Authoritarian regimes are pretty easy to identify. Usually they spend a lot of time trying to repress political opponents. They usually do this for several stated reasons: protecting the nation, national security, racial purity, ideological conformity, and so on.
The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, has decided that “Thai-style democracy” demands a peculiarly Thai-style of political repression.
Prayuth has long believed that there is a republican plot to overthrow the monarchy and, hence, the system that maintains the social, political and economic power of the royalist elite. In this context he is determined that his dictatorship must give its top priority to “dealing with” the “suspected anti-monarchy network.”
Prayuth’s speech to “his puppet parliament, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) on Friday” and will outline “a strategy to ‘defend’ the monarchy…”.
Not unexpectedly, The Dictator will describe” the monarchy as an important element of Thai-style democracy and an institution that the Royal Thai Government is obliged to uphold ‘with loyalty and defence of His Majestic Authority’.”
To be sure, this is ridiculously slimy posterior polishing, but it is representative of a broader desire for the reinforcement of the existing social order. The fear that drives the increasingly fascistic Prayuth and his ilk is seen in his speech:
We will use legal measures, social-psychological measures, and telecommunications and information technology to deal with those who are not mindful of their words, are arrogant at heart, or harbour ill intentions to undermine the important Institution of the nation….
In addition to this extreme repression, Prayuth’s speech says his regime will:
also strengthen Thais loyalty towards the monarchy by publicising “correct understanding about the monarchy and His Royal Works for the people” and by supporting “projects that have been derived from His Royal Ideas, encourag[ing] officials, educational institutions, and other state agencies to study and understand His Royal Working Principles so that they can apply the aforementioned Principles in bureaucratic function and development.”
Oddly, Prayuth seems to acknowledge previous failures of the heavily subsidized royal projects that are often rat holes for huge amounts of taxpayer funding, suggesting that wads of baht will continue down the same rat holes:
Furthermore, we will urgently expand the projects to which His Majesty has laid foundation in order to demonstrate [their effectiveness] to the public, and develop benefits in a wider circle, which will eventually help create prosperity and happiness for the people….
Whatever way one looks at it, the world’s richest monarchy, which already consumes massive amounts of taxpayer funds, is going to consume even more. Protecting the military-monarchy social order is so significant for The Dictator that he is willing to wind back the political clock several decades while opening the state pipeline even further in a flood of funding for fanatical ultra-royalism.