
An essay on political philosophy
Ozodi Thomas Osuji
There is an elephant in the Africa room that many Africans do not want to talk about. That elephant is the concept of democracy. Western Europeans sold Africans the idea that democracy is the best way to govern their countries and thus Africans are chasing democracy. The question that Africans have not paused to ask is this: is democracy the best way that they can govern themselves at this time in their history?
Indeed, is democracy itself even a good form of government? If it is a good form of government where has it shown itself as good for all the people?
Has democracy given all Americans, the loquacious purveyors of democracy, good governance? Is there even democracy in the USA or are the masses merely deceived into believing that what they have is democracy?
Do Americans have democracy? Here are the facts. White Americans rule the USA. About one out of three Americans is not white but whites rule America. Doesn't the opinion of a third of the people count for something?
Within the white rulers of America perhaps less than one percent actually has a say so in their government. At best the American white masses are given the opportunity to pretend to elect their masters every few years but for them to compete to be elected to political offices is a pipe dream.
It takes over a million dollars to run for congressional office in the USA and a lot more for senatorial races and, may be, a billion dollars for the presidency. How many Americans have that kind of money, or can raise it, to mount a credible campaign for political office?
What you have in the USA is democracy in name only not in fact; the same goes for the other Western so-called liberal democracies.
And even if democracy can be made possible is it really good for all the people to rule themselves? Have you been around human beings? If so would you say that all of them have what it takes to rule the human polity?
In my observation, most people do not have a clue what it takes to govern their country. I would say that perhaps one percent of the people, as is, in fact, the case in the USA have bare enough knowledge and character strength to rule their polity.
Ninety nine percent of the people are best governed by those with the ability to govern them. I know that what I just said sounds dangerous but since when has the truth not sounded dangerous to the public?
People have a tendency to deceive themselves by talking platitudes that have no relevance in the real world. Aware of the people's tendency to deceive themselves, Nicolo Machiavelli, in his seminal book, The Prince, asked his prince, political leaders, to do the necessary thing but tell the people the lies they seem to want to hear about their governance.
Facts are stubborn things that do not go away no matter what you say about them. The neurotic idealistic philosopher, Jean Jacque Rousseau, in his seminal book, Social Contract, may wish for the people to rule themselves all he likes but political realism has always determined the rule by the few.
The fact on the ground is that utopian wishes apart, only a handful of the people have what it takes to govern the human polity and this is so everywhere in the world.
Africans ought to accept this reality and stop deluding themselves with the fiction that every person is capable of participating in the governance of his society. Indeed, even the ancient Athenians, such as Aristotle (see the Politics of Aristotle) excluded slaves and women from governing their Athenian society.
If we accept that at best one percent of the human population, men and women, has what it takes to be leaders and governors then we structure society in such a way that those one percent rule on behalf of the people.
Plato, in his book, The Republic, provided some useful ideas on how to select and train those that he called philosopher kings, those he deemed most suited to rule the human polity. Whereas I do not endorse every specifics of Plato, what the man said makes eminent sense to me.
In my view, the best form of government for Africans, at this time in their history, indeed during the next few centuries, is benevolent dictatorship.
Africans do not need (John) Locke's limited government but maximal government that mobilizes all Africans and their resources and uses them to modernize the continent.
Nor should Africans, at this time in their political evolution, worry about (Charles) Montesquieu's (Spirit of Laws) type of division of governing into three branches of government: legislative, executive and judicial, but simply concentrate power in the hands of a few tyrants and have those use every means necessary to modernize the continent.
Africans ought to select a group of people and have them dedicate their lives to modernizing Africa and pulling it out of its present state of decay and backwardness. And given that most Africans are transiting from what amounts to (Thomas) Hobbes state of nature the ensuing government (Leviathan) ought to use brutal means to socialize the people to living in civil society and mercilessly punish those who harm other people.
Africans should stop deluding themselves with the mythology and chimera that if only they have democratic leaders they would be better governed. Many Africans are not yet ready to govern themselves.
To be fit to govern the human polity one must be bold and fearless and is unafraid to die for what one believes is the best way to govern one's society.
Even the utilitarian philosopher of liberal democracy, John Stuart Mill, in On Liberty seems to say that those who are afraid to die for liberty ought to not be in governance. Government is for courageous people, not for cowards.
In my experience with Africans, most of them are cowards; shoot a few of them to death and the rest of them run away and go hide in underground burrows and from there they make noise about the need for democracy; apparently, they want their imaginary gods and or other people to come fight for their liberty for them.
Africans so desired to live at all costs that they were willing to tolerate slavery in the Americas and Arabia; in contemporary Africa they allow a few amoral African thugs who are not afraid to kill to rule them.
Can those who have the illusion that democracy works actually point to a country, not fictional country, where the people governed themselves well and developed their country?
Karl Marx (Der Capital, Communist Manifesto) dreamed of a situation where the people (proletariats) governed themselves but what actually obtained in so-called communist countries? It was ruling by a handful of the people (the more equal pigs in George Orwell's Animal Farm).
The USA was founded by a few rich plantation owners, and most of them were slave owners! With the industrialization of America, beginning around 1830, the rich farmers passed governance of the country to the emergent industrialists to industrialize the country. Currently, the USA is ruled by an oligarchy and plutocracy of millionaires and billionaires.
Europe was developed by kings and aristocrats (who claimed divine right to rule the people); with the dawn of the industrial age those handed leadership of Europe to capitalists to industrialize it; the bourgeoisie class modernized Europe. Europe was not developed by the masses, feudal or proletariat and has never been ruled by the masses.
Russia was developed by a few persons, if not by a person; Joseph Stalin used the most brutal means to drag backward Russians kicking and crying into the twentieth century; the man used every means necessary to catch up with the West (it is reported that in the process he killed over 35 million people).
Japan was modernized by a small cadre of nationalists, those who felt humiliated by the conquest of Japan in 1852 when the American Perry forced Japan to open up to the West. Japan quickly replaced its emperor and through his son, and the so-called Meji restoration (of the supposed rule of the emperor from the rule by Shoguns) drove their country into the modern economic giant it now is.
China was modernized by a few persons led by Mao Tso Tung (the model of Chinese governance is corporatism, the state working in cahoots with industrialists to industrialize the country; Mao is reported to have been the world's worst mass murderer, the cultural revolution of the 1960s alone is reported to have led to the death of millions of Chinese who stood in the way of modernizing China).
Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and the other rising Asian economies were developed by a handful of dedicated nationalists.
I submit that what Africa and Africans need is not the lie of democracy; the truth that would modernize Africa is the rule of a few Africans who are devoted to modernizing Africa.
An African or Africans ought to use Otto Von Bismarck's iron fisted means to unify and modernize the continent; they should not be concerned if hundreds of millions of Africans died; the death of the many is a necessary price to be paid for Africa's modernization. No one makes omelets without breaking eggs.
I call for a few benevolent dictators to take over the governance of Africa and modernize it by any means necessary.
Africans ought to stop telling themselves lies to the effect that democrats are better rulers than dictators. Democrats are nothing but a bunch of people who gather and decide how to more efficiently loot the money from the economy and who could care less for the people's welfare.
In the USA black folks are relegated to the ghettos where they are a forgotten people; during every election cycle white liberal democrats descend on the dark ghettos promising the denizens heaven on earth but once elected to office they forget them and in cahoots with white conservatives divvy up the resources of the American polity for themselves.
I am not a liberal; I am not a conservative, either. I accept a mixture of capitalism and socialism. In my political economy the government must provide all young people with publicly paid education through university and provide all people with publicly paid health insurance and do a few other things for them but thereafter leave them to fend for themselves, to swim or drawn.
I like Joseph Stalin and would like a few like-minded Africans to band together and seize power in, say, Nigeria, and use brutal force to conquer all of Africa south of the Sahara, and use draconian rule to modernize Africa.
If Adolf Hitler (see his Mein Kampt and Table Talks) had not mixed his politics with fascism and desire to kill people for the sake of killing people I do not see anything wrong with his brutal means for unifying and making Germany powerful. In twelve years the man was able to not only master Germany but most of Europe. Power works!
I detest the parliament of whores called liberal parliaments; in those whores gather and engage in idle talking but do nothing that serve the peoples interests.
We all know that contemporary Africa is the product of European colonialism. We all also know that Africa must be restructured and made realistic to its multiethnic composition. But the parliamentarian talking nabobs talk and talk some more but have not addressed solving Africans compositional problem. And until this ethnic issue is solved Africa is going nowhere.
As I pointed out in several writings, we need an Africa Federation of Nations, a situation where a group of iron fisted dictators conscripted most Africans between age eighteen and thirty eight into the military and use them to conquer all the mini countries of Africa and restructure them. After the unification of Africa, the conscripted youth (each person serving five years) are used to develop Africa, such as used to build roads, bridges, airports, seaports, railroads, universities, in a word infrastructure.
I visualize every large African tribe made a state, and smaller ones packed into additional states, for a total of about five hundred states in Africa federation.
Each state would be divided into counties and counties into towns. The states and local governments would be governed along the USA lines.
The central government would be governed along the line of the US central government with one privoso: the rulers are not pretended democrats but benevolent dictators.
The rulers at all levels of government in the proposed Africa Federation of Nations (AFN) would swear allegiance to the goal of modernizing Africa and if any of them deviates from that goal, say, steal money from the public treasury he is immediately shot to death (or sent to Stalin's type Siberian labor Gulags where they are used to do public work).
After a couple centuries of this brutal dictatorship maybe we can then rethink democracy and see to what extent all the people would be brought into the ruling of Africa.
In my observation of people, the average human being seeks attention from his people, and wants to be admired; he works hard to obtain the means for him to be seen as an important person, such as have a wife, children and property.
This desire to be admired is rooted in fear of aloneness and need to belong to the whole human group; this is because at root people are part of a whole and need to feel a part of the whole to feel complete.
Therefore, we either leave people to be seeking attention as they do in Nigeria; in Nigeria each person wears elaborate robes (fit for the feudal age not the industrial environment) and runs around seeming like he is a very important person. Such Nigerians may have many wives, houses and expensive imported cars, even helicopters and planes and those make them feel important.
Alternatively, we conscript all of the people between age eighteen and thirty eight and train them in the military and have them seek attention through the military, from military uniform and pursuing military ranks (the rank of general is to be the most admired rank in society).
Since people must seek attention and importance let them do so through the military. Africans must use that military to unify all of Africa and use conscripted labor to develop it (the pyramids were probably built with thousands of slaves so there is nothing wrong with mobilizing young Africans labor and using it to construct freeways all over Africa).
All of black Africa must be unified, to be called Africa Federation of Nations, with each so-called tribe made a state (nation), for a total of about five hundred states. The central government must rule them in a draconian manner and instill the sense of Africanness in the people.
Africa needs the rule of a strong man (and strong men) for, at least, a century; a strong hand is needed to generate a sense of African unity in Africans before they try so-called democracy.
That future democracy cannot be American type pseudo democracy; in America a few rich rule the masses; a productive democracy must be guided democracy, democracy led by a man who has the interest of the entire continent in his mind.
Despite Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis, his attempt to understand people, Adolf Hitler, through the power of the gun, chased him out of Austria.
Mao recognized that power comes from the barrel of guns; the powerful rules this world; therefore, we must stop trying to convince the people through reason and simply impose good governance on them.
With power you can unite all Igbos and stop the nonsense of some of them calling themselves non-Igbos.
Americans get up in the morning and read lies written in their newspapers, and hear lies from their radios and televisions and read lies in their books; the people are given lies everywhere they turn to. No wonder they are confused and are mostly insane or seek escape in drugs!
Only science tells people the truth; therefore, scientific culture is the answer to the lies of society. However, as Machiavelli pointed out, religion has the utility of getting the people to obey the laws of society but otherwise ought to be done away with; so religion has to be tolerated.
People will always contemplate their origin so philosophy and spirituality is inevitable in human beings.
I devoted my life to observing people. I see individuals who are different from each other. Each person is unique. I would make bold to say that each person is good at doing certain jobs than others. Each of us has definite interests and aptitudes and ought to be doing work he is good at.
What kind of person does well in the physical sciences (physics, chemistry, biology and the language of science, mathematics)?
In my observation people who tend to be good at the physical sciences tend to be calm and unexcitable, and, above all, tend to be observant and descriptive.
Scientists observe the things around them and describe them. In effect, they practice the scientific method as a natural tendency: observe phenomena, describe it as it is, not as it should be and leave it at that and not worry about what cannot be falsified, such as God (see Karl Popper's conjectures and refutations in Scientific inquiry).
Those scientists who are more inclined to manipulating things gravitate to technology (engineering and medicine); these use what scientists have observed about phenomena to build contraptions that obey the laws of physics.
In terms of intelligence, scientists are not more intelligent than other people; they are like most people; most of them are average, some of them are above average and a few of them are superior. By and large, what makes folks do well in science is not their elevated intelligence but their calm brains.
On the other hand, there are those whose bodies and brains are excitable; such persons generally do not do well in the physical sciences but tend to do well in disciplines where folks ask why questions. They tend to do well in philosophy and the social sciences. These folks want to understand things rationally.
Rationality has nothing to do with science for nature often works in irrational ways; scientists merely understand the irrational workings of nature without trying to make it rational.
If a rational person is designing this universe he certainly would not design people who are born to die, for that does not make sense; irrational natural forces produced people, just as irrational forces produce the entire universe.
Lawyers and businessmen tend to be those who are well adjusted to the irrationality of their world (laws are mere mechanisms for controlling the people and are seldom rational). Lawyers tend to be the best rulers of on-ongoing and stable societies, such as Britain and the USA but are not useful where folks are constructing societies out of the chaos of the state of nature, such as Africa.
The point to these musings is that each person is suited to doing certain things and society ought to help him figure out what he is good at doing, train him and have him go do it.
In the area of leadership and politics less than one percent of the people are by their biological constitution meant to rule society. We need to accept this reality and quit deluding ourselves with the fiction that all people can rule and that democracy is the best form of the human polity.
In developing countries the people are best ruled by benevolent dictators; in developed societies the people ought to be ruled by a group of philosopher kings guiding what the masses do in their so-called democracy.
Clearly, this conclusion does not conform to our age's proclivity to polity correctness; these days' liberals tell folks the lies that they want to hear and deceive them. I am not in the business of telling lies or deceiving people, I state things as I see them and if you do not like what I say then state yours and let us debate our views and see which are more useful; under no circumstances should we try to use terrorism to intimidate people and prevent them from stating their views.
My view is that society is developed by dedicated benevolent dictators. Even in so-called liberal democracies it was dictators that modernized the countries; it was and still is dictators who run American business corporations and the civilian and military organizations that hold America together, while liberals are allowed to make their unproductive noises about democracy.
If you examine the various religions' concept of God you see that they posit a person who knows it all and whose views no one can oppose and people must obey them or he destroys them or sends them to hell. The Christian God is a dictator who must be obeyed. Indeed, Jesus said that he is the only way to God and must be obeyed or one does not have salvation.
This tendency for religions to be dictatorial is seized upon by liberal democrats to say that we must design society in such a way that power is dispersed.
We also know that if you concentrate power in one person, given what we know about people, that person could be mentally ill and want the people to obey his insane ideas. Hitler and Stalin, at some point in their careers, were paranoid and merely suspecting that you opposed them meant that you were killed.
One of the arguments against hereditary monarchy is that the king may have progeny who are either imbeciles or mentally ill and pass governorship of the realm to such inadequate persons. Thus, it is argued that rulership should not pass from parents to their children.
On the surface this seems like a rational argument until you examine it and realize that it is probably propaganda for democracy.
Traits, good or bad, tend to run in families. Members of the same family tend to have the same level of intelligence and occupational aptitudes.
Children of business men tend to be good at business; children of religions preachers tend to be good at preaching religion; children of politicians tend to be good at leadership.
Holding constant the role of training, the ability to rule may be inherited. We must not dismiss the fact that certain persons and their family members produce good leaders (and or bad leaders).
I do not see anything wrong with transferring political offices from fathers to sons; the idea of democratic leadership is more hype than a useful idea.
Nevertheless, there are legitimate concerns over concentrating power in a few hands; yet we must admit that there is something to be said for benevolent dictators.
In my studied view benevolent but brutal leaders seem a necessity in modernizing traditional societies. I do not buy the glory lavished on liberal democracies.
Give me good rulers and a good socialist cum capitalist party (multi party systems is another lie of liberal democrats) and if they are committed to modernizing Africa that is fine with me.
Finally, if one says that dictators tend to be insecure persons I say fine; who is not insecure? Are you, the reader not insecure? All human beings are insecure hence have insecure leaders. When human beings stop being insecure they would no longer need society and leaders.
Ozodi Thomas Osuji
April 3, 2017