Meet Your New Benevolent Dictator

To live in a democracy is to live in a perpetual state of discontent. And, as history has taught us, the unruly mob (a.k.a. We the People) eventually becomes so fed up with messy party politics that it starts to adore a demagogue who’s really gonna take charge and set everything right. They yearn for a benevolent dictatorship—and even though such a thing is an oxymoronic pipe dream, here’s my vision for this great country of ours were I chosen for the position.

Where are our Parthenons, our Pyramids, our Coliseums, our Great Walls?

A Public Works Program Put Forward on a Grand Scale

Where are our Parthenons, our Pyramids, our Coliseums, our Great Walls? Were I benevolent dictator, public monies would be set aside for monuments rivaling or even surpassing the magnificence of ancient times. Architecture preeminent again, future generations standing in awe.

What’s more, most towns and cities would be reconfigured. Strip malls bulldozed, everything made pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly. Public transportation so prevalent that a driver’s license is no longer a necessity. Downtowns given an injection of adrenaline.

Because the glory that was ancient Athens never would have existed without its agora—and the snack bar at your local Wal-Mart just isn’t doing the trick.

A Major Makeover for the Education System

Redesign the physical environment of schools so students aren’t sitting at desks all day long. More hands-on experience. The natural boisterousness of boys must be taken into account, and the trades and manual labor not be ignored.

No private schools, only public—thereby breaking down class divisions. No official school sports teams—putting the emphasis back on learning and spelling the end of the jockocracy.

Nature Made the Focus

A nation’s prime treasure is its natural areas. Continue protecting government-owned wilderness and expand it, damn it. The intense study of the flora and fauna of one’s locality also made an important part of school curricula. Post-high school national park service corps made a tantalizing option. Nature seen not only as a tourist draw, but also the common ground on which science and religion meet.

Emphasis Placed on the Here and Now

The insanity of constantly being distracted must end. So, no portable electronic devices: no laptops, no tablets, no smart phones, no cell phones, no iPods, no Nooks, no nothing.

Just imagine. When you’re with friends, you’re with friends. When you’re driving, you’re driving. When you’re going for a walk, you’re going for a walk. What’s more: when you’re working, you’re working and when you’re not, you’re not. You’re welcome.

The Manipulation of Beauty Curtailed

Plastic surgery—except in cases of accidental disfigurement or birth defects—would be prohibited. Spain’s ban on too-skinny models would be used as a model. Photoshopping of the human body in mass media outlawed.  And no mo Botox.

Crime and Punishment Reframed

Our calls for other countries to clean up their human rights records ring hollow when we’ve got so many people in stir. And when they get out, they tend to be even more fucked up than when they came in—rehabilitation in reverse. Thus, more money set aside for basic education and GED and college degree classes for the incarcerated.

Better physical structuring of prisons, too, making it more difficult for violence—especially rape—to occur. Prison rape has become a joke, but it should be a national disgrace.

And it goes without saying we concede defeat in the War on Drugs.

Foreign Policy Rethunk

Our enemies too often resemble our friends. For political expediency’s sake we support those whose practices disgust us. What’s the point? Corrupt and/or morally reprehensible regimes would no longer be propped up. Or even befriended.


Health care would become a right, not a privilege. The Second Amendment made applicable only to muzzleloaders. In movies, unknown actors only and no voice-overs. All zoos closed. All poetry must rhyme. Deport Justin Bieber.

  • July 01, 2016
  • Jon Eckblad
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