The following guest-essay by Brad Lena was written more than a decade ago, but seems remarkably apropos for the dystopian time we live in — especially the chapter entitled “Scientists like money, too”.
Despotism Made Easy
A Self-Help Guide for the Aspiring Tyrant
by Brad Lena
Copyright © 2010
Modern political visionaries, whether they are global healers or regional thugs, are reformers in a hurry. In their mad dash to perfect the human condition, they tend to overlook issues critical to their careers and longevity. By contrast, an ascendant visionary with a solid grounding in the fundamentals of despotism can extend his legacy for months or even years before being deposed or assassinated.
The reader will find this guide’s carefully selected recommendations equally applicable to run-of-the-mill oligarchies, utopian fantasies, or fascist dictatorships. “Despotism Made Easy” helps pave the way — from the first usurpations all the way to palatial exile. Each topic gets right to the point, enabling a busy reformer with only a few minutes of free time to browse a topic for guidance before working over the financial sector.
I. Job No. 1: Disarm the people
Nothing puts a damper on a reformer’s day like a populace that will not embrace utopia. Of course, once dissenting voices are muzzled, the objections become more like white noise — an irritant but tolerable. But — and this is an important but” — an armed citizenry can really play havoc with your agenda and legacy. Perhaps most disheartening to the reformer is the realization that armed resistance signifies that the people might not totally appreciate all that you’re trying to do for them.
History teaches us that radically altering the social, political, and economic order without first disarming the populace is untidy and risky. Most citizens, given enough incentive, will get with the program. But why chance it? An accelerating program of firearm restriction, registration, taxation, and confiscation will do much to ensure a smooth transition to a new era of social justice, equity, fraternity, and solidarity.
As you’re disarming the populace, it is important that you do not disarm your own people. Easily enough said, but in the hustle and bustle of reform, mix-ups can and do occur. Consider dressing your supporters in colorful uniforms with shiny boots and distinctive armbands. This will avoid confusion as well as foster a sense of unity among those who understand your reforms.
What if the armed forces of the government are staffed by volunteers? The short answer is to co-opt them through economic and medical enticements, which become dramatically more valuable as reform progresses. The real solution takes time. Establish youth schools and get them while they’re young— very young. To make certain that the rising generation thinks the way you do about the relationship between the citizens and the state, you must make their former frame of reference disappear. This is best achieved through indoctrination disguised as education.
Patience is key. Do not be one of those know-it-alls who bets the farm on getting everything corrected all at once. That will only raise expectations among the people. A sullen and lethargic population is the friend of reform.
II. The trains actually do have to run on time
You’d be surprised how many aspiring reformers overlook the fact that, after the soaring rhetoric has faded, the public expects some level of competence in government. Uncorrected, this easy-to-miss oversight can awaken the people from their sleepwalk to servitude. Make no mistake: If Mussolini hadn’t made the trains run on time as promised, the Italians would have shot him much sooner. Fortunately, people in the modern era are much less discerning. The mere perception of competence satisfies them almost as much as the real thing.
Reformers, as we all know, are busy people and the issue of competence may be an academic exercise rather than one derived from actual experience. This potential problem can be worsened when your prescriptions for reform include everything under the sun. Granted, a populace with an irrational sense of entitlement will encourage the chosen one to solve everything, but don’t be fooled by this pandering to omnipotence. At this stage, your job is to ensure they think things are improving — even if it’s only v i a smoke and mirrors.
For example, if the economy is going to hell in a hand basket, toss them some bones — s u c h as expanding their entitlement to the money of the producing segment of the populace. Or print some more money (but make certain you warn your friends in the financial sector before doing so).
These tried-and-true practices will mollify the nonproductive and envious segments while freeing you to bring more of the economy under your direct control.
Also, do not to throw too many of your trusted associates under the bus too early in the game. They have to be trotted out from time to time as living proof that you’re employing the best and the brightest to tackle the problems caused by others. If there are issues of compliance and legality, just rely on their arrogance and contempt for the rule of law to get you through pesky tight spots.
Don’t worry if you haven’t followed through on any of your previous promises or programs. Just keep promising new solutions to other problems or invent problems to which you can offer solutions. The general idea is to keep the improvements and social justice coming. If you do, they’ll never see it coming.
III. Subvert the language: The rest is easy
Words that have a specific meaning are not reform-friendly. A specific meaning can lead to benchmarks in which an action or concept is assessed for its connection to reality or productivity. Real reformers know that the real action resides in the process, not in the results. Words that have a universally accepted meaning enable the public to make determinations that are independent of the reformer’s vision. Worse yet, they can foreshadow the emergence of unauthorized solutions. Don’t allow your reforms to be compromised by viable alternatives.
The name of the game is to replace the national dialogue with incoherence. Once you establish conflict between the former meaning of a word and the new and improved meaning, it’s a relatively short step to subverting the rule of law. A people unable to agree on the meaning of words cannot offer unified resistance.
Replacing the existing meaning of a word with a definition subservient to your reform objectives takes time. Fortunately, there are ready, able and willing allies.
The greatest helpers are those in the education and media cartels. Their ability to shape the public mindset, as well as their willingness to be co— opted into the reform agenda, ensures a steady erosion of language as a societal bond.
It is important to provide these allies with appropriate levels of financial and regulatory support. Also, utilize their sense of moral superiority by parroting everything they say and value. This way, they will think you are one of them and cooperate fully. Eventually, you won’t need them and that will be that, but in the meantime they are useful and malleable.
Remember, commonly shared values and understanding are not conducive to reform. A collective memory of the former relationship between the rulers and the ruled can foment questions that are better left unasked. These impediments can be overcome, but they can be a drain on coercive and financial resources that will undoubtedly be needed when push comes to shove.
IV. Funny money: Make sure you’re the one laughing
Imposing monetary policies that erode financial and societal underpinnings is a surefire way to get everybody’s attention. Initially, they simply create uncertainty, but with continued reform, it becomes full-blown public panic. Those who can add and subtract in the various industrial and financial segments soon figure out the end game and get with the program rather enthusiastically.
Two misguided “Swedish” youngsters have reacted to years of discrimination and racism by taking two guards hostage in a prison in the Swedish city of Eskiltuna.
The conclusion of the following account is a sardonic spoof; the original on which it is based is here (see also this Yahoo News report). The inspiration for the final paragraph is this line from the original: “Tabloid newspaper Aftonbladet reports that they have offered to release one of the hostages in exchange for having 20 kebab pizzas distributed to other inmates.”
Swedish officials say two inmates have taken a pair of prison guards hostage. The Swedish Prison and Probation Service said they were barricaded inside part of the penitentiary 75 miles west of Stockholm in what officials described as “a very dangerous situation.” The prison service said the inmates abducted the prison officers after breaking into a guards’ room soon on Wednesday and covering up the surveillance cameras. Swedish media say the prisoners have demanded a helicopter to help them escape.
Tabloid newspaper Aftonbladet reports that they have offered to release one of the hostages in exchange for an advance of 20 virgins in anticipation of the 72 they expect to receive upon martyrdom. The Swedish government is making a frenzied effort to find virgins. Officials say privately that they are unlikely to locate that many before tonight’s deadline.
My attempt at gallows humor is not meant to detract from the seriousness of the situation in Eskiltuna. This is an ongoing story, and there’s no telling what the final outcome will be, but it may not turn out well for those two unfortunate guards.
As you all know by now, Time magazine recently published an article entitled “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election”, which basically owns up to all the things that “conspiracy theorists” said the Left did to swing the presidential election to Joe Biden. Yes, it stops short of acknowledging all those hastily manufactured mail-in ballots that were trucked in at the last moment and run through counting machines multiple times. But it describes everything else we deplorables have been saying about what happened — the media manipulation, the alliance between the hard Left and major corporations, etc.
What stood out for me when I read the article was this paragraph:
That’s why the participants want the secret history of the 2020 election told, even though it sounds like a paranoid fever dream—a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information. They were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it. And they believe the public needs to understand the system’s fragility in order to ensure that democracy in America endures. [emphasis added]
Perhaps because I’m an old hippie, the word “fortified” immediately made me think of fortified wine. Which is wine (or at least a base imitation of wine) that has been supercharged by the infusion of distilled spirits, usually brandy. The cheapest varieties of such “wines” are augmented by artificial flavoring and garish colors. Examples include Thunderbird (the old version of it, bottled by Gallo if I’m not mistaken) and MD 20/20 (bottled by Mogen David), more popularly known as “Mad Dog”.
What better metaphor could be found for the November 3 election? The Left started out with a weak, ineffective product, fortified it with a massive infusion of specially distilled votes, added artificial ideological flavors and colors, and the Biden/Harris administration is the intoxicating result!
It was strong enough to vote ordinary Americans under the table. And now the entire country needs to go into detox.
It’s time to take a break from all the madness and watch a brief satirical video from Germany.
Actually, it doesn’t really provide a break from the insanity. But at least we get to laugh at it.
It’s well-established that the front ends of cars look like faces. Cartoonists have been exploiting the resemblance for over a century. Many modern SUVs seem to have faces like the helmets of Empire storm troopers in the Star Wars movies, but that may just be my idiosyncratic apperception of them.
When I was driving home from the Outer Boonies yesterday, the faces of the oncoming vehicles made me think: Those cars should be masked. And that gave me the idea for a business venture.
Now is the time for a shrewd entrepreneur to market face masks for vehicles. The ad copy could go something like this:
You protect yourself. You protect your wife. You protect your kids. Why does the family car deserve any less?
You owe it to your vehicle to keep it SAFE.
The masks should be made of durable, waterproof, porous fabric. It would probably be advisable to use them only during cold weather, but that should see us well through the election and into the violent madness that is sure to follow it.
And when the cop stops you and tells you you’re interfering with the air flow to your engine, you can say (through your mask): “Duh! You think so?”
People could make a statement about COVID-19 with their vehicles, all without contravening the WHO or being banned from Facebook and Twitter.
The masks could be manufactured in different colors and patterns, and even feature the logo of the manufacturer in the middle. Ford masks, Cadillac masks, Lamborghini masks.
If you can’t stay socially distanced from the car in front of you, you can at least have enough consideration to mask your SUV.
I’m too lazy to try to realize this project myself, so I offer it here for an ambitious entrepreneur to take up. I don’t know how much of a capital outlay it would entail, but it surely can’t be all that much.
The time has come for vehicle masking!
We all have the same goal: to flatten the curve in the road ahead of us.
Long-time readers will remember Tim Kellner, the former German police officer with decidedly politically incorrect opinions about immigration. In the following video Mr. Kellner reinvents himself as “The Love Priest” to welcome culture-enrichers to Germany in a highly sarcastic manner. (For a glimpse of the Love Priest before he became so pink and glittery, see this photo from 2017.)
Many thanks to MissPiggy for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:
I’ve been trying to think of a good meme caption for this image.
The future Baron suggested: “That’s no moon”. I told him I thought the quote wasn’t all that well-known.
Vlad suggested: “Golfing with Xi”
And also: “Greta Thunberg’s new home”
Readers are invited to contribute their own ideas in the comments.
The Baron and I were discussing this latest unfortunate incident in the Yellow(ed) Vest demonstrations. [They’re getting yellowed with age on those French streets, y’all. That poor woman was a “jolie jeune fille” when these marches started so long ago. Now she’s a discard being lectured by Macron.]
Macron! Of all people!
Rumors are he has a helicopter on standby… when the going gets tough, he evidently plans to get going.
Well, those Yellow Vests used a forklift to open some gates, remember? Emmanuel had better hope one of them doesn’t have an anti-aircraft gun in his sac à dos.
Here’s the late Alan Sherman, a favorite of Americans of a certain age, warning Louis XVI what was gonna happen. Macron should pay careful attention.
Mr. Sherman’s lyrics are below the fold.
It seems that forbidden information is circulating on paper currency in Canada:
Samizdat on loonies! Who’da thunk it?
Our long-time reader and commenter leCanadien, who sent us the photo of the bill, explains how he came by it:
I just received this interesting $5 Canadian bill from a bank machine.
You could call it: ‘News Dissemination Iron Curtain Style’
It says: Senate Committee on the Trudeau Regime Letting ISIS Terrorist into Canada
On the left side it says: Google You Tube
Just think of the ramifications of this remarkable new medium for expressing dissent. In the Soviet Union, the government inhibited the production of samizdat by (among other methods) making paper difficult to obtain. But there’s no shortage of loonies in circulation — in fact, as the value of the Canadian dollar drops, more of them will be printed. As long as the government continues pretending to pay people, there will be plenty of paper for dissidents.
I suppose the government could always restrict the supply of felt-tip pens, however. In that case the dedicated producer of samizdat will have to draw his own blood and scratch his message on a (CAD) $1,000,000 bill using a toothpick or torn-off piece of fingernail…