I flagged this closed question for mod reopen and the flag response stated I need to bring it to Meta. So here it is.

Legislative Despotism?

The question was closed as

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking.

Yet, it actually pretty obvious what was being asked (whether despotism is inherently contradictory to having a legislative body).

Not only that but is very answerable, objectively - despotism is not by itself contradictory to the idea of legislation, in at least two variants:

  1. A combo of single-monarch despotism with legislature exists both now - IIRC, UAE or another Arab emirate - as well as in the past , e.g. parliaments in England and France around 100 year war.

  2. A legislature can in theory hold absolute power as required by definition of despotism (I'm tempted to call post-French-Revolution Committee of Public Safety such, but I'm not certain if it can be considered part of "legislature" or merely a separate executive branch; alternately, Central Committee of a post-Stalin USSR would count effectively).

  • 6
    Why didn't you fix the grammar mistakes, non-descriptive title, or clarify the question based on the comments (e.g. basically what you have done in this meta question)? The first step to getting a question re-opened is almost always to make it better. – user11249 Sep 3 '18 at 15:11

I'm voting to re-open this as a viable political theory question.

My experience has been that questions like this are often quickly closed as either "unclear" or "opinion-based". Although it raises an interesting theoretical question the community reacts negatively because it sounds like a solicitation for opinion.

In most cases, the solution is to clearly specify some body of theory that would be applicable. In this case, the post is clearly from a student who doesn't have the background necessary to do this.

My hope is that the community will understand the need for some flexibility. We can provide value to OP by helping them think through these ideas and how they interact, while recognizing the risk of low-quality answers creeping in. We can manage that risk by down-voting answers that are not backed-up appropriately and not sufficiently instructional. If a more serious intervention is needed, we can flag the offending answers.


I think that the unclear part is whether the question is

Can a group be despotic?


How would a despotic group based on the Sanhedrin work?

Also, it is unclear what

a type of government that is "not just republican or democrat".


If it's the former question, we could answer it easily with historical examples. You might discuss how the Communist Party of the USSR might be considered a despotic group.

The latter question is more complicated and I think that we would need more information about the assignment.

This is one of those questions that is easy to answer under some interpretations and difficult to answer under others.

If you really want an open version of the former question, which I agree could be quite clear, why not ask it? You can post a comment (with link) explaining that it is your proposal for what the question should ask on the original question. Something like

Can a group be despotic?

One interpretation of this question is that despotic governments are usually described with a single despot. Can a government controlled by a group be despotic? What are the minimum requirements to describe a government as despotic?

Then if the asker really meant to ask the other version of the question, that person can edit the question into better shape. If this is what the asker meant, then it will be answered at the new question.

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