Recently I have noticed, both in conversation and in print, a marked increase in people calling for a dictatorship to solve the current environmental crises. This is a natural human response to fear for one’s family’s security, but I am very concerned by it. What people calling for a dictatorship actually want is for everybody to be forced to address the climate crisis, but a dictator might well do far more than that, and we would not necessarily approve of all his/her policies. Considering the history of twentieth century dictatorships and the recent rise in popularity of right-wing political parties in Europe and the UK, I fear the consequences of accepting a dictator.
As we grapple with ecological, political, financial and ethical crises; as we face the uncertain future, debate must not be circumscribed. All alternatives should be examined, from anarchism and non-statism to monarchism, nationalism and fascism; from voluntary simplicity to war for resources; from communal living to population limitation. However unpleasant some of these alternatives are, without honest and open discussion we risk sliding uncritically back into the old patterns and systems which have led us to this point.
What is needed is not just reform, but a radical change of paradigm.