WASHINGTON—According to a Pew Research Center poll conducted this week, the overwhelming majority of Americans admitted they would actually be fairly interested in having a magnetic, forceful dictator oversee and control all aspects of American society.
Citing the relative simplicity of the citizen’s role in a totalitarian state, the U.S. populace said it could definitely see itself supporting a decisive, iron-willed demagogue, with citizens agreeing that the idea of entrusting all political, economic, social, and military decisions to a single bold despot actually sounded “pretty good” to them.
“When I think about it, submitting my will and personal beliefs to an all-powerful leader doesn’t seem half bad,” said survey respondent Jillian Medrano of Cocoa Beach, FL, who referred to the democratic process as “kind of a hassle.” “I don’t really want to bother with forming opinions about candidates or weighing multiple viewpoints on an issue, so if an egomaniacal autocrat just got up on a balcony and delivered a political message that we all had to support without question, it would make things a lot easier for me.”
“There’s just something kind of nice about throwing your hands up and letting a tyrannical demagogue tell you what to do, where to go, and how to think,” Medrano added. “As long as I’m not in one of the ethnic or religious groups he’s arbitrarily chosen to persecute, I think it would actually be pretty cool.”
According to the Pew survey, 71 percent of Americans would be okay with blindly adopting the views and goals of an electrifying military ruler, while 84 percent of citizens admitted they would prefer waiting in line at a set place and time to receive food rations, basic household provisions, and medications from the state instead of having to rely on themselves to choose and procure such necessities.
In addition, 98 percent of U.S. citizens said they would gladly welcome an omnipotent one-party government apparatus that could quickly and effectively deal with societal problems as it saw fit without any input from them whatsoever.
“There’s a streamlined aspect to authoritarianism that’s very appealing to the modern American citizen,” said the director of the University of Chicago’s Sociology department Ellen Ornelas, who went on to explain that time-consuming citizen obligations like jury duty would be made obsolete by totalitarian statehood, which summarily convicts offenders without a trial of their peers. “It’s a comparatively freeing model of civic engagement that requires nothing more than unquestioning obedience to a strong, charismatic leader with an ironclad vision for the future, and today’s U.S. population thinks it’s a style of government they could get behind.”
In addition to the appeal of simply kicking back and relinquishing responsibility to someone else, Americans said there were a number of other added perks associated with installing an authoritarian government. In particular, citizens expressed interest in succumbing to the seductive energy of a cult of personality; adopting a fervent, cohesive sense of national unity; and partaking in the ceremonial grandeur of military parades in which big, shiny missiles would be driven through the streets of major U.S. cities to cries of “Long live our leader!”
Moreover, American citizens claimed they would feel a sense of comfort by seeing photographs, murals, and statues of the dictator in every public space throughout the country, saying that, in a way, it would almost be as if a protective father figure were always watching over them.
While many survey respondents acknowledged that forced labor camps and widespread shortages of electricity would be less than ideal, they affirmed that such negative aspects of the totalitarian regime would be more than offset by the attractive prospect of never again having to make any major decision about their lives.
“All I’m saying is if a dynamic, larger-than-life personality in military regalia seized control of the government and said this is how it’s going to be from now on, I think I’d be up for it,” said Virginia resident Jonathan Bunn, who admitted that learning a few formal salutes and spontaneously crying in joy whenever the leader appeared in public actually sounded “kind of fun.” “It would be a huge load off to just give in to a megalomaniacal despot’s grand, stirring rhetoric and no longer be burdened with having to engage in any critical thought whatsoever. I could definitely get on board with that.”
“I think we should just give an autocratic state a shot for a decade or two and see how it goes,” Bunn added. “It’s not like I vote anyway, so it wouldn’t even be that big a deal.”