How even stupid people can overthrow governments

There's no secret to it.  As Mordred showed in The Once and Future King, all you need to dethrone an Arthur is to create dissension: libel the king, spread slander and false rumors, watch the competing factions fight – and then, all by itself, Camelot falls.  (A little nudge now and then by a mob will help.)

We can see the same method in operation against Louis XVI.  Louis was a kindly gentleman, if not quite bright enough to walk the political tightropes without falling off, but certainly nothing he did was worthy of the guillotine.  Nevertheless, some people wanted him gone, and they followed the playbook: rumor, innuendo, and factions.

The more serious libelles took the form of essays, which often presented as serious and legitimate journalism.  These publications would promise to provide the 'true story' behind the crown, the royal family, notable aristocratic families or the goings-on at Versailles.  They cited a newly acquired cache of letters or 'court insiders' (never named, of course) as the source of their information.

It accused [Marie] Antoinette of a litany of treacherous and immoral acts, including adultery, dalliances with the king's own brother, lesbianism, masturbation, wasteful spending for its own sake and political intriguing against the king and the French people.  In some 1789 editions, Antoinette was even accused of poisoning the young Dauphin who had died of tuberculosis in June that year.

A mob in the streets doesn't hurt.  And there have been suggestions that the crowds that headed for Versailles were not entirely spontaneous, but controlled and directed by various power-brokers.

Or consider how the CIA overthrew Mossadegh, the prime minister of Iran, in 1953.  As laid out in the book All the Shah's Men (Stephen Kinzer, 2003), the plan was simple:

Through a variety of means, covert agents would manipulate public opinion and turn as many Iranians as possible against Mossadegh.  This effort ... would 'create, extend, and enhance public hostility and distrust and fear of Mossadegh and his government.'  It would portray Mossadegh as 'corrupt, pro-communist, hostile to Islam, and bent on destroying ... the armed forces.' (pp. 162-163)

Given that success rate, how would you plan to destabilize and then overthrow a democratically elected government like that in the USA?

Well, follow the playbook.  Start the slander.

Donald Trump is an honest, forthright, compassionate man, who does many acts of charity unannounced and unrecognized.  But that is not the way he is portrayed in the biased media.  There, he is an anti-Semite (despite having Jewish grandchildren), a racist, a misogynist, a libertine (think golden showers and Stormy Daniels), mentally unstable.  He loves dictators (though he's busy opening up Korea) and would like to be one himself.

His wife is a prisoner of his abuse (hence her need for a trip to the hospital).  She is trapped in the White House (anonymous sources) and desperately seeking help (anonymous sources).

The essayists against Louis XVI couldn't have done better.

According to the endlessly repeated media mantras, we are all about to be ruled by Nazis or else placed in camps.  The nation is on the verge of doom.  (If you listen hard, you can hear the sky cracking.)

The next step is to organize the mob.  These days, you can gin up a mob more easily than a movie producer in the 1920s could scare up 10,000 extras to appear in a battle scene.  (Think Occupy, Antifa.)  You can bus them in, pay their expenses, and have some extra cash ready as bonuses in case anyone gets arrested or injured.  Not a bad way to earn some extra spending money if you have the free time.  So let's brag that we'll turn out 90 million people in the street on a Saturday.  It's all right if there are only 90,000, or even 9,000, or 900.  The camera will fix the angles and make it seem as if half the nation were marching.

All that's lacking now is a little pinch of violence.  Stir the pot, divide, create dissension – and, as with the knights of Camelot (or the street gangs of Weimar), unfriendly encounters will break out like a pox.

With enough effort, money, and "objective-news" lies, maybe the Arthur of our day can be destabilized.  It certainly appears as if some people are following the script on how to proceed.

It remains to be seen if the American people are sophisticated enough to recognize what is happening, reject the provocations, and refuse to partake of the hate-fest.  If they do that, the scenario will end, and the curtain will fall, because the schemers' plotline will have exhausted itself.  But that kind of restraint will take wisdom, self-control, and a barge-load of patience.  Let us hope we can find it.

There's no secret to it.  As Mordred showed in The Once and Future King, all you need to dethrone an Arthur is to create dissension: libel the king, spread slander and false rumors, watch the competing factions fight – and then, all by itself, Camelot falls.  (A little nudge now and then by a mob will help.)

We can see the same method in operation against Louis XVI.  Louis was a kindly gentleman, if not quite bright enough to walk the political tightropes without falling off, but certainly nothing he did was worthy of the guillotine.  Nevertheless, some people wanted him gone, and they followed the playbook: rumor, innuendo, and factions.

The more serious libelles took the form of essays, which often presented as serious and legitimate journalism.  These publications would promise to provide the 'true story' behind the crown, the royal family, notable aristocratic families or the goings-on at Versailles.  They cited a newly acquired cache of letters or 'court insiders' (never named, of course) as the source of their information.

It accused [Marie] Antoinette of a litany of treacherous and immoral acts, including adultery, dalliances with the king's own brother, lesbianism, masturbation, wasteful spending for its own sake and political intriguing against the king and the French people.  In some 1789 editions, Antoinette was even accused of poisoning the young Dauphin who had died of tuberculosis in June that year.

A mob in the streets doesn't hurt.  And there have been suggestions that the crowds that headed for Versailles were not entirely spontaneous, but controlled and directed by various power-brokers.

Or consider how the CIA overthrew Mossadegh, the prime minister of Iran, in 1953.  As laid out in the book All the Shah's Men (Stephen Kinzer, 2003), the plan was simple:

Through a variety of means, covert agents would manipulate public opinion and turn as many Iranians as possible against Mossadegh.  This effort ... would 'create, extend, and enhance public hostility and distrust and fear of Mossadegh and his government.'  It would portray Mossadegh as 'corrupt, pro-communist, hostile to Islam, and bent on destroying ... the armed forces.' (pp. 162-163)

Given that success rate, how would you plan to destabilize and then overthrow a democratically elected government like that in the USA?

Well, follow the playbook.  Start the slander.

Donald Trump is an honest, forthright, compassionate man, who does many acts of charity unannounced and unrecognized.  But that is not the way he is portrayed in the biased media.  There, he is an anti-Semite (despite having Jewish grandchildren), a racist, a misogynist, a libertine (think golden showers and Stormy Daniels), mentally unstable.  He loves dictators (though he's busy opening up Korea) and would like to be one himself.

His wife is a prisoner of his abuse (hence her need for a trip to the hospital).  She is trapped in the White House (anonymous sources) and desperately seeking help (anonymous sources).

The essayists against Louis XVI couldn't have done better.

According to the endlessly repeated media mantras, we are all about to be ruled by Nazis or else placed in camps.  The nation is on the verge of doom.  (If you listen hard, you can hear the sky cracking.)

The next step is to organize the mob.  These days, you can gin up a mob more easily than a movie producer in the 1920s could scare up 10,000 extras to appear in a battle scene.  (Think Occupy, Antifa.)  You can bus them in, pay their expenses, and have some extra cash ready as bonuses in case anyone gets arrested or injured.  Not a bad way to earn some extra spending money if you have the free time.  So let's brag that we'll turn out 90 million people in the street on a Saturday.  It's all right if there are only 90,000, or even 9,000, or 900.  The camera will fix the angles and make it seem as if half the nation were marching.

All that's lacking now is a little pinch of violence.  Stir the pot, divide, create dissension – and, as with the knights of Camelot (or the street gangs of Weimar), unfriendly encounters will break out like a pox.

With enough effort, money, and "objective-news" lies, maybe the Arthur of our day can be destabilized.  It certainly appears as if some people are following the script on how to proceed.

It remains to be seen if the American people are sophisticated enough to recognize what is happening, reject the provocations, and refuse to partake of the hate-fest.  If they do that, the scenario will end, and the curtain will fall, because the schemers' plotline will have exhausted itself.  But that kind of restraint will take wisdom, self-control, and a barge-load of patience.  Let us hope we can find it.