The Collectivist Mind Game

Oleg Atbashian has written a great series of articles titled The Collectivist Mind Game at American Thinker. He analyses the ways in authoritarian governments systematically manipulate public opinion and brainwash the people. Since Atbashian was a propaganda artist in the former Soviet Union before immigrating to the United States, he probably knows what he is talking about.  There are three parts; Demonizing the Non-Compliant, Demonizing the Opposition, and Demonizing Human Nature. They are all worth reading and I think that the reader will find certain similarities between the strategies that Atbashian discusses and actions by the Obama administration to demonize and marginalize its opponents.

If the tyrants on Earth were worth their salt, all the freedom-loving colonists would be subjected to an intense, manipulative indoctrination, which would shape their self-image as small and sinful “little guys” vis-à-vis  the powerful, virtuous government that serves the powerless and protects them against all enemies, including themselves.

Thus, the government’s propagandistic narrative would establish the illusion of a society divided into three major classes: the ruling government class, endowed with benevolent powers to guide or punish; the majority class of hapless losers, whose survival depended on the government’s largesse and protection; and an unquantifiable class of demonized mysterious enemies of the government and, by extension, of the people, who would be the perceived culprits of all failures, hardships, and misery of the little guys’ everyday existence.

The majority class would itself be divided into an assortment of narrow-interest groups, held together only by the glue of government’s redistributive, pacifying and equalizing powers, as well as by their shared hostility towards the designated “enemies.”

The prevailing feelings in such a society would be the collectivist fervor, envy of individual achievers, fear of chaos in the absence of the government’s protection, hatred of anti-government elements, and hope for a better future once all the hidden enemies are unveiled and eliminated.

He is referring to Robert Heinlein‘s classic novel, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, in which Lunar colonists rebel against an oppressive Earth government.

Here is more.

Maintain the perception of being constantly under attack.  Don’t examine the opponents’ beliefs, nor answer their arguments.  Discredit any media channels that offer them a platform.  Enforce the following media template: the opposition is evil, treasonous, unfathomable, and psychotic.  They can’t be reasoned with.  They are inspired by fascism and financed by a conspiracy of shady oligarchs.  Defame their donors.  Whatever the mischief you’re planning to pull off, accuse them of doing it first; then proceed as planned, describing your actions as a necessary intervention.  And ridicule, ridicule, ridicule!

This is what made it easy for Stalin to purge his opponents: by the time he charged them with treason, the orchestrated media coverage had already made them universally hated.  Having purged all of his enemies, Stalin continued to manufacture the evidence of their presence.  There came a time when even the true believers were being rounded up and forced to confess publicly about one or another fabricated “crime” against the people and the Party.  Some did it to avoid torture, some to save their families, and some even cooperated out of the altruistic desire to support the illusion and keep everyone else’s beautiful dream alive.  Unfortunately for them, that beautiful dream required human sacrifice.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Their young audiences, deprived of adequate education and learning about history and current events from Hollywood movies and TV shows, will not recognize the symptoms of an encroaching totalitarianism either.  Upon hearing a dissenter who disparages the benevolent guidance of the state, they will immediately recognize a stereotype that is being relentlessly demonized and dehumanized on their screens: the ignorant, close-minded, right-wing nut job.  Chances are they will smugly ridicule him with the jokes they heard from their favorite media personalities.  In another generation, they may as well feel morally obligated to report the dissenter to the authorities — and be thrilled at the chance to partake in the historic mission of crushing the remnants of the evil reactionaries, even if they happen to be their parents.

I have noticed that Leftists can rarely give logical reasons for the opinions they hold. When challenged they invariably turn to name calling, profanity, and all too often threats of violence. I wouldn’t doubt for a minute that the people who want to shut down Fox News, or believe that Obama should act like a third world dictator and jail his opponents, or destroy the Republicans would hesitate to report dissidents to the secret police. There is a lot more to the articles and you should read all of them.

 

 

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