The Secret to Absolute Power

I notice most of the problems held up by people who talk about ‘social justice’ tend to be either very subjective and nebulous (i.e. equality, racism, sexism, any form of ‘phobia’) or insanely complex with no clear end goal (i.e. ‘income inequality’ and ‘climate change’). It’s either an inner disposition and hence impossible to either check or affect with any kind of reliability (especially when you factor in ‘unconscious bias’), or something too complicated or vague to even know what you’re trying to achieve.

I suspect this is intentional. You see, the only reason people accept anyone as a leader is that they expect him to solve a problem. In the ancient world, tyrants achieved power because they promised to protect the people, the social order, tradition, and so on. Even in street gangs and organized crime, the leader is not the toughest, strongest, or meanest; he’s the one who can get things done and who the others rely on to look out for their interests. The modern dictatorships all arose to solve problems: the communist dictators to impose ‘social justice,’ and the fascist dictators to protect against the communists (and to impose social justice). Leaders are always essentially problem solvers, whom people follow because they think this person or this group of people knows how to solve a certain set of problems they need solved. They have power to the extent that the problem remains and people remain convinced they can solve it.

So, if you can convince someone that you can solve an unsolvable problem, you effectively have an infinite supply of power. As long as people remain convinced that the problem is important, that it can be solved, and that you know how to solve it, there is quite literally no end to what they’ll let you do. Because, in truth, it can’t be solved, you’ll always have a justification handy for anything you care to do. Also, because it can’t be solved, you’ll never lack for ‘victims’ to parade before your supporters to remind them why it’s so important to solve it. Because you’ll never lack for victims, you’ll never lack for villains, all the more so because, since your promise is, in fact, impossible, you’re sure to have someone trying to point that out. Then all you need is a semi-plausible motivation for why he wouldn’t want the problem solved and you have your villain. This has the added benefit of giving you an excuse why the problem isn’t being solved (because the villains are preventing you) and protects against any doubts on the part of your supporters that perhaps you’re going too far.

That’s the secret to absolute power: find an unsolvable problem and convince people that you can solve it.

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