It must be the magic of instant, global communications, after all, that appears to have more tyrants on the run today than perhaps at any time in human history.
It's fascinating, for instance, to watch Syrian President Bashar Assad losing control of daddy's dictatorship. Couldn't happen to a nicer iron-fisted family.
It remains to be seen what our friends in the Arab and Muslim worlds do with it all -- but the multiple uprisings in the Middle East at least have the capacity to free as many people as a world war might.
Hopefully without so much of the bloodshed.
Ann Landers tried to warn us: Jerks never think you mean them. It goes double for jerks with a country in tow: Assad is whining that his country's unrest is an unfair tempest whipped up by shadowy conspirators. He may even believe it.
The truth is much harder to swallow. After decades, if not centuries, of authoritarian rule that has only left them in poverty -- while the fat leaders of oil-exporting nations in the region are awash in a record $1 trillion in revenues -- the people of the Mideast appear to have had enough.
Of course, even if they're successful in throwing off oppressors in Libya, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere -- as in Egypt and Tunisia -- the danger they face is falling right back into a different sort of tyranny -- such as the theocracy in Iran.
Whether at the hands of secular-acting autocrats or religious theocrats who try to tell you what to believe, no society can thrive for long where the population is treated like chattel.
The key to human prosperity is human freedom. That -- not some big conspiracy -- is why Arab and Muslim countries in the Mideast are so poor.
And, now, so restive.