Sunday, December 30, 2007

Excerpts: How to be a Successful Tyrant

by Larken Rose
Control the Choices
Rather than trying to squelch all disagreement (which you will find to be impossible), focus instead on controlling the "spectrum" of ideas discussed in public; define the limits of what kinds of beliefs are "civilized" and "reasonable." For example, a public debate on whether you should rule all the peasants is unacceptable, but a public debate on the particular manner or degree of your rule is not only allowable but desirable. If your subjects are arguing over whether you should take 60% of what they produce or 70% of what they produce, you have already won, since both "sides" are implicitly conceding that you should take at least 60% of what they produce.

The reason such a "debate" is desirable is that it keeps the peasants thinking they have some say, and that they are knowledgeable and "involved," without actually providing them with any means to achieve freedom. Without this type of outlet, they may end up openly resisting you. As another tactic, do not vary the amount of oppression, but vary its justification. For example, you can win followers by suggesting that the peasants should be extorted to "help the poor,"instead of being extorted to finance a war (or vice versa). Of course, ideas such as "Don't extort us at all" must be kept out ofthe public debate entirely. Let the peasants find release in arguing over what flavor of oppression they will have, but never over whether they will be oppressed at all.

Comparative Oppression
Remarkably, if you give the peasants a choice between your desired level of control and something even worse (if there is anything worse), they will see you as a pro-freedom hero. Peasants tend to be remarkably unobservant, forgetful, and not at all objective. If you offer only to punch them in the nose rather than shoot them,they will praise you for it. If you promise to kick them in the head twice a day rather than three times a day, they will vote foryou in droves.

A classic example of such "comparative oppression" can be seen inthe so-called "two party" political system now in place in the United States. The party which promises to cut the levels of federal extortion back to 50% of what an individual produced are praised as being for "limited government." Of course, by any objective measure, they are advocates of oppression. Only by comparing themselves to something worse can they dupe the peasants into believing they are in any way pro-freedom.

Influence, Not Censorship
In addition to controlling the "education" (indoctrination) system, one of the best ways to ensure that your subjects are getting a daily dose of your indoctrination is to control the "news" they are exposed to. Of course, just reporting significant facts and occurrences provides no opportunity for thought control, but deciding which facts to mention, which facts to ignore, which"facts" to make up, and how to spin the facts, while throwing in opinion-shaping messages disguised as "reporting," can give enormous control.

The skillful tyrant controls the message, not by blatant censorship and state-owned media, but by more subtle means of "influence." Otherwise, the peasants will openly resist the censorship, will not believe your message, and may even create their own "underground"media to combat it. But if the media appears to them to be a neutral and objective "free press," your ability to control their thoughts and beliefs will be enormous.

Like any other business, "the press" can be controlled and manipulated without the use of open force. If you can get people of like mind (i.e., elitists who think they have every right to rule the "unwashed masses") to hold the highest positions at the newspapers, TV stations, etc., they will push your agenda for you,without the need of a conscious conspiracy. In any hierarchical organization, all you need to do is have an ally at the top, and the underlings will naturally "evolve" to match your agenda. Think of it as "trickle-down tyranny," where those who see eye to eye with the top dog will get promoted, will have job security, etc., while those who see things differently will naturally want to leave, or will get fired, or will at least get muzzled. If the CEO or owner of the "Anytown Daily Newspaper"is an elitist buddy of yours, and supports all of your power-grab plans, it is only natural that his publication will reflect that mindset. The underlings will know that to write something the boss disagrees with is to write their own pink slip.
"If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalist is to destroy the truth; to lie outright; to pervert; to vilify; to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. ... We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks; they pull the strings and we dance." [John Swinton (New York Times Chief of Staff)]

Infecting Existing Media
Making your own media from scratch is both difficult and unnecessary. Publications like Pravda, which are well known for being mouth pieces for governments, are not very effective because the people know not to trust them. It is far better to use your influence to take over (not openly, of course) already existing media outlets that already have many viewers, listeners or readers,and that have a certain level of credibility. With a little patience, it is not difficult to transform a relatively "objective"organization into a perpetual advertisement for your agenda. People in the media like attention and like to feel important. It is standard operating procedure for politicians to talk only to the reporters they like, meaning those who don't give them problems, contradict them, make fools of them, etc. Those who kiss up to politicians will hold their positions as "reporters" on government affairs. The others don't get interviews, have nothing to"report," and so have no jobs. Again, there is no need for a conspiracy; human nature will do the work for you.

Having "connections" with the management of media outlets is the best route, since you can easily have any reporter fired (or worse) if he writes something unfavorable about you. As with any industry, if you implement all manner of "regulation" of the media, then you always have some "legal" way to hurt an organization that spreads messages harmful to your agenda.

"The majority of Americans get their news and information about what is going on with their government from entities that are licensed by and subject to punishment at the hands of that very government." [Neal Boortz]

But aside from the occasional uppity reporter who needs to be put in his place (a coffin, perhaps), it is far more effective to avoid confrontation and simply use your ill-gotten wealth and influence to mold the media outlets into what you want them to be. Any company that achieves top status will be afraid of losing it, and so won't want to anger someone with as much power as you have at your disposal. People with something to lose tend to become docile and don't "make waves." (To wit, you can count on one finger all the strongly libertarian "reporters" who can still be seen on the mainstream American "news.")

Spectrum of Discussion
One effective method of propaganda does not deal with what is saidbut with what is not discussed. The range of opinions the peasants are exposed to has an enormous impact on what they will perceive as reasonable. Peasants have few ideas of their own, so if they are exposed to only two "different" views, both of which support your plans for control, they will almost certainly think only about which pro-tyranny viewpoint they like better, rather than being original enough to decide that neither of the presented viewpoints makes sense.

"In the United States, the majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals, who are thus relieved from the necessity of forming opinions of their own." [Alexis de Tocqueville]

The peasants must feel they have a choice of what to believe, so the message must look like a "debate" instead of a sermon. However, the "debate" should be so limited that anything even approaching an anti-tyranny opinion must be seen as outside the realm of rational debate.

"The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity, but the one that removes awareness of other possibilities." [Alan Bloom]

If the accepted public discourse about some government redistribution scheme is nothing more than petty bickering over details, then someone who comes out and suggests doing away with the scheme entirely can easily be painted as an extremist crackpot.