Rich Tater here once again, this time with a screen-ful of emails from would-be disciples. And yes, they all have problems -- human rights this, human rights that, the ICC, no call backs from the most recent corrupt UN official, Western intervention, etc, etc. Here's one that I thought was interesting: 'Dear Excellency, I have been in power for a year now and the leaders of my country's religious establishment won't cooperate with me; they're too powerful to eliminate and I need their support to consolidate my rule. Any advice? -- Commandante X.'
Obviously this guy hasn't read my book. If I were him, here's what I'd do.
I would try undermining the religious establishment in an attempt to win them to your side. So they're not willing to support your repressive regime? Well then go ahead and lead a religious revival. Throw money at some kooks, encourage their fervor, and sit back and watch a splinter movement take hold. Soon they will be posting YouTube videos proclaiming the end of the world, devastating wars and famines, or taking credit for predicting the calamity of the week.
You know what happens next? The entrenched religious establishment will get frightened and then reach an accommodation with you. That's the time to compromise or co-opt them, maybe with a bit of public demagoguery, a la Vladimir Putin, who recently said that the Orthodox Church should have more control over Russian life. Now that's something any self-respecting preistly establishment wants to hear. And it will make them love and support you.
It's just that sometimes they might need a little prodding from the fringe. So get those prophesies going, young dictators, build a splinter movement of kooks and crazies, and use them to get the believers on your side.