Why do many intellectuals love dictators? A review of Paul Hollander’s From Benito Mussolini to Hugo Chavez: Intellectuals and a Century of Political Hero Worship:
…ad hoc dictators—those whose main purpose is to maintain themselves and their cronies in power, such as Basher al-Assad of Syria and Saddam Hussein of Iraq—may have their apologists, but seldom their enthusiasts. To excite intellectuals, dictators must embody, or claim to embody, some utopian ideal
…the longing for quasi-religious belief in an age when actual religion has largely been rejected is a significant part of the explanation.