A Demagogue's Survival Guide -
Always Keep the Slaves Rowing

By George F. Smith

Control over others is what you're all about. Never forget it, never admit it.
Since you're in politics, you're seeking legally coercive control, which in this country must be developed gradually and kept properly disguised. Here's how you do it:
Part I - The Basics
(1) First and foremost, promote the creed of altruism--the placing of others above self. Attack as selfish any notion that people exist for their own well-being. If people hold altruism as a moral ideal, they become pliable. They can be taxed and shoved around for the sake of others.
Altruism is as old as human life and about as controversial as breathing. Most people think of it as compassion, which is why it's the most potent weapon in your arsenal.
(2) To win elections, get the support you need by expanding the power of government. This creates dependents who vote.
The lion's share of the cost of government is paid for by a minority of citizens. Ignore this group. Instead, develop programs that favor the have-nots. When the haves complain, accuse them of hogging the windfall life's lottery bequeathed them. Always have some popular underclass at hand--preferably children--to point to as beneficiaries of your programs. This will remove your critics from any considerations of decency.
(3) Ignore the Constitution, except in self-defense--in which case interpret it in a manner consistent with your goals.
(4) In promoting your programs, take advantage of the press and the country's education establishment. Since you're building power for the sake of the people--altruism at work--they'll gladly crusade for your cause and smear or ignore your critics.
(5) Always say that your government intrusions increase liberty. It's the familiar "slavery is freedom" ploy and part of the continuing struggle to replace antiquated concepts. See, for example, the New Dealers' claims that they were saving capitalism. For Independence Day, get pop culture stars to go on national TV and sing praises to liberty--the enlightened liberty of government control.
In this manner, your programs will become law.
Part II - Holding onto power
Now comes your biggest challenge--managing the chaos you create.
(1) Golden Rule: Never blame your laws. See, for example, the California electricity crisis of 2001. Pass more laws to fix things.
(2) Just as you have automatic allies in the media and education, so you have an automatic scapegoat: business. When something goes wrong, make business pay.
Businesses work for their own profit, a practice altruism condemns. Though corporate CEOs try to persuade us of their altruistic motives by saying they work for their stockholders, or by distributing PR material replete with smiling minorities, they fool no one. Any profit-making entity is unholy, because all profit is flesh torn from the bodies of innocents. Seizing profits for collective purposes is crucial to your survival and will boost your moral reputation. Use the money to buy votes.
When it's unwise to attack business directly, assail the politicians that business supports. This way, you avoid embarrassing the many corporations that give to statist causes out of fear.
(3) Remember, too, that since most of your programs target specific groups, you always have class cards to play. Take advantage of each group's loudmouths, who are eager to castigate all opposition.
(4) In the event you achieve short-run success, promote it with taxpayer dollars and extol the virtue of government action. When the short-run collapses, blame business and demand more power and money to fix it.
(5) In the freer days of our history, it was necessary to manufacture crises. With today's level of government power, normal policies are sufficient. If you need a crisis, one will soon be forthcoming.
(6) As a matter of style, always be quick with a smile.
Though you're at least a multimillionaire, show the voters you're a regular guy at heart. When necessary, eat at fast food joints, go to church, play touch football with your family, take part in celebrity fundraisers--always, of course, with the media close by.
Answer all questions with a direct answer, except those not previously arranged. And don't merely affirm or deny--categorically affirm, unequivocally deny.
One final note
Voters have the habit of holding politicians responsible for sagging economies. Though this is a natural consequence of intervention, almost no one sees it that way. Pundits will blame you for bad meddling, not for meddling per se. The trick is to destroy capitalism while keeping the slaves rowing. If you don't do it, your opponent will.
The solution here is to intensify your assault on the criminal conduct of the private sector while proposing new legislation, being careful to say it's for the good of the country or some unimpeachable subset thereof. In a crisis, the people expect you to "do something," which for you means stepping up government action.

George F. Smith is a freelance writer with a special interest in liberty issues and screenwriting. A certified Toastmaster, he welcomes the opportunity to speak to your club or convention.

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