What is up With History’s Worst Dictators All Having Similar Mustaches?
There is no accepted answer as to why despots tend to have facial hair, but I will suggest some theories. Please feel free to comment giving your theories or insight below.
So, the theories are, (half joking here; really do want to know why this pattern exists though):
- Something about the personality of a despot inclines them toward facial hair. Perhaps they feel it looks powerful or they feel powerful with it. This may also be explained as “like-attracts-like.” Similar personalities tend toward similar traits. See “Of Psychopaths and Presidential Candidates” from Scientific American.
- The mustache is a seen as a symbol of power.
- Most likely, they are all copying past figures like Lenin. Saddam Hussein copied Stalin; Stalin copied Lenin; Hitler copied Mussolini who only sometimes wore a mustache. They all potentially could have copied early mustached villains like Genghis Khan, Vlad the Impaler, and perhaps pirates like Blackbeard.
- The mustache hides the social cues of lip movement. It leads the eye to focus on the lower jaw and mouth while making nuances of facial expression harder to see. If this is the reason for having facial hair, one might conclude that those with it prefer that their
The reason I lean toward #3 is that facial hair is just one of many noticeable traits that despots seem to copy. In general, authoritarians seem to emulate traits of past despots.Understanding Authoritarianism. Authoritarianism begins at home. Hitler and Stalin were beaten severely as children. This page isn’t meant to delve into left-right politics. It was simply the best video I could find on the matter. One thing to understand is that a despot is ALWAYS right-wing to some extent. As ranking high on the authority index makes one right-wing. That is just how left-right works.
Lenin called himself Lenin before Stalin called himself Stalin (both Lenin and Stalin are pseudonyms), Hitler copied Mussolini’s “black shirts” when he created his “brown shirts.” Mussolini’s salute was the Roman salute, which Hitler also copied. Some leaders prefer “mushroom hair.” Political leaders tend to pattern themselves after admired historical figures. The colors and styles of clothes that kings and church leaders historically wore were often copied from Roman heroes. For instance, purple is a rare color and became the color of kings, bishops, and popes.
The list goes on and on, from similar propaganda including photo-ops and paintings to similar uniforms, similar speeches, similar haircuts, similar body language, and similar mustaches.25 Quotes By Infamous Leaders And Dictators. Notice how many of these despots have mustaches? Also, remember correlation doesn’t imply causation. Many of history’s greatest minds and heroes have worn a mustache. Teddy Roosevelt and Mark Twain come to mind. The despots in the video above, however, are examples of modern mustached villains.
Even today you can notice how despots and those inclined toward authoritarianism pick up social and style cues from other authoritarians.
In fact, if you have a discerning eye, you can probably spot an up-and-coming despot by which past leaders they are modeling. Good politicians rarely model despots; they tend instead toward liberal philosophers and the like. Most politicians don’t think about domination the same way that would-be despots do. Instead, they tend toward thinking about policy, organizing, principle, theory, and lifting up the people. Of course, we need to think about what Machiavelli warned us of back in the early 1500’s. He knew the most ruthless tricksters among us were primed to take power by force and charm, and thus he suggested “the good guys” of the world should learn a thing or two from “the bad guys.” Perhaps the lesson here is a little more uncomfortable than we would like to think, still, historically the Stalin mustache is a big red flag (pun intended).Why Voters Choose Authoritarian Leaders.