November 8, 2009

Most people think that running a dictatorship is as easy as hopping on one foot, that once you’ve reached out and grabbed the seat of power, you’re on easy street. No worries, no hassles, just the occasional revolution to clamp down on. And sure, at first, that’s what it is. When you initially seize power, there’s a lot of bloodshed and upheaval and no one really knows what to do, all headless chickens. Except you. You’re the one with the mission, the vision, the wide-eyed dream of a country controlled by you. And that dream is certainly enough to carry you to power. But is it enough to keep you there?

To be honest, no. Once you’re actually in power, you are suddenly  confronted with all these details not related to the mindless struggle for power you finally won. Big stuff like war, but also the small stuff, like how much to pay the executioner and where to build your new house. As much as you’d like to, you just can’t be everywhere at once.
Here is where an experienced autocrat like Your Deep and Delicious can help. The key to successfully maintaining your dictatorship (aside from brutal tyranny) is delegating responsibility. Of course, this is problematic. We dictators are a suspicious lot, always on guard against assassination, so it’s hard for us to make ourselves vulnerable and say: hey! I need some help.

But you needn’t worry about making yourself vulnerable. Delegating responsibility is not about asking for help. Not at all! On the contrary, it’s all about forcing others to do your bidding. Yay! Imposing your will on those around you. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? It should. After all, isn’t that the desire fuelling your mad quest for power?

There’s a lot of grunt work to be done in your totalitarian state and you definitely don’t want to do it. Do you really give a crap about when the garbage trucks will go round? Or who will inflict the senseless beatings so necessary for the smooth functioning of your state? Of course you don’t. That’s what you have underlings for. So use those underlings. Stop trying to do everything yourself. You’re working yourself into an early grave and who will make the life of the average citizen miserable if you’re not around?
The first step in properly delegating responsibility is a big one and you’ll need to do it yourself. It may be a little time-consuming, but you’ll thank yourself for it later. Draw up a list of everything that needs doing in your state. Include everything, even the really insignificant things that you think don’t matter. Trust me, they do. So your list should look something like this:

Start war

Stop revolution

Avoid assassination

Eliminate problem elements

Get groceries and cigarettes

Put out fires

Start fires

Turn water supply on

Turn water supply off

Mow the lawn

Remove snow

Remove trees

Rewrite school textbooks

I’m sure you get the idea. Once you’ve written your list, go through it and mark all the things that bore you to the point of banging your head against the wall. Write these down on a separate piece of paper. Go through the list again and pick out those items in which you have a passing interest. Again, write these down on a separate piece of paper. What is left on your original list should be those things that really matter to you, basically the reasons you’re a dictator. So you should have three list now that look something like this:
Kickass                                Ho hum                   Bo-ring
start war                                  start fires                    put out fires
stop revolution                      turn water off             turn water on
avoid assassination              remove trees               mow lawn
rewrite books                        get food                        remove snow
get cigs                                   eliminate problem elements


The kick-ass list contains all the things that you will personally attend to. All orders involving these things will come directly from you. Everyone involved in these projects will report back to you. These are the situations that you’re on top of, the fun things you love about dictating.

The ho-hum list contains all the things that you’ll be putting others in charge of. You’ll appoint people to be responsible for these things. They will take care of any situations that arise in the daily run of things without consulting you. However, these people are directly below you on the dictatorial food chain. They will report all action taken to you and keep you abreast of the situation. And of course, should you disapprove of the way things are being handled, you can give them orders about what to do next. Or take off their heads. Your choice.

But these people, your seconds-in-command, will be given adequate training before assuming their post and thus, they will know what the dictator would do and they will act in such a  fashion. They’ll be like your clones or something.

The booo-ring list contains all the things that you will never have to think about again. People will be put in charge of these things, but they will report to your seconds or your seconds’ seconds, but not to you. Never to you. You won’t even have to know that the people in charge of these things even exist. They will make sure all the boring stuff happens like it’s supposed to happen and if they don’t, your seconds will be responsible for disciplinary action.

And I know a lot of you dictators out there, like myself, have some serious trust and paranoia issues. “How can I just hand over any of my control?” you may be saying. “What if these people want to be dictator? I know everyone is out to get me. I need to keep my eye on everything.” Being a paranoid, wise and careful dictator, I have come up with the perfect solution. Actually, two solutions.

First, all your seconds should be those who have been with you from the start, the ones you took such care to instill with terror and adoration. They’re the ones whose loyalty you can be almost certain of. Of course, you can never be entirely certain that they won’t fuck you over, which brings us to the second solution.

An intricate network of spies and secret police. Both the head of your spy agency and the head of your secret police will work closely with you to ensure the security of your paranoid rule. You will be the first to know of any betrayals, of any seconds trying to seize even the tiniest bit of your limitless power. Using methods such as midnight arrests, secret video cameras and sudden, unexpected searches, your network of spies and police is sure to find out any would-be betrayers. And once they are discovered, you can have the pleasure of punishing them.

So, you see, not only does delegating responsibility lighten your workload, it enhances your pleasure in your dictatorial power by offering up problem elements to be removed. And that’s high on your kickass list. So try it. You’ll be surprised how much free time you’ll end up with.


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