The whole world is mad.
People are morons.
It's not new. That's always been the case. It is only that the way the madness is expressed changes its form.
Every person is a psychopath who is barely held under check due to societal norms, religious binds, and the pressures of making a living.
All the above: norms, binds, and pressures, are excellent tools for the powers that be to control the masses
Add a dose of fear, a dollop of greed, a modicum of hope, along with threat of punishment, and the toolkit is ready.
Use this toolkit to cynically control the masses, and to make them act as you bid.
The trick is, though, to make them think they are in control of their fates. But this should always be overshadowed by a sense of helplessness created by arbitrary rules and overarching control, where in their heart of hearts, they know they are not in control, and are afraid.
It is also prudent to keep the population distracted with mindless entertainment , and give them just enough food so they don't mutiny.
Never allow people to think independently, and at all costs, never give a platform for independent thinkers to air their views.
Create artificial panic situations once in a while.
Let activists work off their steam by fighting minor artificially imposed injustices - this will keep them from touching on the major issues.
An enlightened population is dangerous. Very soon they start threatening the rulers.
Control their minds. The individual mind is best controlled by a collective consciousness that has been scripted by the rulers.
Control the narrative. Most people don't have the intelligence to see through false narratives. Of the few who do, most are busy making a living. Of the scanty few who are left, only a miniscule portion will bother. These are the people you have to be afraid of. Keep them away from public discourse at all costs.
Use religion to your advantage. It is a potent force that exploits the fundamental flaws in human nature, while professing to bring out the best in it. Learn how to control minds from organised religion.
Make people believe.
Make people fear.
Make people beholden to you for even those things that are rightfully due to them.
Make people uncertain. Keep their world unstable.
But, always keep them in hope. If hope is lost, everything is lost.