Gramscian Damage

Another old one; this one from October, 2018 in which Instapundit referenced a(nother brilliant) post by Eric Raymond with the same title as this one (and this one is from 2006). The latter post has a tremendous amount of good information and is well worth a read or three, but I want to highlight a few parts.

People younger than 35, 40 have no idea of what the world was like in when there was the US (and NATO) vs the USSR (and its Warsaw bloc). That said, there was a huge portion of the West that didn’t understand the animosity towards the USSR. The following is an interesting admission from someone about my age who finally got it (note I wasn’t much better):

The most paranoid and xenophobic conservatives of the Cold War were, painful though this is to admit, the closest to the truth in estimating the magnitude and subtlety of Soviet subversion. Liberal anticommunists (like myself in the 1970s) thought we were being judicious and fair-minded when we dismissed half of the Right’s complaint as crude blather. We were wrong; the Rosenbergs and Alger Hiss really were guilty, the Hollywood Ten really were Stalinist tools, and all of Joseph McCarthy’s rants about “Communists in the State Department” were essentially true. The Venona transcripts and other new material leave no room for reasonable doubt on this score.

Eric than goes on to examine the memetic tools employed by the USSR.

[T]he Soviet espionage apparat actually ran two different kinds of network: one of spies, and one of agents of influence. The [...] major function [of the latter] was to spread dezinformatsiya, to launch memetic weapons that would damage and weaken the West.

In a previous post on Suicidalism, I identified some of the most important of the Soviet Union’s memetic weapons. Here is that list again:

  • There is no truth, only competing agendas.
  • All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and colonialism.
  • There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.
  • The prosperity of the West is built on ruthless exploitation of the Third World; therefore Westerners actually deserve to be impoverished and miserable.
  • Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal. Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.
  • The poor are victims. Criminals are victims. And only victims are virtuous. Therefore only the poor and criminals are virtuous. (Rich people can borrow some virtue by identifying with poor people and criminals.)
  • For a virtuous person, violence and war are never justified. It is always better to be a victim than to fight, or even to defend oneself. But ‘oppressed’ people are allowed to use violence anyway; they are merely reflecting the evil of their oppressors.
  • When confronted with terror, the only moral course for a Westerner is to apologize for past sins, understand the terrorist’s point of view, and make concessions.

These notions, these memes, live with us today some 25 years after the fall of USSR.

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