The brute and the accountant

One of the big mistakes humans make is they they often think that the only sort of people who want to rule them with an iron hand are the sort of big, loud, shouty, axe-wielding thugs who have traditionally lusted for power and ruled over us with an iron hand. It’s an easy mistake to make because in the past those were the people most likely to seize power and oppress us.

But those are not the only sort of people who crave power and domination over their fellow humans. There are equally bad, and sometimes worse, people out there, and some of them are – or at least seem like – quiet, bookish nerds who you assume wouldn’t hurt a fly. This fact is something too many people have failed to grasp. The Lenins, the Trotsky’s, the Goebbels, the Pol Pots, often don’t look like bloodthirsty tyrants, but they can be far deadlier than the brutes. Stalin killed orders of magnitude more people than Ivan the Terrible.

It’s hard for many people to comprehend, but the bloodthirsty brigands who personally cut off heads in order to win the throne usually end up with less death on their hands than the bespectacled accountant types who never sully their own hands with blood, and this is because the accountant types are good at treating death as – quite literally – entries in a ledger. Paperwork.

Far and away the worst sort of ruler is the ruler who wants to control your thoughts. Brutes might demand obedience in your behaviour, but the clerics demand obedience in your mind as well.

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