I am more skeptical of democracy than most people, but I just finished a biography of Kemal Atatürk and it taught me a lot about the value of democracy (more on the book in general later).

Atatürk led a political revolution in Turkey following WWI. He was also a social revolutionary, and though he always intended to be a dictator, he set up the institutions for a democratic government from the very beginning, because he wanted his reforms to endure. Unlike all the other dictators at the time, Atatürk understood that dictatorships last only as long as the man. And while democracies in emerging nations are often unstable, if you set them up right they will in fact offer more political stability than a government based on a personality cult. I think this was one of Atatürk’s essential perceptions.

So I have given up my plans to become prince of a post-apocalyptic Northern Nevada. Instead, I’m going to set up a parliamentary assembly I can control, as Atatürk did.