Friday, January 11, 2008

A Recipe for Despotism

If I had aspirations for dictatorship and possessed a few powerful friends, or if I wished to reduce the free peoples of the greatest nation on the planet to an abject serfdom, here is what I would do:

Taking as my raw medium two parties or philosophies that we will call, for the sake of argument, "liberal" and "conservative" or "asinine" and "elephantine", I would start by refocusing attention on the differences between the parties, highlighting them and making them larger than life. The important thing would be to draw attention away from the similarities between the parties, namely, 1) a singular inability on the part of either to accomplish anything significant for the family or the individual, 2) a singular ability to promote increasing regulation and to consolidate power, and 3) a common philosophy concerning global domination and empire-building. And lest any clear-thinking individual penetrate this obfuscation, I would encourage each party to create a climate of fear within the ranks of those who identify themselves with the distinctives of that party (remembering that there is little real difference between the parties). For the liberal, I would create the bogeyman of climate catastrophe, of an angered Gaia wreaking vengeance upon iniquitous man. And for conservative, I would invoke the spectres of the alien in our midst, whether it be the barbarian hordes creeping across the border or the omnipresent and civilization-destroying worshiper of a foreign deity. Clear thinking would be muddied by emotion and reason co-opted by the effort to convince the other half of the population of the need to fear.

When everyone was good and frightened, I (or someone equally unscrupulous) would step in with the antidote to fear: "protection" by a strong right arm.

Of course, if I had the luxury of time, I would first dull the wits of the masses with mind-numbing entertainments like television, and if possible I would ensure that education was everywhere bastardized (perhaps by focusing on teaching techniques instead of the resultant citizens). Naturally I would be opposed to academies, to home-schooling, and to rebellion against the black box in the corner, and I would try to discourage these by speaking of the need to "socialize" the child.


Of course, this was a poorly-disguised allegory for our time.

I don't know that there is an one person or any cabal out there that is using my recipe for despotism. I don't know that a conspiracy theory is necessary to explain the fact that we have been marching inexorably into serfdom, either. The fact remains that this recipe will work independent of active cooks.

In the crucible of civilizational collapse a tyrant will rise.

- V.

1 comment:

LifeSpark said...

Mmmmm..... Tasty thoughts.
What strikes an interesting chord for me is that the method you describe applies to the Canadian landscape as well and has done so for quite some time. Especially as regards the consolidation of power, either officially via legislation or indirectly through cultivation of fear and greed.
I have something I call the "East Coast rant" which can be obtained easily from me by pushing the "rant button". All you need to say is that it's great what our centralized federal government does to support people in Atlantic Canada. You know, the standard liberal cliche about wealth redistribution.

What happened on the East coast of Canada as regards both fishing and forestry is pretty straightforward. The Feds (Liberals and Conservatives both) sold off the natural resources to international and large corporate interests. Cod stocks in particular were depleted to the point that communities living off this industry for generations were forced onto the dole. Money once earned by dint of hard work was now given as welfare by the gov't. For this 'generosity' the people were supposed to be grateful and therefore support the gov't of the day come election time.

The most repulsive example was Jean Chretien's unfortunately successful re-election bid in 2000. The gov't had long since sold the Maritimers down the river and then introduced a moratorium on cod fishing along with reductions in Employment Insurance benefits. During the campaign, Chretien was prancing about on stage somewhere in the Atlantic provinces and saying that his gov't would return EI premiums to pre-1996 levels. Sadly, this was sufficient to manipulate the economic angst (in the forms of greed, fear or desperation amongst the people) enough to win the government of the day a new majority with the help of these once proud folk who had known nothing but the hard dignity of an honest working life prior to Federal programming in all its glory.....
See, you didn't even need to push the button, I did it myself!