Congratulations, thanks to a fluke of history you’ve managed to take control of your own country. For the sake of this article, let’s call this country “Orwellia.” You and the other members of your Party have gained absolute power over Orwellia…for now. This power is intoxicating. It brings you wealth, women and a boosted ego. You must keep it at all costs. But to do so is not easy. You must manipulate many things and hurt many others to keep it. But that’s the cost of power. So here’s a set of instructions to follow so that you may maintain absolute power and the lifestyle it brings.
1. Personify your party into one flawless leader –
“A leader is a dealer in hope.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
If the people are to accept your Party, they must love it, but also fear it. This way they will fear questioning the Party but be willing to die for it. However, it’s very difficult to associate such a strong emotion like love with a faceless Party or make people accept the dichotomy of fear and love for the same thing. The solution is simple…give your party a face. Any face will do. Once you have a face, put your propaganda machine to work making this leader seem to be God. People need to believe in something…make sure this something is your leader. Let no man or God be higher than your leader in the eyes of the people. He (yes, HE) is never wrong, all good things come from him, and questioning his wisdom would be a tragic error. Hang his picture everywhere, write songs about him, and when he dies put his body on display for all to admire. If you’ve done your job, everyone will love this man more than their own father. Then the commoners will accept, and even defend, whatever you do, so long as you’re doing it in the name of the leader.
2. Be sure only like-minded people can attain higher education and join your ruling party –
“The universities are available only to those who share my revolutionary beliefs.” – Fidel Castro
When your party becomes big enough, it’s possible that some do-gooders may try to join in order to reform your party…or worse, form an opposing party. You must stop both. When interviewing potential members, if you encounter a person who says something like, “Overall I think the party is good, but I think there’s also a lot of problems that need to be addressed. I have a lot of new ideas that could really improve the party” dismiss this person immediately. Only accept members who say things like, “I love the party and everything it has done for me. They have all the answers and I humbly hope that I can strengthen its far-reaching wisdom.” By the same token, put questions on the entrance exam to universities that implicitly praise your Party and condemn opposing ideas. Make students explain why they love your party. If their sincerity is not great enough, they won’t be admitted to university, and thus…will never rise to a position that could threaten your rule.
3. Tightly control all information –
“By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.” –Adolf Hitler
If you have any hope of staying in power, you must have the support of the people. To do this you must make sure that all the information they get about you is positive. Censor and ban anything embarrassing or damaging to you. Meanwhile, in the media make sure that positive stories are shown constantly. Have your top leaders shown shaking hands with other foreign leaders (this gives them legitimacy). Show them in the countryside meeting with peasants (compassion). Show interviews with peasants demonstrating how your policies have improved their lives (you might have to use actors for this part). Meanwhile, show news of foreign countries in chaos and stories that highlight the stupidity and incompetence of foreign leaders. Whenever a commoner walks away from his TV or newspaper, he should feel warm feelings of security from having such strong capable leaders, and fortunate he doesn’t live in the abyss of the outside world.
4. Make the people believe that your government and the country are the same –
“Men love their country, not because it is great, but because it is their own.” -Seneca
People tend to have very strong feelings of patriotism toward their country. It is the country who made them who they are after all. Exploit this to earn their everlasting devotion. Make them believe that your Party and the country itself are the same thing. Many foreigners love the people of Orwellia but hate your Party. Convince your people that this is not possible. You are the country, the country is you. Write songs tying your Party to the country, highly publicize your Party’s ties to the traditional culture of Orwellia, and make connections to ancient heroes. If you’ve done your job, the people should feel that if a foreigner insults the Party, they’ve insulted the people themselves.
5. Harshly punish those who speak out against you –
“Death is the solution to all problems. No man – no problem.” –Joseph Stalin
Of course, even if you strictly follow all of these steps not all of the people will be fooled. If they are wise they’ll keep quiet, but if they don’t, you must make an example of them by bringing down the hammer. Simply arrest anyone who dares challenge you on vague charges like “harming the national interest” or “disrupting social stability.” Threaten people or make them lose their jobs. If anyone is so bold as to organize a movement against you, shoot them. Others who would consider speaking out against you will become terrified and keep their mouths shut.
6. Force children to recite phrases that support you and your policies enough times that they believe them for the rest of their life.
“A lie told often enough becomes truth.” – Vladimir Lenin.
If you say something enough, and make people repeat it (especially if you start when they’re children), they will believe it no matter how false or absurd it is. Whatever you want the people to believe, they will…if you say it enough. You can even convince them that 2+2=5. Put it in their textbooks, make them say it, and repeat again and again and again…and again. Mind-numbing repetition penetrates through the reasoning capability of even the most rational people. Before long the people will believe it and be willing to fight any foreigner who points out the absurdity of the claim.
7. Encourage nationalism to direct anger toward outside enemies –
“The art of leadership… consists in consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split up that attention.” -Adolf Hitler
There’s no way you can solve everyone’s problems. Being corrupt as you are, you probably can’t solve most people’s problems. Naturally this will make them angry. But you can’t let them be angry at you or they may revolt. So direct their anger toward a foreign enemy. Choose an enemy that has been hostile to you in history. Was it long ago in history? It doesn’t matter, choose a target and stick to it. Emphasize the atrocities this nation inflicted on your people and teach none of the good things they’ve done. Show that they are still a threat because they don’t teach about the bad things they did in history and they never apologized for them. It isn’t true, but that doesn’t matter.
It really doesn’t even need to be a single nation. Sometimes it’s best to say nearly the entire outside world is conspiring to destroy Orwellia. This way your people have no choice but to be resolute in supporting your government in fighting them. Then you can blame your many problems on these outside nations. Orwellians will wave the flag of your party while they decry the foreign enemies. When people feel they are being attacked, they huddle together in unity under the brave leader who promises to fight off the attackers. Never let your people feel as if they are secure or completely friendly with the outside world.
8. Begin a campaign of fear against your domestic rivals –
“Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” -Hermann Goering
One of the bad parts about having power is that there are always those who want to take it from you. This is especially true if you are running the country horribly. You must destroy these people before they have a chance to challenge your power. Begin a campaign that appears to be aimed at improving the country by ridding it of dangerous elements, when in fact it’s an attempt to crush your enemies. These dangerous elements may or may not actually exist but exaggerate them to the point that people suspect their own neighbors could be these dangerous elements.
Tell the masses to criticize and purge anyone who shows outward signs of disagreeing with you or your campaign. Also, attack anyone smart enough to know what your true intentions are. This includes doctors, teachers, professors, and academics in general. Shut down schools if you have to. The added benefit of this campaign is that it encourages the nationalism and rallying around your party that a war brings without actually going to war.
9. Re-write history
“Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” –George Orwell (1984)
The importance of having a positive history cannot be underestimated. If the people know of the horrible things you’ve done in the past, why would they trust you in the present? Fortunately, being in power means that you get to decide history, so in children’s history books exaggerate your party’s accomplishments and delete the failures and atrocities. Exaggerate or lie about foreign countries to make them seem hostile or incompetent compared to you. Don’t teach about the wide scale torture and murder that happened during your campaigns. This is the very thing you encourage your people to be angry about when foreigners do it, but the nationalism and ignorance that you mold into them will blind them to this hypocrisy.
10. Blame disorder or revolt on a domestic villain supported by foreign enemies –
“A good scapegoat is nearly as welcome as a solution to the problem” – Unknown
At some point, some of the people you’ve repressed may try to revolt. This is especially likely with minority groups whose culture you’ve alienated. But to keep power you must not let citizens think that others in Orwellia are unhappy or dissatisfied with your government. So blame this violence on a single scapegoat who has “tricked them into doing it.” Similar to rule #1, it’s simpler to direct blame toward one person so people have a face to hate. But of course it’s impossible for this one person to start a rebellion alone. So again, blame a foreign enemy. Let’s call them “The anti-Orwellia forces from the West.” Be sure to be ambiguous in this name. If you were to say “forces from France” then French might protest and disprove you. By saying “the West” it’s a non-specific target so nobody will bother to point out that these people don’t exist. Claim that these mysterious outside forces secretly fund and train your one scapegoat because their goal is to disrupt the harmony of Orwellia!
11. Strip away the people’s sense of individual self-worth
“Self confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.” -Dr. Samuel Johnson
If people have self-confidence or a sense of individual-worth they may feel empowered. Individual empowerment is a direct threat to you. People will inevitably start to form ideas in the back of their minds that what your Party does is wrong. You must make it so these people feel they are too stupid or inconsequential to give any validity to their own ideas. That way these ideas will be subconsciously stamped out before they can ever leave that small corner of the mind.
In schools, discourage students from speaking out opinions. They have the textbook and the teacher which will give them the correct opinions. Put them through military-like drills where you make them march and chant in synchronization with endless repetition while wearing identical clothes. Any deviation results in punishment. Finally, make them do regular self-criticisms where they must point out their own flaws to peers and their leaders. By punishing them for falling out of line and making them turn the spotlight on their own shortcomings, they’ll feel degenerated and crave conformity. They will even feel grateful to your great Party for setting the path for them.
There you have it…11 simple steps to holding power. Basically they can be summed up in two words: Fear and Ignorance. Keep the people afraid and ignorant of the truth and you will enjoy a long reign of power. Happy ruling!
(Stuck in a democracy? Try this simple guide to holding power…in a democracy)