Power is not meant to be used to torment the defeated! […] the very concept of inequality will be forgotten! -Meruem
Ever since episode 122 of Hunter x Hunter (2011) I felt the need to grab the chance to talk about totalitarian regimes because this is very much a threat to the country where I live. Greece has seen great rise in support for neonazism during the current period of ecomical crisis (2008-2014) and having Golden Dawn governing in the near future is one frightful scenario, no matter how hard life has become these past years.
Meruem is a character that I came to like a lot despite his first -very- violent steps. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t object to him playing the role of a possible messiah. At this point of the story, he had been influenced by Komugi and valued others who didn’t belong to his species. He was touched by the disturbing difference in living conditions between different groups and had a dream of fair ruling and executing divine punishment upon those living at the expense of others. How many times have people imagined torturing those who have harmed them? If a person was given the chance to be an emperor for a single day, most probably this day would be soaked in blood. But such an act implies that, depending on the value we prescribe to certain lives, we can take them away. And operating under such logic is, needless to say, dangerous. But, do things have to be that way? Are there solid arguments against the rule of one man over the rest of us?
First of all, monarchy has its limitations, both time-wise and experience-wise. A single person can’t talk to all the people and deal with their problems, making sure s/he judges rightfully. But even if we accepted that this person is the wisest on Earth, there’s a point when s/he dies. No one can guarantee that his/her children will carry the same vision and be equally just. The same is true for oligarchy. Democracy may have many flaws but it makes up for it by having many different people involved in the decision-making processes and these people change periodically. If the death penalty might be an option for one ruler, in most democracies it is but an obsolete legal punishment for the worst of criminals.
Furthermore, monarchy, tyranny and oligarchy offer safety at the despense of not only the value of life but also freedom of expression. One must have never felt the need to go outside the mainstream and talk about things considered taboo to not understand how important this freedom is. A human life isn’t only limited to eating, sleeping and working. This is a very mechanic way of spending your days on this planet. Our ideas, worldviews and artistic endeavors are what distinguishes us from the next person and essential part of who we are.
Lastly, as it history has shown that totalitarian regimes don’t simply redistribute power (and not always in the ways they are supposed to); they target minorities and civil liberties. In the name of the common good and according to arbitrary criteria, namely the ruler’s prejudices, many people are jailed and tortured. If you’ve faced social discrimination, even during democracy, chances are that you won’t want a patronizing figure persecuting you in a regime which is supported by absolute principles.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me