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“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. "

C.S. Lewis

Basic Information

An attitude or policy reminiscent of the hierarchical pattern of a family based on patriarchy in that there is a figurehead who makes decisions on behalf of the others for their own good, even if it is contrary to their wishes.

Often used to describe a form of authoritarian government where an oligarchy, a monarch or an autocrat rules without reference to the wishes of the population but in a manner that he/they consider to benefit them. Also described as benevolent dictatorship.

Such regimes are more likely to use cultural conditioning or bread and circuses to distract the population from their lack of franchise rather than rely on force or terror for control - although a well drilled secret police may well exist to suppress 'antisocial elements' who continue to dissent.

Most "good" fantasy kingdoms seem to fit this trope.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

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