|Lyrics by John Lennon|
This is the time of the year when newspapers, websites and other news and entertainment organizations come out with their “ten best” or “ten worst” of, well, just about everything of the past year.
Foreign Policy Magazine came out with an excellent piece, as did Parade Magazine, which focused on the world’s worst despots. These tyrants deny their fellow countrymen (and women) their human and civil rights, deny journalists freedom to investigate, report or hold government accountable for its actions; preach cultural imperialism; in some cases they deliberately deny their people a full, accurate and scientific education or allow for freedom of assembly, and lastly the leaders control all of their nation’s resources and military so they can enrich themselves, while at the same time keep their citizens wanting.
The remarkable thing about the tyrants listed on both magazine’s current and past lists is not only the “winners” unabashed myopic and dogmatic ego need to control and be all powerful. But that each nation which they lead is in itself a threat to secular peace and humanistic morality. The leaders of these governments fall into three categories which have in the past dissipated human ingenuity and freedom. Depleting both for the sake of some all consuming collective based on clan relationship, supernatural belief or tried and failed economic philosophy.
The nation-states can be categorized as having autocratic tribal rulers; theistic-based leaders, or current or former communist affiliated sovereigns. In some cases, they are mixed, however what each nation on the magazine’s lists have in common is the destabilizing impact they have on our planet, through the use of state-sponsored cruelty and oppression, based on ancient religious philosophies, bankrupt economic theory, or ethnic or clan ties.
Autocratic Tribal Leaders and Their Nation
Yoweri Museveni (
Paul Biya (
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (
) Equatorial Guinea
Than Shwe (
Robert Mugabe (
Isaias Afewerki (
U Thein Sein (
Meles Zenawi (
Theocratic Leaders and Their Nation
Omar Al-Bashur (
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (
King Abdulla (
) Saudi Arabia
Sayyid Ali Khamenei (
Bashar al Assad (
Current and Former Communist Leaders and their Nation
Fidel and Raul Castro (
Hugo Chavez (
Kim-Jong II (
) – Recently Deceased North Korea
Hu Jintao (
Peoples Republic of ) China
Saparmurut Niyazov (
) – Also Deceased Turkmenistan
Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov (
In all cases, rule of law is limited to a ruling party or clan. Freedom of speech and assembly are not recognized rights, and attempts to change society are met with violence and intimidation. This is not pepper-spraying protestors or confiscating a tent, this is shooting and bombing people into submission to ensure the ruling government or party remains in power. In effect, these nations and leaders forsake healthy long-term societal transformation and growth for short-term control and access to economic power.
The three category of nations above are not humanistic people-powered governments, but nations and leaders who control with the threat of violence or act with violence to suppress dissent or human rights. Both tribal and theistic rulers use their power in this way based on some spiritual or religious belief system that they believe gives them the right to control others.
In the case of the current and former communist nations, while they can be atheistic, it is not the atheism which causes the social violence and economic depression, but the Marxist system itself which is flawed and has always lead to tyranny. In this case, atheism has nothing to do with the economic system, but just happens to be part of a wider particular economic philosophy of those who preach Marxism.
It must be acknowledged that no system of government created by humans has ever been, nor will it ever be perfect. However, we know from both research and history that those nations which center on and celebrate tribalism, theism, or Marxism, are not humanist nations, nor do they protect human rights. We also know from research and history that nations which are secular have higher education and literacy rates, have overall happier citizens, members of their society live longer, the nations have lower crime rates and are more peaceful.
Therefore, one doesn’t have to be intellectually talented or very gifted to be able to see how secular humanist nations, if allowed to spread more fully around the world, will lift everyone’s boat as positive social and economic waters rise. That is, except for those who may run or endorse tribal, theistic or Marxist governments. This is a true correlation of known fact, not theory or philosophy on what may occur “if” something would change. And this is why we must understand the differences between the three systems and support secular humanism now, as well as for our common human future.
Editor's note: Ok, so I wrote two posts ago that that would be my last post for the year. However, as we've seen above, absolute power is a corrupting influence. Therefore, being so corrupted, I felt as though I should try to keep writing on the site while still working on other projects.