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A Time For Tyrants?

In tough economic times like these many are either out looking for a job or considering a career change.

The big question is, where is the real job growth going on? What kind of position is not only recession proof, but actually seem to thrive during difficult days?

According to Claudia Rosett of Forbes Magazine you can’t do much better these days than with a career as an oppressive tyrannical despot.

Earlier this month, New York-based Freedom House reported that for the third straight year, freedom around the globe is, on balance, in retreat. In most of the former Soviet Union, this continues “a decade-long trend of regression.” In the Middle East, apart from improvements in Iraq, stagnation is the word. The brightest spot is South Asia, which saw improvements in Pakistan, the Maldives and Bhutan. But looming over that landscape is China, which “increased repression instead of delivering human rights reforms pledged in connection to hosting the Olympics.” Latin America and Africa registered net declines.

The basic cause for concern is not that there are more dictatorships than a few years ago, but that the global ethos has shifted. There is a growing swagger among despots.
Funny, isn’t it.

Just a few years ago the consensus was that democracy and human rights respecting governments were the wave of the future.

The Berlin Wall had fallen.

A pro Western reformer named Boris Yeltsin jumped on a tank and suddenly the entire evil empire of the Soviet Union collapsed.

Even a grizzled and bedraggled looking Saddam Hussein was dragged out of his spider hole.


These inroads into entrenched abusive systems seem to have been largely rolled back.

Oh, to be sure there are bright spots.

The once fragile Al Malaki government in Iraq was given a resounding endorsement in yesterday’s free elections. I know, because I had to look all the way on page six of this morning’s newspaper to find the story.

But for every success story like the prophetically significant turn around in modern Iraq, there are at least two or three bad actors like Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe who still cling to power after destroying their nations infrastructure, economy and basic health systems.

What is it about dictatorships that make them as difficult to dispose of as roaches in a fraternity house?

I believe the answer lies in the fallen nature of humanity.

The Caesars of Rome came to understand that the average person would allow almost any level of corruption or oppression to go on as long as their need for food and entertainment was met.

The Roman satirist Juvenal expressed it this way:

… Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.

The modern would-be Caesars understand the same thing.
In fact, the Bible tells us that the last world dominating dictator, the Antichrist will maintain his power in much the same way.

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (II Thessalonians 2:9-12)

More and more we see in our day that most people aren’t so much interested in right or wrong, but in results from our leaders.

We are more concerned with finding a leader who will promise us peace and prosperity, rather than attempting to govern according to solid moral principle.

And it all comes down to the fact that most people are more interested in the state of their stomachs than their souls.

DeToqueville once observed that nations tend to get the kind of leaders they deserve.

Jesus once asked, “What does it avail a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?” (Mark 8:36)

We may be getting closer and closer to the time when a charismatic leader will propose just that kind of bargain to an increasingly war weary and self centered world.


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