A Tale of Two Leaders

There once was a man driven by resentment, narcisism, and ambition.  This man had great rhetorical skill and the ability to attract enormous crowds of followers.  This man’s country was flung into an economic depression that impoverished the country’s people, leaving them uncertain and frightened.  The man saw an opportunity to seize power, and he began to do so.  At first, just by stirring up the populace, telling them that he, and only he, could save the country.  The people cheered.  They were glad to have a savior who promised them hope and change.

But this leader was not a good person, and he sought to seize control of the entire government.  He loaded the government with many of his acolytes.  He needed support for his plans.  Good good plans.  He did this by means of a law that would allow him to bypass the country’s Constitution and that would not require him to have a majority in the government’s legislative body.  Silly silly lawmakers.  They do not do what he wants.  He was not interested in running a democracy.  He wants to be a dictator.  Dictators are good and powerful.  Go, dictators, go!  This man had done this legally.  He was very clever.  He did not overtly seize power.  He played by the rules.  And the people cheered.  They were happy people who loved their leader and who thought he would fulfill their hopes and create great change.  The man did the latter.

He immediately began taking advantage of emergency decrees to strip power from the people, to control their communications, media, commerce, and to silence all criticism and opposition.  He could do this because he could bypass the Constitution and did not need anyone to agree with him.  He was unchecked by anyone, and his policies were made law.  He was a clever, savvy man.  And the people cheered.

Totalitarianism was good.  It meant that the people were taken care of and did not have to worry or even think anymore.  It was a happy happy time.  There was a blitz of propaganda, produced by the state and pasted all over the country’s newspapers and on walls and posts around the country’s cities.  The man loved the sound of his own voice, and he gave many many speeches.  His vision would save them.  The people pledged to be his servant.  And they cheered.  They were happy happy people.

The man wanted to have a vast army.  So he spoke words of duty, and he spoke words of patriotism.  And the young males in his country were happy happy and very proud to join this great leader’s army.  They were inspired by their great leader, and they wanted to do his bidding.  He was very inspirational.  And the people cheered.  A big army was a good thing to have.  The man was pleased, and he looked around for enemies to send his big big army to conquer.  It was a happy time.

The economy seemed to improve.  For a time.  But it was not long before the cost of supporting undesirable citizens was too too much.  We must correct this terrible problem, thought the man.  And he got an idea.  He would eliminate the people who were draining the country’s resources.  So he glanced out at his people, and he saw old people and disabled people and mentally impaired people.  These were not people who deserved to live, the man thought.  These were hardly people at all, really.  He would exterminate the non-people.  This is a good idea, a genius idea.  He was very very pleased with his plan. 

The man also thought that there was one race that was best of all the races in all the world.  Other people did not deserve the wealth they had.  They were bad, spoiled rich people to have so very very much.  They must be stopped.  The man was puzzled, and he thought and thought until he came up with a plan.  It was an extension of his economic policy aimed at eliminating unworthy non-people who were not contributing members of the state:  he would eliminate the bad race who had money they did not deserve.  And he would take their riches and their art and their property.  He would help the people by making his country great with many riches.  It would be good to have art and riches and property.  He was happy.

The man had to be very very careful.  He did not want to be found out, for he thought he would lose the people’s cheers.  He was very very careful.  He did not visit the places where the bad people were exterminated.  He did not record his role in this helpful economic and social weeding plan.  That would be bad bad.  The people would not cheer.  So he was secretive, and he carried out his plans very very quietly.  No one in the world knew what was happening.  So the people cheered.

The man took his army, and he fought and fought to take land and money and art from the people who did not deserve it.  Then he went to other, neighboring countries to take their land and their riches and their art.  He was very proud of his army and his brilliance.  He was wise and good.  But stupid people, unenlightened people who were not pragmatic did not understand that he was right.  These other people from other countries soon sent armies to stop the man.  They were very bad to do this, and the man fought back very hard.

One day, one of these bad bad enemy armies found one of the many places that the man was using to exterminate the non-people and the unworthy people who had so much money they did not deserve.  They did not understand the man’s plan because they were not enlightened and practical.  They soon got the word out that the man was killing many many millions of people in ovens or starving and working them to death.  The leaders of other countries were not happy to learn this.  They fought and fought the man, and they finally cornered him.  The man, for all his power and greatness, was a coward, and he killed himself.  The man was dead.  All the people of the free world cheered.

If this can happen once, it can happen again. 

Many decades later, there was another man.  This man was driven by resentment, narcisism, and ambition. This man also had great rhetorical skill and the ability to attract enormous crowds of followers. His country was flung into an economic decline that threatened to impoverish the country’s people, leaving them uncertain and frightened. The people could not find jobs.  They could not afford to keep their houses.  They were very scared.  The man saw an opportunity to seize power, and he began to do so. At first, just by stirring up the populace, telling them that he, and only he, could save the country. The people cheered. They were glad to have a savior who promised them hope and change. 

But this leader was not a good person, and he sought to seize control of the entire government. The man sought great power over the people.  He wanted to change the Constitution, but he had to content himself with subverting it.  He loaded the government with many many of his acolytes.  The acolytes are called czars, and they love the man and share his vision.  The czars are free to do as they please for only the man has power over them.  They will support and carry out his plans. Good good plans. He promised to redistribute the wealth so that the poor people would have more and the rich people would have less.  It would be very good.  The rich people were greedy greedy people who were bad.  Bad rich people, bad.  He was very clever. He did not overtly seize power. He played by the rules. And the people cheered. They were happy people who loved their leader and who thought he would fulfill their hopes and create great change.

He immediately began looking into emergency decrees to strip power from the people, to control their communications, media, private companies, healthcare,  and to silence all criticism and opposition. There was a happy happy law that allowed him to push his plans through the government by using a process that was not intended to be used the way he used it. But that does not matter.  He is playing by the rules.  He would like to make sure that he can listen to the people’s phone calls and read their emails.  He wants to find the bad people who do not love him and dare defy him.  He would find these people no matter what.  He would have the good good people tell him where the bad people were.  That would be a start.  He was a clever, savvy man. And the people cheered.

Totalitarianism Big government is good. It means that the people were taken care of and did not have to worry or even to think anymore. It was a happy happy time. The man planned to enlist the help the country’s national arts program to create a blitz of propaganda about his policies and the greatness of him.  He was very pleased with himself.  He sought to speak to the country’s little little children, to tell them of his greatness. The man loved the sound of his own voice, and he gave many many speeches. His vision would save them. The people pledged to be his servant.  And they cheered. They were happy happy people.

The man’s country already had the most powerful army in the world, but he wanted to have a vast civilian army, too.  So he spoke words of duty, and he spoke words of patriotism. And the young people in his country were happy happy and very proud to join this great leader’s army. They were inspired by their great leader, and they wanted to do his bidding. They wanted to volunteer for the man’s civilian army, and if someone did not want to volunteer, they would be required to do so for their own good.  The people did not have to think about what is best.  The man knew what was best for the people.  And the people cheered. A big civilian army was a good thing to have. The man was pleased, and he looked around for enemies to send his big big army to conquer. He saw the enemies sitting at their computers, loafing on their couches.  They were thinking thoughts he did not approve.  They dared to speak words that did not support him.  They are bad bad people.  The man did not approve.  He will stop them from doing this bad bad thing.  It was a happy time.

The economy was very very bad.  Where can I save lots of money?, puzzled the man.  Where oh where can cuts be made to help the man be great?  And he got an idea. He would eliminate the people who were draining the country’s resources. So he glanced out at his people, and he saw old people and disabled people and mentally impaired people. These were not people who deserved to live, the man thought. These people were costing 80% of the country’s healthcare budget.  That is not good.  That does not make sense; it is not pragmatic.  It must be stopped.  Why, asked the man, should we prolong someone’s life by only a year or by a matter of months?  We should not.  That is too expensive.  The people do not deserve to live longer because they are a terrible burden on the state.  Terrible.  He would exterminate the terminally and chronically ill and also the elderly.  This is a good idea, a genius idea. He was very very pleased with his plan.

The man had to be very very careful. He did not want to be found out, for he thought he would lose the people’s cheers. He was very very careful. He did not say that he would exterminate these people.  Saying that is wrong.   He would instead restrict healthcare to them.  They do not need treatment that would extend their lives for a year or only months, that was not worth the expense.  But he was a good and considerate man.  He would allow them to have pain pills while they waited to die.  The dying people would not be in pain.  This was good, and much much money would be saved.  So he was secretive, and he carried out his plans very very quietly. No one in the world knew what was happening. So the people cheered.

The man also thought that there was one race that was best of all the races in all the world. Other people did not deserve the wealth they had. They were bad, spoiled rich people to have so very very much. They must be stopped. The man was puzzled, and he thought and thought until he came up with a plan. It was an extension of his economic policy aimed at eliminating unworthy people who were not contributing members of the state: he would take the money from the bad race who had money they did not deserve. Working for money does not mean it is yours.  It is not.  The money is the people’s.  The other people’s.  And he would take their riches. The best race were once enslaved by the evil, rich race.  That must be punished and avenged.  The man thinks that the land’s supreme court did not go far enough to help the best race of all.  So he would help the best people of the best race by making his country great with many riches. It would be good to have the riches to give to the best race of all.  The best race in the land would also get the best jobs and the best care.  The best race deserved great wealth and benefits and comfort.  The other race, the bad race, did not.  That race deserved to suffer.  He was very very happy.  And the people cheered.

The rest of this man’s story has not yet been written.

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