Ruling the World

November 30, 2008
Congratulations, you’ve just taken over the world. While your meteoric rise is certainly enviable, you don’t have unlimited time to leave your mark on history; your tragic downfall may be just around the corner, and the opportunity to control the whole world doesn’t occur twice in a lifetime. You’ve made it into the history books already, but why settle? Why take half a chapter devoted to an “incompetent dictator” who failed to hold control for even a couple weeks? That is, of course, if you care. Whether you achieved your power by military control, peaceful opposition, or hanging chads on ballot slips, the future of this planet is a blank canvas on which you will paint your tyrannical rule in the blood of the innocent and tempera paint. With all previous systems of government abolished in favor your rule, many tasks must be seen to: media to control, nomenclature to devise, economies to create, and above all, people to oppress. Who could be blamed for needing a little extra help rewriting the policies of the entire world to center around yourself? That’s where this guide swoops in and rescues you from the bottomless pit of failure to the nearby ledge of total political power: this is a guide to help you decide just how best to control all the little citizens of your new world order.

Your first reaction may be to quickly amass a fortune before quickly establishing a democracy and slipping off into early retirement. This is wrong. You need to be in it for the long haul if you expect to die of something that isn’t incredibly painful and undignified at the hands of your former subjects. What you need to do is to throw them for a loop: establish a world government not only far more controllable, but far different than anything they’ve been ruled over with. Sure, who hasn’t seen a movie or read a book about just exactly the sort of government you will be setting up? Rest assured that people only remember the parts of movies that feature explosions, and that if resistance is to be encountered, it is easy to put down no matter how you control them, as long as you remain in control.

Despite the above reassurances, preventing an uprising in the first place is one of the more difficult obstacles you’ll face. If it happened once, what’s to stop it from happening again, to you, but this time the end result is rainbows and democracy instead of corruption and fun? The answer is to never let your people out of your sight. A totalitarian society is designed to do just that. While more work than other regimes, a totalitarian dictatorship is far more secure. What’s needed in totalitarianism is surveillance. If the rebellion starts to form in the private homes of the citizens, the solution is simple: make everywhere a public place. If they can’t find anywhere you can’t see them, they’ll either give up or get caught. Unfortunately, this is where the biggest problem with totalitarianism lies: you can’t just make an example of them in public, because then someone else will get the idea and before long it won’t matter how many cameras you have up because you’ll be summarily removed from power and replaced with a rainbow or something. The point is, if you’re looking for a low-risk way to be overlord, totalitarianism can deliver, but not much in the way of fun.

Luckily, there is a way to have fun. If you never wanted to do all the work associated with total dominance, you could always just declare yourself ruler, pass a few neat laws, and let everyone else do the bulk of the work while you go diving into pools of money. Nothing says you have to be liked; just being tolerated will do fine. At the helm of the entire planet, there are enough degrees of separation to keep you from coming face to face with your subjects all too often. You don’t necessarily have to micromanage your planet-wide empire as long as you have a trusted board of advisors. Feed them well and they’ll remain faithful to you; simply okay every piece of advice they give with only a cursory glance. This will ensure no pesky tasks like actually running the planet you took over can keep you away from doing what you enjoy most: squandering every resource for frivolous purposes. The best part is, if there is a rebellion, you won’t even know it’s going on; you’ll be too busy skydiving into a mountain of twinkies.

You aren’t necessarily limited to just those two extremes, however, and no matter what regime you select, you do have many other decisions to make regardless of your choice. Do you encourage technological development at as fast a pace as your enslaved scientists can muster, or do you hoard all the television sets for yourself while sending the general population back into the Stone Age? Do you let your people know they’re all under the same leader, or lead them to believe that sovereign states still exist, turning the Earth into one large game of Risk? There are no wrong answers to any question of ruling the world. Just make sure it’s you doing it, and no one else.

There you have it. Much like an author’s Magnum Opus, your regime over Earth will be your crowning achievement. It will be the way you will be remembered until the end of time, unless you’ve managed to foul this up. The time will most certainly come when you’re lying on your death bed, your planet-wide empire arrayed before you. Will it be a technologically overdeveloped police state? A primitive, tribal-based society straight from the pages of history textbooks? No matter the answer, as long as the death bed is solid gold, you’ll know that you, unlike any of those tactless peasants, crafted this Earth in your image. Just remember to pick a successor to avoid global thermonuclear war.

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