Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How to Destroy a Nation in 15 Easy Steps

1. Attack ALL tradition, even relatively innoculous traditions, like religious feasts, parades, traditional clothing, etc. Make sure that people follow fashion instead of tradition. Change the fashions as quickly as possible, so that people will have no time to attend to important matters, being continually consumed with following the latest trends. "New architecture", consisting of ugly buildings devoid of ornament, should be promoted. Old buildings that are beautiful should be torn down, so that people have little connection to the past. "Modern music" that is sterile, devoid of human feeling and hypnotic in effect should be promoted as well. Folk music, traditional forms of art and architecture should be eliminated. Art and film should reinforce a style that is either entirely devoid of meaning or substance, or simply decadent. "High art" should be eliminated from popular culture, and sneered at as "old fashioned" and "high brow". Thus demoralized, the population will be easier to manipulate.

2. Divide people by minor traits such as skin color. Reinforce these differences by treating people differently, or creating identity movements. Create separate magazines, television programs, radio stations, etc., so that people will be divided as much as possible.

3. Divide people by age. Make sure that young and old cannot wear the same clothing, eat the same foods, listen to the same music, or even speak the same language. Create a "generation gap". This will make it virtually impossible to create a community of resistance.

4. Create a plethora of different political groups, appealing to different factions,  all proposing the same policies, and none of them offering meaningful change. Put "your people" in every party.

5. Make sure that most people work at jobs that have little relation to their lives. Eliminate self-employment as much as possible, so that most people are completely dependent on corporations and anonymous multinationals. Slowly lower the wages and make sure that people have to work at several jobs to get by. A nation that is being worked to death cannot put up any resistance. They will not be able to take time off to demonstrate. 

6. Make sure that the nation is more and more dependent on imported goods. Eliminate small, family-run farms and locally owned factories. Bit by bit, send all meaningful work overseas to foreigners. A nation that produces nothing but debt will be easily cut off from outside resources. Those jobs that remain will be fought over by a desperate populace, who have lost their self-respect and self-sufficiency. 

7. Make sure that the nation goes into debt. In order to do this, it is necessary to encourage spending and discourage thrift. Consumerism and a life of shopping will mean that people will do anything to "keep up with the Joneses".

8. Attack the family and traditional marriage as "old fashioned". Make traditional virtues such as chastity, faithfulness and loyalty unfashionable, and replace them with "sexual liberation". Hire women to do "men"s work", paying them much less than men, so that one-parent families will be thrust into poverty. The children growing up without fathers or mothers will be easy to manipulate. Some can be taken by the state, raised to be "killers", and sent to the army. Undermine parental authority, so that children will do as they please. With the help of the media, you can steer them to do as you please.

9. Attack the traditions of the army. Make sure that morale is as low as possible, by allowing and encouraging abuse of power, rape and torture. Punish whistle-blowers, so that the most competent, ethical members of the armed forces will resign in disgust. When such abuse occurs, make sure that it is readily publicized, so that people will fear and distrust their own government. 

10. Attack or sublimate traditional religion.  Those that cannot be turned into mouthpieces for propaganda can be eliminated through infiltration, division and scandal. Send spies to the theology seminars, and have them seduce priests, pastors and seminarians. Disseminate heresy and pass it off as "new thinking". Encourage atheism. Meanwhile, pour as much money as possible into "fringe groups", sects and cults so that there is little unity among people. Make sure that legitimate religion is cast into the same pot as fanatical sects, so that people can see little difference between the two. A nation that is godless is also without morals, and can be persuaded to do anything that is suggested, including murder and cannibalism.

11. Find anything that is traditionally a sexual taboo (homosexuality, pedophilia, sadomasochism, bestiality) and re-label them "alternative lifestyles" and use the issue of sexuality as a wedge issue. Make sure you stoke as much controversy as possible, by allowing religious "fanatics" to have equal time with "perverts". Eliminate indecency laws, and allow pornography to flourish, becoming more and more crude. Meanwhile, divide people on the issue of "freedom of speech", so that they equate freedom with pornography, sexual libertinism and vulgarity. People will be so involved in defending their own positions on these issues, that they will barely notice that their nation is being taken over.

12. Attack the traditional school and university system, making sure that "new methods" do not encourage young people to think for themselves, but merely teach them to memorize facts, repeat other people's opinions and regurgitate information. Slowly lower standards so that the typical student is ill-informed and lazy. Discourage logical thinking. Meanwhile, "dumb down" all newspapers, television reports and books. Denigrate the study of history, politics, philosophy or theology and encourage young people to confine their studies to "practical" matters, such as business, engineering, banking, accounting, etc. You will then have a mass of willing slaves to perform remedial tasks such as bookkeeping, data processing, banking or graphics, none of which will be able to convincingly challenge your rights to do as you please. 

13. Plant some of your own people in positions of authority. Make sure that they propose laws that will undermine freedom and political transparency. If anyone opposes them, accuse them of being unpatriotic or old-fashioned. Use the word "patriotism" to your own advantage, diverting its meaning so that it is equated with flag-waving and nationalism instead of traditional values or traditions. 

14. Consolidate all news media and publishing companies, so that "your people" control virtually all that people see, hear, read or experience. Package propaganda as "entertainment". Vulgarize the arts so that they appeal to sensationalism instead of reflective thought.  Attack independent media by either "buying them out" or "shutting them down". Use the media to distract people with an unending stream of useless information, disinformation, scandals, gossip and trashy programming, so that they barely have time to attend to serious matters.

15. Without religion or traditions, moral and ethical objections to your political takeover will be rendered toothless. Set up fascist laws under the pretext of "security". Attack traditionalists as fundamentalists, reactionaries or terrorists. Attack liberal opponents as socialists or anarchists. Without laws guaranteeing fair trials, it will be easy to allow your opponents to "disappear", or die under "mysterious circumstances". You will now have the support of enough of the population that it will be relatively easy to take over. Many will barely notice a change in slave masters.

Do Morals Matter?

If you want to see the true effects of religion on society, you need look no further than the eradication of much religion in the countries in the Soviet bloc. Thanks to communism, much of the values and traditions rooted in Christianity were, if not outright abolished, scorned and sneered at. Modern man, it was believed, could do without religion. Sloganeering, exhortions to do what is right for fellow man, moral campaigns to encourage a feeling of unity- these were to replace religion, the "Opiate of the Masses", as Marx ever so succinctly put it.

Religion was blamed for many, if not all of the ills of society, and we could look forward to a "brave new world" based on scientific materialism.

In the "West", the new scientific capitalism was based on similar principles. It was widely taught that, because man was inherently good, he was in no need of religion, with its superstitious beliefs in candle-lighting rituals, miracles, prayers and saints. People would be able to do whatever they pleased, and somehow would gravitate towards doing good, without any outside help.

This pleased the business elite for two reasons: firstly, because without the church, they would finally be free from what the referred to as "middle class morality: the belief in such principles as honesty, fair play, integrity, a man's word of honor and a hard day's work. Secondly, they could finally be free to cater to the darkest impulses of men's spirits, without constraints; they could have free access to greed, avarice, lust, envy, wrath and all of the other dark impulses; they could use modern psychology to manipulate our minds with advertising, all the while castigating critics as "old fashioned" and "moralistic". 

In the US, starting in the early seventies, traditional churches have been broken up, marginalized or replaced by "new" churches that preached a pro-Capitalist propaganda message, promoting wealth as a symbol of God's favor, in much the same way, in Communist countries, the "official" church preached pro-government propaganda, extolling the virtues of Marxism. Capitalism and communism are twin images, two faces of the fascist monster that is devouring the earth, robbing the poorest people of their God-given freedom.

What is the end result of the destruction of religious ideals in a society? If we look at two examples, Russia and Poland, we can see the effects of religion and a lack thereof.

In Russia, those who clung to the Orthodox faith were ridiculed and mocked, faced discrimination and were socially ostracized. After many years of communist rule, many Russians had never laid eyes on a Bible. Few had read one.

In Poland, however, the population clung to their strong Catholic faith, and it became a means of resistance in the face of communist oppression.

In the fall of communism, both countries faced enormous economic, political and social turmoil and hardship. Russia collapsed into tyranny, gang warfare and prostitution. Even today, criminal gangs roam the streets, preying on wealthy businessmen, bankers and tourists. Murders, kidnappings, rape, mafia-related crime and drug dealing are rampant. Without religion, men become animals, preying on the weak and defenseless.

Poland, in contrast, has become a popular tourist destination. The economy has recovered and is attracting foreign investment. The crime rate is nowhere near that of Russia's. The difference? Polish people kept their faith in God.

Like Samson felling the ancient temple by tearing down the pillar with one swoop, the "Business Elite", in toppling the Christian pillar, have torn down Western Civilization with it. A civilization is more than a collection of peoples; it is held together by a common heritage, common languages, beliefs and traditions. Religion is a huge part of it.

The Gnostics believed that religious truth was the sole province of the religious elect; elitists, they believed that the common man was too crude for the subtleties of mystical truth. They were not too far off the mark; indeed, the mystical teachings of Meister Eckhardt or Hildegard Von Bingen may be outside of the grasp of the typical truck driver or factory worker. However, all men need a form of religion to feed their deepest moral, eithical and spiritual needs. For a simple person, simple prayers and rituals fullfill a need for deeper meaning. Without this, there is no ethical framework to hold society together.

As with individual men, so, too with nations; when a nation endures hardship, we see what kind of mettle they are made of. I fear it will not go well with America. A nation which, even in times of relative plenty, is awash in violence, hatred, animosity and greed will not suddenly find its moral compass in times of trouble.

A righteous man can endure suffering with patience. In the 1930's, America was thrown into economic hardship. At the time, most Americans were honest, churchgoing and devout. Little violence, rioting or fighting occurred, despite the hardship.

Today, America is a nation where automatic weapons are to be found on every corner. Thanks to video games, children as young as ten are trained killers and thieves. Millions believe in relative morality, that man decides what is right and wrong, not God. What will happen to America in the following years? I shudder to guess at it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Weapons of Cultural Mass Destruction

Is technology making us stupider? Are computers turning us into moronic dolts, incapable of reason? Or is technology a pathway to new freedom? In the 90's, when I was in college, our professors routinely pounded into us the idea that "technology is the future". The brave new world promised to us, in which every shiny happy worker with a knowledge of computers would have a stress-free life telecommuting to his high-tech job has been rapidly replaced by a dog-eat-dog world of techno-feudalism, in which workers compete in a furious race to the bottom. Is technology to blame? What new dangers does the post-modern world of technology offer up for us?  

To be sure, technology has always resulted in a loss of jobs  for those whose skills are outdated. Nowadays, arithmetic can be done by computers, spell-checking eliminates the need for learning spelling or grammar, and we rely on computers to help us with banking and tax forms, something that, years ago, we would have had to do for ourselves, using good-old-fashioned common sense and a slide rule. However, the danger inherent in technology is not merely that we use it as a crutch so that we can think less. 

No, the gravest danger lies in what technology has enabled us to do without. We can now do without learning musical instruments, or paying musicians to play for us- thanks to the CD player and the radio. Those recorded musicians, incidentally, can do without bothering to play or sing in tune (auto-tune will take care of it), playing with proper rhythm (yes, there is a plug-in for that) and can even type the music in to a program and have the computer play it, thus eliminating the need for musicians entirely. Nowadays, pieces of music are composed, produced and recorded without even one single musician picking up an instrument, strumming a guitar, or pounding away on a real-life drum.

The same goes for the visual arts. Many of the visual images that we are flooded by, day and night, have been doctored by computers. The ability to draw and paint using traditional media is quickly fading away into obscurity.

Some would say good riddance. Composing by hand, as Beethoven once did, painting and sculpting, as Michelangelo did, are seen by scoffers as modern-day anachronisms. We live in modern times, and "cutting edge" is all the rage. Music needn't be beautiful, tonal, or even recognizably musical, and art has long ago lost all pretensions of being about artistic craft, higher ideals or even artistry. In our cynical times, it is often considered the epitome of higher art to consider art itself redundant and of no greater value than a plastic chair found on the sidewalk. Cynicism is all the rage.

However, in the very act of compartmentalizing tasks to the point of giving over almost all of the drudge work to computers, we run into not only the danger of losing essential skills that could be forever lost, we run the risk of destroying the foundations of society itself. A nation which produces no painters, handcrafters or traditional musicians is culturally impoverished. A small tribe of grass-skirted "primitives", in which every member has skills in arts and crafts, can sing or play a musical instrument, is in less danger of cultural annihlation than one in which the work of producing art or music has been relegated to machines. Without a tactile relationship to making music and art, a person soon loses all ability to discern the difference between that which requires skill and the commodified and cheaply made. Our senses, once dulled, may never regain what has been lost. Is it no wonder that so many young people are becoming alienated and suicidal? Archaologists have often pondered the causes of highly complex civilizations, seemingly over night, vanishing without a trace. Ours, with its assembly- line culture, could very well be next.

The transient nature of the technology, the internet and modern media, in general, poses yet another problem. In previous centuries, knowledge was passed down gradually, with each generation carefully pondering the works of the previous one. There was a canon of accepted works which was honored, and all cultural change occurred incrementally. However, our history and previous culture is being erased with increasing rapidity. Soon all traces of lost attitudes, perspectives and ways of life may be lost forever. With cultural changes occurring not merely by the day but by the minute (such as Wikipedia), we are in danger of losing our cultural and historical footing altogether. With older ways of transmitting knowledge are cast aside or "reinterpreted" according to the whims of fashion, the question is will future generations even share the same language with previous ones? Will there even be a chance of understanding between generations? 

Technology is meant to be out slave, not our master. If we allow technology to rob us of our humanity, we have only succeeded in defeating ourselves. We mustn't let the traditional arts and humanities languish under the banner of modernity.