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George F. Kennan

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Fig leaves of democratic procedure to hide the nakedness of Stalinist dictatorship.
On postwar accords regarding Eastern Europe, as quoted in The Wise Men (1986) by Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas

George F. Kennan

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Hoxha was often called a Stalinist. He was a Stalinist in two important ways. One was his advocacy of a very rigid form of centralised planning... The other was his use of brutal methods and often concocted evidence, compounded by his outspoken enthousiasm for harsh measures. But he was not 'Stalinist' in other important aspects. He was a cultured and well-read man. He was also in much closer contact with the population of his country than Stalin...

Enver Hoxha

[Q: do you believe that a nation should suffer a detrimental cost in order to compensate for wrongs committed by the governors of that nations, or by segments of that nation in the past?] Suppose you're living under a dictatorship, and the dictators carry out some horrendous acts. So you're living in Stalinist Russia, let's say, and Stalin carries out horrible crimes. Are the people of Russia responsible for those crimes? Well, to only a very limited extent, because living under a brutal, harsh, terrorist regime, there isn't very much they can do about it. There's something they can do, and to the extent that you can do something, you're responsible for what happens. Suppose you're living in a free, democratic society, with lots of privilege, enormous, incomparable freedoms, and the government carries out violent, brutal acts. Are you responsible for it? Yeah, a lot more responsible, because there's a lot that you can do about it. If you share responsibility in criminal acts, you are liable for the consequences.

Noam Chomsky

Ashamed of the many Frailties they feel within, all Men endeavour to hide themselves, their Ugly Nakedness, from each other, and wrapping up the true Motives of their Hearts in the Specious Cloke of Sociableness, and their Concern for the publick Good, they are in hopes of concealing their filthy Appetites and the Deformity of their Desires.

Bernard Mandeville

Ours is a people's democratic dictatorship, led by the working class and based on the worker-peasant alliance.

Mao Zedong

When closed societies collapse but fail to make the transition to openness the reason need not be that they languish in anarchy or suffer a return to dictatorship. It may be that they adopt an illiberal form of democracy. Along with the liberal democratic tradition that goes back to Locke and the English civil war there is a tradition, originating in the French Revolution and formulated theoretically by Rousseau, which understands democracy as the expression of popular will. The elective theocracy that is emerging in much of post-Saddam Iraq is a democratic polity in the latter sense, as is the current regime in Iran; so is the Hamas government in Palestine... To be sure, these regimes often lack freedom of information and expression and legal limitations on government power, which are essential features of democracy in the liberal tradition. In these respects they are closed societies, but they are not dictatorships. It is often forgotten that democracy, defined chiefly by elections and the exercise of power in the name of the majority, can be as repressive of individual freedom and minority rights as dictatorship - sometimes more so.

John N. Gray
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