Here’s the post by post breakdown of the Beginners Guide to Taking Over the World series. No doubt you didn’t really enjoy it first time round because it was very long winded. If you did enjoy it you’ll be glad to know that I’ll be regurgitating another piece of creative writing from uni in digest form starting later this week – the Self Help Guide to Writing Self Help Books.
The beginners Guide to Taking over the World
Appendix B – List of insignificant countries (or landmasses)
- New Zealand
- American Samoa
- Equatorial Guinea
- Christmas Islands
- Norfolk Island
- Democratic Republic of Congo
When things go wrong
Responding to a crisis as a leader is a three-step process. You need to blame shift, punish and move on, and you need to do it fast. As a ruler you need to maintain the appearance of infallibility. To do this you always need to have a scapegoat handy, preferably a willing, dedicated scapegoat, preferably a goat. Appoint a goat as your undersecretary and whenever anything goes wrong you can have a ritual goat sacrifice, hire a new goat and get back to the business of running your empire. It’s always a good idea to hire a mute goat, you don’t want them bleating out all your secrets in a bid to get their head off the chopping block. That way forging written confessions is easy. The goat can’t verify anything, and you’re in the clear.
If crises are occurring too regularly it may be that you aren’t delegating enough, be prepared to let go of a little control, it will make blame shifting easier in the long run, and if an underling makes a grab for too much power you can easily crush them using the blame shift, punish and move on method.
So, you’ve conquered all, you’re at the pinnacle of human civilisation. You’ve erected statues to honour your achievements. You’ve named cities after yourself. Rock stars make an effort to perform at your charity bashes, for free. What do you do now? It’s like buying a birthday present for a man who has everything, you spend ages agonising about what to get him and then you capitulate and buy him something that he’s already got lots of, like hankies. When it comes to taking over the world your options are much the same, you can, if the thought grabs you, try to take over other planets, stake your claim there, try to be the human master of the universe. Or you can give in to the one great truth. Everyone, sooner or later, dies. So spend the rest of your life trying to come to terms with that. No matter how much you achieve your going to die, and you can’t take it with you. Now if you’re anything like Attila the Hun, you’re going to want to eat your children because they sure don’t deserve your empire, but lets face it, no one deserves your empire. My advice is, write a book about how you managed to achieve what you achieved, sell everything and go and live in a cave somewhere as a hermit. Or try to return to normal life in normal society and when people come running up to you for autographs be polite and sign them, it doesn’t take too much effort, and who knows, maybe one day they’ll be the ruler of the world and you’ll need a favour.
Sooner or later, as your empire expands, and your threats of global extinction begin to reach the wrong ears, you will face some form of opposition to your vision statement. This opposition is likely to come up at the most inopportune moment so it is a good idea to prepare for it early.
The universally recognised quick-fix method for combating opposition is to blackmail your opponent. If blackmail fails you should blackmail your opponents enemies into attacking your mutual adversary.
The problem with blackmail is that you need to have something over your opponent. The best way to get dirt on your opponent is to throw mud at them. You would naturally think that I’m speaking figuratively, not literally. But no, in this case, literally might actually work. A leader with dirt on their clothes is obviously not fit to be governing a country. The best way to achieve this sullying of your foe’s image, figuratively and literally, is to invite all the world leaders to a barbeque at your new palace. At some point during the barbeque you should have your clown goons interrupt proceedings with some apparently spontaneous mudslinging. Have a cameraman on hand to capture the foreign dignitaries with mud all over their best suits. You now have the dirt on all your potential opposition. This should prevent anything other than a token effort on your future opponents behalf.
Where to next?
The ball is truly in your court, your opponents are subdued, your army is trained up, and your people love you. What is your next move going to be? You need to expand the only way upwards is outwards. If you want to become the next global authority you need to increase your grip on the globe.
The key to successful expansion is to do it incrementally. There’s an old fable about a farmer who very slowly increases the size of his paddock by moving the fence posts, no one notices, and eventually the kings castle is inside the farmers paddock and he now owns the kingdom. The moral to that story should be quite clear. The application should also be clear. You don’t want to conquest in leaps and bounds, that creates ripples and the other international parties like everything to sail very smoothly.
I’m also reminded about that story about frogs on the stove, when you put a frog in a saucepan of room temperature water on a stovetop and turn the stove on the frog doesn’t notice the water heating up and eventually expires because it is too hot.* If however you put a frog in hot water he tries to make his escape and at that point if you want cooked frog you have to hit him with your wooden spoon, at least that’s what I imagine you do, I’d never do that to a poor frog. Unless it was a Freddo and for some reason I wanted melted chocolate.
Anyway the meaning to be found amidst all that rambling is that your best bet is to take small steps, slowly moving up in the world. If you started with Tasmania, your next move might be to take New Zealand. Then Samoa, Fiji, the list goes on, there are plenty of small island nations to take over before you move onto the continental mainland. Sooner or later, everyone who wants to take over the world has to invade Poland, it’s like a rule, or a tradition, it’s not worth breaking traditions over trifling matters like logistics so you should include Poland in your schedule somewhere.
*One wonders what would happen if room temperature was the temperature at which water boils, if the frog instinctively jumps out of the water, does he still die – is it a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire? Who knows.
Winning over the masses
The international community is taking you seriously. You have a name. Now it’s time to turn your eye to the local community. If history has taught us anything it’s that if the local community isn’t behind you then you’re not going anywhere fast.
The Roman Emperors of old got the public on side by throwing huge festivals that ran for months. Your empire isn’t that large yet, but that’s something to consider in the future. However, calling public holidays, particularly in Australia, is one way to get the public on side very quickly.
Other, less cost effective options include canceling of debts owed, tax cuts, and other options that are equally likely to leave you in financial trouble down the track. No, you want your solution to cost you as little as possible.
It’s no secret that a smiling population is a happy population. I would suggest that the best way to create a happy population, tighten your grip on your society and further your plot to take over the world in one swoop would be to hire a large army of mercenaries and dress them as clowns. Your clown goons patrolling the streets will bring happiness to the masses, prevent crime and later help you in your bid to expand your empire. This street time is invaluable experience for a soldier. Australia’s involvement in several peacekeeping exercises in the Oceanic region has simply been an opportunity to have other nations provide the training for our troops. That’s why the government doesn’t step in sooner, or preemptively, as the US, who believe that their armed forces are already up to scratch, did in Iraq.*
It may also be a good idea to teach your clowns a few card tricks or jokes to please the kiddies. Happy kids make happy parents. The Clown Goon army’s guns should also be disguised, but not in a way that encourages children to play with them. Broccoli shaped gun covers should be standard issue.
*In fact the US army are so well trained, and keen to do battle that they often make the mistake of shooting each other during conflict, unaware that in conflict they are using “live” ammunition as opposed to the “dead” ammunition they use in training exercises, perhaps it is possible to train too much after all.
Sink or Swim
Now you’ve got your own little piece of land, the start of your empire, you’re ready to start out on a campaign of conquest that will hopefully eventually take you to the very pinnacle of humanity. The next step is the important one. This is the point at which you need to decide whether you want to continue in your quest for power.
So once you’ve weighed up the pros and cons and decided to continue in your quest it’s on to bigger and better things, there’s no pulling out now. The best, quickest and most cost effective way to establish yourself as a power to be taken seriously on the global stage can be summed up in two words – NUCLEAR ARMAMENT. That’s right. Surplus nukes shouldn’t be to hard to purchase with the current political stigma attached to owning them. Nations are being forced to disarm and they’d probably be more than happy to have you take them off their hands. You may have to tell a little white lie at this point and promise to dispose of them “thoughtfully and carefully,” that’s what you needed Tasmania for, obviously.
To be taken seriously at meetings of the United Nations Security Council you need to have demonstrated not only that you have nuclear capacity but also that you’re not afraid to use it. I suggest aiming one of your missiles squarely at somewhere that no one really cares about, and pressing the little red button. A good option might be parliament house in Canberra, Australia, that’ll get you noticed, but not necessarily loathed by those over at the UN. The Australian people will also love you for it. I mean nobody likes Canberra anyway. It’s a hole.
What’s in a name?
So now that the Security Council is ready to discuss you, you need a name that they can bandy about the boardroom table. Studies have shown that of the last group of major global super powers there has been a preference for a reference to some form of unity. Nominal unity is the best kind, you can be united in name and your nature really doesn’t matter. When was the last time the United Nations made a unanimous decision? For your purposes it doesn’t matter if it’s a complete misnomer. The use of the word united as an adjective, or sometimes a noun, or the past tense of a verb, has been over done in naming new countries. You have your United States, United Kingdom, and United Arab Emirates, there’s no real room, or need, for one more. I’d suggest going for the less popular, but equally successful “Union.” Since our example empire is in the south it might be worth including that in the name. Just to help people visualise it during discussions. You don’t want to be to visual as that might lead to the Americans having some notion of where it is, and their next step is to send in the bombers. So let’s just call it the Southern Union of the lesser Australasian states. That should be enough to send the US bombers to Austria and keep our country relatively safe.
Taking over the world, like everything else, requires careful planning. It is also important that you proverbially walk before you run, take baby steps, etc. The point is, that as your goal is quite big it’s important to get used to the conquest process on a smaller scale. Ideally this process should start in pre-school. If you’re the kind of child who took over the playground fort as often as you could you’re well on your way to taking over the world. If you weren’t that type of child then don’t worry, it’s not too late to start the process, it just may take some time getting used to it.
Practice, as they say, makes perfect. You should practice the conquest process as often as possible, in the work place, in the family, at play. If you aren’t usurping other people’s rightful authority over yourself then you just aren’t taking every opportunity available. Start today. When your boss next tells you to do something you have a couple of paths that you can choose that could help you on your way. You can do the job so well that your boss feels insecure resigns and hands you the reigns, you can delegate the job back to him, creating confusion about the power dynamic in your workplace or you can choose the violent conquest option and physically remove him from his office, I wouldn’t recommend this at such an early stage in the process, there’s a lot to be said for having the respect of a large group of people before you engage in any bloodshed, a large army also helps. There’s also the easy option of just complying with their wishes, but that’s not going to get you anywhere fast.
Taking the plunge
Anyway, when you feel that you are ready to move on to bigger and better conquests it is time to start looking for an area of land to lay claim to. If you’d been around more than 200 years ago this would have been a lot easier as there was a lot more “unclaimed” land around then. As most of today’s land is “claimed” you may have to resort to conquest. I would suggest, in the interest of not bringing any other already established super powers into the fray to early, that you start somewhere small and insignificant. Somewhere that no one really cares about, possibly an island state with a relatively small contribution to their nation’s day to day life.
If you’re an Australian, I suggest Tasmania. It’s small, it’s cold, it’s full of Tasmanians and nobody really cares that much about it. In terms of Australian culture the only thing it offers is a chance to see penguins, and lets face it, if you’ve seen one penguin, you’ve seen them all. If you’re not an Australian I’ve included a world map at appendix A, check your local region for an area that no one really likes. I’ve included a list of possible targets at Appendix B.
There are two traditional methods of conquest, conquests of arms, and conquests of alms. For your first endeavour I suggest the latter method. It’s less likely to raise the ire of larger, more powerful nations.
In the case of Tasmania, it shouldn’t cost you more than a couple of dollars anyway, so it’s well worth the investment.
So, Why would I want to rule the world anyway?
Well, a better question to ask might be – why wouldn’t you want to rule the world? That’s a question that’s quicker and easier to answer. There’s absolutely no reason not to want to rule the world, except maybe humility… and not being me. If you’re not me, I don’t really want you to rule the world, I don’t like competition.* I’m only writing this because I want people to understand where I’m coming from and how I achieved my success, preemptively. There are all sorts of reasons for wanting to take over the world, some of them selfish, some of them pure. Here’s a table of different reasons that fall into the two categories:
|A hunger for power||A misplaced desire to make the world a better place|
|A hunger for money, and power||A sense of frustration with the current system of governance and a belief that you truly could do better|
|A desire to rid the world of certain people types that offend your sensibilities, like ballet dancing Turks, or girls who wear mini-skirts and Ugh Boots.||This space left intentionally blank|
|To finally appease that attention-seeking tendency which had previously led to your dancing on tables at fancy restaurants, fully clothed dancing, during business meetings, get your mind out of the gutter.||This space left blank by mistake|
|Because it’s a cool thing to do and you’re usually pretty bored on Saturdays.||This space left blank due to a lack of authorial forethought.|
I’ve never really understood those books by millionaire businessmen explaining their success and how they got there – doesn’t that just create more competition, as we’ve seen from the Microsoft case study, competition is never healthy, monopolies are heaps better for business. Maybe those mega rich businessmen like that Virgin guy, Richard Branson, just put false information in their books to send people down the wrong track, that’s what I’d do, if ever I wrote a book about how I took over the world… I mean, not like this book, but one written after the fact. You know like a biography, probably entitled “I did it my way” or something like that.
Some historical figures worth noting
Possibly the most successful ruler never to have been immortalised by a major Hollywood blockbuster, Julius Caesar, the man whose surname became synonymous for king, began the ascent of the Roman empire, ending a period of civil war and beginning a process of expansion that would last for centuries.
The East’s answer to Julius Caesar, part of a long dynasty of Kahn rulers. Lead the Mongols on a path of terror and conquest that even Hitler would have been proud of.
Alexander the Great
Took the Greek civilisation to its highest point, famous for his nice curly hair and military prowess.
Attila the Hun
Lead one of the most successful attacks on the Roman Empire, eventually made peace with them and died of a nose hemorrhage (what kind of warrior dies of a nose hemorrhage, seriously, what a soft way to go, imagine him in a post-life meeting with the other famous military leaders, comparing notes over deaths, no poisonous asp, no sword thrust from behind, a nose hemorrhage, how very lame). Attila, or Hunny to his friends – he didn’t have many friends, is also famous for eating a couple of his sons. True story, if you don’t want a family dynasty that may be an option to consider.
The last great leader of the French, some say Napoleon is one of the greatest military minds ever to have lived. I differ, if he was a great military mind he would have chosen a different nation to lead. I mean he wasn’t even born French, he was born Italian, Italians make much better cannon fodder… I mean soldiers. Armies of Frenchmen are only ever going to fail in the long term. Napoleon’s eventual exile to Elba was inevitable the French were always going to fail. Rumour has it that while in transit to Elba he offered up possibly the world’s coolest palindrome “Able was I ere I saw Elba” he’s worth noting just for that.
Showed that it was still in vogue for dictators to have cities named after them. Also helped transform Russia from international also-rans into international heavyweights. He was instrumental in creating the Soviet Union, which became one of the big powers of the twentieth century.
Proved that it was possible to be taken seriously even with a stupid moustache. It helped that he had a large and powerful army behind him. Also showed that the fashions of evil tyrants become unpopular very quickly after their failure – you don’t see many “square button” moustaches around these days do you.
George W. Bush
Proved that being an international powerbroker did not, as previously believed, require any intelligence or leadership ability. It does help to have a powerful father and a paranoid populace to work with. But these are obstacles that can be overcome with enough hard work and a little luck. Also demonstrated that preemptive defense is the best form of attack.
A Modern Day Example – The Power of the Dollar
As time went by, and society progressed, it became apparent to those seeking unimaginable power that the killing of one’s enemies was something that was generally frowned upon. These would be power brokers were forced to look for new ways to demonstrate their dominance over the common man. They didn’t have to look far to find a common currency of power. In fact they only had to look to currency. Power is, as we’ve all no doubt heard by now, money.*
If we take for example, a company, who for the sake of this text I shall just call Microsoft, we see the archetypal modern day superpower. These days the best way to gain unlimited power without raising any significant opposition is to do it legally, corporately and globally.
The story of Microsoft is one that is both inspiring and interesting. Basically, Microsoft started out as a dream in the heads of two young university students who had nothing really going for them. No social skills, no interpersonal communication skills, they weren’t good looking, they were (probably) on the university chess team. In fact all they had going for them was intelligence and a desire to succeed. They saw a hole in the market that they believed they could fill and they filled it. So a worldwide corporate empire is not out of the reach of the ordinary man, or woman.
However, there are plenty of other books and websites for those of you who want to take over the world by making lots of money. This book deals more with the conquest based method of expansion. Even there we can learn something from Microsoft, every time any significant opposition, or competition as the business minded prefer to label it, Microsoft got rid of them. Admittedly the getting rid of usually involved buying the company at a fair price but the result was the same, the other company no longer existed. In this day and age you’re better off buying your enemies into submission.
*Therefore by syllogism – time is also power, power is a root of evil and power makes the world go round. In fact if you think of any sentence containing the word money, you can pretty much always replace it with the word power, for example, the ABBA song Money would be called Power and go something like this – power, power, power must be funny in a rich man’s world. Again by syllogism we see that if power “must be funny” then power is funny. Neat hey.
The rule of the church
Empires built around the strength of a nation are only half the story when it comes to effective global powers. For an empire to stretch across borders it needs to appeal to the hearts, nay the souls, of the larger global population. For the best example of an ideology driven empire you need look no further than the papal rule during the Crusades. The Crusades, or the Holy Wars, involved armies from many nations, often nations who had unresolved conflicts with one another, uniting under the common banner of the church and marching on the infidels. Nothing has the power to encourage violent passion in a man like a good bout of religious fervour. The guarantee by the church that any sins a man committed while on the Crusade would be forgiven was just an added bonus.
For many years the nations, who could justifiably claim to be the world powers of the time, had their political agenda dictated by the church. The church even tried to dictate the personal lives of monarchs, King Henry the 8th being a prime example.
Religion is still a powerful tool for world domination today. Unity that stretches across national borders is perhaps the most effective way to establish an empire. However, since God is probably not in your pocket as you seek to become a global leader you may have to look past religion for something to forge this unity.
The Aeroplane Flies High
As far as military technology went there were very few developments until the early 1900s. Weaponry until that time had developed along a theme rather than anything new being created. Chariots became tanks, bows and arrows became guns and swords gradually became obsolete. In the early 1900s, I’m not sure exactly when, and this isn’t the sort of book that requires copious amounts of research, the aeroplane was developed. Smart people quickly saw its potential as a piece of weaponry. Dropping things on your enemy from a great height has been a military tactic for generations. Being able to actually fly above the heads of your enemies had, until that moment, been simply a pipe dream, akin to pigs flying, except that the pigs were humans.
The aeroplane is a modern day miracle. Keeping thousands of tones (well maybe not thousands) suspended in the air is a triumph of modern day physics (who would have thought that grade 12 math would serve a purpose after all). It didn’t take long for the purity of this new invention to be soiled by someone with a thirst for power. Without planes World War 2 could still be going today. What a horrible thought.
The technology doesn’t stop there, scientists and military minds are now working on the theme of sending things very high up in the air, and either keeping them there, or having them crash down on thousands of innocent civilians. That’s how wars are won. Never mind the “collateral damage”* just blow up as much of the other side’s stuff as possible. The United States, at the time of writing, are pursuing the ultimate in aerospace technology, the Star Wars program, spaceships that blow up other people’s missiles. To think that all this was born because two brothers were sick of walking around and wanted to fly instead.
* Since the second Gulf war, otherwise known as the “liberation of the people of Iraq” Collateral Damage has been the term employed by the media to describe unexpected civilian casualties. Liberation too has undergone a process of redefinition. Liberation now means to leave the civilians in a worse state than when you found them, sometimes dead. “Liberation” and “Collateral Damage” go hand in hand.
A short history of World Domination
Before setting out on your quest to take over the world, it’s important to understand the history of world domination. There are those from the dusty pages of history whose examples we should follow as we seek to bring the world under our control, and those whose mistakes we should learn from.
The Early Years
A long time ago, in a planet not very far away, a planet so like our own that if you were to assume that it was our own you would in fact be correct, there lived many ancient civilisations. Civilisations that even thousands of years ago were locked in heated conflict, fighting for control. Admittedly their views of control were quite different to ours and involved the eradication of all opposition, but at heart their goal was the same.
Early historical manuscripts deal mainly with the areas in and around what is now known as the Middle East. The super powers of the day, Egypt, Babylon, Israel and Assyria along with others who came and went, traded blows for many hundreds of years. It would appear that success in these times was, as is the case today, largely attributed to superior weaponry and manpower. However, in some cases, particularly in the case of Israel, it appeared that having a deity in your corner added some clout to the claims of human kings. Kings David and Solomon certainly would not have achieved the military successes attributed to them without the help of a higher power.
Many dynasties were also created on the back of a strong economy, it is important not to underestimate the value of material wealth in attempting to establish oneself as a superpower.
The reigns of early global authorities are also marked by a propensity to erect large statues in honour of either the ruler of the day or to mark the empire’s achievements. In fact the recognised “seven wonders of the ancient world” more often than not were built in recognition of a world power. It seems silly that so much manpower was wasted on the construction of these wonders. It’s similar to the high-powered company executive spending excessive amounts on a new vehicle that will simply gather dust in a corporate car park. Only the seven wonders do have some sort of lasting appeal whereas the executive will no doubt replace their car every few years. Wasting resources is not the best way to go about taking over the world. Many rulers found their rule rapidly concluding after their “wonder” had been completed. It’s probably a good idea to keep your rule as low key as possible until you are sure there is no opposition. Erecting 33m tall bronze statues like the Colossus of Rhodes is a sure-fire way to get noticed by other would be rulers.
It is worth noting, that arguably the greatest empire the world has ever seen, the great empire of Rome, erected very few large monuments that did not serve some greater purpose. It helped Rome’s cause that generally the purpose of their constructed monoliths like the Colosseum was to advance the empire’s power. The Colosseum in particular was a great method of controlling the Roman populace. Provide entertainment to the masses and they’ll love you for it. That could almost be a quote from a famous Roman ruler, however since it hasn’t been recorded in any of the annals of history you’ll just have to take my word for it.
The Roman Empire was not based on an entertained, happy, and supportive populace alone. Their rule was made possible by those two pillars of empire building – superior weaponry and well trained, numerous, armed forces. These coupled, or tripled, with a strong economy were enough to enable an enduring campaign of world conquest.
Throughout history empires have risen, and fallen, on the strength of their emperor, or ruler. While weapons may be important, an army without a leader is like, well, an unorganised, leaderless army. Lacking direction and resolve.
The diagram below expresses the importance of a leader in any world conquest.
Are you tired of reading those so-called self-help books that leave you no better off than you were before you bought them, worse off in fact, for having spent the $19.95 on a book that promised the world but delivered nothing?
Have you been suckered into forking out your hard earned dollars for products that had attractive packaging only to find that the product inside fell apart after one use?
Are you sick of politicians taking advantage of you, making promises they can’t keep, all the while filling their pockets with public funds, money that should have been spent on hospitals and schools?
Do you want to do something about it?
Well here’s the book for you.
World domination is not easy. Many people have tried to rule the world. Few have succeeded. Those who succeed are immortalised in poems, songs and statues, revered by many and laughed at by none. Those who failed are despised, ridiculed and often end up dead, evil despots seldom live long lives.
Taking over the world is obviously not an easy task. There are snares that many would be world leaders have fallen into, hurdles that others have fallen at after strong starts and obstacles to overcome at every turn.
This is a seven step guide to any would be monarch, guaranteed to at least set you on the right path to glory and unimaginable power.
It’s a sad morning this morning. The last offering of “our daily Fred” until they release their next catalogue.
It’s been nice having a series of posts in the pipeline appearing once a day. I like that it makes me (or at least my post rate) look a little more prolific.
Coincidentally I’ve recently been putting all my eggs into one basket – or rather, all my documents onto one hard drive, and I came across a document I wrote some time ago… before I had a blog even… that I would like to share with you all. Piece by piece. I’ll be putting it up unedited – in the confidence that it’s as timeless as any mediocre self help book.
Starting with the next post. There’ll be 12 in total. Which will pad out my postings for the next week… or next 11 (today excluded) days to be precise. But who’s counting?