Throughout the history of the human being, there have been many different views on which way one should be ordered or governed. And still to this very day, the answer to this question varies immensely throughout most countries and cultures around the world. Over the last couple of centuries, we have seen many countries revolt or express ways to change from their previous form of government because the people are always trying to achieve the ideal government. Presently, the governing shift around the world has gone away from empires and monarchy, and shifted to several different forms of dictatorship and democracy. Each of these governing solutions has their benefits, but while humanity is heading for the year 2000 and beyond, democracy is a more acceptable political system in the world for the present day, and for the future.
Dictatorship is a form of government in which the authority of the final decision making is put broadly on the shoulders of one individual. In ancient times, a dictator was someone who usually was appointed just for the cause of crises and emergency. This is sometimes still the case, where modern dictators have came into power during times of emergency. Sometimes the dictator will gain power by coup d etat, a means of a forceful overthrow of the existing government, or by legal means. The dictator usually is in control of one or several main bases of power, such as a political power or organization, the police, or the army. And in many instances, the dictator will try to take control of all the main bases of power.
When one man, the ruler of the state, has complete control in which all the societal operations and resources are monopolized by the state, this is called totalitarianism. These types of governments consist of distinct types of ideology and organization. Totalitarian ideologies are such that they reject that their society is full of corruption and immorality. These ideas are persuaded through propaganda campaigns, and the demand that the state has on the people to conform. Youth, professional, cultural, and sporting organizations are all controlled by the dictator and his party or organization. In addition to this, all information and ideas are carefully censored and effectively organized through the complete control of television, radio, the press, and education at every level.
There are basically two types of totalitarianism; left and right. Right totalitarian movements, such as the Nazi party in Germany and the Fascists in Italy, drew their support from the middle to upper classes who were seeking to maintain their status quo and advance their social status. Left totalitarianism, such as that of the former USSR and the communism in China under Mao Zedong, relied instead on eliminating class structure. Right totalitarianism also supported and enforced the private ownership of industrial wealth, whereas, the left side used the collective ownership of such capital. One of the most important actions implemented in totalitarianism is the role of terror and violence. Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Adolf Hitler, and Benito Mussolini used this technique successfully and maybe over excessively in trying to stay in power.
Benito Mussolini is an example of a recent dictator who used totalitarianism in the twentieth century. Born on July 29, 1883, Mussolini became the founder of Italian fascism and premier (1922-1943) of Italy, ruling as a dictator from 1925-1943. As a child, Mussolini grew up with little or no discipline from his father, an anticlerical, socialist blacksmith. He matured sharing many of his father s beliefs and ideas, also adding to them his readings from Blanqui, Nietzsche, and Sorel. Before becoming the editor or the Milan Socialist party newspaper, Avanti! in 1912, Mussolini was a school teacher and a journalist. Expelled from the Socialist Party for his stance on Italy s involvement in WWI, he founded his own newspaper in Milan, II popolo d Italia, which eventually became his gateway for his Fascist movement.
With many of Mussolini s friends he made while he served in the army until he was wounded in 1917, he and other war veterans founded in Milan a revolutionary, nationalistic organization called the Fasci di Combattimento(1919), which was named after the ancient Roman symbol of power, the fasces. This Fascist movement led by Mussolini developed into a powerful and extreme radicalism of the right . This powerful movement gained the support of many middle to upper class Italians, which included many landowners in the lower Po valley, industrialists, and army officers. Mussolini also created his own fascist militia, known as the black shirts. Mussolini thought of his black shirts as a legitimate political weapon, which carried on a civil war against the Socialists, Communists, and Liberals. This militia slaughtered thousands of Socialists and Communists. The black shirts frequently subjected their random victims to public humiliation, injury, terrible torturing, and fatal doses of castor oil, a powerful and deadly laxative. The black shirts most trademark method of violence though, is beating their victim until death with manganellis, large heavy wooden clubs. Mussolini s militia became very powerful, and after three years of severe terror and violence, the black shirts took over numerous city governments all over Italy, and began threatening to take over Rome.
On October 28, 1922, after the Fascists allegedly Marched on Rome, Mussolini received a mandate from King Victor Emmanuel III to form a coalition government. The March on Rome was a myth though. This was one of the first big propaganda myths under the Fascists. What really happened was the King asked Mussolini to form a government before the militia began the March on Rome. When Mussolini stepped in to form a coalition government, he had no where near any kind of majority government. In the lower house of the legislative body of government, the Socialist and Communist Parties severely out numbered Mussolini and his party. Boldly though, at the outset, Mussolini told the government that if they did not support his policies, he would quickly dissolve the government. And shortly into office, Mussolini got himself in to a lengthy crisis when some of his followers kidnapped and killed the leader of the Socialist Party, Giacomo Matteotti. It was shortly after this when Mussolini changed his government to make the legislative branch useless, which made Italy, governed by a totalitarian dictatorship.
When Mussolini consolidated his power, he began making very big changes in the Italian government. First, he replaced all high-ranking officials from police officers to army commanders to his Fascist followers. Then Mussolini strangely released most of Italy s prisoners and appointed them for the head of intimidation squads. Over the next several months, these squads went on committing thousands of acts of murder and torture. These squads went on proceeding with these actions without any interference from anybody.
Mussolini s totalitarian dictatorship went heavily into control and propaganda to persuade the Italians. Firstly, the only youth organizations allowed were called balillas, these were for children between the ages of sixteen and six. These organizations were just to brainwash the kids to make them to have total belief in Fascism and Mussolini. Mussolini also influenced all forms of education in Italy, to glorify war and Fascism. All textbooks and history was re-written. They were written to glorify the Fascists actions as being superior to past Italian achievements, in exception of the years of the Roman Empire. Mussolini intervened with the traditional domestic lifestyle as well. He wanted the fathers to be the dominant master in the household. The father wasn t responsible for his children nor any house hold duties because the father was supposed to be spending his time being loyal and making the Fascist system better. Secret police and major propaganda were the tools of the Fascist control in Italy. Nothing against the state, nothing outside the state.
Like many other influential dictatorial leaders, such as Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini was of so much charisma and manipulation that he was able to inspire both love and hate into his followers. Because of his public speaking and acting abilities, Mussolini had an enigmatic speaking-style that often rattled his followers into a frenzy. Regardless of what the speech was about, Mussolini added powerful words to captivate the crowd, such as blood , war , and power . Mussolini also portrayed himself as a godlike figure to his people. LL Duce is the name Mussolini was known by. Duce s picture was virtually on every billboard and building around the country.
While Mussolini was in power, most of his accomplishments or policies were stated in battles . Mussolini s first priority was to have a battle of cradle, where Mussolini wanted to raise the birthrate of the country. To encourage the farmers to produce more grain and agricultural yield, Mussolini created a battle for wheat. And to protect the national currency during the tough times of the Great Depression, he created a battle of the Lira. Maybe Mussolini s most enduring legacy was the final end to the battle Italy was having with the Church and Vatican City, by creating the Lateran Treaty of 1929. This Treaty was basically just a written document, which stated Italy respected the Pope and the Vatican City. One of the most significant battles though, was the battle for land reclamation. Mussolini had a great desire to re-establish the grandezza, an empire like the past Roman Empire, in which the main objective is trying to take control of the world.
In the mid-1930 s, Duce turned to a very aggressive foreign policy, first conquering a basically defenseless Ethiopia in 1935. Mussolini then ordered his troops to help General Francisco Franco in the Spanish civil war. After the Germans, under Adolf Hitler, took over Poland, Mussolini saw it as an opportunity to take over Albania. However, Mussolini kept his Italian army out of WWII until June 1940, when Germany appeared to winning the war. This was the start to the beginning of Benito Mussolini s demise. He kept on wanting to fight in wars with a poorly ran army and insufficient supplies. This was most evident when Italy suffered humiliating military disasters in Greece and North Africa. During these disasters, the leaders of his party lost faith in Benito Mussolini, and began abandoning him. Shortly after this on July 25 1943, the king dismissed Mussolini and had him arrested. Fortunately for Mussolini, the Germans rescued him, but in April 1945, he and his mistress, Clara Petacci, were capture by Italian partisans at Lake Como. Finally, on April 28, Mussolini, Petacci, and sixteen other fascists were shot and hung upside down in a Milan square.
Democracy is a system of government in which the state is governed on behalf of the consent of its citizens. Representative and proportional democracies are the most commonly practiced democracies. Representative democracies are such that the qualified voters in a specific region elect a representative to the legislative branch of government. Proportional government differs slightly, in which parties gain their seats in the legislature based on the percentage of the vote received in an election. Virtually most of the major countries in the world have these types of democracies, or are moving in the direction of these democracies. With these types of democracies, the individual s vote is important to have effective control over their representatives.
In order for democracy to be fair and be the government for the people, several things are necessary in order to ensure popular control over government decisions. There must be frequent elections and guaranteed intervals. Also there must legitimate choices available among different candidates and parties. This is because if there are only very limited choices, it is basically a dictatorship. Also, voting should be completely fair. This implies that the ballots and elections are free from bribery, fraud and intimidation. Instead of having an elitism, universal suffrage is also very important for dictatorship. And maybe most importantly, there must be a formal equality before the law. This also includes legal equalities, and civil liberties, such as freedom of speech, and the freedom of the media.
In order to have a just democracy, since it is the rule by the people, the minority rights must be respected. This includes that every citizen should have the same natural rights, such as obtaining education, and an equal opportunity to work. This also includes human rights, such as simple things as no torturing, killing, and imprisoning innocent victims.
For a democratic system of government, there must be three branches of government, the legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judicial branch. The legislative branch is the branch where the laws are made, and issues are discussed. The legislative branch is also very important because that is where the elected representatives speak on behalf of their party, who was fairly voted into power. The executive branch is the branch responsible for carrying out the laws. And the judicial branch deals with enforcing the laws. In order to have an effective democracy though, it is very important that certain branches of government don t have more power than the others, especially the executive branch. As an example, the United States government has a system called checks and balances. This insures that not one branch has complete control of the other branches. In Canada, the government uses a system called a responsible government. This means that the executive branch is responsible to the legislative branch. Therefore, the executive can not take complete control because this is dictatorship.
Dictatorship Vs. Democracy
As humanity heads into the year 2000 and beyond, there will be a considerable move for more countries to become democratic, rather than being governed by a dictator. This is because of many reasons, looking back at the recent countries that have used a dictatorship or democracy. Mao Zedong, the Communist dictator in China, Joseph Stalin, the Communist dictator in the former USSR, and Adolf Hitler, the Nazi dictator in Germany surely did some positive things for their countries while they were in power, such as increasing employment and increasing a sense of nationalism. Most of their accomplishments though, are heavily over shadowed be the negative effects they caused, and this is the same case with Benito Mussolini.
A major advantage democracy has over dictatorship is the government policies are made in the interests of the people, instead of all the decisions made by a single person. Because there is an argument that a rule by the few will only benefit the few. This was very evident with Mussolini. When he was in power with his Fascist Party, he ruled basically just for the minds of the Fascist Party and the upper class. Whereas in a democracy, the decisions are made on behalf of the majority of the people, but still respecting the rights of the minority.
Another advantage of democracy is that if executed properly, it provides a safe guard for individuals liberties. In democracy, especially in North America, civil liberties such as freedom of speech, the freedom of the media, the freedom from arbitrary arrest and prosecution is guaranteed. Unlike the fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini and many other dictators, the first thing they do when they gain power is taking all the rights away from its citizens. This is to ensure the dictator can have complete control over its citizens. Otherwise, their citizens would not partake in their outlandish schemes or policies; such as the battle of cradle Mussolini enforced.
Democracy also encourages free competition among contending political parties and organizations, which provides a natural check against possible government tyranny and oppression. In Canada for example, if the executive branch or leader (Prime
Minister) loses the confidence from their legislative branch, they must resign. Also, democracy offers another alternative for replacing the leader and party in power. The citizens just simply do not vote for the party in the next election. Whereas in a dictatorship, no other political party or organization can provide a check against tyranny, because the dictator does not allow any other organizations to form. Benito Mussolini used this very effectively. Mussolini ordered his black shirts militia and other intimidating squads to eliminate any other political organizations through excessive violence and intimidation. The socialists and communists were the most targeted, as thousands of members of these groups were tortured, and even killed.
Another positive thing about the process of democracy is that it creates a democracy-minded citizenry. Living in a democratic environment promotes the creation of a more self-governing, confident and intellectual people who are more willing to compromise and respect other values and ideas. By developing these people to actively participate in elections and government decisions will be better for the entire country because these people will make good judgements for the common good rather than their own selfish goals.
The system of dictatorship might be classified a great system for its efficiency and ability to make quick decisions in the need of a major crises. Democracy has some major drawbacks too, its efficiency and speed of passing laws is quite longer than dictatorship. Another drawback is that not all of the citizens partake in elections and government decisions, which in the true sense does not make it a real democracy. But because dictatorship is so efficient in making decision, it makes it a much more unstable government because one wrong by the dictator can cause an incredible uprising. Furthermore, as humanity is striving into the future, the speed of information is accelerating rapidly because of the tremendous constant improvements in technology. This means that the average citizen will be more informed about the present politics, which should improve the voting turnout dramatically.
In history, dictatorships have too often turned into totalitarian governments, and if a mad man such as Mussolini, Stalin, and Hitler gets into power, innocent lives are mislead with the use of propaganda and intimidation, which in turn can cause millions of lives to be tortured or murdered. Technology is improving all over the world, and as more and more people become educated, they will realize they should have rights and experience freedom. It is kind of unfortunate that through all the years of the existence of the human being, that there was never a solution to create the perfect government, but as humanity goes on, democracy is the most suitable government for the future.