To submit the people by pointing a gun to their heads is crude. To have the people voluntarily submit themselves is science.
The key to the success of authoritarianism is to create citizen zombies. Zombies are a metaphor for brainwashed people.
Citizen zombies are the people who obey without any questions and follow without any thoughts. They look the same and behave the same. They move like an animal herd.
When they see something that’s off, something that doesn’t belong, something that’s out of the zombie norm, they furiously pursue, arms flailing violently, and try to eat that something.
The victims are humans, thinking humans.
Hence, the furious social media attacks on high school students who chose to wear casual clothes to school on 1 December. The Bad Student Movement organized the activity nationwide as a form of protest against the school uniform rule.
To create citizen zombies is to indoctrinate people into “groupthink,” which means people think or make decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility. In a society that is void of individualism, with an absence of independent thoughts, the rulers enjoy complete control over a docile population, whose sole purpose of civic duty is to obey.
Bear in mind, every government in world history practices the science of creating citizen zombies. In the past century, political enlightenment has led some governments to appreciate that a thinking citizenry leads to social evolution and economic prosperity.
But not every country evolves at the same pace. Thailand, for example, is still obsessed with the old ways.
The strategy for creating citizen zombies.
Creating a group’s identity is not inherently a horrible thing. There needs to be shared values and shared identity for the people to co-exist as a unit in any society. However, there’s a fine line between creating a sense of belonging and being control freaks.
The following are tools to create citizen zombies.
Uniforms. To create a common identity.
Slogans. To create a set of shared principles, such as Nation, Religion, King, or Make America Great Again.
Rituals and ceremonies. Beautiful and intricate, they harmonize the many into one, with the underlying theme of submission to authority, for example, the Wai Kru ceremony.
Symbols and posters. Hang the posters or portraits of the ruler everywhere as a constant reminder of who’s in charge. See North Korea. Hero-worship is essential in creating zombies.
Stories, poetry, and songs. Approved history books. Epic movies. Nationalistic soap operas. Return Happiness to Thailand. The Ten Duties of Good Children.
Turn the history book pages onto any authoritarian, fascist, and militaristic societies since the dawn of human civilization, and you will see the same tactics at work. This isn’t a relatively new field of study like nuclear science. It’s fundamental sociological science, well-practiced for millenniums.
Repetition is key.
Have them do the same things repeatedly, every day. Until actions become muscle memory. Until duties are imprinted in the DNA. Until submission becomes a virtue.
Then you will have citizen zombies. You will have complete control.
The strategy is essential in the military because it leads to discipline, a critical function in military combat’s life-and-death struggle.
The strategy fails miserably in civil society because we Thais are among the most ill-disciplined people on earth, despite our lifetime indoctrination to groupthink.
Just take a look at how we drive, how we queue up, and how we bend and break the law. And these are not the children; they are the adults.
But discipline is merely a secondary purpose to groupthink.
The primary purpose is control.
The more docile and submissive society is, the less individualism and independent thoughts there are, the easier it is to control a population.
High school kids refusing to wear uniforms, even just for a day, jeopardizes that control, especially in the context of a nationwide youth-led cultural revolution.
The rulers are losing control, which means losing what they prized most above all things: power.
Hence, unleash the zombies on those who want changes.
Eat their brains, so they can no longer think for themselves.