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I'm giving a talk about technology (specifically the Internet) in various governments where freedoms are strongly constrained. I'm a technologist, and I have little experience with words used to described the governments of places like Cuba, China, Iran, N. Korea, Libya, etc.

I've learned from reading new articles that these governments are variously describesdescribed as "totalitarian," "authoritarian," "autocractic," "despotic," "dictatorial," and so forth, and I've inferred that these are all essentially equivalent. Of course I'm anxious at the prospect of using them as synonyms if there are well-agreed-upon differences that I should be aware of. My web searches haven't really helped in my quest to answer this questionsquestion and so I thought I'd ask you folks if you feel there are strong differences.

In particular, are there any terms in my list above you feel have strong differential meanings?

Note: A search here on English.SE shows two related questions both closed without an answer, so I'm hoping that my question is clear (and polite) enough to avoid this fate.

I'm giving a talk about technology (specifically Internet) in various governments where freedoms are strongly constrained. I'm a technologist, and I have little experience with words used to described the governments of places like Cuba, China, Iran, N. Korea, Libya, etc.

I've learned from reading new articles that these governments are variously describes as "totalitarian," "authoritarian," "autocractic," "despotic," "dictatorial," and so forth, and I've inferred that these are all essentially equivalent. Of course I'm anxious at the prospect of using them as synonyms if there are well-agreed-upon differences that I should be aware of. My web searches haven't really helped in my quest to answer this questions and so I thought I'd ask you folks if you feel there are strong differences.

In particular, are there any terms in my list above you feel have strong differential meanings?

Note: A search here on English.SE shows two related questions both closed without an answer, so I'm hoping that my question is clear (and polite) enough to avoid this fate.

I'm giving a talk about technology (specifically the Internet) in various governments where freedoms are strongly constrained. I'm a technologist, and I have little experience with words used to described the governments of places like Cuba, China, Iran, N. Korea, Libya, etc.

I've learned from reading new articles that these governments are variously described as "totalitarian," "authoritarian," "autocractic," "despotic," "dictatorial," and so forth, and I've inferred that these are all essentially equivalent. Of course I'm anxious at the prospect of using them as synonyms if there are well-agreed-upon differences that I should be aware of. My web searches haven't really helped in my quest to answer this question and so I thought I'd ask you folks if you feel there are strong differences.

In particular, are there any terms in my list above you feel have strong differential meanings?

Note: A search here on English.SE shows two related questions both closed without an answer, so I'm hoping that my question is clear (and polite) enough to avoid this fate.

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Authoritarian, Dictatorial, Totalitarian... how to learn What are the distinctions between "authoritarian", "totalitarian", and "dictatorial"?

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Authoritarian, Dictatorial, Totalitarian... how to learn the distinctions?

I'm giving a talk about technology (specifically Internet) in various governments where freedoms are strongly constrained. I'm a technologist, and I have little experience with words used to described the governments of places like Cuba, China, Iran, N. Korea, Libya, etc.

I've learned from reading new articles that these governments are variously describes as "totalitarian," "authoritarian," "autocractic," "despotic," "dictatorial," and so forth, and I've inferred that these are all essentially equivalent. Of course I'm anxious at the prospect of using them as synonyms if there are well-agreed-upon differences that I should be aware of. My web searches haven't really helped in my quest to answer this questions and so I thought I'd ask you folks if you feel there are strong differences.

In particular, are there any terms in my list above you feel have strong differential meanings?

Note: A search here on English.SE shows two related questions both closed without an answer, so I'm hoping that my question is clear (and polite) enough to avoid this fate.