He's not declared himself a despot, he's declared himself a tyrant in the truest, original sense of the word. Which is exactly what they need to survive.
In the comics Rick makes one retarded decision after another that get tons of people killed and it looks like the show has adopted that take.
Just look at the horrible way the whole Randall thing was handled. They wasted gas, ammo, medical supplies, and created a big internal division in the group for what? So Rick could decided to kill Randall after saving him then back off and go with the original catch-and-release scheme a second time?
And do we even need to talk about all the time they wasted doing absolutely nothing on the farm? Why did they wait for Dale to die before they started trying to pro-actively protect themselves?