Tips and tricks for the budding tyrant
So you want to be a dictator.
Let’s face it: in this modern world, who doesn’t?
If you’ve failed at everything else, dictatorship offers the chance for a fresh start, a “new you,” and an opportunity to amass riches without the hassle of actually having to do anything for a living.
And the good news is: it’s never been easier to be a successful dictator.
So let’s dust off the insults and get started on our road to absolute power!
To begin, we’ll need a deep sense of insecurity coupled to a truck-load of resentment plus the capacity never to say anything that could accidentally be interpreted as coming from a sentient life-form. It helps to be a genuine moron like Trump but if you weren’t born with the gift of brain-death you can always fake it like Johnson in the UK.
No one will really notice the difference, I promise.
Once we’re an idiot we need to create grievances.
At first this may seem a big ask because we live in a world of unprecedented prosperity and peace. In fact, in the West we’ve enjoyed the longest period of continual peace and stability since the end of the Roman Empire sixteen hundred years ago. We have all manner of whizzy gadgets that are affordable by nearly everyone, our shops are overflowing with food, and for most people the greatest hardship they’ll ever face is the decision over whether to buy a 72” LED screen or go for the 78” version.
But this won’t stop us. One of the lovely things about the human race is our ability to focus on imaginary problems. Not only does this permit an army of therapists to keep paying their mortgages, it allows us to create custom-made grievances whenever we need them. The best grievances are entirely imaginary because that way people with more than no functioning neurons in their frontal cortex won’t be able to refute what we’re saying. If we’ve used a real grievance, chances are we’ve missed some important detail that someone else will irritatingly try to use against us. But if we just tell really big lies, who can refute a total falsehood?
Grievances, though super important, aren’t enough. We also need to create fear. Fear shuts down the tiny reasoning part of the human brain and reliably drives us into hardwired primitive behaviors, one of which is to yearn for a Strong Man to save us. So we take our pret-a-porter grievances and use them to stir up as much fear and hatred as we can.
Now we’re talking!
Immigrants are coming to steal our jobs, take away our wives, and have sex with our guns!
Atheist baby-eating communists are coming to impose adequate health care for all citizens and destroy Our Way Of Life which is based on praying when you get sick just like god intended!!
People speaking foreign languages we’re too lazy to learn are plotting to enslave us and take away our McSlop triple-bypass burgers!!!
As the very democratic Joseph Goebbels pointed out, “A lie repeated one hundred times becomes the truth.” It’s pretty important for us to keep hammering our lies into the heads of our supporters. We’ve got to create an alternate reality, which is of course the real reality, and continually reinforce it.
The good news is that our supporters will naturally be the folk who aren’t very bright and are pretty much totally ignorant about what we’re going to call fake reality, so it’s going to be really, really easy to fool them. For these folk, all that counts is volume and repetition. We just have to shout loudly and lie constantly and hey presto! We’ve created the only reality our obedient followers will ever need.
Now all of this would have been a pretty big task back in the old days when the news media still thought reality mattered and before social media had sucked everyone’s brains right out of their heads.
Today, however, it’s the easiest thing in the world.
The news is just a sub-branch of the entertainment industry and it’s on a 7/24 treadmill. Everything’s got to be new, sensational, larger-than-life. We turn up with our lies and fear-mongering and outrageous nonsense and…. we get all the free publicity we’ll ever need. The more ridiculous and abhorrent our claims, the more coverage we get! Everyone loves a freak show.
Plus, our helpful friends in Russia will finance a whole cartload of easy-to-spread memes on social media to create even more fear and hate among our supporters who naturally aren’t bright enough to realize they’re being manipulated by the most obvious and childish nonsense.
Back when people read books (these are weird paper-weights with words written inside them, and so lame they don’t even have GIFs), some guy called Orwell created a word that we need to understand: doublespeak.
Basically this means saying the opposite of what pointy-heads would claim is the truth. But as we get to control the truth, we can ignore the pointy-heads. So if only three people show up to our inauguration we say a trillion million twenty-yuge people turned up and it was the best inauguration in the history of history.
If there are no armies of rapists coming to force themselves on our helpless firearms we say there are a billion forty-three hundred, all carrying lots of lube. Anyone who says different is a liar and it’s just fake news.
If having trade deals with other nations makes us much richer we say these deals are crippling our economy and there will be fifty hundred million thousand more jobs when we stop doing all this unfair trade. Anyone who says different is a liar, fake news.
If climate change is wiping out the environment we say everything’s fine and smart stable people just turn up the air conditioning. Anyone who says different is a liar, fake news.
If we commit all sorts of crimes just because that’s what decent people do, and the pointy-heads find out, we tell everyone the crimes aren’t crimes at all because we can do whatever we want and so whatever we do can’t be a crime!
(Trust me: our supporters will be so confused by the pointy-heads trying to explain the crime that half will fall asleep 30 seconds into the explanation and the other half will be really angry that people are saying long words at them.)
We repeat our claims over and over and over (thanks, Uncle Goebbels!) and keep saying fake news and our supporters will love us because we don’t hurt their brains. We give them little ideas their little heads can understand. Well, sort of understand, anyhow. And that’s enough.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve seen this before: religion. So it makes sense to go get those religious folk on our side because they’re already accustomed to believing a whole heap of nonsense. Plus, religious leaders always want a bit more and they’ll think if they cozy up to us we’ll give it to them. That’s why the Catholic Church supported Mussolini, why they and the Protestants supported Hitler, and why the Russian Orthodox Church is busy licking Putin’s little puckered hole. Those religious folk sure do have a fine appreciation for Strong Men and that’s what we’re pretending to be, so: pass the lube and hand over the duct-tape ’cause we’ve got ourselves a relationship we need to consummate.
The bestest and most beautiful part about all this dictatorship thing is that when reality isn’t what we say it is, our supporters will get so mad at reality for trying to trick them that they’ll double-down on their support for us! So we can’t lose!
Being smart is for stupid people.
Now, as they say, this is a limited-time offer only. Representative democracy is our one-way ticket to dictatorship but only one person gets that lucky ticket. Sure, we’ll still call it democracy, but that’s just for the voters. We all know what’s really coming, and it’s going to be Great!