Six thousand baboons on horseback, half-starved and crazy-eyed. The smell of blood and horse manure. Those were the days. I could thunder across the plains in a long beard and these apes would piss their saddles. Not anymore. Tyrannies are a dull electronic affair now, no longer hard-fought, but creeping, established by stealth and subterfuge.
So sheathe you sword, stranger, you will not need it. You will see no blood, no plunder, no rape. You will see the images - lots of them - but that's all. The images are all that matter these days. They can be disseminated to baboons worldwide almost instantaneously, but usually they are touched-up in studio first, enhanced and then narrated by “experts”, political idols and other baboons of repute.
Your tyranny will not by like mine, stranger. It will be more complex. In my day, we adhered to simple, time-honored precepts from wiser men than ourselves. Me, I followed only one: men must be either pampered or crushed because they can get revenge for small injuries, but not grievous ones*.
I feared only the dagger and the phial of arsenic, and to protect myself from both I had a fortress of men that I maintained and – it follows – pampered.
You, stranger, you will fear extradition, infamy, courts of law and complicated jurisdictions. Your enemy will be the emboldened baboon with a keyboard. Your path will be riddled with sycophants, bureaucrats and do-gooders, and behind them will be an army of baboons afflicted with the sickness of this modern age: self-importance.
I pity you, stranger.
You want my advice? Drop it. It isn’t much fun anymore. Buy a yacht. Go sailing.
…mmm, but I see you’re determined.
Well, you have money, yes, but no territory and no man to rule over. You can’t conquer land these days, not successfully, not like we used to. Some territories can be bought, but these are intemperate, depopulated zones; you could rule there in peace, but I trust this does not interest a man such as yourself.
To rule in this day age – to really rule – there is only one territory of any significance. It holds within itself all territories: it is the baboon’s mind. You rule there, stranger, and you can control the baboon without force, like magic.
An old-timer like me cannot tell you how to do this, not in this modern age, but I can tell you what you must achieve, that has not changed and it never will.
It is very simple, stranger: YOU must tell the baboon who he is; you must never permit the baboon to discover this for himself.
*Machiavelli, The Prince