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How to be a successful dictator

Guide to becoming a successful dictator

1. Never lose your temper

when you get mad you do stupid things, such as killing the parents of a small child that will one day overthrow you. Instead stay calm and kill the entire family and also any witnesses and their families.

2. Executions are best carried out in private

Killing people in public inspires a blood lust in your peons which they may one day take out on you. Also it makes it easy for the good guys to stage a rescue and make you and your royal guards look like fools. Executions are best handled in a dungeon, perhaps with a few select witnesses to spread the word of what happens to traitors.

3. Never be seen as the bad guy

A successful dictator controls the media so that his or her image is always positive, at least among those you rule. The populace needs to love you, otherwise they will never volunteer to be human shields when your enemies attack in the name of all that is good and holy. This also means that anyone who has seen you do something bad must be killed, preferably anonymously.

4. Save the environment

Nothing breeds discontent like a hacking cough from the pollution spilling from your weapons factories. One popular technique for saving the environment is to ban diapers and require all children to be leashed and gagged. Then the parents can walk behind with a pooper scooper. This cuts down on noise pollution, trash and makes the parks safe again. It also demonstrates your commitment to family values.

5. Nepotism is bad

Your relatives are all idiots. If you make your idiot brother a general the soldiers will get slaughtered, the remainder will put his head on a pike and march to the capital for yours. Only have the best people in your administration. If you really must give someone a job to suppress dissent, have a special department that has no power and does nothing and from which people often have fatal accidents.

6. Never get caught in a lie

Getting caught in one lie can shift the entire focus of the economy from your unstoppable weapon to what you did with that intern and how many times. The easiest way to do this is to not speak, it makes you look wise (unless you are G. W. Bush) and no one can say you lied. In politics a lie of omission is not a lie.

7. Surround yourself with the best people

Don't just surround yourself with sniveling yes-men, actually have quality advisors that will tell you when you are doing something stupid, when the enemy is about to overrun your city or what the people really think about you. Most dictators fall because they are insulated from the truth and don't see the end coming.

8. Stay humble

When you lose your humility and begin building massive palaces for yourself you lose touch with the people and that engenders distrust. If the people don't trust you then they won't sacrifice themselves for you, but they will find someone to replace you.

9. Be prepared to sacrifice

It may become necessary to sacrifice one of your advisors to save yourself and your rule. You must be prepared to do so, but never do so unnecessarily, and always make sure everyone knows why it was necessary and how noble the person was for their sacrifice. Make it seem like they voluntarility sacrificed themselves to save the country. That keeps people from being upset, instead the person becomes a hero and the people respect you for having such noble members in your government. Don't let this threaten you, since it is what you want.

10. There is no unstoppable weapon

Try as you might, your engineers will always add some sort of failsafe to your weapon so that the good guys can disable it just in the nick of time. While frustrating, this is a good thing because it shows your engineers have some sense of morality. A completely amoral engineer would feel no qualms about setting off the weapon and killing you along with whomever stole his Streamline stapler.

11. There is no such thing as complete security

Even buried deep inside your mountain fortress with the lava moat and the giant space based death ray, you are not complete secure because, known only to one small child, there will be a secret back entrance. The solution to this is to put alarms on all of your sewer grates, air vents and sky lights. It also helps to kill any and all small children within walking distance of your base, and don't forget their families, who would turn against you for the death of their spawn.

12. Hedonism will be your downfall

All true dictators eventually give into the temptation of hedonism and throw lavish parties and bed hundreds of beautiful women, sometimes all at once. This is all fun, but eventually you get bored and need more. This spiral into absolute hedonism is what takes you away from the people and leads to your failure. Its a fun journey though, so when you start getting bored with ruling, take it and go out with a bang.

13. Don't put all your trust in technology

Sure, technology is great, but it can fail. The best solution is a balanced one where you use technology to its limit, but not beyond, you use people to their limits, but not beyond. If you have a high tech alarm system, someone will turn off the power, so its good to have some well trained guards around to then shoot anything that moves in the darkness.

Got one you think I should add? Let me know! Credit given where credit is deserved.
All content copyright David Bass unless explicitly stated otherwise