Build-a-Dictator Workshop

Here are a few steps toward a do-it-yourself dictatorship.

  • Get elected by appealing to the populace’s fears and prejudices, by scapegoating minorities and twisting facts.
  • Incite violence while decrying and exaggerating the violence perpetrated by his opponents.
  • Once in, close all borders, recall all diplomats, announce policy of “us first, and only us.”
  • Promote isolationism, hyperpatriotism, and nationalism, even when these jeopardize economic stability.
  • Discredit and shut out all public media (i.e., eliminate freedom of the press) and establish government-run media. Cut off avenues of free/open communication within the country and abroad.
  • Surround self with a cadre of unqualified favor-seekers who you can control, but consider expendable.
  • Manipulate and redefine words (propaganda) to emphasize that “truth” comes only from you and your cadre.
  • Rewrite history and law; reinterpret constitution to favor your takeover.
  • Cut taxes of your chosen elite.

Image making the rounds on social media 1/24/2017; multiple sources.

  • Shut down all arts and humanities outlets
  • End social programs that do not serve your power.
  • Abolish all governmental departments and organizations that do not serve your personal agenda, calling the eliminations “spending cuts.”
  • Take complete control of and practice censorship over all government agencies you don’t abolish.
  • Expand the military and give military powers to the police while making them accountable to you alone. Exempt military and law enforcement agencies from federal and state laws.
  • Purge intellectuals (deport, incarcerate, fire, blacklist) unless they swear loyalty to you.
  • Shut down funding for and access to public education.
  • Cut off all traditional international alliances – economic/trade, humanitarian, tourism, military – and build alliances with former adversaries, thus earning praise as a “peacemaker,” while your agenda is really to stamp out a scapegoated enemy through war.
  • Round up and deport all immigrants. Isolate minority groups and dissenters, take away their homes, property, votes. “Register” fringe groups and minorities.
  • Divide whatever is left of the country into “us” and “them.” Bestow and renew privileges to your “us” while denying “them” basic human rights.
  • Build new military-industrial complex which provides lots of new low-paying, low-benefit jobs. Absent foreign trade, unemployment numbers drop but domestic wages also fall; standard of living falls. Currency is devalued. Inflation explodes. Environment is raped and pillaged and exploited to build individual wealth of your elite.
  • Talk about yourself in glowing terms, and abut everyone else as obstacles or assets to your success.
  • Remind your citizenry often that you have the nuclear codes.