Lesson one: The basics
This first lesson on how to become or be a government could also be called How To Trick People Into Eagerly Rejecting Their Right To And Power Over Their Own Lives And Willingly Subject Their Whole Worlds To You. What I will teach you here is simply that: How to make people believe you are actually saving them while destroying their liberty and suffocating everything they are about. If you are planning to engage in politics, this is what you should learn and what should guide your actions if you wish to be successful.
This first lesson on how to become a government emphasises the problems of shifting the power base in society from all those individuals out there to you. It is easy to simply take power and subdue your fellow men by using guns and muscle power, but that would not make your position as ruler a nice one. If you choose this strategy, you will have to guard yourself 24/7 and always prepare for any rebellion or uprising. All this is too costly; it will eventually bring you down, and ruling is not much fun if you always need to make sure your life, power, and wealth are not threatened.
The simple but ingenious solution is of course to make people ask for your protection, i.e. they ask you to rule them. Make sure to be the shepherd all those sheep out there turn to when they experience unfairness, injustice and prejudice. If you can manage to become a mother and father for all those people, making them believe they cannot go on without you, then you have created the eternal kingdom — it is all yours for the taking. It is all downhill from there.
What this is all about is simply to create an illusion that you are a saviour putting all things back where they belong, making things right where they have obviously (so you tell them) gone wrong. You should make people believe you have opened their eyes and made them act in their own interest. If you can successfully pull this stunt, then you do not need to worry about the future. You can take it easy and simply need to keep enforcing the lie so that people do not ever think about questioning your power.
A great strategy, used for centuries but still not identified as the perfect strategy for the power hungry by very many, is to create fictitious identities based on group characteristics. Make sure to find a common denominator for a great many people, and see to it so that they believe they are being treated unfairly and unjustly by people having some other characteristic. Always remember to tell the greater or more powerful (in real terms, that is) group it is oppressed, and the weaker group the oppressor. This way you can control the masses without doing much! And they will come to you for further guidance. And they should come to you — you did, after all, put them on the “right” track once and know the “truth.”
Classical strategies involve making workers believe they are oppressed by the people paying their salaries. They will rebel on your orders against their supervisors, if you tell them they have the right to be as wealthy as their bosses — but that they have been tricked for years to be poor. They will no doubt listen — speak to their interest! — who wouldn’t want to get wealthy by doing nothing? Then you can “liberate” them through controlling the factories yourself, but doing it in their name.
Turn people’s jealousy into action; make the poor, lazy and ignorant into Your People. Hell, why not call them the rightful rulers who have been enslaved by the minority for centuries? That will surely make them come together and follow your lead. Remember that the lazy and ignorant are easier to fool since they do not really understand politics and do not really want to do much at all, and they do not understand how such great wealth they see exist can be created simply through hard work and putting ideas to action. After all, they have probably never tried working hard towards a goal and they probably never had great ideas of their own. Make them feel they are held back by the wealthy, that they have been “forced” into being an inferior “servant” class. Tell them they have a natural right as human beings to be as rich as the others. They will no doubt listen to you if you speak this language.
Do not hesitate to point at your competitors as the main source of evil. Are there people with great wealth or influence, make sure to imply all horrors are really their fault. They will probably try to get support from other influential people, so make sure to get support from the masses and use the many to break the few — and put you in power.
People generally do not understand how to get rich if they are poor, so tell them some people are rich because they have cheated everybody else. Tell them they are the ones being good and righteous and that they are the true owners of that vast wealth. No matter if it is true; say it over and over again until it is conceived as The Truth. Then use that “knowledge” to make your will law.
This is the perfect strategy: It kills your competition while creating genuine support for your person. When people trust you, not your ideas (ideas are not important to rule!), they will listen to whatever you have to say, no matter how crazy. Also, why not share the resources of the wealthy with the masses when they steal it in your name? Dividing wealth into too many pieces makes it simply go away, while you keep both wealth and power — and gain eternal support from your army of poor.
So, make sure to create illusions of good and evil and groups having conflicting interests. And direct people’s attention from the fact that you are seeking power. Call it their final liberation — it does not have to change anything, except for making you the ruler.
Lesson two: Maintaining power
In the first lesson we learned how to gain power through creating illusions that in effect speak to their dreams, and to identify (well, create) fictitious groupings with common interests who are in eternal conflict. Take sides with the stronger group and make them believe they are oppressed by the other, smaller group; say that workers are oppressed by factory owners, that the poor are oppressed by the wealthy, and that consumers are oppressed by producers. In this lesson we learn how to maintain this power through further strengthening these illusions.
When you have finally gained power, it is important not to make people believe the struggle has ended. People tend to engage in social activities, study or reading if they are not put to work, so make sure they are always thinking of the conflict and how to finally get rid of their oppressors. Yes, you have gained power through the help of the poor and your competitors may already be reduced and weakened. That is not enough! As soon as there is no conflict, your power base is dissolved!
Gaining power is only the first step, there is a reason for you to seek power and work to get it: To enjoy it. You should of course make it last, otherwise what is it all for? Sure, you have not put too much effort into gaining power — you have fooled others to work for you — but you can still increase your profit through putting only a little effort into maintaining the lie. Do not worry, you will not have to work very hard. As soon as you gained power, you also got a number of suck-ups and apprentices living only to make you happy and learn from the best (you). Let them do the hard work, they will actually thank you for it.
Now, how do we maintain the lie that the groups with real power are really subdued by others? We need to enforce the lie through making up new illusions and pointing out new sources of evil. Have your troops already done away with their superiors at the factories? Make them take care of the owners or their revolutionary leaders. Anyone with the ability to lead is a potential threat to your power, so make sure they are taken care of before they gain too much support.
You may think it could cause problems to do away with the local leaders of your troops. No, you are wrong. Stop thinking your subjects are rational and self-motivated people! They stopped being proud and sovereign individuals as soon as you made them sheep. They will listen to you; you are their self-appointed shepherd. Just tell another lie! Always direct their attention to something unattainable. Equality is your perfect goal! If equality is the overall aim, of course they must do away with their local leaders — they are the “new breed” of oppressors.
Also, make sure to identify what things people value and in what order. For example, economy is essentially a bad thing since it causes differences between people such as between the wealthy and the poor. So use people’s concern about the environment to make them lose all sense of efficiency and economy. If people can buy cheap, foreign-made sodas, make sure to point out the environmental hazards with importing what can be made domestically. It would benefit the environment to stop the imports, and with the ignorant’s logic it would protect domestic workers as well!
People will always see injustices and inequalities, so use them! When new technology lowers costs and increases availability of services, make the old and uninterested the victims of this development. That will surely cause popular support for special taxes and regulation on this new technology for the sake of those not so inclined to seek and make use of opportunities and those not so productive. Always sacrifice creative, productive, intelligent, and hard-working people! The common, dim-witted population will always be jealous of their achievements, so use it.
Remember that the creative, hard-working people are the leaders of tomorrow. They are the ones who might one day compete with you for power, so get rid of the threat as soon as possible. Make friends with them and make them a means to your goals, use them in whatever way possible and sacrifice them when necessary. Since they are dangerous, you’d better sacrifice them a bit too soon rather than a little too late.
Lesson three: Dealing with rebellions
We have already learned how to gain and maintain power. In the latter, we learned especially how to avoid uprisings and rebellions. The instructions were fairly easy, but sometimes we fail to realise the real threats and go after the not so important part of the opposition. As we have learned, some opposition is only to our benefit: We actually try to create fictitious opposition (which usually in turn creates real conflict among our subjects) to enforce our power. Now, if you have utterly failed with reinforcing your status as ruler, you will have to deal with rebellions.
Dealing with rebellions involves two main activities: Reinforcing your rule and doing away with the opposition. The problem with rebellions is that they are not created without discontent and commonly shared doubt of your righteousness as ruler. A rebellion is the natural and unavoidable effect of your not taking your duties as ruler seriously enough: Always make sure you are in charge. See the first two lessons for further guidance.
A rebellion means you have failed to preserve popular support for your person and your rule. It means you have neglected conflicts between the people and you, or that you have managed to stay ignorant to your people’s needs. Remember, there is really only one conflict and that is between your rule and the people!
Through becoming a ruler, i.e. establishing a government under your lead, you have created a society based on fictitious conflict. You have, as a ruler, called for a revolt of certain groups against other groups in the name of some higher goal. (In the examples given in the first two lessons, that higher goal was “equality.”)
The sheep will continue in the direction that you have pointed out, and they will thus call for further sacrifices in the name of your higher value. If you do not supply the masses with more oppressors and unjust rulers, you will eventually find yourself being questioned. That is not what you want, but if you have neglected this need of the people which you have created, you will sooner or later face a rebellion. Let us hope it is not too large-scale; if it is too far-reaching, you should try to escape — if not, you still stand a chance to control and stifle it.
First you need to identify the reason for the rebellion. This is usually not very hard: The people having joined the rebellion will shout at you why they are dissatisfied with your rule, and it is usually something you have totally neglected in your quest for maintaining power. Also, you can make great use of the suck-ups gathering in your footsteps, blinded by your power. Make them investigate how to enforce your “righteous” rule — they will never question your motives.
When you know what the driving force of the rebellion is, perhaps a seemingly “unjustly” large tax or a few “influentials” you have not punished enough, you can emphasise your intentions to take care of it. This will undermine the rebellion somewhat and show the rest of the population that you are a great ruler. Make sure to agree on the seemingly most important terms, but never make true promises. Make yourself an enlightened despot in the eyes of your subjects, but also see to it so that you can break any promise later on without people noticing. Be vague!
Go public with your seemingly genuine intentions and let your propaganda people (probably the same suck-ups as before) make sure you are understood as a true leader of the people. When you are sure you have regained your position as righteous ruler, do not forget the people in the rebellion questioned your power and acted on the belief that your power is unjust. Respond in Machiavellian terms — crush them with no mercy whatsoever. Kill them all or make sure they will never, ever question you again. If you have been successful in regaining popular support, you will get away with it without anyone asking questions; even if some people think your response was a little bit cruel, they will still conclude it was a “necessary” move in the name of the cause.
Do not fear you will be forgotten when all of this is over and you finally pass away of old age. You will be the richest man in the world and the hundreds of suck-ups following your lead will continue in your name — and they will make sure to fill the history books of the future with only positive remarks of your “achievements.” You will be immortal.
Lesson four: Learning from the great men
In lessons one through three we have learned how to create your own empire. It is time to evaluate great contemporary and historical rulers and see to what extent they have managed to be true despots. This also gives us a chance to see the real effects of acting as a ruler, and what happens if you fail.
History is full of people seeking and claiming power, but only a few have managed to become true rulers, awed for generations and even centuries. But how do we evaluate rulers in history? That’s easy. As we have learned in the previous lessons a successful ruler manages to rule his people having them beg for him to liberate them even more for each part of their lives he takes away. A great ruler is thus someone having oppressed his subjects and who is then mentioned a “great man” and “liberator” in the history books.
For example, Alexander the Great would not be seen a great man if he were not to defeat all opposition and anyone he saw as enemy. If he had lost, he would have been known as “Alexander the Horrible” or perhaps the “Butcher from the Balkans.”
I have chosen only a few people of interest to the future ruler (that’s you), to exemplify what they did right and wrong. And why it matters, at least to their reputation.
This guy had potential. He knew exactly what it means to be a ruler, he pointed out a certain limited group in society having the perfect characteristics for the task: They had a distinct common characteristic that they even claimed themselves, and the rest of the population, however diversified, had the jealousy for this group in common. He used and strengthened this conflict in order to gain power and enforced the majority’s identity through claiming their historical right to the country and the world. To this point he did everything right.
Hitler was however not a perfect ruler. He tried taking on the world before making sure he had what it takes: One must win to be remembered a great ruler. With the Russian change of sides in World War II he was eventually forced to a defeat, and that is why he is today remembered as a maniac rather than as a great ruler and enlightened despot. Had he won, there would have been no limits to his reputation just as is the case with the next ruler in this short analysis.
The difference to Adolf Hitler is not very great except for the fact that Hitler lost his wars. Lincoln waged a war on his own people in order to enforce and strengthen his powers as the ruler of the land, and he succeeded. The great sacrifice of that time is today forgotten and he is celebrated as a true hero and one of the great men of history.
The Lincoln story teaches us that there are no limits to rule except for unsuccessful undertakings. Since the outcome of the war was to Lincoln’s advantage his actions are celebrated and the sacrifices seen as “necessary” even though many, many thousands of his subjects were killed to enforce Lincoln’s power. Had he lost the war, he would have had the same reputation as Adolf Hitler: He would have been a craving lunatic causing only death and suffering. Simply through being victorious history is written totally different.
Fidel Castro and Kim Jong Il
These contemporary leaders are enjoying status as “great rulers” in their own lifetime. Their rule is problematic since they have managed to gain recognition domestically while being greatly hated abroad. In time, their actions may be recognised as divine but they may also be called lunatics.
Being a great ruler today is a difficult task, since the world is getting ever more integrated. This means a ruler cannot focus only on his own territory, but has to make claims on other territories as well. Through speaking to the oppressed collectives of other rulers’ territories, contemporary rulers can gain recognition as rulers and liberators, who set the standards for future rulers of other countries.
George W. Bush
The contemporary example of such a ruler who may come to be recognised as a true leader and liberator is U.S. President George W. Bush. While rather neglecting difficult problems “at home” he directs attention to more serious problems abroad. Through using the excellent illusion of the War on Terrorism he took on a foreign dictator to “liberate” the Iraqi people and save the world from a clear and present danger.
One might claim Bush was lucky because he happened to rule the only super power in the world at a time of the first attack in its own territory and that his father, former President George Bush, already had tried the stunt of attacking Iraq and its excellent ruler Saddam Hussein. Lucky as he may be, he saw the opportunity and seized it as any true ruler must.
The problem for Bush is that he has not managed to brain-wash his own subjects sufficiently, and he experiences great opposition from the masses living in the territories on the eastern neighbour continent Europe. Bush has, though, shown great capabilities as a ruler and it is possible that he will manage to make his subjects and European critics realise his greatness through finally forcing democratic state rule on the Iraqis and thereby creating a sense of legality for the war on Iraq . (“Democratic” is a word of unlimited positive connotation that you, as a ruler, should use often to define your actions.) This would no doubt make Bush known as a great president and liberator in the sense people today celebrate Lincoln, rather than being seen as a thug like Adolf Hitler.
Make use of the following additional resources to expand knowledge and understanding of the topic covered in this unit.
The entire unit, including all additional resources, can also be downloaded as a workbook to be used offline.