Ask Domesticat: revolutions

By popular demand (otherwise known as "five of you asked") it's Ask Domesticat - the advice column that is neither columnar nor containing any actual advice! [What is Ask Domesticat?]

Dear Domesticat:

I'm planning a revolution. Which is more desirable: anarcho-capitalism, anarcho-communism, rule by iron fist, or other?

Sign me….

Future Beloved Leader

Dear FBL,

I'm just wondering - can we call you "feeble" for short? "Future Beloved Leader" is such a mouthful, and quite frankly I'm not totally sold on this "beloved" thing just yet. I mean, what have you done for me lately? I realize that I'm probably just another of those bourgeois pigs whom you plan to crush under your stout Germanic bootheel after the Glorious Day of Liberation, but until the moment where my nose is actually making friends with your shoe leather occurs, I'm going to continue spreading my opinion as far as I can spew it.

Right. So, let's look at the ideas you've had.

Anarcho-capitalism. Are you forgetting that 'anarchy' implies a lack of rule? How can you be a "beloved leader" if you aren't actually, well, ruling? Did you neglect to think of this when you anointed yourself FBL? I'm thinking the lack of actual ruling would be a bit of a downer, so for your sake, let's cross this one out.

Anarcho-communism. Yawn. Come on, can't anyone come up with an original idea these days? The Russians tried out communism, and look where it got them! Look at poor old Lenin, for crying out loud! The guy works all his life to get his country just so, and how do they reward him? By sticking him in a glass case and leaving him on display until the next millennium!

In all seriousness, though, the communism part might be a good fit for you. This way, you get to put all your buddies in as Party leaders and get all the spoils, and it's those unimportant "other people" who have to do the dirty work for you. Choose Communism and you, as the BL, would never have to personally fight wars, strangle the economy, or build your own palaces ever again.

On the other hand, as a leader giving the impression of civility, you would be expected to put on a good show at the dinner table. Dancing with those gawky, awful First Ladies, being nice to the French, and occasionally putting on a good show come Olympics and treaty-signing times. It's really quite a bore.

That brings us to your final option: rule by iron fist. Of your provided choices, I must admit that I like this one best. None of this namby-pamby sharing wealth with the commoners. All serfs, all the time. Think of it like an enlightened emperor-ship, without the pesky requirements of statesmanship or royal marriage.

(Anyone who thinks the requirement to marry nobility is a blessing instead of a curse hasn't seen a photo of a single person OF the nobility in many, many years. Given a world in which everything is equal, natural selection generally ensues that the ugly, smelly, and the unusually hairy do not survive long enough to reproduce. However, an exceedingly ugly person with exceedingly large cash / royal land grants can be assured of both marrying and producing copious amounts of children. A thousand years of this behavior virtually guarantees the man forced to marry nobility will marry a woman whose copious nose / hips / facial hair can only be matched by the copious amounts of cash her family has to their name. All in all, it's really a dreadful way to live your life. Think of the tabloids, my dear.)

Go for the iron fist. By doing so, you can choose a beautiful - yet poor - woman, compel her to marry you, and then threaten to shoot her if she a) quibbles about your rampant infidelities b) ever speaks to you c) bears ugly children. In addition, the "polite" leaders will consider you infidel, and won't invite you to dinner.

Invasions can be quashed, given adequate serf-power, but I can guarantee you that just one evening of chatting up some godawful American first lady or some stuffy British prime minister's wife (see above requirements of marrying nobility) will feel every inch the eternity it is.

Good luck with your ambitions. Drop me a line if things work out for you. Given a position of wealth, prestige, and little work in your government, I feel certain that I can provide you more of the same insightful advice that I have provided you here today.

Ask Domesticat will probably continue tomorrow. Oh, lucky you.

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Domesticat, your skepticism about communism is understandable, but I just wanted to point out that the Soviets certainly never tried anarcho-communism. Some poeple don't think they ever tried real communism at all, but if they did it was iron-fisto-communism. I'm not sure how anarcho-communism would work -- maybe everybody voluntarily pitches in to a "from each according to his/her ability, to each according to his/her need" system? If so it's as nutso utopian as any other kind of anarchism, but at least it's not anything Uncle Joe [Stalin] would recognize. By the way, did you know that under the Soviet collectivization schemes (stealing farmers' land and forcing them to work communally) famines got so bad that people not only resorted to cannibalism but they actually had markets where they bought and sold human flesh? That's according to Koba the Dread, a curious book by Martin Amis. It includes grainy photos of one such market. Yick.

Depressing, really, what humans are capable of. It's a wonder that historians don't have higher rates of alcoholism than they already do.