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The Militarized Society

In section 5.3 of the Dictator's Handbook we discuss the militarized society, forced conscription into the military, and the like. Eritrea is a great example of this in practice, and we call out President Efawerki for using the military as somewhat of an obligatory indentured service. Turns out, young men are pouring in droves over the border to escape the practice. Surprised? Continue reading "The Militarized Society"

Dick Move #5: Keep your Artists on a Tight Leash

The creative arts: love 'em.  Nothing better than taking the Missus downtown for some theater on a hot Friday evening.  There you can enjoy pieces like Top Goon: Diaries of a Little Dictator – written and performed by dissident Syrians mocking Basar Assad.  Wait, WTF?


 OK, change of plans.

Continue reading "Dick Move #5: Keep your Artists on a Tight Leash"

On Installing your Son

Chapter 13 of the Dictator's Handbook (Your Legacy) looks at the various ways your rule can come to an end, as well as the importance of making sure your legacy remains intact long after you're gone. Installing your son to continue your rule is a big part of that, if you can get away with it, and there are several clever ways of doing it, which we describe.

However our unspoken assumption is that your son is already an adult with some skills in government, management, and politics. Continue reading "On Installing your Son"

Dick Move #4: Distract, distract, distract

I'd like to thank Mr. Hugo Chavez today for his relentless support of this book, forum, and blog.  He makes it so easy I hardly even need to be here.


Got trouble brewing in the economy?  Got a restless population?  Want to drive home a popular-but-invented narrative about your nation's oppression by others and your own, dictatorial struggle to emancipate your people from this invisible-but-omnipotent enemy?  The solution is obvious. 

Continue reading "Dick Move #4: Distract, distract, distract"

The Dictator's Game

If you’re currently enjoying the Euro 2012 soccer championship, you probably aren’t thinking about the peculiar relationship football (as everyone but us Americans calls it) has had with dictators of every stripe over the years. Franco, Mussolini, and General Jorge Videla (in Argentina) are just a few authoritarians who profited from the successes of a club or national team; at the very least they identified with those successes during their time in power and used them for propaganda purposes. We’ve written about the concept of ‘bread and circuses’ in The Dictator’s Handbook as a technique for distracting and sedating the masses; the spectacle of international football is certainly one resource dictators have exploited time and again.

Continue reading "The Dictator's Game"

Syria and the Arab Tyrant Manual

Just discovered El Baghdadi, a blog by a gentleman in the UAE by the name of Iyad. He's been following the situation in Syria and has developed a handy flowchart for helping Bashar al Assad figure out his next move. It's really well done. Have a look for yourself. Hint: “Negotiate and strike a deal” are not one of the viable options. Are you surprised? If so, have another look at Chapter 8 of the Dictator's Handbook.

Iyad is also working on the Arab Tyrant's Manual which isn't too far off from our own book. The list of introductory tweets that spawned the idea are a hoot.

Dictators: we're on to you!

Lugo vs Chavez: the smackdown

When we were writing chapter one of the Dictator's Handbook, "Getting to Power," what happened to Paraguay's Fernando Lugo didn't figure into the list of ways we identified for taking power. What to call it? Insta-coup? Coup-Peachment? How about just plain, "unfair?"

In fact, Paraguay figures strongly into the Dictator's Handbook. But not recently. Continue reading "Lugo vs Chavez: the smackdown"

Dick Move #1: Internet and Telephony

You can save yourself lots of time and energy by ensuring all telecommunications happen through the state monopoly phone service.  Who cares that their equipment dates from the last decade and it takes a year to install a phone?  What's important is that you have total access to about any phone conversation or email account you need.  Why?  Here are some ideas: Continue reading "Dick Move #1: Internet and Telephony"