Suppose an anonymous organisation has the ability to take control of the minds of any people they chose, as long as they are able to identify who it is they want to control.

The method they use to do this is unknown, and all attempts to protect or isolate the president(s) and other officials have failed.

The obvious decision would be to form a government/body that operates secretly, using leaders who cannot be identified easily. It is not known how the anonymous organisation identifies their victims remotely, so ideally all details including name, face and genetic origin of the leader(s) should be kept secret.

The objective of this body is to ensure the survival of the American people long enough until the threat is thwarted (and this could take years). This survival may or may not require management of numerous other institutions such as courts, army, banks, etc. as well as major policy decisions such as economic policy, and how money is used. What is essential in the existing infrastructure and what is not is for this government to decide.

(a) What kind of structure should this new body adopt to be more stable? Would a single dictator be better, or perhaps a communist government with no single head of chain of command?

(b) What would be the steps that have to be taken by the surviving government officials and administrative bodies to establish such a government?

(c) And how effective would it really be at governing the country?

P.S. I am aware this government will necessarily be undemocratic and somewhat unstable.


closed as too broad by sphennings, L.Dutch, Mołot, Hohmannfan, Vincent Jun 18 '17 at 17:11

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – Serban Tanasa Jun 20 '17 at 13:24

If this "organization" really can do that there's no defense.

Aside from fact "Country" would have to give away any attempt to Democracy (how can you vote for someone you do not know who he is?) there's the problem of line of command: someone has to convey the orders and to check they are executed. First step would be to take control of the mind of these individuals and then work from there.

Having a completely insulated "government" (e.g.: contacts only via phone or other anonymizing device) has even bigger problems (it is much easier to hijack a phone line than a "mind") dealing mainly on how this "government" is formed; hard dynastic dictatorship is very likely.


I do not know US law, so I do not know anything about a). But I will tell you something about b).

First of all, one might read your question differently. I understand it as the president and the couple of next in line have fallen and we are not just talking about an emergency government, especially since it should be clear who is in charge in that case.

There cannot be a government nobody knows unless it has magical powers or is basically a terrorist group.

First of all, a government isn't a room where everyone meets and discusses the future of the world (as shown in many movies, most popular in Dr. Strangelove). It is a lose system of individual components that have certain jurisdiction and especially in the US many powers has been given to the states. I don't think I need to go into details, it should be clear.

Second, the government depends on people knowing who this government is. Ever thought about why someone needs to sign a new bill? I think the US president does that in the US? Well, if there were no signatures, anyone would be able to pass bills. It is also important that people know who the people are in parliament, who has the authority to do anything really. The next big thing is diplomacy. Other countries will not cooperate with an anonymous government. So I would not only argue it would be hard, it would not work at all. I would argue a secret government is no government unless it has a massive threat to back them up, e.g., atomic weapons or your mind control device.

A guy with a mask that makes serious threats would have some kind of authority - depending on how big that threat is. A guy in a mask discussing health care is just an idiot in a mask. One could go on and on about why this would not work and give a million examples, but I hope that this is sufficient.

So the only way for your secret government to work is if it had control over the nuclear warheads and be willing to use them vs the American people. While other weapons might be possible, you cannot just control the military - too many people involved, your identity would never be save. I do not think this is what you had in mind - some people in charge of nuclear weapons taking over control. If this is ok with you, that is my best bet, it might even answer a).

Ok, there is another way. There is always another way. If your plot is set in the far future and we have a computerized government, it might be possible. Whoever has the access codes to those computer programs is the government, should work fine. But this won't happen for a while ...


If the anonymous organisation can take control of the minds of anyone they want to, then your secret government is powerless.

Say for instance, the secret Prime Minister passes a law banning left-handed people from driving cars. The anonymous organisation does not want this legislation to happen. They ignore the Prime Minister. Instead they target his/her spokesman and the media (law is never announced), his/her civil servants (law is never published or distributed), the police and judiciary (law is never enforced).

If you rely on other people for your power structures to have any real impact in the real world (army, police, civil service and so on) then you have no defence against this mind control.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.