The problem with being a tyrannical dictator is that there is no career path and no practical way to retire. If another dictator takes over, the first item on his agenda is turning your head into a bird feeder for his guest house. If democracy breaks out, sooner or later the mob will want to execute you for crimes against humanity. As a tyrant, your only rational strategy is continued brutal suppression of your peeps. That's a lot of work for the tyrant, and no fun for the peeps.

What the world needs is a program that allows graceful retirement for tyrants, so they have some incentive to step aside. Justice would never be served, but it would be best for the country.

I imagine the tyrant retirement program would provide some sort of international security guarantees and permanent amnesty for the tyrant. That might require some U.N. forces to guard his mansion or island fortress or wherever he decides to retire. And he would have unrestricted travel rights, in case he wanted to get out of the country for his own safety.

Second, the tyrant would be written into the history books as some sort of founding father type. He would be, ironically, the father of democracy, having stepped aside to allow it to happen. The history books would be modified to show the tyrant did many good things in terms of national stability, and then stepped aside to allow democracy to flourish. His multiple genocides would be downplayed. No tyrant wants to get bad press after retiring.

The tyrant would also be allowed to keep much of the money he stole, say up to a limit of $5 billion per tyrant. That's enough to keep him in helicopters and hookers.

You could add some extras, such as putting the tyrant on stamps and currency, or agreeing to keep him on the ones already in circulation. The point is that retirement has to look like a safe and honorable thing.

The story line for the country would be that while a dictatorship made sense while the tyrant was in power, it only worked because of the force of his amazing personality. And since his country couldn't be expected to find another dictator of such compassion and skill, democracy is the best succession strategy. That spin might sound preposterous, but when you consider the things your own government tells you, it's not that different.

I know it will never work. But waiting for tyrants to die takes too long, and killing them is too expensive. There has to be a better way.

Rank Up Rank Down Votes:  +45
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+3 Rank Up Rank Down
May 29, 2008
I'd watch that on Comedy Central, or as a cool Robot Chicken skit too.

-2 Rank Up Rank Down
May 29, 2008
Isn't this called the South of France?
May 29, 2008
Holy smokes! The dilbert.com website is smoking fast today. For the first time since the changes. Everything is loading in just a few seconds. I don't know what was done, but it was done right! Kudos!
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 29, 2008
Thank you menetekel. Excellent work.

That's the kind of monkey dancing that always kept me coming back for more on the old blog. Well done.

On the topic, it would be a blast to have all the tyrants retire to the same island and see who rose to the top there. Talk about a cage match.
May 29, 2008
This is already happening. Are you seriously ignoring your history?

America created this system! A dictator gets into power for 4 to 8 years and after that he's free. Take Nixon for example. George Bush Sr. And what is going to happen to W in 6 months? He will spend more time at the ranch of his. Not to mention the heathens in his administration.

This is your precious democracy at work. Allowing these evil, oppressive men to live.

You asked, is there a better way? Yes, there are many better systems of government. Anarchy is one of them, and it actually could work. There wouldn't be chaos like so many believe. Not anymore than there already is.
May 29, 2008
" turning your head into a bird feeder for his guest house"

Love it !


ps: maybe another great idea for Walmart
May 29, 2008
c'mon dilbert fans. Uncle Scott once had hundreds of comments to mine for strip material. Now he's down in the 40's at best. This is depressing. Those sad conspiracy theory bloggers get more comments than that.

I suspect people are staying away in droves because they see the low numbers and think it must be very hard to register, when in fact it's a snap. Heck, I just did it with some bogus email account I set up in one minute.

Let's help Scott out a little here. Set up several user names and post like crazy. Let's get the number back up to at least a hundred.
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 29, 2008
The main problem with this plan is that it wouldn't actually promote democracy, but instead would create more tyrants. After all, it's a great deal, who wouldn't want in on it?

Who pays for all the tyrants? There are 6 billion people in the world, and almost all of us would jump at the chance to grab a deal like this.

Currently, as you say, tyrannical dictators live a paranoid, sheltered, and sometimes short life. It's probably not all that pleasant, and people are gunning for you at every turn, so there are reasons not to go into this line of work. Let's keep it that way, rather than encouraging more of them.
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
May 29, 2008
There is a better way! Free McDonald's set up in every palace! They'll love it, and get to bow out in the style of Elvis, who every tyrant loves. Imagine it, all the dictators of the world finally pictured with their trousers around their ankles, sinuses stuffed with meat.

I'd buy that for a dollar.
May 29, 2008
Good post, thanks.

And like many of your other readers I'd like to abandon my own career in favour of the dictator career path.

Where do I sign up? Would my application go through a recruitment agency or would I have to kil.. I mean KNOW someone to get the job?
May 28, 2008
How expensive could it be to knock off a tyrant? I would imagine a long line of applicants for the trigger-puller gig. And all it would realistically take would be for one of the ever-loyal guards to spin around 180 degrees and squeeze one off.

$5b, eh? Sounds good to me, how stable is Canada these days? Do you think I could take'm?
May 28, 2008
Y'know... to me it's kind of odd how many aspects of the Retired Dictator Program apply to General and President George Washington. Not all of them do, of course... I'm pretty sure he wasn't much of a tyrant, historically. But I could be wrong.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
May 28, 2008
How bout a compromise. I pick a country, suggest that I could be a really good tyrant etc etc but I'm really too lazy for all that domination stuff. So they just give me $2.5B and I'll waltz off to look after myself. Cut out the middle bit and straight to the good times.

Otherwise, it would make a great reality show. Variation of survivor -the despot edition.
May 28, 2008
Wow ....Any 'tyrant' position open in any country now? I will better get my resume ready. :p
May 28, 2008
Regrettably, I smell sitcom potential. Imagine a retirement community made up of deposed leaders (CEOs, Dictators, and even Religious leaders).

+1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 28, 2008
I don't know if this would work for real, but I bet it would work for a Cable TV show!
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
May 28, 2008
So the British monarchy then?
May 28, 2008
$5B stipend - OK
Hookers - not OK. Let him churn his own butter.
May 28, 2008
Brilliant, Scott!

The main problem to consider, though, is WHY it wouldn't work.

They say that the problem with tyrannical dictators, is that they don't actually have control over how their country is run. Oh, sure, they can loot the treasury and kill anyone they'd like to, a few at a time, and kill the hoi palloi en masse, but they're propped up by large numbers of loyal lackeys, and these lackeys expect compensation. They get this compensation by abusing their power. The Minister of the Military can set up military checkpoints wherever he likes along the roads, and charge people fees to get through, paying the soldiers who do this a cut. Government inspectors get to take bribes in exchange for not doing their jobs. Et cetera, et cetera.

So, any one dictator isn't in a position to enact these reforms. He'd be ousted before he could carry them out.

I'm open to suggestions, but I find it hard to see a system that would work to change this nonviolently; the only way to improve things seems to be a bloodbath from within the country, or a combination bloodbath/martial law imposed by another country as a public service. Hopefully the new government would do things at least a little bit better, but that's far from guaranteed. Hence the situation in Iraq.

+1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 28, 2008
My first thought was Pinochet.
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