The sophisticated despot minimizes brutality against his subjects while maximizing it against perceived threats to his turf. The key to this sophistication is the decay of community. Brutality is necessary only against the close-knit tribe or extended family where violence is necessary to destroy ties that have existed for centuries. This is why we must bomb Afghan wedding parties.
If a community is already fragmented, violence is no longer needed.
It is because of its fragmented community that the United States is the world’s most sophisticated democracy. We are so sophisticated that nobody realizes that they live in an increasingly authoritarian country. Every time a politician says “freedom”, you can hear the screws tightening in the background. America is achieving that elusive dream of absolute rule without coercion.
Our leaders began this process at the end of World War II when they created the nuclearized security state. We were a world power, and we quickly discovered that power thrives best in an atmosphere of pervasive fear. This is why it is essential that there be a constant, unseen threat to keep the public anxious and on edge. We have maintained this atmosphere by waving the bloody threats of communism, Black crime and terrorism.
It was a brilliant strategy. The proles were so busy looking for external threats, they never noticed the one from within. Best of all, these threats kept them in their houses, which deepened their sense of isolation.
Even as this decay set in, politicians, movies and the media celebrated the village as the shining torch of liberty as they sang paeans to the “values” of Main Street. The louder they sang, the faster these values turned to dust.
All the while, community continued to melt in the hot glow of the television screen and the computer monitor. Both encouraged a love of the trivial that fed the public’s growing political apathy. Every celebrity breakup shores up the power of the state. The drone enthralled by Bradgalina won’t care if his phone is tapped.
We must give our statesmen a clear playing field, uncluttered by troublesome citizen involvement. Our leaders must be free to sell paranoia as realism and dementia as policy. This is how you bring freedom to the world.