Dangers of One-Person Rule

By Shlomo Maital

    There is a problem, when a single leader makes decisions alone, without balancing opposition views.  Inevitably, there is disaster.

     Mark Zuckerberg has driven Facebook toward the metaverse, even embracing the Meta name… and I believe it will fail.  There is no real value created for its users.  And despite evidence it is failing, he is plunging billions into the effort.  Where is his Board?   A CNBC report states: “Meta documents show main metaverse is losing users and falling short of goals.”

     Putin?  Did he listen to his military advisors prior to his disastrous and malicious invasion of Ukraine?  Did they have the guts even to speak?

     Bolsinaro?  Did he listen to anyone when pooh-poohing COVID, delaying purchase of vaccine, etc.?

      As uncertainty mounts in the world, people seem to seek strong leaders – even those who trample democracy.  View China, Hungary, Trump, Bolsinaro, Putin, and a long list of others.  But sooner or later, autocrats who listen to no-one make big mistakes, drinking their own Kool-Aid, believing in their own false narratives of intelligence.  (Trump labelled himself ‘very smart, a very stable genius’.  Really?).  And on the other side, democracies make huge mistakes (see below) – but eventually fix them, though it takes too long. (Putin invaded Crimea in 2014, it took far too long for democracies to grasp the danger he posed; even Merkel, with East German roots, erred).

    Take Great Britain.  One per cent of the electorate (Conservative party members) choose an incompetent Prime Minister, with crackpot libertarian views. She implements them.  The pound sterling collapses.  Her mini-budget is retracted, humiliatingly.  Truss will eventually resign; she has lost all credibility.   She made a mistake.  But it will be corrected fairly quickly, by British democracy.

    But take another example.  Brexit.  The British people narrowly voted for leaving the EU (Brexit), without truly understanding the implications.  It was a disastrous mistake by David Cameron, who felt sure the referendum would fail. But he paid for it. 

  Today?   “As of July 2022, 52 percent of people in Great Britain thought that it was wrong to leave the European Union, compared with 36 percent who thought it was the right decision.”   People know they made a mistake.  I believe, at some point, a visionary leader will bring Britain back into the EU.  If the EU will take them.  But the damage is huge.  The point is:  It is recognized that Britain made a mistake.

      Ever seen an autocrat who admits to mistakes?    According to one estimate, only 14% of UN members are fully democratic.  Will they win out over autocrats?  My bet is, yes!