Today’s post is the second of a two-part series which incorporates one reader’s thoughts in response to ”Did American Military Overinvolvement Hasten Europe’s Cultural Decay?” which ran on American Thinker and on Clear Thinking. The reader offered a fascinating perspective, to which I added my ideas and interpretations.
Again, as a reminder, my coauthor wishes to remain anonymous. Enjoy.
For Part I, go here.
Win the Meme War or Lose the Culture—Part II
By Chuck Rogér and Anonymous
The Clear Thinking article, “Did American Military Overinvolvement Hasten Europe’s Cultural Decay?” observed that:
…the argument for American military intervention in other nations rests on shaky ground. Contending that the United States must “police” the world, “build” nations, “spread” democracy, and “fight” for other people’s freedom sounds convincing, even lofty. But sacrificing human and economic treasure to fight for people who’ve shown little willingness to fight for themselves smacks of contrived moral superiority and is logically indefensible.
If we examine military interventionism from the perspective of memes,1 as discussed in “Win the Meme War or Lose the Culture—Part I,” we open a fascinating perspective.
During World War II, America could have left Europe on its own. Yet today, most people would agree that our military might was crucial to winning the war. And winning that war birthed a story of America as policeman to the world. But there is another side to the story.
America went to Europe and killed many German soldiers. Millions of civilians, including Germans, some of whom believed in and others who hated Nazism, also died. The war was won when Nazism died.
When the Germans surrendered, the Nazi meme died. And one has to wonder, did so many have to die? Could victory over Hitler have been gained through some path which we could not see then and may not see even now, a path in which the Nazi ideology would have been killed without so much human misery and loss of life?
Both questions are probably unanswerable. The Germans were extraordinarily attached to their ideology. The Aryan story that Hitler’s sick mind had invented had become ingrained in the German mind. The people neither knew how to or wanted to liberate themselves from the evil ideology. And so the Allies killed many Germans. The killing eventually killed the Nazi ideology.
As Nazism proved, ideology can be a horrific thing. The Nazis, Maoists, Stalinists, Leninists, etc., were all collectivists at heart, as are modern-day American “liberals.” But everyday garden variety liberals who cling to the liberal story, the ideology, the meme, would not be enemies of liberty if not for the story itself—the repeatedly and thoroughly discredited, collectivist story.
Purveyors of stories as devastating as that of collectivism must be defeated. But it would be preferable to defeat a story itself instead of physically eliminating the storytellers. Sadly however, bloodless warfare is not something for which humanity has ever demonstrated capability. A relatively bloodless war in the form of post-World War II de-Nazification was effective, but left sloppy side-effects. Current-day Germany’s ultra-pacifist posturing is but one of the unintended consequences.
Creating consequences, both intended and unintended, is a meme war specialty. American liberals, or “progressives,” initially hoped to achieve a collectivist-utopian dream. Having grown a huge government that tries to legislate every aspect of people’s lives, progressives have now realized half of the dream. Government is a behemoth. But the collectivist utopian half of the vision is M.I.A. Instead, progressivism has brought mostly economic and cultural degradation.
In spite of dismal failure to enact the utopian dream, progressives have been winning the meme war even as most people haven’t realized that a meme war even exists. Today’s predominant paradigm dictates that a story can only be defeated by another story, that people must submit to one ideology or another. Yet truly, is exchanging one parasite for another the best way to heal a suffering host? Or does eliminating all parasites heal the host? Throughout history, various cultures have relentlessly played one story against another. Such a modus operandi seems to be quite “human.” And perhaps meme wars are quintessentially human.
Still, finding a way to resist “endotoxic memes” (see endnotes below),2,3 might allow people to regain some dignity and discover liberty. When people have been captive to freedom-robbing memes for too long, they “forget” that liberty exists. Picture Siberian hunter-gatherers stranded on a desert island for fifty years, “forgetting” what thirty degrees below zero feels like. When finally returned to the homeland, the cold feels almost paralyzing at first. But after a while, the Siberians let go of a half-century of heat and humidity and embrace the feeling of home. Similarly, people held hostage to an old story or “way of being” must work through the pain of acknowledging that they fell under falsehood’s spell. After this admission, they can escape the ideological prison built on that falsehood.
There will always be exploiters bearing falsehoods, people who benefit from ideological epidemics. There are those who drive the epidemic and those who merely hop on for the ride. The riders include people who don’t want to take responsibility for their own actions and people who expect wealth without earning wealth. On the other hand, the drivers constantly deceive the riders into sacrificing their freedom The drivers quash any attempt by the riders to break free. Drivers of ideological stories are exploiters.
Exploiters draw power from those who have been duped into sacrificing on behalf of the exploiters. In America, the poor, Blacks, Hispanics, “minorities” in general, and to some extent women, have been treated as dupes by an exploitative Left. The Left’s greatest fear is that meme war prisoners will realize what is happening and scream, “Enough!” Without the subservience of the hoodwinked masses, the exploiters would lose power and influence. The American Left, for instance, knows that its power is tenuous, an illusion based on a wispy, illogical, fallacy-drenched fabric of amorality, stultifying political correctness, and “shared ideas.” Such devices serve one main purpose, to keep the Left ensconced firmly in control. And the Left is in control—of government, academia, news media, and the entertainment industry.
In addition to the poor, Blacks, Hispanics, and “victims” in general, there are other people on whom exploiters rely for power. There are “average” Joes and Josies who work for a living and support not only the exploiters, but the exploiters’ victims as well. These average people toil in the private sector. Their taxes feed the Ruling Class leeches in Washington and millions of recipients of government “aid.” It is these supporters of the leeches and the leeches’ victims, these average taxpaying citizens, who are the ones that might actually be reachable through passionate arguments based on convincing evidence. These are the people who can learn to reject the memes that are causing them to labor for the benefit of others.
But there is a major roadblock to reaching the average Joes and Josies. How does even the clearest-thinking adult armed with indisputable facts and flawless logic carry on a dialogue with people who consider it too much work to listen and change? A huge percentage of the American population is addicted to the progressive-socialist meme. Rejecting the story requires facing a great deal of pain and owning up to cognitive dissonance. Most average folks have been far too willing to “go with the flow”—all the way the grave—rather than challenge the sanctimonious liberal know-it-alls who have been pretending to be concerned and compassionate neighbors. Average Americans are clinging to a type of self-imposed blindness.
To better understand the blindness, we look to North Korea. The people there are unable to think outside the monomaniacal top-down worldview imposed by a runty totalitarian “leader.” The people don’t actually know that the rest of the world is far superior in every way to the North Korean hell. And it is here that we encounter a gotcha: the North Koreans don’t even grasp how bad their lives really are. To them, the whole world is bad.
So we come full circle. The current global reality is akin to the North Korean reality. Most people are functioning under a common general delusion: the idea that life cannot be lived without inviting into the mind and nourishing some manner of ideological parasite. It is here that we encounter a second gotcha: For where is the “outside” of our world? Unlike the North Koreans, the entire world has no “outside” to which to look for comparison. There is no “there” there.
Or maybe there is.
Our “outside” may be a way of thinking that is free from any ideological virus. Our challenge is that such a state of mind is utterly unknown. Yet brief moments of clarity can be achieved. Most people do have fleeting glimpses of true reality, unmasked reality, real reality. Such a state of mind is a sort of terra incognita, a place where we go when we are not consumed by emotional conditioning, imaginary problems, and mental fixation.
This kind of clarity will certainly never be achieved across society as a whole. If there is any chance of achieving such clarity long enough to change the story running through our minds, that chance would most likely present itself after a socioeconomic collapse of massive proportion. Such a collapse is not preferable. Alternatively, a moment of societal clarity could be achieved through massive intervention, non-military intervention on a scale that would stop the meme wars in America and in Europe.
Recall from Part I of this two-part series:
It will take an explosive awakening by a critical mass of Europeans and Americans to blast through the political correctness erected around liberals’ taboo zones.
When breakthrough is achieved, people on both continents will finally understand what is happening. Sadly, Europe may have reached a point beyond which no amount of realization will save the day. In America, we are close to critical awakening. I hope that we shall achieve that awakening soon.
America’s awakening is already happening. Conservatives on the right and Tea Party libertarians and “independents” as well as others in the center are intervening in America’s meme war. For now, winning the war means focusing on the current battle to reestablish economic freedom. The Right had better not botch this battle by raking in a list of divisive social conservative issues. America’s survival depends on winning the Battle of 2012 first. We can tackle the rest later.
For Part I, go here.
1 meme: an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture
2 endotoxin: a toxin released into a host by bacterial cells when the bacterium dies
3 endotoxic meme: a meme that works against its host