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.

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Feb 22, 2011
Yes, it is obvious idea. See Pink Floyd's Fletcher Memorial Home

Take all your overgrown infants away somewhere
and build them a home a lttle place of their own
the fletcher memorial
home for incurable tyrants and kings
they can polish their medals and sharpen !$%*!$%*!$%*!$ and amuse themselves playing games for a while
boom boom, bang bang, lie down you're dead
Jun 5, 2008
Oh, man, wish I had seen this earlier. Because this program exists.

Well, it's pretty small scale now. But the <a href="http://www.moibrahimfoundation.org/the-prize.html">Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership</a> gives $5 million (a lot of money in Africa) and an additional $200,000 a year to African leaders who are willing to graciously step down and allow democracy to continue rather than hold on to their power to avoid having to go return to their hovels. No book deals for former African democratic leaders. They just return to their previous lives, usually in poverty.

But the program actually sort of works. I mean, it wouldn't work in a country that actually had money of it's own, but in poor third-world nations without oil it's surprisingly effective. They peacefully step down, so the next government doesn't have to kill them. They get money, so they don't have to return to poverty. Best of all, the award goes to the BEST leaders in Africa-- so there's incentive to be a good leader, too.

So that's one way it's being done, anyway. Dunno how you deal with the guys in Burma or the Middle East.
Jun 5, 2008
Great post. Keep it the good work, moist robot.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 3, 2008
Very funny idea, but as a matter of fact I don't think tyrants are really worried about their future image.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 2, 2008
Would this apply to CEOs as well?
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 2, 2008
Would this apply to CEOs as well?
Jun 2, 2008
Reminds me of what happened in Spain: Francos successor General Whatshisname stepped aside, to let "Democracy flourish".

Of course, he was technically only Dictator for a very short amount of time, but technically he was a tyrant, too.
Jun 2, 2008
Interestingly, the "retired dictator" program is pretty much what we did in the UK when we booted out the king. We gifted them vast amounts of money, stuck them on stamps, allowed them to keep loads of property.....now their descendants live off the inheritance left from the tyrants of 400 years ago.
May 31, 2008
Democracy is tyranny. It's often referred to as tyranny of the majority. Consensus does not establish right. It's still just might makes right. Is gang rape not as evil as one-on-one rape?

Otherwise, clever idea.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
May 30, 2008
Interesting, Rita Mae's comment has dropped off entirely. Has the dilbert website taken notice of Facebook's conundrum regarding e-footprints and it deletes all postings, etc left by a user when they delete their account?

Good show!
May 30, 2008

Log in from time to time. I enjoy your comments. And by all means, don't die happy in your recliner. Die happy under the ex-Marine!! ; )

penis, Penis, PENIS !!

May 30, 2008
Great idea, Scott. But let's take it one step further and establish a homeland for former dictators. It would have to be a fairly remote area, but tricked out with all the luxuries they have come to expect. Or maybe we could have the Dubai folks build an elegant, state of the art island archipelago. Each dictator would receive a standard fiefdom to do with as they please.

Inevitably, peer pressure would lead to competition, and (obviously) hilarity would ensue. The final touch would be to wire the country (Strongarmia? Dictatoria? Tyranniland?) for sound and video, turning the entire enterprise into a 24/7 reality show. I'm thinking the major TV networks would fund it in a heartbeat.
May 30, 2008
There is already a tyrant retirement plan. You basically embezzle money. Stealing public funds which you then place in a secret bank account.

If you're good a being a tyrant i.e you remove all opposition, making sure that you remain head of the army, ensuring that your heirs aren't likely to form a coup or kill you. Then in theory you can remain at the top till the
very end. i.e North Korea.

However, if you're not so good. Then all you need to do, is when the coup, invasion etc comes. You just need to
retire to another country. Preferable somewhere you gave aid too or supply training bases / guns / money too.

i.e Mobutu / Idi Amin / Pinochet

The worst you could probably do is leave the country and then the army decides to have a coup without you.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 30, 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. ]

That's true, but have you taken a look at the mashups? The last time I looked there were about 140 mashups for 1 comic (may 28).
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 30, 2008
I think that agree with mlatimer, but exactly because of the fact, that tyrant could become highly appreciated business, it should should be reviewed more deeply. First of all the position of tyrant will be detached from the person of the tyrant and "socialized". And every social artifact is based on rules, which tend to dominate over the person. Let have a look at the following scenario: to be tyrant is becoming highly appreciated in the terms of business (not it is also! but in terms of history), which means that the old dilemma "me and the progress" or the death is no more applicable and changes to a new one, something like my payment to be or not to be. It is clear that the personal luck of the tyrant is no more related to the society, but to it recognition that he was a tyrant,where the definition is provided in view of the achieved progress.. hm.. it will work! I support the idea
May 29, 2008
Wouldn't this further incentivize becoming a dictator in the first place. Not that it needs much more.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 29, 2008
I think that won't work because tyrants are probably not even aware of the fact that they are tyrants. That is another reason why no one steps back by himself.
May 29, 2008
Firstly, the registering process to write a comment is perhaps one of the most pointless and cruel punishment for those who may want to say a few words. Somehow tho we can take it from some stupid tech support site, coming from 'dilbert' it is so so much worse. I am offended to go thru the process on dilberts!!

Secondly, what you are saying is - forgive the enemy, while not letting him/her/them affect your own dignity. It has been suggested before, somewhere along with civil disobedience, i think?
May 29, 2008
I have an idea how this could work without public outcry.
In the first phase the retiring dictator tangles his country with large corporate interests. When his countrymen are confused about all the socio economical chances, the dictator steps down from power and steps up to a CEO position in one of the companies that now own him a favors.
May 29, 2008
Wow...something tells me this policy would see a big increase in fly-by-night dictators. It'd make a good business. Get a couple of rich investors to get you enough mercenaries and a little nuclear stockpile, just enough to make you a slightly threatening despot of a third world country, and you're in business. You mistreat your people enough to get some notice, maybe rig a few inventive torture scenes, then get offered the "dictator package" from the stupid Americans who can't see through your nasty plot. Then you shuffle off to your nice little island and live happily ever after, after paying back your investors with interest. Wow, if you're willing to take the chance of being bundled off in the night and being hung by angry mobs, you could end up with a real nice outcome for minimum outlay. Of course, this might result in a general breaking of the world economy, as all this looting of third world countries and purchasing of miniature tropical paradises is going to have some consequences, but I guess you need a certain measure of evil to be involved in a scheme lik this anyway, so you won't mind when a second great depression crashes us worldwide and all the heavily inhabited places will be nuked by other dictators desperate to make themselves threatening enough to merit a package.
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