Congratulations future authoritarian, you have taken the first step in initiating oppression protocol and securing lasting dominion. By using the Oppressor’s Handbook you will position yourself and your organization to implement powerful oppression tools over the population you control until they are quite content serving you without any measure of animosity. These directives are only guidelines for your journey and should not be considered the definitive source of establishing authoritarian regimes but it is nonetheless a great starting point.
New technologies, toys, and substances have allowed those seeking power to maintain it with so much ease that having an ever-present police body or using constant and invasive direct physical violence is no longer the staple oppressive instrument. Still we must keep the boots shined and the batons ready for whenever the more adaptive methods begin to falter. The modern subject gives up his time, life, and mind willingly allowing us such graceful duplicitous maneuvering.
As research is conducted the Oppressor’s Handbook will be updated and refined to include new measures of deception and domination.
Directive 1: Fulfill the Basic Needs
The very first thing that must be achieved, assuming you are just beginning to build an empire, is the production and distribution of the basic needs of your people. Food, water, and shelter are very important and the more you can provide the better.
Pesticides, genetic engineering, and fallacious regulatory agencies should be used to expand the scope of food and water that can be provided and aid in the legitimization of substances that can cure hunger but add little nutritional value to your subjects. People rarely inquire into the origin of their food when they can enjoy the ease of accessing it. A steady supply of food and water will greatly help you at the outset as people find nebulous political rhetoric and social programming difficult to absorb while they starve to death.
Shelter is easy to erect with cheap labor and materials especially if you use illegal labor. The best way to keep people in line is to control their needs. You cannot control their needs until you can provide them, once provided it is necessary to push out all forms of self reliance as quickly as possible to keep them beholden to you.
In the West most land is privatized allowing for you to easily control the means of production and distribution to keep a stranglehold on the necessities. Once the vast majority of food and water comes from companies under your influence you will have control over the basic needs.
Directive 2: Initiate Political Propaganda and Create Enemies
Lesson for implementation: Use the fear of foreign threats to unite people. Continue to create ghost threats that no one person or small group of people could possibly stand against using any means necessary. Welcome to statehood.
Political Propaganda is so varied that it won’t do you much good to simply read, “Initiate political propaganda.” First there must be a reason for the people to enter into statehood, an insidious enemy.
The trick is to get people to feel a part of something greater, something that in actuality does not truly exist except in the minds of those you seek to manipulate. Once they gravitate toward this ephemeral idea of a nation or country you can reinforce it through various means. National Anthems, parades, colorful flags and symbols, or the occasional benevolent welfare program hiding the intention to eliminate self reliance all contribute to the economy of illusions. Once the nation is a firm and irrevocable idea in people’s minds they can then be socially motioned to support it; i.e. taxes. Taxes will provide you with much of your revenue to continue to elevate and expand your power over them.
The foundation of a state also does one very important thing… it legitimizes a monopoly on violence by central governing bodies to protect its citizens. This is important as you slowly sanctify and integrate this force into everyday life. Start with soldiers, then train police bodies to protect people from domestic threats. Always remember that ultimately, you are the only domestic threat, the one that brings the sword should there be dissent.
Directive 3: Standardize and Regiment Public Education
Lesson for implementation: Create the notions of fairness, opportunity, and individuality when looking for support and investment in education but then establish customs and techniques for building a loyal and obedient work force unaware of its exploitation. The goal is not to do much in the ways of educating but to do great things in the ways of molding children into ideal citizens of your state.
You may be wandering when we get to the jackbooted thug part, well, that isn’t quite as pressing as having an excellent state sponsored indoctrination program built under the pretense of giving a “solid education and opportunity to all children regardless of their circumstances.” Remember to have your press agent say something similar to this phrase as this is the brunt of what you want people to believe about their children’s future. Many parents will be coming out of public education none the wiser about what it really is anyway so fear not, the thugs can wait.
Many indoctrination tactics exist but one tried and true method is to start with the young and deify your nation, its founders, and the blessing of being able to live in it. After 15 years or so of this persistent rhetoric and limitless force to ensure its reverence most children will grow into patriotic or subservient beings fit for your uses. This indoctrination is so moving and effective that for the rest of many people’s lives the pressures put on them by friends and family also subjected to these methods will be so great that they stand to ignite upset and even hatred from their peers for not worshiping the state and all of its practices.
What you want is to make culture tied to the idea of the state and thus your government. People will erroneously attribute their cultural values and customs to your state as opposed to what they genuinely like to do as people. This is awe inspiring control, it is far easier to have each citizen as a walking propaganda hub with their personal identity tied to notions of patriotism and nationalism so that you do not always need direct and invasive propaganda tools; the people are their own propaganda.
Directive 4: Recruit Jackbooted Thugs
You’ve been anticipating it, here it is. Get yourself some well paid and well trained jackbooted thugs. Naturally, calling them this will implant in the public lexicon a combative perception. Let us call them, police. Police will be your domestic soldiers.
A very important step is to start out with the community model. This model promotes a friendly and jovial policeman walking beats and getting to know his fellow city dwellers to aid them. It is important to use this model at the outset because beginning with the final stage of police development can cause grievous harm to your fluidity of control. Starting out gently allows for gradual transformation into the warrior police we have to today.
Warrior police are the final stage of police development and feature military grade training, weapons, and tactics. In effect, these are the vanguard against all forms of civil dissent if all other directives fail to deliver docile laborers to your cause. Military police as we’ll call them are indoctrinated into believing most people are causing some manner of trouble or deserve some measure of punishment for no apparent reason. The reason is apparent for you, fear needs to be felt at all times from either fellow citizens or police.
Be careful, the notion of public service guarantees that some will enlist to actually promote the community, these must be dealt with using more than deceitful propaganda by higher ups, these types require incentives to keep quiet and submissive. Often quotas will be used to give the illusion of controlling crime often agitated by the very same policies used to prevent it. Using asinine enforcement requirements ensures that police can be measured and thus reprimanded if failing to perform their duty. In this manner, ridiculous policies used to merely brandish overwhelming force corner the ones looking to protect people into performing the policies they have grown to despise. In the end they become despised by the people they seek to protect and cultivate a reciprocal resentment; perfect.
Warning, it is suspected that many police feel they are doing harm and seek a way to vent these frustrations, some even turn in their fellow officers for misconduct forcing our courts to punish them in a symbolic manner. This can cause animosity in people and so must be prevented.
Directive 5: Reinforce the Castle Walls, Erect a Media Superstructure
This directive is simple enough to understand but a considerable amount of capital is required to support it. Once a media superstructure is erected mass media will cover issues in alignment with your governance. Provide incentives for smaller outlets to cover stories supporting your glorious state or topple them. By now you should have a powerful hold over your people’s minds.
This directive used in conjunction with the previous directives will create a mass stranglehold over most dissenting opinions and movements. Not only can you attack them all at once through the media but you can ignore them completely giving them little attention until they naturally disintegrate.
The final stages of news media exhibit completely and blatantly false information including skewed statistics, slanted pundits, ignorant and malleable viewership, and nearly complete control over the public lexicon. They cannot talk about what they do not know about, especially useful is the illusion that the media is the people’s watchdog. Operating under this belief most will never consider the possibility they are told lies.
Directive 6: Find a Real Enemy, Start a Real War, Don’t Stop
Lesson for Implementation: The best way to keep people occupied is to enter into large scale combat. Expand the military-industrial complex and provide jobs in the form of soldiers and manufacturers. Constant enemies rising from the ashes we create ensure a steady supply of combatants to keep the legitimacy of state power.
The more inquisitive citizens may wonder why such an expansive state and government are necessary. Show them the necessity, by stirring up trouble in other regions of the world and inciting paramilitant hostilities. As you destroy enemies with your military hegemony and superior technology most of the public will feel a sense of security and attachment to the mega power they can claim to be a part of in their daily life. This supports Directive 2 and 3 simultaneously.
Be careful not to overextend your reach as inflation, expenses, and deficit spending can eat through economic stability and create tension with the public.
Directive 7: The Illusion of Choice
When authoritarian regimes were in their infancy in the modern era they often felt that destroying or ostracizing opposition would establish a firm unquestionable hold over the population and indeed it did… for a while.
Eventually people with grievances see no other enemy than the single party in power. This concentrates political upheaval and hostility at one party, your party. By positioning two parties correctly you can accomplish a few absolutely necessary goals all at once.
First, you give people an illusory choice about directing their nation’s politics. In reality your organization directs everything. Second, people will attribute their grievances to the party in power and change their affiliations the next voting season in a ludicrous attempt to make things for the better. Third, it protects the real political authority by casting it in the background while the two false parties squabble over non-issues all the while people continue to pay taxes, continue to send their children to fight needless wars, and continue to remain dormant despite the fact that they overwhelmingly outnumber your military police. You however, can rest easily.
Directive 8: Ready the Circus
Whether its sports, shopping, entertainment, or your own news agencies people need diversions from their lives. If they are given time to acknowledge the massive economic disparity and permeation of civil injustices allowed under your reign they will begin to pull away from your regime. This cannot be allowed to happen.
Subsidize movies, games, resorts, stadiums, television channels, internet services, and of course the electricity needed to operate them. Keep a steady supply of alcohol and drugs available to them. Create fake anti-drug programs designed to crack down on dangerous social elements but allow rampant abuse of OTC and prescription drugs. Never, under any circumstances, deprive people of drugs and alcohol.
Directive 9: Repeat or Monitor Directives 1-8
Lesson for Implementation: This is it, once these directives are met simply continue to expand power and manipulate thinking to the point it is difficult to even conceive a lifestyle other than one you have given them. Once vocabulary is reduced to monotonous and vapid phrases that are supposed to help people make sense of life your work is complete.
Be ever vigilant to maintain your control but rest easy that the great majority of people will live their lives quietly, unquestioning, and in service to you.
When discourse is reduced to things as simple as, “work hard and pay taxes” you have won. When people cannot see any greater purpose or function than to be a servant of the state you create they will defend their programmatic living for you. They will not wish to part with the idea that there is no greater purpose as it will call into question everything they have ever done, marginalizing their existence. Even for those who resist their social programming the trials of going on without the support of loved ones and peers will cause psychological duress and they will succumb… eventually.