Jung’s Typology of Dictators

DISCLAIMER: The following typology is obviously more archetypical than ‘seriously’ psychometric in any sense.

In the book C.G. Jung Speaks (Princeton University Press 1977), Jung offers a taxonomy of “Dictators” or “Tribal Leaders” which he divides as follows:

There are two kinds of dictators – the chieftain type and the medicine man type. (p. 93)

According to Jung, the chieftain type rules by force and has great “personal ambition” by which Jung means that they secure money, power, sex, fame etc. for themselves – that they rule their countries like an emperor or Russian Czar. (Jung also includes Franklin D. Roosevelt in his taxonomy [pp.92-93], characterizing FDR as “very much the stuff of a dictator.”)

The medicine man type of leader, on the other hand, rules “by magic” and by way of an “unconscious connection with his people” and also with less personal ambition than the chieftain type.

Finally, Jung hints that there is a third type of dictator, the “destructive wizard,” a category that is not elaborated further by Jung, but in which he places Lenin (p. 116).

Thus we get the following typology of dictators from Jung:

Chieftain

Medicine man

Destructive wizard

Stalin
Mussolini
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Hitler

Lenin

This typology is obviously more archetypical than ‘seriously’ psychometric in any sense. For the fun of it we try to complete Jung’s train of thought below. However, in order to do so, we introduce two new categories, one being the ‘conservator’, a category that is akin to the chieftain, but which stresses the importance of social stability and the continued protection of the nation’s heritage, the other being the “jester”, that is, the outwardly clownish type, who never the less says profound things from time to time.

Medicine man

Wizard

Chieftain

Hitler
Osama bin Laden
Khomeini

Lenin
Mao

Stalin
Mussolini
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Idi Amin
Putin
Pinochet
Fidel Castro
Saddam Hussein
Gaddafi**
Chavez**

Jester

Conservator

Ahmadinejad*

Franco
Mugabe

* For example, Ahmadinejad will on the one hand say things like ‘there are no homosexuals in Iran‘ and then turn around to expose the double standard with regards to free speech in Europe (i.e. that some European states allow Muhammed-cartoons but disallow Holocaust-cartoons).

** Both Gaddafi and Chavez started out attempting to rule like Jung’s medicine man type of leaders, but as people failed to buy into their ideological poses, they started to rely increasingly on force.

1 Comment

  1. Marcos says:

    Well I live in Venezuela and believe me, Chavez is still the medicine type of leader, I say this because he has been elected 3 times and he has a strong leadership, people just literally LOVE him, and even more in the current situation with his disease you know, cancer, but whatever, being right wing or left wing, let’s not include that here, people love that man and the other ones just hate him, simple lol

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