Here’s a quick guide to becoming a powerful dictator.

It’s been tried and tested over millennia.

The first thing to do is control the narrative.

If you control the narrative, you control anyone who believes it.

Fearful narratives are excellent because people don’t think straight when scared.

For example, the narrative that gets people to fight wars is that it is honorable to die protecting your family.

If you can’t scare people, try greed.

Next, we need obedience.

You can’t have people questioning orders.

Force subservience by creating arbitrary rules for no purpose.

Punish anyone who questions them harshly, and punish those who disobey them even more severely:

Take away their freedom.

Get them fired.

Freeze their bank accounts.

Ostracize them.

But don’t kill them, yet.

Everyone else must know how miserable they will be if they disobey.

Finally: dependence.

Control their sustenance. Control their beliefs.

The fewer people who can survive without you, the better.

Frequently change the arbitrary rules you created, and do so without warning.

U-Turns are not only acceptable but preferable.

Change the meaning of words until people begin to question their senses.

Get people to question things that have been true for generations.

Once everyone is confused and scared, they’ll avoid suffering by deferring to you for guidance about everything.

There you have it: your own autocracy.