Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Benevolent Dictators and Other Oxymora

(I will be speaking in the State of Washington and the State of Oregon this coming weekend.
Saturday June 5, 7pm
Tigard Covenant Church
11321 S.W. Neave St. on Highway 99W
Sunday June 6, 10am
Best Western Hotel Conference Room
16105 SW Pacific Hwy. Tigard Or. 97224)

“I can no longer obey; I have tasted command, and I cannot give it up.”
Napoleon Bonaparte

With the ever increasing economic uncertainty tightening its grip on the throats or pretty much every country in the world, there is a disturbing and somewhat fascinating trend beginning to take shape in my home country of Romania. Recently, it has been reported that more and more individuals, especially of the older persuasion are visiting the grave of the former dictator, and laying flowers and wreaths at his gravesite. When asked what would compel them to do such a thing, or if they had conveniently forgotten that Nicolai Ceausescu was a brutal dictator who had ordered the murder of tens of thousands of people with as much emotional investment as it would have cost him to order breakfast, one of the people spoke up and said, ‘we know he was a dictator, but he was a benevolent dictator!’

Just to set the record straight, there is no such thing as a benevolent dictator! A dictator only feigns benevolence for as long as he can get what he wants, for as long as the people bend to his will and obey without question. When the tables turn however, and the people are not as eager to march like lemmings to their deaths, or do as he commands, the veil of benevolence is ripped off to reveal the truth of what has been beneath the surface all along.

Dictators do not see the people of their nation as those whom they swore to serve, but rather those through whom and by whom they can achieve their desired result, and final outcome. Whether by intimidation, force, treachery, sleight of hand, brow beating, or outright lying, dictators of all shapes and sizes have one goal, and that is making their vision a reality, and fulfilling their objective. Never mind that Ceausescu’s dream was the nightmare of twenty million people, never mind that in order to achieve this dream countless men, women, and children had to die horrible deaths, the cause is what mattered, and we all know you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.

Throughout history men have had short memories, or rather selective ones. Men remember what they want to remember, and conveniently forget what they choose to forget. Like Israel of old, marching through the desert, salivating over the garlic and onions back in Egypt conveniently forgot the sweat, the blood, the whips and the chains, it would seem my countrymen are forgetting the brutality, the inhumanity, the fear and the suspicion everyone lived under and are only remembering the crust of bread you would get if you had your paperwork in order and were a member of the right party.

We too quickly forget that nothing tastes as sweet as freedom, and guilt and shame can make even the fullest of stomachs turn. Uncertainty, fear of tomorrow, unrest and chaos always brings out the once and future potential benevolent dictators in any land, and if the people choose with their stomachs rather than with their hearts, with their base interests rather than with their principles, the rise of one or more of these monsters in human form somewhere on the planet is not only highly likely but inevitable.

In desperate times, men do desperate things, and dignity and self-respect become just one more commodity to be traded or sold to the highest bidder. Desperate times are upon us whether we like to acknowledge their presence or not, and the rise of the next benevolent dictator, if only for a season, is perhaps closer than anyone would hazard to think.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.


myhollybelle said...

Michael...you have NO IDEA how your blogs encourage my spirit. God is using you and I wanted to encourage you in your journey as His servant. I print many blogs off to share with others. Thank you for being faithful to your calling...you are lifting and encouraging many others.

wendyworn said...

I just got back from your teaching at Tigard covenant church. Wonderful message! Thank you for coming all the way out here to Oregon. I have to go work the graveyard shift and then hopefully hear you again tomorrow at 10am. God bless you on your travels!