Daniel Pipes has collected a number of comments on dictators and tyrants, demonstrating the propensity of Western establishment intellectuals to feel, Ã la Chris Matthews, “a thrill running up the leg” when in proximity to power.
Herbert Croly, founding editor of the New Republic, gushed over the â€˜Ã©lan of Italian nationalism whichâ€¦would enable Italians to master themselves through a renewal of moral visionâ€™. He called fascism â€˜a political experiment which aroused in a whole nation an increased moral energy and dignified its activities by subordinating them to a deeply felt common purposeâ€™.
Arnold Toynbee, the influential world historian, interviewed the FÃ¼hrer in 1936 and reported being â€˜convinced of his sincerity in desiring peace in Europeâ€™.
Jerome Davis, a famed Yale Divinity School theologian, thought â€˜it would be an error to consider the Soviet leader a willful man who believes in forcing his ideas upon othersâ€™.
John K. Fairbank, Harvardâ€™s dean of American China scholars, asserted that â€˜the Maoist revolution is on the whole the best thing that happened to the Chinese people in centuries,â€™ and concluded that Maoâ€™s China â€˜is much more our friend than our enemy. It is peculiarly self-absorbed and nonaggressive abroad.â€™
Edward Said, a university professor at Columbia, said the Palestinian leader â€˜made the PLO a genuinely representative bodyâ€™.
Richard Falk, a Princeton political scientist, judged that the Iranian ayatollah had created â€˜a new model of popular revolution, based for the most part on non-violent tacticsâ€™. He went on to conclude that â€˜Iran may yet provide us with a desperately needed model of human governance for a third-world countryâ€™.
Acclaimed novelist Norman Mailer flattered his Cuban host with â€˜you were the first and greatest hero to appear in the world since the Second Warâ€¦you are the answer to the argumentâ€¦that revolutions cannot last, that they turn corrupt or total or they eat their own.â€™
University of Chicago historian Bruce Cumings depicts the North Korean dictator as â€˜a homebody who doesnâ€™t socialize much, doesnâ€™t drink much and works at home in his pajamasâ€¦ He most enjoys tinkering with his many music boxes, sitting on the floorâ€¦ He is prudish and shy, and like most Korean fathers, hopelessly devoted to his son.â€™