over the course of history, a number of ppl have stood out, and most haven't. most of these key figures helped shape the world as we know it, or at least one country. some were good people; some were mass murderers.
one thing we can say about almost all of them is that their place in history was no accident and was not random. it came from their values, and some sort of skill at something. some skill or set of values shared w/ very few ppl.
even a thug like saddam was *skilled*. and not just at beating and intimidating people. i was reading an interview of him by dan rather in Misunderestimated, and he's actually good at twisting questions too.
anyhow i conjecture that almost all major historical figures were, at least in a few ways, significantly better than avg person of the times. or another way: commoners, by and large, were common.
PS secret police based governments by a minority over a majority only last w/ the consent of the "victims"