You write, ".. . . the silly--and unsupported--claims about Naps being a dictator"
It seems to me that the burden of proof would be on those who would want to deny that N. was a dictator. As far as I am aware of, N. was a one-man ruler with absolute power. Was or was there not any means of constraint on his absolute power? If anything, looking at what he did, N. seems to have had more absolute power in his hands than any other ruler in Europe. If there were any real methods of governmental restraint on N.'s rule inside of France, it would be helpful to point these out since they don't appear to be common knowledge.
NB: 1) That there were some lasting improvements coming from N.'s dictates is besides the point. 2) That he was better than any other Monarch is also beside the point. 3) That he had the overwhelming support of the people of France is also very much besides the point. 4) That he at some point won an election is beside the point. Somebody can be the greatest man ever known to the world, they can be the best and most beloved ruler of all time, they can be elected, they can perform miracles, and still be a dictator. Dictator only means: one man rules all.
I make no claims of knowing much about what the N. administration was like inside of France (a subject that has never been of interest to me,) but, N. certainly seems to have been a dictator when it came to the other countries that came under his rule. Having the absolute power of choosing all aspects of rule, and the ruler, inside a country is pretty much a dictatorship. Exercising the absolute power of life and death is pretty much an aspect of a dictatorship. Perhaps you can manage to show that N. was somehow not an absolute one-man ruler inside of France but nobody can show that he was anything else when ruling outside of France.
Remember, right up till before Leipzig, Metternich offered N. peace and all of the natural borders of France. What N. did inside of France the rest of Europe really didn't care that much about. Metternich admired the way N. ran France. The problem was that N. wasn't satisfied with just France. Heck, N. was never satisfied with just Europe. He always wanted and dreamed of marching in the footsteps of Alexander. That was, after all, what he called "his destiny."