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After La Résistance and their Rebel Leader have defeated the existing government, they need to provide a new one.

The thing is, the audience came to the setting for a story of valiant rebels overcoming the jackbooted heel of the oppressor, not valiant administrators overcoming the jackbooted heel of dry rot in the rubber trees or a natural disaster in Mississippi... and frequently, so did the rebels.

The result is an administration which only a mother could love. Some rebels are genuinely good at government; but under others, it will not be long at all before the populace starts wishing for the good old days of The Empire, when many things were bad, but at least the trains ran on time. The odds of The Remnant coming back begin to increase, as do the odds of La Résistance adopting The Empire's methods in a probably-futile attempt to restore order. Compare Dystopia Is Hard.



  • Star Wars: every single Star Wars Expanded Universe novel that takes place after Endor. It's frequently noted that because of the sheer size of galactic bureaucracy, the Rebellion, as it becomes a formal government, often has to leave the bureaucrats in place, even when they try reworking the structure. And then, when they become the New Republic, they last about twenty-five years before being taken over by merging with the only people in the galaxy who know how to run something more complex than a lemonade stand. Much of this is Borsk Fey'lya's fault, as the New Republic functioned fairly well for its middle decade, but when a hundred hostile star systems can paralyze a galactic government, there is something more fundamental going wrong.
    • Also, keep in mind that the New Republic actually did fare all right between the signing of the treaty with the Imperial Remnant and the beginning of the Vong War. The problem was that Fey'lya was elected Chief of State and many former rebels, competent administrators and military personnel, had long since been killed or had retired. A new generation of bureaucrats came to power and boy did they blow it. This can be traced to the fact that the New Republic was a much looser parliamentary republic than even the Old Republic, probably because of the high number of anti-militarists and former separatists that formed the initial rebellion. Secession was permitted and the Republic was very hesitant to put its foot down (even in the face of obviously evil enemies). The New Republic basically proved that the galaxy was no place for Wide Eyed Idealists.
  • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress has this happen.
  • Discussed in Guards Guards, where Lord Vetinari points out that the only thing the "good people" are good at is overthrowing the bad people. One day it's the joyous overthrow of the tyrant, then it's everyone complaining that ever since the tyrant was overthrown no one's delivering the coal anymore. Notably, in Night Watch when Sam Vimes gets a chance to re-live a revolution that occurred earlier in his life, he spends most of his time trying to keep things as stable as possible.
  • The later Wheel of Time books give this as a big part of the reason for the success of the Seanchan invasion: After years and years of noble Houses overthrowing one another and tearing down all reminders of their predecessors every time, the ordinary people of some countries leap at the chance of some order and stability.
  • Averted in the Red Mars Trilogy. Although it takes a while to get it working smoothly, a functional Martian Government does arise out of the revolution in 2128.


  • In Urinetown After the rebels overthrow Cladwell, Hope takes over. However, her father's awful policies were the ONLY thing keeping the water supply stable, and everyone dies

Real Life

  • Real Life examples of this are so common that it would be faster to list the aversions... most of which involve Fascists
  • The American Revolution was an Aversion, mostly because it was intended as a secession not a complete overthrow of the existing system. What helped massively was the fact that the colonies were essentially self governing before the war, most of the rebels had experience working in that government at relatively high levels (Jefferson was a governor, Washington was part of the Virginia ruling class and house of burghesses) and most of that governing structure survived intact at the state level. However its till it took ten-twenty years to get the whole country stitched together.
  • The Zionists were another Aversion. That is because they had already been a de facto Puppet State of The British Empire for a long time, with all the institutions of state in place (the even had a parliament, a bureaucracy, a foreign ministry, and collected taxes).
    • Current Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has basically the same plan for Palestine. Many Palestinians today are kicking themselves for not doing this sixty or seventy years ago.
  • Much of India simply took The Raj and replaced it's membership. Even so there was a short period of lawlessness before the system got working again.
  • The most infamous example is, of course, good 'ol Uncle Joe, who turned the Soviet Union into such a well-run bureaucracy that he could and frequently did run the country from his holiday dacha in the Crimea, hundreds of miles from Moscow, and was still well informed of the political situation. He ousted Trotsky and took over the Party via a mastery of the bureaucractic machinery, using his position as General Secretary to strategically lever many of his cronys into key positions of power in the years beforehand; though, despite Trotsky's later protests, he and Lenin had done a lot to bureaucratise the USSR already. Stalin merely took it to the next level, because thats what he was best at. It devolved into a rather less competent, if more open and fairer one following his death.
    • Even then, when Lenin and the Bolsheviks overthrew the Provisional Government and had to set up a new bureaucracy and found the Red Army, they were forced to bring in a number of former tsarist officials and generals to help them run it.
      • "Bourgeois experts" were supposed to be carefully watched by the Cheka. Lenin consoled himself with the thought that most managers were of proletarian origin.
    • Because post revolutionary society was supposed to have no bureaucracy or officials, odd euphemisms like "apparat", "active party members" (or "activists") and, in China, "leading cadres" were invented.
  • Another, very different aversion is The New Russia. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the number of Russian bureaucrats increased tenfold, corruption skyrocketed and the country turned into a bureaucratic quagmire, forcing Putin to personally oversee any thing that needed to be done pronto.
    • One of the notable changes is the abolishing of gubernatorial elections. All governors are now assigned by the Kremlin. Then again, most of them were corrupt and made millions by embezzling government funds.
  • Nazi Germany, by contrast, was a bureaucratic nightmare since Hitler allowed, even encouraged, his minions to set up rival bureaucratic empires that often did the same job as each other; the Party, and later the SS, both competed with the German state to basically become the new government, or perhaps a "state within a state" in the case of the SS.
    • The Nazi's billed their takeover as a kind of democratic revolution and they certainly sought to fundamentally change the very nature of society, but the "administrative mess" part was mostly due to Hitlers "divide and conquer" approach to leadership, though combined a bit with Nazi Social Darwinist philosophy.
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