Cult of personality

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A propaganda poster shows the cult of personality of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Lenin and Stalin

A cult of personality refers to a situation in which an individual, often a dictator of a country, uses propaganda and media tools excessively to create a strongly positive image of himself, often with unquestioning praise. People who have created a cult of personality include Kim Jong Il, Mao Tse Tung, Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler, Lenin, Josef Stalin, Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini, Fidel Castro and Richard Dawkins.

Whilst rarer in democratic societies, there are examples of a personality cult being built around certain western political leaders including John F. Kennedy, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and most recently Barack Obama.

A cult of personality is similar to hero worship, except it involves mass media propaganda.

"Cult of Personality" was also a song by New York band Living Colour that won the 1989 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. The song makes references to Stalin and Benito Mussolini. The song is featured in the popular video game Guitar Hero 3.


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 baron]]s 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. [1]

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