Lately, the news has been filled with Middle East uprisings, citizens taking to the streets to overthrow their long-time dictators. Despite holding positions of power for decades, many dictators did not start out that way. Some of them were just normal people before they joined the military and started on their paths to pursuing nationwide domination.
That means anyone can potentially become a dictator, even you. So, how do you know if you are on the road toward totalitarian rule over your home country? There are plenty of warning signs, and we have decided to list them here for your own safety.
1. You liked to torture small animals when you were a child. Yes, using a magnifying glass to burn an ant counts, even if it never worked. In fact, tossing your cat over a balcony, shooting squirrels with your BB gun, and making your friend eat a praying mantis all count, you sick, twisted sadist.
2. You ate all the Corn Pops and never cared if your siblings got any. This one is just wrong, and you know it. Your mom bought that cereal for everyone, and you kept it all for yourself. This probably included threats on your brothers and sisters, and maybe even acts of violence.
3. You like to add titles like “The Magnificent” or “Big Daddy” to your name. Other common pre-dictator titles include “O.G.”, “The Man”, “Queen Bee”, and “Mistress”. You like it when people call you names that imply power and control, and you are well on your way to being a despot.
4. You require your kids to use a “sir sandwich” (i.e. “Sir, Yes Sir!”). Your life is not a remake of Black Hawk Down, and your children are not your recruits, servants, or minions. Now, make them call you something normal like Pops or Mama before someone calls CPS.
5. Your favorite self-help book is 7 Habits of Highly Controlling People. If control is your game, the role of dictator will suit you well. In some cases, you just cannot help yourself. You have obsessive-compulsive disorder and probably some Mommy or Daddy issues, but unless you get the help you need, you may wake up one day with a P90 in one hand and a 300-page manifesto in the other.
6. You think Oprah needs more power to be taken seriously. Dude, if Oprah had anymore power, she would rule the world, and the fact that you know that makes you dangerous. If you often find yourself envious of powerful people, you may soon find a way to supplant them with or without their consent.
7. Your friends refused to play king of the hill with you. For that matter, no one liked playing with you at all. You always had to win and would kick, bite, stab, and punch anyone who got in your way. You once made Billy Wilson wet his pants. There is a word for kids like you: Bully. The word for grownups like you is Tyrant.
8. Your favorite game is Risk. Sure, it is just an innocent game, but it is about global domination and is often played by grown men who take it very seriously. Worst of all, you know how to cheat at risk or even threaten your opponents with real life bodily harm if they do not surrender to your forces. For you, Risk is not just a game; it is life.
9. You often end discussions by quoting Alexander The Great. No one else knows Alexander The Great quotations, and the fact that you do makes you scary. The obsession probably does not stop there. You may even dress up as an ancient Macedonian king for Halloween parties. You need help before it is too late.
10. You are a CEO of a major corporation and love wearing turtlenecks to conventions. Furthermore, you have to control every aspect of your organization down to the last cent. Even low level micro-managers are potential dictators, but you already do it on a global scale. Just like a dictator, people often discuss what would happen to your company if you died and wonder who would succeed you.
It only takes one of these ten signs to start you on the path to tyranny. People are already afraid of you, and you think everyone loves you. But do not despair. There is help for people like you, although it may involve electric shock or talking about your feelings with complete strangers. Never give up hope.
Tavis J. Hampton is a senior staff writer for All Blogs Considered and prefers web hosts that love democracy and freedom like web server company 34SP.com. He believes the phrase “let them eat cake” is the root of all obesity.