italian version


Giovanni De Sio Cesari



Dictatorships are often defined as all regimes that are not democratic, but this is a historical error. In reality, until the nineteenth century (letís say), the prevailing idea worldwide was that sovereignty should be exercised by people designated in various ways and not chosen by the people. In fact, this is the system that still exists for almost all authorities: the post office director is not elected by the employees, nor is a general by the soldiers.

Then in Europe, the idea that sovereignty belongs to the people gained ground, and the problem became how it should be exercised. One can think of direct democracy, which has not been successful anywhere, or delegation (in many versions), which are the democracies that actually exist.

However, in the last century, dictatorships (fascist and communist) also emerged based on the idea that elective democracies did not correspond to the true will of the people, believing they were a set of particular interests (a deaf and gray assembly according to the fascists) or a deception by the bourgeoisie (according to the communists). Therefore, dictatorships did not intend to contradict the principle that sovereignty belongs to the people, but they positioned themselves as the true interpreters of the popular will (of the nation or the proletariat). Now, when we say that some opinions are acceptable and others are not (as in the case of the Woke movement), we ultimately adopt the perspective of dictatorships.


Democracy is a regime that can be established and maintained if the majority of citizens (perhaps at least the majority) want democracy: it would indeed be contradictory to speak of democracy in a country where the majority does not accept it.

This explains why it has not taken root in many third-world countries (the Arab world, for example): prerequisites are needed, the first of which is general popular consensus.


A similar discourse can be made for the establishment of the dictatorships of the 20th century. It is generally thought of as violent minorities that stifled democratic regimes. In reality, the premise was the discredit of democracy, which appeared incapable of efficient government, especially due to the fragmentation of popular consensus and the multiplication of parties and factions.

At the time of the fascist takeover, the parliament was dominated by three components: socialists, liberals, and Catholics, each of which was then composed of factions fighting among themselves more than with other directions: governability became problematic, and the condition for the permanence of governments too often became immobilism. Moreover, democracy was judged incapable of resisting the communist push, which was increasingly strengthening. We should remember that when Mussolini presented himself to parliament after the king's appointment, which had ignored the legitimate government's proposal to proclaim a state of siege, he received a majority of about 3/4 from the parliament (even Croce voted in favor), a majority never seen in our history.

A similar discourse can be made for other fascisms. In Germany, apart from the fragmentation of parties, democratic governments were blamed for having too passively accepted the unsustainable demands of the war victors, especially France.

Even in other countries conquered by parties we can define as fascist (Spain, Portugal, Eastern European countries), democracies were in crisis. Only the Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian countries resisted the fascist wave because in them democracy was more solid, more felt, and did not appear in crisis.

In France, after the defeat by Germany, a Vichy regime very inclined to fascism prevailed.

Different events occurred in Russia for communism. Here, in reality, a democratic conscience never existed. The Kerensky government was indeed a theoretically democratic government, but with little popularity. In fact, the political game was played between a return of Tsarism (the White Army) and Lenin's version of communism supported by the Red Army: a fierce, bloody military confrontation in which Western-style democracy was essentially absent.


Democracy is characterized not only by free and pluralistic elections but especially by the principle that everyone is free to choose, provided they do not harm others, or as they said more elegantly in the 1700s, that one's freedom ends where another's begins. But in reality, whatever we do reflects on everyone else. Even what I eat can influence the economy, the balance of payments, health care costs (if it harms me), and so on. It is therefore a compromise that varies according to circumstances: maximum in times of well-being, minimum in difficulties (in war, for example, food is rationed).

Now, the totalitarian regimes of the last century (dictatorships) did not operate differently: the difference lies in the fact that they did not allow freedom of opinion, as they intended to forge a "new man" (the comrade, the true patriot, or the companion, the true communist) and therefore rightly believed that this was not possible in a climate of cultural pluralism.

Basically, it is the same mental process as modern Woke.

Democracy, on the other hand, is characterized by cultural pluralism that leads to different models of man: we can say that democracy wants a man open to all models.

The fundamental distinction between democratic regimes and the dictatorial regimes of the last century is that the latter suppress freedom of thought and expression because they intend to forge citizens' thinking according to an ideology that is considered the only true and just one. They are therefore defined as totalitarian regimes.