It has always been important to be informed about what is going on, but it is especially so today, with so much happening so fast.
And it has always been important to be a discerning user of information, but it is especially so today, with so much information not just available, but very convenient to users.
To be an intelligent, discerning user of information, you have to recognize and understand the differences among information, misinformation, and disinformation.
Information is facts provided about a topic, and is usually conveyed by placing certain things, such as words, in a certain arrangement. Computer coding and DNA are also examples, but for our purposes we are more interested with things that people communicate to each other, especially about society, government and economic activity.
Misinformation refers to inaccurate information communicated by accident. It happens; people make mistakes, and others pass on that mistaken data in good faith, thinking it is correct.
But disinformation is something altogether different, and quite sinister.
Disinformation refers to inaccurate information that is knowingly and deliberately spread; disinformation consists of lies, usually widely told as part of a coordinated campaign to deceive, confuse and mislead: disinformation is warfare in the information realm.
The communists came to power in Russia by means of disinformation. An early example was the use of the term “Bolsheviks” at the beginning of their rise to power. The word “Bolshevik” refers to a member of the majority; it is in contrast to “Menshevik” which refers to a member of the minority. However, at early pre-Revolutionary political meetings, neither the Bolsheviks nor the Mensheviks truly had a majority, since delegates often switched sides. In fact, often, the Bolsheviks were very clearly in the minority in political maneuverings.
Intrinsic in a disinformation campaign is the use of propaganda techniques. Propaganda is information that may be accurate, but not necessarily objective, complete or in context.
For example, by referring to themselves as the Bolsheviks, what eventually became the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) was employing a propaganda technique known as the “bandwagon” effect: calling themselves members of the majority communicates the idea that their victory is inevitable, everybody is on their side… so you should join them.
Wikipedia has a very good article outlining and defining propaganda techniques; considering all the propaganda being strewn around, you should take a few minutes and review it, and then refer back to it periodically.
Once the Bolsheviks had seized power, basically through a coup d’état overthrowing the Kerensky government (it was not a “revolution”), they had to consolidate that power; keep in mind, they were a minority politically, and a very small minority indeed when competing on the national stage for power over a very vast empire.
Even as they were consolidating power through a civil war, the communists had their eyes on the prize: the Red Army was also known as the Army of World Revolution. The communists established, on the territory of the Russian Empire, the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic. They of course proclaimed the independence of the other nations that the Russian Empire controlled; they didn’t want these people fighting against them, since the Bolsheviks were already a minority, and outnumbered.
But when it became convenient, that changed.
In 1918, the Bolsheviks seized power not just in Russia proper, but in the Ukraine and Byelorussia, too – as well as in the region known as Transcaucasia, to the south. This was formalized by treaty in 1922 (but don’t think that these nations were independent, or that anyone really had a choice) establishing the Soviet Union.
More correctly, the Soviet Union was known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In addition to the Russian Soviet Federated Soviet Republic, there was the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, and so on. When the Soviets attacked the Baltic States, there were three new additions: the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic, and the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic. Ultimately, reversing what Lenin had originally promised the various ethnic groups (independence), all were consolidated and brought under Moscow’s rule, and there were fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics in the USSR.
But, what’s in a name?
The intention and belief of the leaders of the USSR – the world’s first socialist nation, the vanguard, the leader of the revolution of the workers and peasants – was that all industrialized nations would join the USSR (followed by other nations, as well; they were actually quite surprised that they seized power in a country so backwards as Russia was at the time – the communists thought Germany or Britain would fall first). There was supposed to be a German Soviet Socialist Republic, a French Soviet Socialist Republic, and so on.
Nation-states were a thing of the past. The New Soviet Man was going to be selfless, educated, hard-working, zealous in the spread of socialism… and he was to have lost any nationalist sentiments: he would not be Russian, or Ukrainian, or German, or English, but Soviet, having transcended archaic concepts such as nationality, and, self-mastered, fully dedicated to building communism worldwide. (Does this sound familiar?)
The Soviet Republics were ruled by their republic communist parties which, in turn, took orders from the CPSU in Moscow – which also gave orders to the “national” government that was recognized internationally, that of the Soviet Union itself.
By parallel, if you can imagine California being a one-party state, its government taking orders from the California Democratic Party which, in turn, took its orders from the DNC, which would be located in Washington, DC, and which would be giving orders to federal “elected” officials, you would have a pretty good idea what was going on.
That is, except for the element of imperialism – remember, the Soviet Union was like a snake that had bitten into the entire world, but now found itself too small to swallow its prey, and too weak to pull its teeth back out. Because, ultimately, there was supposed to be an Australian Soviet Socialist Republic, a Mexican Soviet Socialist Republic…
With the success of the communist revolution in Russia, but nowhere else, a new international communist organization was established: the Third Communist International, from 1919, also known as the Third International or Comintern, advocated democratic centralism – discussing things freely, but acting in unison; in reality, though, they took their orders from Moscow.
The Soviet Union collapsed, of course, as we knew it would. Socialism doesn’t work. It is just a variation on an age-old theme: centralized power.
Communists would have you believe that society moves from feudalism to capitalism to socialism to communism, but this is ridiculous.
What in fact happened is that ideas about government evolved, mainly in Europe; and, most emphatically, mainly in the English-speaking world. Western ideas of governance of course go back to the ancient civilizations in the Mediterranean area, and we owe a great deal to those people. But after the collapse of the ancient civilizations in Europe (other parts of the world have a different history), Western Europe devolved into monarchies. And, in a world were absolute monarchs had total power over their people, it was in the British Isles that there was a long history of the people gaining power at the expense of the monarch. In 1215, the Magna Carta promised things like protection of church rights, protection of barons from illegal imprisonment, and prompt justice. Centuries later, the English Civil War broke out in 1642, and in early 1649, the English King, Charles I, was executed; England became a republic, although briefly. A few years later, the monarchy was restored, and this was followed by the Glorious Revolution, which saw the passing in 1689 of the English Bill of Rights: the king could no longer suspend laws, the imposition of taxes and keeping of a standing army in peacetime needed parliamentary approval, excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishments were prohibited, and other similar core principles were established: people of the British Isles were becoming citizens, not subjects, and they were governed, not ruled.
This is why, when European colonies were established around the world in this time, it was in the English-speaking colonies that there was growing discontent with being ruled by a distant king. In the British Isles, English-speaking people had rights – won in hard-fought battles over the course of centuries, and with roots in ancient civilizations – that people across the English Channel did not have; remember, despite moves in the direction of reform in France, Louis XVI was still an absolute monarch.
So, when English-speaking people in North America had taxes laid upon them and standing armies kept among them without the consent of their local legislatures, when colonists accused of serious crimes were taken back to the British Isles for trial in a place where they for all practical purposes could not have witnesses for their defense, when British military authorities came to take their weapons from them… they were being ruled, not governed – treated as subjects, not as citizens. In contrast, in the French- and Spanish-speaking colonies, such things were not unusual, and there was no history of these people knowing a better way of governance.
The American Revolution was nothing like the French Revolution. To be fair, many ideas circulated among political thinkers that were common. But, the American Revolution happened first, and resulted in a stable form of government. In contrast, the French Revolution quickly resorted to a total uprooting of all accepted norms of behavior, going so far as to rename the months of the year; people were guillotined, and the result was a military dictatorship that threatened all of Europe.
In a world that was very stratified, and where status was everything, the American revolutionaries put forth the idea that we are all equal in the eyes of our Creator: not equally wealthy, or equally talented, but equally human, and thus equally deserving of respect and dignity. They put forth the idea that a man struggling with poverty and simply trying to survive was the equal of the kings of France, Spain, and England. This was indeed revolutionary, and threatened not just independence of the British colonies, but an overthrow of all the established orders of the day, as far away as Russia and China, and to the depths of Central Asia and Africa and South America.
The government which came out of the American Revolution, which was philosophically based in ideas put forth in our Declaration of Independence and then codified in our Constitution, remains the newest and best – and most revolutionary – in all the history of human society. The promise made by those words has led in the United States to full enfranchisement of adults, regardless of gender, race, religion or wealth. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was successful exactly because he recognized that a promise had been made, but not kept, and that it was long past time to keep that promise and ensure that Americans of African descent could exercise their equal rights without harassment or fear.
But these ideas sparked changes around the world.
And it is these ideas that make America special.
To be Polish or Vietnamese, you have to look like the people around you, speak the language of the people around you, and have roots in the country. Yes, you can become a citizen of Poland or of Vietnam; but being ethnically Polish or Vietnamese is different.
America, on the other hand, is an idea that we share and an ideal that we strive for. America is about people organizing their own lives, their own economic activity, their own government; it is about people having power, and delegating some of that power to those who govern them. It is a place where people, both as individuals and in whatever groups they choose to form, are supreme, and may do as they wish, whether economically, politically, religiously, or otherwise – provided that in so doing they do not take away the reasonable rights of others.
And to be an American, all you have to do is believe in the ideal set forth in our Declaration of Independence and agree to abide by and defend the codification of that ideal as put forth in our Constitution. If you do this, you are accepted as an American, and you can elevate yourself economically, socially, religiously and politically.
Through the decades of its existence, the Soviet Union sought to spread its world revolution. At first, it tried this militarily, but found it was on the defensive. Big power politics and racism found their home in National Socialism, a not dissimilar ideology (remember, communism is “international socialism” – the difference is a prefix); at first, the communists and Nazis got along splendidly despite a deeply-rooted hatred for each other, but of course that was too good to last; Hitler betrayed Stalin before Stalin could betray Hitler, and the world’s first socialist nation found itself fighting for its very survival (relying on obsolete nationalism and even religion to motivate its New Soviet Man).
As the Soviet Union evolved, it found that asymmetric warfare (we didn’t call it that) and hybrid warfare (we didn’t call it that) were very useful: by subverting its enemies and fighting brush wars, the Soviet Union could spread its power and influence under the banner of international socialism, without provoking a war that Soviet leaders knew would be terrible and costly, and were not sure they could win.
Before it collapsed, the Soviet Union had a great deal of momentum with its subversive activities. Soviet agents had infiltrated and indoctrinated generations – generations! – of “intellectuals” and “scholars” around the world. They had muddied the waters of science and history, they had sewn doubt in the minds of the populations of target countries, and they had whole armies of useful idiots who misunderstood what the West in general, and America in particular, was about: people compared the worst reality of free enterprise and democratic republicanism with the promises of socialism, and liked the promises better.
To be sure, history has shown that these useful idiots are among the first to be executed when communists seize power. But, nevertheless, ungrounded in reality and believing the enticing lies of the serpent, they dance behind the piper who promises them free stuff.
The momentum of Soviet subversion and disinformation did not disappear when the Soviet Union collapsed. Rather, like a big, heavily-laden train that jumps its tracks, it threatens all in front of it as it crashes to a halt in a giant, chaotic wreck.
It is in this context that we need to discuss the socialist pipe dreams of current political campaigns.
There’s this, from a great American President:
The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves – in their separate, and individual capacities. In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere.
– Abraham Lincoln
And there’s this:
Throughout history, governments have done certain things. These have included: establishing infrastructure, such as roads, for common use and to promote economic activity; means such as courts to resolve disputes; internal security, such as police, to protect against the criminal element; and military forces, to protect against external invaders.
Our Constitution requires a national census, for a variety of purposes, but including for the purpose of ensuring proportional representation and thus to facilitate our Constitutional government. It also provides for the common defense, thereby allowing for the raising of armies and navies; implicit in the raising of armies and navies is provision of health care for those who serve and who have served and received injuries that are service-related. And so on – please read the Constitution some time.
To lump all of these things in together and call them socialist programs is disinformation. Its intent is to confuse and obfuscate; many different propaganda techniques are evident in the image above. I leave it for you as an exercise to go the Wikipedia page and review what the propaganda techniques are, and to see how many you can spot here.
Food stamps, welfare, public housing, farm and business subsidies, federal student loans – and other things mixed in – are socialism.
And keep in mind – socialism is indeed a place on the road to communism, but communism is not the ultimate evolution of human social interaction; rather, it is a major step backward, beyond feudalism. Communism (socialism, progressivism – however they market it in order to sell it to you) is slavery: it means having an elite decide how you will be fed and housed, how you will be educated and clothed, where you will work, what you will do there and how much you will get paid. This is slavery – we fought a war to end it, we have seen it fail everywhere it has ever been practiced, and now they repackage it for you and want you to vote for it.
Another place you get food, health care, housing, work, education, and security is prison. Are you going to vote to place yourself in protective custody?
You can be an American, and believe in the principles upon which this nation was founded.
Or, you can vote for socialism, a form of government so terrible it had to be imposed by force and kept in place by terror, which has single-handedly led to the deaths of millions of people through war, starvation and brutality, an economic system that has failed everywhere it has ever been tried.
The Left will always contrast the best of their promises to the worst of reality in the American system – and what they promise appears to be better if you do not look closely. Then, they will point to the failures of socialism everywhere it has been tried, and say “they didn’t do it right” – implicit in this assumption is the arrogance of those who seek power as an elite: they will get it right.
Taking by force of government what people have worked for and earned, and giving it to those who have not worked for it, did not earn it, and do not deserve it, is socialism, and it is wrong; and there is no right way to do the wrong thing.
That is why it fails everywhere it has ever been tried.
Our system is not perfect; far from it. Ours is a government of the people, by the people and for the people; people are human and imperfect, so the government they establish is similarly imperfect.
But our system is still the best humanity has ever established, and if we Americans trade in our freedom and prosperity for the promises and pipe dreams of some old communist retread, then the light of freedom and prosperity will go out not just here in America, but all over the world, and the only place we will have to look for freedom and prosperity will be in heaven above – and that’s another thing the socialists seek to separate us from!