24 August 2015

Why do people obey dictators?

By Mike Smith

25th of August 2015

Gene Sharp said in his book “From dictatorship to democracy” that overcoming the people’s fear and habit of obedience is a necessary prerequisite to destroy the dictatorship.Which brings us to the question…

Why do people obey dictators?

“With an understanding why people obey, we can more effectively promote collective disobedience to unjust laws. Also, understanding why people obey provides a powerful rebuttal to the belief that “obedience is natural.” Human beings are not genetically predisposed to obedience, but rather to living in communities, in a society in which good reasons are available for voluntary compliance with laws and conventions. But when compliance is forced and obedience is demanded by a government through threats and sanctions rather than by popular consent, obedience becomes less stable.“ – Non-violent struggle – 50 crucial points, pg36.

There is no one reason why people obey dictatorships rather a complex mixture of reasons. Make no mistake, the dictator knows all of them intimately and apply or make use of them religiously. His very survival depends on them. Habbit

To obey is not natural. As children we get taught and conditioned to obey those bigger than us, older than us and those having more authority than us. We obey our parents, our teachers, our lecturers, road signs, the police, etc. and so we also learn to obey the government, even when it turns bad.


A few years ago I wrote an article on the famous Zimbardo prison experiment and how people fall into and adapt to their roles in society. Those who were the “prison guards” became increasingly brutal and those who were the “prisoners” more subservient.

This leads to a condition called ”Learned helplessness” where people simply accept their fate, because they see no way out even when one is staring them straight in the face. I called it a “resistance to resistance”.

Just following orders

In 1961Prof Stanley Milgram of Yale University started a series of experimenets that became known collectively as The Milgram experiment

He later published his findings in a book called, Obedience to authority: An experimental view,1974

The Milgram experiment showed the surprising ease with which ordinary persons can be commanded to act destructively against an innocent individual by a legitimate authority. People feel absolved from guilt when ordered by an authority.

The instinct to bond with a strong leader

Dictators exploit a well-known instinct for most people to seek protection from a strong leader, according to Alice LoCicero, a Cambridge, Mass.-based clinical psychologist and researcher on leadership and terrorism.

"Our behavior is still affected by what went on thousands of years ago," LoCicero said. "It's easier to understand why it's adaptive and common for people to bond to powerful leaders. In Darwinian evolution, the people who bonded with the leader survived. That instinct got passed along."

LoCicero has studied terrorist leadership and victims of terrorism from all five continents. She says that in some cultures, it's important to show respect to leaders, whether it's North Korea's Kim family of dictators or just the local schoolteacher.

We also saw this phenomonen in Serbia during the Kosovo war where Nato rained down bombs from March 24, 1999 to June 10, 1999 trying to destroy the Serbian military machine. All it achieved in doing was strengthening support for Serbian dictator Milosevic. It reached an all time high.

Sedja Popovic mentions how it was the worst time for the Otpor! resistance movement who were about to depose Milosevic in a non-violent revolution. Even some of Otpor’s own members started instinctively cheering for Milosevic.

The “Personality Cult”

Most of the time the dictator is actually not strong at all, but will try to “appear strong” and will create a “Cult of personality” through careful control of information and propaganda.

Most dictators are actually insecure, paranoid and manipulating bullies and in fact weaklings.

This becomes very clear once they lose their power and are dethroned. Suddenly they break down and appear extremely weak. Examples are dictators Ferdinand Marcos, Erich Honecker and the former red terror Stasi Chief Erich Mielke who turned into bumbling idiot and were laughed out in the “Volkskamer” (people’s chamber) when he insisted “…But, but I love you. I love all people…” when it came out how they built the Berlin Wall and slaughtered people who tried to escape it.

More recently the ridiculous 5ft3 Kim Jong Il, who was a pudgy, vain, top nerd who bouffed up his hair to gain another inch or two built his cult of personality to create an idealized, heroic, and at times, worshipful image who, amongst other things, claimed to be a brilliant inventor as well as a super golfer who shot 38 under par his first time playing golf. His biggest legacy was the 1-2 million people he starved to death whilst enjoying a lavish lifestyle.

His son 32yo Kim Jong Un was described by his Swiss classmates as a shy child who was awkward with girls and indifferent to political issues. He likese basketball, computer games and during NBA star Dennis Rodman’s visit to the dictator Ryan Duffy of Vice Media observed that "the leader was 'socially awkward' and didn't make eye contact when shaking hands".

The 5ft 6in Nicolae Ceausescu gave himself such titles as "Conducător" ("Leader") and "Geniul din Carpați" ("The Genius of the Carpathians") and had a king-like scepter made for himself. Ceausescu’s birthday (26th of January) was the most important day of the year and everyone had to put up a happy face or be punished.

For years, nearly all official photographs of him showed him in his late 40s. Romanian state television was under strict orders to portray him in the best possible light, but who can forget his pathetic looking face at the attempted speeches on the eve of his overthrow when the crowd started booing and heckling him.

And who can forget the surprised face of Sadam Husein when he was dragged from the hole in the ground where he was hiding…His mug said, “Game Over”.

The last moments of strongman Muamar Al Gaddafi crying like a baby when he was dragged from the filthy drain pipe he was hiding in is another example of how truly weak these dictators really are.

In reality the dictator is not strong. He only looks strong until the last ten minutes. He is not installed by God. He might think he is a god but in fact he is Odin’s Mickey Mouse and Allah’s Daffy Duck.

“You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police ... yet in their hearts there is unspoken fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts: words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home, all the more powerful because forbidden, terrify them. A little mouse of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic.” ― Winston S. Churchill, Blood, Sweat and Tears

Distractions - Bread and circus

Since the times of the Romans, dictators have used this technique.

Panem et Circenses comes from Roman poet Juvenal's metaphor for people voluntarily (or democratically) giving up civic responsibility for a reasonably stable status quo.

When the people are well-fed and having fun, they will be too contented or lazy to protest against those in charge (they may even start to thank, adore, and praise those in charge), turning them into gullible lemmings and apathetic citizens who will leave the “Powers That Be” free to do as they please.

Sports such as football, Rugby, Olympic Games, etc serve as distractions to lead people away from political realities, misrule and corruption.

The GDR used the so called FKK (Freikörperkultur) or nudism as bread and circus. Drugs and alcohol can also be used like in USSR, GDR and China.

When a brave leader stands up to tell or show the people what is really going on, he is branded as a troublemaker out to ruin their (relatively) happy life — or worse, submerge them in fire and brimstone. When you are the only sane person, to others, you look like the only insane person.

Lies, propaganda and the blurring of the distinctions between Dystopia and Utopia

Reality is turned upside down. The regime will tell lies and half truths to create the impression that the current status quo they created is the best the country has ever seen or will ever see. The dictator is God and the totalitarian state is heaven. Successful countries in Europe or the West are made out as “corrupt”, “materialistic” or “rotten”.

This form of indoctrination usually starts early from kindergarten age and carried out throughout school and university so that sheeple genuinely believes this junk.

The regime also makes use of “Brown envelope journalism” where reporters are paid to sing praises of the dictatorship. In South Africa 2010, journalists Ashley Smith and Joseph Aranes of the Cape Argus were implicated in a scandal to further ANC Premier Ebrahim Rasool’s agenda, but the rabbit hole went deeper when in 2012, ANC spindoctor Chris Vick a former journalist who writes a column in Business Day – has riled editors with his accusations of widespread unethical behaviour by South African journalists. These include that some reporters have their stories written for them by public relations practitioners like him.

SA journalism plagued by payola

Jacob Zuma: "You have less rights,
because you are a minority"
Misapplied Democracy and the Tyranny of the Majority

“For the minority, what else is democracy than dictatorship?” – Anna Jae

The minority trapped in a “democracy” has no voice and is forced to accept whatever the majority decides no matter how bad those decisions are.

The minority then feels that the dictatorship is justified, because the majority supports it. So they just go along with the flow and accept the status quo.

The dictatorship’s friendship with big powers

The people feel that the dictatorship should be tolerated, because of the support from foreign nations or corporations.

In the case of South Africa you have BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA) in a partnership of emerging economies representing over three billion people. Almost half of the world’s population. No wonder South Africans feel powerless.

In SA there is also the perception that the ANC is supported by mining and industrial giants such as De Beers/Anglo American, Lonmin, Consolidated Goldfields and others.

As we will see, these associations are not guaranteed for the dictatorship to remain in power and can quickly change sides.


There are three ways the dictator uses fear. First there is the fear of him and his regime. Second there is the fear of someone or something else. Thirdly there is the fear of ourselves.

Fear as the tool of the “Saviour” dictator

All dictatorships make use of fear to rule and present themselves as the only saviours. Fear is not only the fear of “sanctions” (punishments) from the dictator but also fear from an imagined, manufactured or real “enemy”…I call it “creating and hating the scapegoat.”

Dictators long ago found that it is easier to unite people in common hatred than in common love. This fear keeps the society off balance and collectively paranoid.

People who are resisting the dictatorship are called all sorts of names and vilified. Hitler would call his opponents “Communists” and “Jews” whether they were or not.

Stalin would call opponents “Fascists” and “Anti-revolutionaries”. In general the Marxist opponents are called the “Bourgeoisie”.

In Iran the scapegoat is called the “Infidel”, “Zionists”, “Imperial war-mongers”, etc. Israel is known as “That Zionist State”.

P.W. Botha called his opponents the “Rooi gevaar” (Red Threat) and the “Swart gevaar” (Black Threat).

In South Africa under the Marxist ANC “fascists” made way for “racists” and the “Bourgeoisie” are the whites, the “Colonial Capitalists” who refuse to share.

The dictator presents himself as God or ordained by God to rule forever; His opponents are vilified as demons or the Devil. The dictator wants people to believe that he is their only salvation; The Saviour. The Messiah.

In Iraq Saddam Hussein was so convinced of his God ordained destiny to rule forever that he refused to accept that he would be overthrown in April 2003 even with American tanks rolling into Baghdad.

In South Africa the Dictator Jacob Zuma said that the ANC will rule until Jesus comes.

What is “The fear of sanctions”?

In short, “sanctions” are “punishments” and can be anything from being police beatings and torture, imprisonment, losing one’s job to losing family, friends, livelihood, etc. It can also be threats, coercion or even assassinations.

An animal normally only fears immediate threats, but people can imagine threats in the future.

Therefore, the purpose of sanctions is not so much as to punish the resisters, but to make examples of them so that the rest of the people are deterred from resisting in future as well.

The dictator uses the “carrot and stick” technique. Those who resist can expect the harshest punishment, those who obey are rewarded. We will see that this fear of sanctions is one of the most important to overcome.

Atomisation and the fear within

There is another very important fear that keep people obeying the regime and that is the fear of failure. The fear that “I am not good enough” to do anything. “I am alone.”

This “isolation of the individual is called “atomization”.

The control of information and dissent

In dictatorships like the East German GDR, Iraq and North Korea, dictators tightly control the flow of information and therefore control dissent. There's such total control that four people talking together can be seen as a conspiracy.

The media and state broadcasters are either directly controlled by the dictatorship or exercises self censorship out of fear of sanctions. Certain films are banned, certain music is banned.

Internet and social media is censored, regulated and/or spied on. Telephones tapped and books disappear from libraries.

“When governments try to tightly control the flow of information – Including information on the internet – They only show a fundamental misunderstanding of the Information Age. What governments and others who want to control information don’t understand is this – they are no longer in control of the information. Power is moving into the hands of individuals and away from the exclusive control of governments and corporations.” - Dr. Gerald L. Kovacich

The Armed forces and a climate of fear

The dictatorship uses the armed forces (police and military) to openly display weapons on street or carry out military parades in order to install a general climate of fear and hopelessness amongst the population.

The secret police creates a climate of distrust amongst the people so that even family members are too scared to voice dissenting opinions.


So we see that it is in the dictator’s best interest to keep the people atomised, keep them in fear and keep them from disobeying. He will use everything from threats, rewards, armed forces, propaganda, lies and distractions to stay in power.

He knows…If the people overcome their fear of him, unite and start disobeying him, he is in deep, deep trouble. In the next edition we will look at how to achieve that.


  1. Anonymous10:32 pm

    In the case of South Africa you have BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA) in a partnership

    This is why Ramphosa ( BIG poser ) is currently in Japan knocking them up for a quick buck.


    Chinese obviously have problems of their own !

    1. Anonymous11:46 pm


  2. Willempie10:57 pm

    Indrukwekkende stuk werk - jy beter mooi agter jouself kyk want hulle gaan nie hiervan hou nie. Dit klink te veel na wat hulle self gedoen het en hoe hulle nóú is

  3. Willempie11:00 pm

    Indrukwekkende stuk werk! Jy beter begin mooi agter jouself kyk want hulle gaan nie hiervan hou nie - dit gaan hulle baie bang maak...

  4. Whilst it is true that fear itself renders most people helpless, there is also the flipside. This article (albeit somewhat lengthy using The Hunger Games as example) is of great value to me personally and incidently confirms what Mike is trying to bring home above.

  5. The minority trapped in a “democracy” has no voice and is forced to accept whatever the majority decides no matter how bad those decisions are.

    The minority then feels that the dictatorship is justified, because the majority supports it. So they just go along with the flow and accept the status quo.

    Sums up the whites in SA in a nutshell, just yesterday someone was saying on your blog.

    1. Ninja, my china, I agree with you wholeheartedly. The majority of our brothers are too comfortable in their ivory towers in feel safe in their stupidity at not being able to read the signs that are all around them. FFS, how many more whites have to be slaughtered for them to wake up!

    2. Tomkat - my man I dont know if they will wake up, perhaps when it is too late.

      It is our duty to spread the truth, wake them up, ask questions, get them thinking, if we tell they close their ears, if we ask they have to answer themselves in their own head and if what we asks is confirmed by the media or by those close to them or have a similar sentiment then we will have done our job.

      Ask them, ask people you know what they think is happening, ask them where do they think they will be in the future, ask ask ask -

      That way it doesnt feel like we are telling, no one wants to be told or reprimanded but if you ask them question, the mind is wired in such a way that one cant just block their mind - the mind is programmed to answer even if they try their hardest to block them.

      Liberals are a classic example of what happens to people when they try block this automatic mind function, its why they act weird if you ask them

      - oh you support people and their own cultures? Yes - says the liberal.

      Ok so you support women/children being mutilated or having no rights then since you support the fact each culture can and should have their own practices - then watch the liberal go into over drive, like a machine just about to blow up.

      This is what I like about Mikes blog. Mike gives you his view, points out the facts and most importantly asks you what you think or what you going to do.

      But I have faith they will wake up, just like they did in the Cape before they trekked, so here they will wake up eventually -- it might be a little late but better awake than asleep.

      Everyone on this site should be asking whites everywhere they go just 10 questions about this country and its future, if we all did our part you would find that soon spreads and we have more people singing the same tune.

  6. Anonymous8:08 am

    Spot on article as usual Mike!!
    I think people in general are broken up into who takes the lead and who follows, Seems to be the natural flow of things, whether its a good or bad cause you have leaders and followers.
    Funny though, when Zuma is verbally attacking whites then only people decide to form or join groups, when there isnt any attacking,people could care less it seems. But all in all I dont believe in any kind of Presidency and the way it works currently. People should be taught to form their own opinions and be objective. Even in an all white land, unless people are educated to the best of their abilities we still would have the issue of corruption, and dictatorship and or power hungry individuals. When white nationalists speak of a white homeland, we think of a kind of utopia? But in reality we would still have to sort out the big problems of social cohesion.

  7. Ideally no one person/party should be nominating themselves for any leadership position.
    Representatives, NOT leaders, should be nominated to fill various positions, from amongst our white communities, and no political parties allowed.
    This way, when the representatives fail to do their jobs, they can be easily kicked out by those who nominated them.
    This, in a nutshell, is what I would like to see, in a future white run South Africa.

    1. Anonymous11:34 am

      Yep, good idea, it seems the time of the politician is coming to an end, thank god.

    2. Anonymous12:31 pm

      Dream on...!

  8. Anonymous12:26 pm

    Mike you and the blog supporters have got it all wrong the black ANC government is not a racist dictatorship its a "FREE AND FAIR DEMOCRACY". Read on ...

    Cape Town – The ANC in Parliament expressed outrage on Tuesday over a documentary that chronicled allegations of discrimination at Stellenbosch University.
    ANC chief whip Moloto Mothapo said many black students spoke out about their “gut-wrenching personal experiences of institutionalised racism, discrimination and harassment (which) they continue to suffer purely on the basis of their skin colour”.
    Mothapo said after 20 years of democracy, it was unacceptable.
    “We view this serious allegations of racism and discrimination in a very serious light and we condemn them in the strongest terms possible. Such practices are not line with the spirit and principles of our democratic Constitution, particularly its Bill of Rights, which prohibits inequality and discrimination,” said Mothapo.
    The ANC vowed to look into the matter. The SA Human Rights Commission and the Higher Education portfolio committee have been asked to investigate the racism allegations, meet with relevant stakeholders at the institution and provide feedback to the National Assembly.
    Mothapo said the Higher Education portfolio committee’s report “would guide Parliament regarding how to intervene decisively to arrest the situation”.
    He added, “The alleged practices of racism at Stellenbosch University have no place in our free and democratic society”.

  9. Anonymous12:36 pm

    How do you get rid of 90% stupid voters? No good to advertise that we have a bad government if 90% of the 90% never read.

  10. Anonymous1:19 pm

    But people seem to rebel against the highest authority and greatest power in the Universe without flinching. Did Marx not rebel against God? There is more here than meets the eye.

  11. Anonymous2:24 pm

    the anc's greatest victory over the white south African was getting mandela to stand with the springboks trophy and all after winning the 95 world cup. What astonished me was to see my seargent major and other officers, men who had once been on the frontline in fighting communism have there hearts and minds won over by that single act, something not even the fear of mig 21s and T55s could do.

    1. Anonymous8:41 pm

      Did you know that Mandela really detested rugby? Shows what a hypocrite he was!

    2. Anonymous12:39 am

      For most people the appearance of a thing is more important than the thing itself, i.e. you will be respected if you appear wealthy, or powerful, or in charge. This is especially true of people of lesser intelligence. I know lots of white people who don't care for appearances, and this is why we appear to the majority to be more powerless than we really are. Flashy cars, flashy clothes, and dropping the names of powerfull people is what gets you noticed, not the typical western understated lifestyle most of us live.

  12. Anonymous5:26 pm

    A bit off-topic, I spotted this blog post at https://sienervanrensburgpredictions.wordpress.com/2015/08/25/more-signs-2/ who might be worth to read.

  13. Anonymous8:49 pm

    Read F Bastiat. "As long as it is admitted that the law may be diverted from its true purpose--that it may violate property instead of protecting it--then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder."

    As long as the government has power the scum of the earth will try to get into government. Restrict government to such an extent that there isnt money to be stolen and the problem will be solved.

    1. Anonymous1:55 am

      Too late.

  14. Anonymous1:24 am

    I have a neighbour who set himself up as some kind of street authority, bullying anyone he saw as a soft target. His wife is his sidekick in this. I am a woman and was living on my own a lot of the time as my husband was then working out of town. This neighbour threatened me with social ostracism and got his wife to stalk and harass me - she did her level best to socially ostracise me with lies and baseless complaints. She even started signing off parcels delivered to my house, beating me to the couriers at the gate and wanting to know what was in them. It was only when I had a lawyer's warning letter delivered by the messenger of the court to the man's work address where he had to sign for it in front of his colleagues that he and his wife stopped. He had been fired from a previous job for bullying.

    This had gone on for more than four years. I should have seen the lawyer right from the start. A bully does not stop bullying until he is threatened with losing his own reputation and his job. You must understand that such a person has no empathy. If you are nasty to such a person it doesn't cause an adverse reaction because it is the kind of behaviour he understands and engages in himself. If you are in any way nice or cooperative, he or she will go into overdrive to harass you because your cooperative attitude is seen as weakness to be exploited to the max. I now have a no contact rule with these people and have warned my husband to refuse any further approaches from them. Apartheid!

    1. Anonymous6:02 am

      They are white, not black. You get bullies and pests of all races and nations.

    2. Anonymous2:31 am

      Admittedly, behaviour like that from whites is very rare. But when it does happen, it's a serial offender. They're usually on some kind of religious trip, praying to an imaginary dictator higher up in their delusional hierarchy. The ANC have turned their party into a religious movement, threatening eternal hell and damnation for those who don't tie the party line. But it is a delusion.

  15. Great piece Mike. One can see that our dictatorship is getting nervous, sending his Gestapo to harrass white people traveling late at night. The deployment of their Aids invested army in Alex and Mamelodi was also a warning.

  16. Anonymous2:46 am

    Anonymous6:02 AM
    Quite so, but the blacks are on the top of the list for crimes of murder within the majority of the Western and European nations and especially so in Africa.

  17. Anonymous3:50 pm

    From The Turner Diaries..http://www.jrbooksonline.com/pdf_books/turnerdiaries.pdf

    The Blacks have pretty well cleaned out all the food in their areas, and they've mindlessly destroyed a lot of the other things we're
    looking for-although we are finding a lot of things they've missed, including more than 40 tons of dried fish meal in a pet-food plant
    just this morning. The stuff doesn't taste very good, but this one batch will supply the minimum protein requirements of 100,000
    people for a week. And yesterday we ran across 30,000 gallons of liquid chlorine, which is needed for water purification. We also
    recovered most of the drug inventories of a hospital and two clinics, in which the drug storerooms were still intact even after rioting
    Blacks had ransacked the buildings.
    We also found gruesome evidence of one way in which the Blacks have solved their food shortage: cannibalism. They began by
    setting up barricades in one main street to stop cars driven by Whites, apparently as early as Tuesday of last week. The unfortunate
    Whites were dragged from their cars, taken into a nearby Black restaurant, butchered, cooked, and eaten.
    Later the Blacks organized hunting parties and made raids into White areas. In the cellar of one Black apartment building we found a
    scene of indescribable horror attesting to the success of these raids.
    I and a crew of my men noticed a commotion in front of the building as we finished checking the looted shambles of an adjacent
    warehouse and came out onto the street. A group of GI's milling around the entrance were obviously distressed about something.
    One of them came running out of the apartment building and began retching and vomiting on the sidewalk. Then another, with a grim
    expression on his face, led a young White girl out of the building. She was about 10 years old, naked, filthy, and in an obvious state of
    As soon as I pushed my way into the building I recoiled from the horrible stench which permeated the place. Putting a handkerchief
    over my nose and mouth didn't seem to help, but with the aid of my flashlight I descended the cellar stairs past two more GI's who
    were coming up. In the arms of one of them was a silently staring White child of about four, alive but apparently too weak to walk.
    The cellar, which was illuminated by two kerosene lanterns hanging from steam pipes, had been converted into a human
    slaughterhouse by the Blacks in the apartment building. The floor was slippery with half-congealed blood. There were washtubs full of
    stinking entrails, and others filled with severed heads. Four tiny, human haunches dangled overhead from wires.
    On a wooden workbench beneath one of the lanterns I saw the most terrible thing I have ever seen. It was the butchered and partially
    dismembered body of a teenaged girl. Her blue eyes stared emptily at the ceiling, and her long, golden hair was matted with the
    blood which had rushed from the gaping wound in her throat.