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For centuries, most Westerners were subjugated with military and police thuggery, herded into personality cults around so-called ‘kings,’ and harassed and tortured by a ‘thought police’: the ‘Holy’ Inquisition. This was ‘tight’ totalitarianism.
Such systems sow the seeds of discontent. Channeled as political energy, this discontent became, in the late 18th c., the French Revolution. A bit later came the pan-European revolutions of 1848. Thus was born modern democracy.
Somewhat paradoxically, as repressive power elites adapted, modern democracy begat ‘sloppy’ totalitarianism.
Repressive bosses in Western Europe discovered that they couldn’t simply kick ordinary folk back into the Middle Ages. Not immediately. The people had felt their power: they had just humiliated ‘tight’ totalitarianism. And they knew exactly what it looked like. If it was re-imposed, they would rise again. So the bosses needed, at least for a while, to ‘play nice’—or appear to.
Case in point: after 1848 France called forth the Second Republic, with Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (nephew of the famous Napoleon) for president. Soon he abandoned democracy and re-imposed ‘tight’ totalitarianism on fierce French republicans. Then he thought better of it. It was here, as Louis Napoleon transitioned into his so-called ‘Liberal Empire,’ that France, which had given us Revolution, begat an early flowering of ‘sloppy’ totalitarianism.
This system sows the seeds of contentment.
Maurice Joly, a French political activist of the period, gave us a detailed analysis of Louis Napoleon’s system in Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu. The bosses, he explained, have learned to adapt: to speak the language of civil rights, freedom, and democracy. Oh, they mean to recover their lost power but, for now, they will sing the praises of our new institutions and heroes. They will paint and polish the republican façade while their minions in the basement chip at the foundations, undermining the whole edifice.
Joly was pointing his finger at those minions, so Louis Napoleon put him in jail and confiscated his book. The book became impossible to find and soon it was forgotten—utterly. Today, Joly is hardly ever taught in modern Western universities. So nobody can see all around us the modern forms of ‘sloppy’ totalitarianism.
These are best understood by contrast with modern forms of ‘tight’ totalitarianism, of which a famous example is the Soviet Union.
The Soviet system was ‘tight’ because it micro-managed: it sought to specify in detail what people could and could not do. The reward system was mostly sticks: fear. If you misbehaved, policemen would come knocking at your door. Such are often called ‘Police States.’ They are rather boring.
In ‘tight’ systems official lies are weak. Yes, everything is paraded in Orwellian Newspeak as its diametrical opposite (‘war is peace,’ ‘freedom is slavery,’ etc.), but the lies are not internalized. They can’t be because it is all so obvious: there is only one TV channel, one newspaper, etc., and they all belong proudly and officially to the government.
So hypocrisy is par for the course: subjects—called ‘citizens’—know that the lies are lies and rulers know that they know (hence, the borders must be patrolled, lest the people escape). There is no actual ‘mind control’ because that requires subtlety. Subjects bow before the lie not as a ritual of faith but as a test of obedience.
‘Sloppy’ totalitarian systems, by contrast, are almost entirely based on faith. Here the lies are strong—internalized. You believe. You are loyal. You, the citizen, are the system’s first line of defense, chasing away forbidden thoughts even when good evidence has called them forth. This is ‘doublethink.’
The Matrix—where citizens are literally put to sleep—is ironically the perfect metaphor, for whereas ‘tight’ systems stir revolt, ‘sloppy’ systems induce happy dreams. You sleepwalk.
Yes, but with a manic tinge. Your hand twitches, your forehead beads. You seem ready to snap, and do, if someone dares to besmirch your ‘Republic.’ As Morpheus explains to Neo in The Matrix:
“You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.”
This dependence is psychological—an affair of the soul, of your very identity.
A ‘sloppy’ system organizes reality so that, all by yourself, you construct your identity with approved thoughts about your institutions. Your identity builds your self-esteem through pride in your ‘imagined community’—and this pride only grows the more you accrue career prestige and become ‘connected.’ Forbidden thoughts, which endanger your pride and social status, make you feel like a traitor to your own self. This is guilt. And you’ll smart internally, as an additional safeguard, with the sting of imagined ridicule, and the pain of exclusion, as you picture the consequences of making forbidden thoughts (‘conspiracy theories’) public. This is shame.
Who wants to feel guilt and shame? Or repudiate what he’s achieved? I’m OK, you’re OK. We’re OK. We’re free. And proud to be.
The proud to be free won’t be micro-managed—or they’ll wise up. They can be loosely channeled, but no more. And this is why the system is ‘sloppy.’
But isn’t this a danger to the bosses? Not so much. Though loosely channeled, ordinary folk cannot move toward revolution if the first step will bring such mental agony. Yes, some are natural agitators—but let them be. Let them start their political parties and NGOs, their blogs and social-network pages. Let them pursue their causes. For reality has been organized, and so all imaginable causes have already been suggested by their education and are daily reinforced in the media. Such causes are safe, or even convenient, to the power elite. Therein lies the genius of ‘sloppy’ totalitarianism. (‘Sloppy’ systems are interesting.)
The organization of reality is a kind of ‘mind control.’ But how is it achieved?
Our reality is not perception but imagination. We live in gigantic ‘communities’ that we cannot directly perceive so we must imagine them. But we don’t—not really. Our educational institutions, and the media, imagine them for us. And here lies the key to a ‘sloppy’ system: in order to organize reality the bosses must have a relatively tight control, at least, over such reality-shaping institutions. Control over the rest can then be relatively ‘sloppy.’
But control over reality-shaping institutions must be non-obvious, or we won’t trust what they imagine for us. There has to be more than one newspaper, and more than one TV channel, and they should seem independent of the government and of each other. So the bosses must tightly control these institutions and at the same time preserve the appearance of a ‘free market.’ How?
By creating ‘intelligence services.’
By definition, intelligence services must operate by stealth, which means, institutionally, outside of democratic checks and balances, and informationally, outside of public awareness. With sufficient discretion, and a large enough budget, intelligence services may achieve covert control over any institution (or movement).
Intelligence services will quickly target those institutions responsible for educating media personnel (Part 1). Why? Because the media is democracy’s ‘watchdog.’ It will be kept barking like a ‘free press’—as Joly explained—but will announce no serious dangers, softly inducing in the citizens a happy stupor. With the media under control the bosses can organize reality and use political grammar as a lever, harnessing our own values for their ends. Thus, we’ll end up thinking we ‘imposed’ on them the very policies they always wanted (Part 2).
The linchpin to building a ‘sloppy’ system, then, is somehow to get the citizens of a Republic, through their representatives, to create intelligence services, and then give these services a large budget and wide—and essentially eternal—discretionary powers. How to do this?
The power elite must exaggerate an enemy, if it exists, or conjure one, if it does not. This enemy must be insidious, an infiltrator, hard to identify. The only way to stop this enemy, you will be told, is by granting ‘the State’—in truth, the bosses—clandestine powers. Such powers compromise our liberties but, so the argument goes, not as much as the enemy would.
The enemy may or may not be an extension of the State’s clandestine activities, but ideally (for the bosses) it will be, for a secretly controlled enemy is no less a real enemy of the people, and if it is indeed created, nurtured, and even led by the State’s own spies, then its growth and danger can be carefully managed to ‘justify’ each successive round of clandestine-power expansion. This also gives the power elite maximum flexibility, allowing them to maneuver the system back into ‘tight’ totalitarianism either through a successive legislative slide (e.g. ‘Patriot Act’), or by letting the enemy win (e.g. Vichy France).
Once this is understood, the significance of documenting the origins of German Nazism in eugenics, a movement sponsored by the US (and British) power elites, can be appreciated (Part 5).
Or consider the National Security Act—the key piece of legislation that authorized modern US intelligence. It was approved right as McCarthyism—a witch-hunt against presumed communists—was launched in the US against the backdrop of the Cold War.
█ 0. Introduction
The present series of articles amounts to a primer. It contains strategic historical knowledge minimally sufficient to abandon the ‘Establishment model’ of geopolitical processes and to begin constructing an alternative model that will explain and predict the world of international relations. The alternative model agrees with the Establishment model that the Middle East ‘Peace Process’ is important, but disagrees about almost everything else. In the alternative model, the US-Iran nuclear deal makes perfect sense. It may or may not agree with you, but it will no longer surprise you.
█ 1. Psychological warfare, communication research, and the media
PSYOPs originally refers to psychological warfare operations conducted by the military against the enemy. But PSYOPs have domestic applications as well. We review here historian Christopher Simpson’s documentation of how social science was corrupted in the United States so that power elites could bend ‘democracy’ to their will using psychological warfare.
█ 2. Political grammar : ¿How does psychological warfare work?
Psychological warfare is governed by grammatical rules. Power elites with a good command of such rules can deploy psychological warfare to manipulate citizens into doing things they otherwise wouldn’t—even into destroying their own liberties. We here explain the basic operation of Western political grammar, created in 1848, and how it may be manipulated.
█ 3. Principal-Agent Theory (PAT), the citizen, and the State
Principal-agent theory (PAT) examines how ‘principals’ can manipulate ‘agents’ to do their bidding. It has been applied to political behavior but, perhaps not too surprisingly, in such a manner that it will not challenge the perception that Western States are functioning democracies whose governments are duly responsive to the citizenries. Here we explore an alternative picture that takes into account what power elites can do through psychological (or political) warfare.
█ 4. Is US geopolitics meant to strengthen or weaken democracy?
The study of geopolitics is meant to account for the foreign policy behaviors of the various States. However, geopolitical scholars have certain taboos about which kinds of hypotheses may or may not be entertained. In particular, the prevailing political grammar in the Western media and academic system appears to rigorously forbid that anybody question the purity of intention of those making foreign policy decisions in Western states. Why?
█ 5. The goals of the US power elite in historical perspective
The US power elite’s most important players were responsible for setting up the US psychological warfare regime after World War II (Part 1). These same players had a major hand in precipitating the onset of World War II. This information is of some importance in evaluating the probable aims of US power-elite geopolitics today. But it is next to impossible to pursue this analysis because the US power elite role in causing World War II has been almost completely expunged from historical education..
█ 6. US postwar policy toward Nazi war criminals
Few people are aware that the US government recruited Nazis after WWII. And most of the aware believe this was just a handful of Nazi scientists employed in rocket development (Operation Paperclip). In fact, the US government shielded from justice a giant multitude of Nazis—including many war criminals who had bathed themselves in innocent blood—and used them to create the postwar US intelligence infrastructure. This affected both domestic and foreign policy. The self-imposed silence of the Western media on this topic is diagnostic of the psychological warfare regime that dominates.
█ 7. The aims of the US power elite in WWII
Certain important events surrounding the causes and aftermath of World War II may be recruited to defend a model of the US power elite as pro-Nazi. This model naturally needs to provide satisfactory special reasons for important behaviors of the same power elite that appear anti-Nazi. But the same applies to the Establishment model: it must provide satisfactory special reasons to explain why, if the US power elite has been anti-Nazi, it involved itself so intensely with sponsorship and then recruitment of Nazis. We examine these issues here.
█ 8. US foreign policy in the Arab-Israeli conflict
Given US power elite’s sponsorship of the eugenics movement, which became German Nazism, and the same US power elite’s creation of the postwar psychological warfare regime, it is reasonable to ask whether US postwar foreign policy has been consistent with the aims of the eugenicists and the German Nazis, namely, to destroy democracy and to kill Jews. That is the question we ask here.
█ 9. Why do enemies of democracy attack the Jews?
Shoa (‘the Holocaust’) was a horrific slaughter and a Crime Against Humanity, but it was not an historical aberration. As Western historical processes go, the mass-killing of Jews may be the most recurrent and stable. Those who killed the Jews in World War II were enemies of human liberty. This, too, is not new. In the history of the West, whenever the Jews are under attack, everybody’s liberties are in danger. What explains this? One simple fact: for 2500 years, Jewish thought has been the engine of Western political liberation, and Western enemies of liberty have always understood this.
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