Congratulations! You’ve just been elected to the head of Grapefruit Republic. You must be so proud, to have bought your way to a winning campain. But wait! You’re only one of many heads of Grapefruit Republic; that just won’t do. Fortunately for you, I’ve got some foolproof tools to turn any freedom-loving republic into a totalitarian dictatorship without having to worry about any pesky revolutionaries!
The following are your best friends in your quest for power; if people ever start to catch on to you, just pull out one of more of the following and the masses will surely be on your side again!
You need to promise security from every threat imaginable. Cancer? You promise a cure, even if you never find one. Pandemic? You promise a cure, even if it kills them. Homelessness? You promise them socialism, as if that will solve the problem (with enough public education, they will probably believe you). Burglars on the street? You promise them cameras on every street corner. Political manipulation? Well, that’s something only your political enemies do, and they naturally need to be arrested for cooperation with whatever foreign enemies you may have! And remember, if any of the following don’t exist, they can always be created when you need them most.
- The children
Children are the gateway to the future. This next bit requires some sleight of hand, but if you can pull it off then you are well on your way! You need to first get the parents to be totally ignorant of their childrens’ lives; however, you must also make them think that they know everything. Next, you must convince the parent that despite their ever-vigilant watch over their children, some threat exists that must be stopped; and naturally, you are the only one who can stop it. It will help if you make sure the antisocial kids can access guns, and don’t get help, so you can be there to promise it will never happen again under your watch. And remember, troubled kids are your playground.
You need terrorists so you can offer protection. It doesn’t matter who they are, as long as you can pay them enough to not target anyone you care about (bonus points if you can get them to target your political opposition!). Terrorrist are so named because they cause mass terror, and remember, a terrified population can’t think clearly, so you only need to tell them how much safer they will be when you’re in charge!
It says somewhere in that old religious book that two may help each other, and a cord of three is not easily broken. You have to remember that; if your population can effectively communicate with each other, you’re losing. It doesn’t matter how arbitrary the differences, you need to splinter society into as many warring factions as possible. The best part is, once you’ve done this, due to human nature they will escalate their fighting and indoctrinate themselves. It couldn’t be easier! Just make sure that any rational thinkers get vilified; and remember, the worst opposition you can have is a population that thinks for itself.
- Parental separation
It is critical that you get kids to hate their parents. I cannot stress this enough; any children that listen to their parents will become a future problem for you if their parents aren’t already indoctrinated. The best way to do this is to create enough economic hardship that both parents have to work, and a public education system where the children spend far more time under your supervision than theirs. (See those sections as well! Multiple birds with one stone!) And remember, generational knowledge is a thing, but so is generational trauma; feel free to promote family violence once the population is deemed accepting to that.
I will say it a few times, it is critical that people not be able to effectively communicate with each other. If you can change language enough that two people talking using the same words will mean two different things to each, then you are winning. This is made easier if you can force people to only communicate online, where you can replace them with AI, or at the very least heavily restrict their ability to read body language. If short on ideas, find a way to promise this for their safety. And remember, if anyone understands what you’re saying, you just have to say “that’s not what I meant”, and call them whatever boogeyman appeals to the largest number of groups.
- Gender/race relations
You absolutely must make sure people of different genders and races do not get along. This actually ties into the previous section, if you don’t know how to do it subtly. And remember, you want to divide people into as many small groups as possible; as a government, it’s better for you to face 100 duck-sized rhinos one-at-a-time than one rhino-sized duck, especially when you can get the 99 other duck-sized rhinos to help you.
Your people must not believe in any power higher than you. Christianity? Got to go. Judaism? Got to go. Islam? Got to go. Of course, how you play this depends on which religion is popular and which is in vogue; it helps to take turns scapegoating them, both to keep them feeling oppressed, and to inflate the egos of the atheists. And remember, if there is no eternity, anything is permissible.
Science is just as much an art as anything else. The biggest difference is that it costs more to commission the results you want when you can’t find the right one. Most people are willing to set aside their moral objections for something around one million dollars; if not, pay them two. And if you control the public education system (especially the universities), then you can make sure the only science the students ever see is party approved. And remember, you need to control academic politics as well, so anyone questioning party approved science gets removed; you need to secure the future.
An armed populace is a threat to any government. The last thing you want is for people to be able to defend themselves; that’s what you’re for! This one may be the hardest, especially if your republic’s citizens are gun-loving freaks who think they deserve to be able to defend themselves. Fortunately, if you have a public education system, this can be erased after enough generations of brainwashing. Also, terrorists are extremely useful here; if you can spin banning self-defense into safety from terrorists, your population will be begging for you to take their guns after enough time! Not to mention, once the guns are out of the way hopes for any revolutionary victory will be all but destroyed. Nice! And remember, anything can be a weapon, even words, so once you’ve gotten people started on this path you need to keep up the pressure.
You might have heard the phrase, “in for a penny, in for a pound.” This must be your mantra; once you begin any of these steps, you must push them as far as they will go. Of course people will be ok with banning automatic rifles; you must get them to ban semi-automatic, and then lever-action; of course people will be ok with you tracking terrorists; you must make them ok with tracking everyone, and then wire-tapping, and eventually they will beg for you to politically manipulate them if you give enough sugar with it. And remember, with an entire population as your eyes and ears, you’ll be much better at seeing any anomalies.
- Economic disaster
Whoa, now, don’t be too eager for this one! This could lead to threats from rival nations if done poorly, and you need to soften the populace up before trying this. But a well-timed economic disaster will add fuel to the other already existing fires, and remember, an economic disaster can even make the population eat right out of your hand.
There will inevitably be a few people who fall through the cracks, and start to question your regime. Naturally, this is where eugenics comes in. Of course, the term “eugenics” is taboo after Nazi Germany, but the concept is very favorable for you. You want to make sure anyone who questions things is a) a social outcase, or b) arrested. And remember, we do not want free thinkers to become parents; if they do, then they need to be arrested and their children put (ideally) in your care through the system, or otherwise placed with the kind of people you want to be influencing their children.
- Public Education
Naturally, I saved the best for last. Public education is the lubricant that will keep everything else running smoothly. Children are dumb and impressionable. You need to keep them in your grasp as long as possible, especially if it keeps them away from their parents. This may take several generations, but with enough programming you can convince children of anything. And if you’re really skilled, you will convince enough children who aren’t in your public education system that they are the wrong ones. And remember, today’s students are tomorrow’s voters; you need to ensure they will vote for the right people (naturally meaning you, of course).
But it doesn’t end there! You need to take advantage of some of the other principles above; promote sexuality and violence among children! Naturally this will upset their parents, who will punish the children rather than you. And when the parents believe their child is misbehaving for no reason, and the children believe their parents are suffocating them, you have the perfect recipe to step in and become their surrogates. P.S. Make sure to promote those who hire teachers who agree with your vision; it’s especially helpful to hire young teachers fresh out of larger university, who have spent their entire lives in your care, as they will have almost certainly swallowed your message. And remember, if a few predators get in, you’ll be able to push the “think of the children” message even harder!
But there’s still more! With a public education system, you must ensure students learn pure academia, and not application. We’re going for IQ, and not g. Why? We want a population that believes itself to be superintelligent, while not understanding basic concepts. That way, they can be manipulated with obvious propaganda and believe it, without feeling dumb or misled. And remember, a society that thinks itself intelligent will become self-policing, and make your life much easier.
Well now, with these tools under your belt, the world doesn’t stand a chance! If you are currently only running for local elections, practice doublespeak and salesmanship. You want to get good at robbing your consituents while they beg for more. And remember, it’s easiest to ignore a voice from a crowd.