There been plenty of times, long-term dictators has been written as a “benevolent dictator”. Benevolent means that your being organized for the purpose of doing good. That indirectly means the organization of the dictator is done for the purpose of doing good. That is where I have a trouble with it.
I don’t believe it, neither see it fit to deem a person deemed as a dictator as good. That is because its easy to say their actions are not good, neither their results. They might have now and then done some positive policies, regulations and budgets. The timelines of their reign might show some progress and some positive actions. However, that should be undermined by their destruction of civil society, their total control of the political sphere and their de-institutionalize of the states they run. As it is run by their decree and their “high above” orders. Which can go from securing a well in a far-away village to make a political enemy “stop”.
Therefore, the knowledge of the control, the extent of misuse of power and militarized the government. The state isn’t there to safeguard the public any-more. Neither is the state their to secure welfare for all. The dictator is building the state around the small fraction and elites the dictator trust. The dictator are securing allies and cronies. Not building for the grander good and with that sense. It is hard to see how the dictator can be deemed fit as benevolent.
The only ones calling a dictator benevolent is the ones who needs an ally. They need a big-man in a region and someone they can point at. To say, we donated funds to this guy, we uses his army and his folks to rebuild. We are showing the donations and the results by backing this guy. That is why they are transcribing positive features. Because, they need to have a point-man far away. Someone, they can make a hero, even when its a cruel tyrant. Since he has a running hospital and a factory in the suburb of the Capital. Still, the rural areas are as struggling as they were at independence. Only vast difference is the amounts of pictures of the dictator and they have some more houses with electricity.
This is just the way it is. The people can die because of the greed of the President and dictator. The people can be hunted down and destroyed if they go against the dictator. Still, at the end of the day. Someone can call him benevolent. Which is a total cognitive dissonance, as you cannot be running an evil and be kind at the same time. The same well cannot pump both water and wine. It either gives you wine from the cellar or water from the source. It is that simple.
A dictator is not their for the common good. The purpose is to stay in power by any means. No matter what the person destroys, how it undermines the civil society and how it misuse its power and resources. That is what a dictator does, the dictator only smiles and develops something. If there is something to gain or a favour down the line. Therefore, the kindness of the dictator is only done for personal reasons. Not done for building a functioning welfare state. A functioning welfare state wouldn’t have a dictator, because the citizens wouldn’t be tricked to have one. The dictator couldn’t manipulate the institutions and the civil service.
That is just the way it is. A dictator needs weak institutions and a militarized society to take a solid grip of power. Also, have the ability to incite fear and manipulate every situation to its favour. That is why its hard to believe people address these cunning actions as “good”. Peace.