A Cat of Tindalos

A Cat of Tindalos

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Those who forget history...

We learn from history that self-made despotic rulers follow a standard pattern.
In order to gain power:
They exploit, consciously or unconsciously, a state of popular dissatisfaction with the existing regime or of hostility between different sections of the people.
They attack the existing regime violently and combine their appeal to discontent with unlimited promises (which, if successful, they fulfill only to a limited extent).
They claim that they want absolute power for only a short time (but “find” subsequently that the time to relinquish it never comes).
They excite popular sympathy by presenting the picture of a conspiracy against them and use this as a lever to gain a firmer hold at some crucial stage.
His promises are flat and hollow. Even if he could successfully implement his bullet pointed thin plans they would not accomplish the stated goals, and he knows it. In order to achieve his vision he will need to acquire more power.

Once they have gained power:
They soon begin to rid themselves of their chief helpers, “discovering” that those who brought about the new order have suddenly become traitors to it.
They suppress criticism on one pretext or another and punish anyone who mentions facts which, however true, are unfavorable to their policy.
They enlist religion on their side, if possible, or, if its leaders are not compliant, foster a new kind of religion subservient to their ends.
They spend public money lavishly on material works of a striking kind, in compensation for the freedom of spirit and thought of which they have robbed the public.
They manipulate the currency to make the economic position of the state appear better than it is in reality.
They ultimately make war on some other state as a means of diverting attention from internal conditions and allowing discontent to explode outward.
They use the rallying cry of patriotism as a means of riveting the chains of their personal authority more firmly on the people.
They expand the superstructure of the state while undermining its foundations—by breeding sycophants at the expense of self-respecting collaborators, by appealing to the popular taste for the grandiose and sensational instead of true values, and by fostering a romantic instead of a realistic view, thus ensuring the ultimate collapse, under their successors if not themselves, of what they have created

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