This is an excellent question you ask, Dear Reader. And one that often occupies my mind. Indeed, in the background processes of the synaptic labyrinth of my thoughts there are always thoughts spinning and whirling upon this subject: why have my attempts at conquest failed so? And conversely, in my future attempts at conquest, what do I predict will be the difficulties?
They vex, these questions. And though my eyes are the most perfect in nature, my hindsight is just as muddled as yours. When at the end of my path, inserting my key into the doorlock I pause and consider the actions I have engaged in Are they good? Have I acted justly? Is the world better, more under my control than yesterday> And despite my massive intelligence, I can only guess at the truths as the sun sets.
Here are my heretofore conclusions regarding the particular challenge of World Conquest.
The Seven difficulties of World Domination
Media. The duty of the media is to "Speak The Truth To The Power." They are tasked with looking up at those who sit in the shadows above them and staring into their beady eyes and shouting "We know who you are, Shadowy Figures, and we are investigating your misdeeds!" And by investigating the media uncovers corruption and poor governance and corrects the course of the ship of state. This is how it should be. This is the natural order of society. The media is the immune system of the democracy. But I have been watching the CNN and the FOXNews and the Microsoft National Broadcasting Company. And I have been reading the news on the internet. And where the internet would speak of war, failure, death and the overwhelming disapproval of the American government, the TV news media speaks well of the president, of the government. They mock the challengers. They attack those who criticize the government. They wonder, incessantly, "What is the Hilary wearing?" or "Is the Obama black enough?" or "Where have all the white women gone?" It is distraction at its base, and misdirection at its bluntest. The media has become an arm of the government. When you begin your attempt at World Domination, the media will look squarely upon you with all of their resources plumbing your depths for weakness. They will not serve you. Your best attempts at Public Relationships and Spin will be turned against you in painfully ironic ways. Do not trust them.
One World Government. The governments of the world are not united, even under the curiously-named United Nations. They are a fractious and contemptible lot, full of nothing but scorn for the people and for each other. I attempted once, using viscious cuttlefish, to control the United Nations building but all one has then is a few hundred angry and scared primates, not the world governments under one's control. There is no throne to ascend. No scepter to grasp. If we as earthlings had one clear government, it would be easy and obvious how to conquer: simply occupy that seat of power. But with the powers of the world held in the hands of hundreds of tribal leaders, conquest is difficult. Imagine if to become mayor of a given city you had to go door to door and bludgeon into submission the head of every household. And while you were bludgeoning door-to-door other Alpha Males were also traveling the circuit and bludgeoning, so that you always and forever had to keep working the neighborhoods to keep everyone in check. Representational government seems to be a satisfactory solution, does it not?
Minions. One cannot conquer the world alone. Even great Cthulhu has his Dagon, his worshippers. The handsome and austere Darth Vader had his empire, his Sith. Cobra Commander had his Cobra, his Destro, his Baroness. There is simply too much work and too much paperwork to do by one's self. Even the smallest of small businesses requires many employees. Where do you hire these employees? How do you train them? Do you feed them, or do they feed themselves? Do you pay a minimal fee to attract True Believers, or do you pay well to attract the skilled? Uniforms or individuality? Promoting too much free thinking can lead to a "Starscream" situation, wherein your second is always attempting to stab you in the back. But too much uniformity leads to minions who cannot adapt, show no iniative. And when your enemies attack they will cave like craven cavefish.
Entrenched Power. Those who rule do so because they have amassed a strong base of power. They have earned favors, spent favors. Each ruler is not a lone ruler but rather the icebergian tip of a social network. The candidate may seem to be an armored challenger, walking the field of battle. But as you sally forth with beak sharpened and tentacles poised for attack, thinking that if you defeat this lone knight you shall rule the kingdom know that as you struggle and come to blows that the knight's supporters and backers are burning your supply tents, giving false direction to your squire, poisoning your meals and charging you double for every exchange. When attempting World Domination you must attack from the bottom, and work your way upwards. Defeat those who fund your enemy, who shield your enemy and then and only then may you face your enemy directly.
Apathy. Primates are fundamentally lazy. They wish to eat, to sleep, to breed. They wish to hear comforting stories and to smile upon their children. War is anathema to this. War is disruptive and prevents the eating and sleeping. War can take those dear to you. No one wants this, and their inertia will hinder your every attempt to mobilize the masses. This can also work to your advantage, as a conqueror.
Duplicity. Those you trust can be bought off. Those you trust can be spies. Those you hire to be lab managers can end up being your greatest enemy. Every creature has their price. Every soul has a pricetag stamped on it, often invisible to those who wear those bloodsacs in their bellies. My loyal Rob could be bought off, I know, for love or money. My troupe of francophonic chimps were turned against me by the promise of blood and tobacco. Who do you trust? How much do you tell them? Do you share power with those near you, or do you isolate them and pit them against each other? When the inevitable betrayal comes, do you murder the turncoat and make an example of them? Or do you buy them off for a higher price?
Alien. We who are blessed with the sleek exterior and mutable mantle of the cephalopod and cursed by appearing as a thing of nightmare to the human race. When attempting to Dominate The World the humans will never trust those who are alien. This is why so many alien conqerors resort to pure destruction and stomping and the crushing of skyscrapers—they have hurt feelings. If you plan to take over the world, plan to have a human persona or if that is not an option aim for a human spokesperson to serve you. The care and pay will be exorbitant, but the returns will be glorious.
If you can answer these seven problems, then the method of conquest is immaterial. You shall win.
I ponder and remain
The Giant Squid
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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson