Totalitarianism: we have become comfortably numb - Part 8

Arbitrary control is the conditio sine qua non of totalitarianism. All you need to do is point your finger, utter “Islamophobia”, and it is done. When we agreed to create “hate speech,” we conceded that our thoughts and emotions must be policed. This has always been the business of totalitarianism.

Totalitarianism: we have become comfortably numb - Part 8
No dignity in death: Ayatollah Khomeini's send-off

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7

Seven years after the Yuri Bezmenov interview, in 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed under the weight of its own internal contradictions. In the West, capitalism remained as real as ever. It was an event that free market ideologues, Western conservatives and “Kremlinologists” took as historic vindication of their positions and the superiority of capitalism and democracy over all other forms of political economy and social organisation. Some even went so far as to claim that history had come to an end. Does the passing of two decades since then mean that Bezmenov was wrong in predicting that the United States would descend into totalitarianism if it did not take actions of the kind urged by both Karl Popper and himself, albeit that he put it somewhat more bluntly than Popper?

To answer this question, let us approach it from a different angle. Consider a Muslim suicide bomber’s act of blowing himself up in a crowded place. Two points to keep in mind: firstly, the suicide bomber’s act and its consequences are, for all intents and purposes, simultaneous; and secondly, the perpetrator and his victims die at the same instant. In the subversion that Bezmenov was a part of, the act takes place over fifteen to twenty years, their consequences unfolding over the subsequent twenty years before destabilisation eventually sets in. Once the point of no return has been reached, the subversion will run its own course, as it no longer matters whether the subverter lives or dies. His work is done. He does not have to be alive to see you die.

Where Bezmenov goes wrong is in proposing faith as both the vaccine against and antidote to demoralisation, apparently not seeing that faith is precisely the active ingredient in creating the demoralisation he so vividly describes. He rather self-defeatingly points out that no one will willingly die for scientific truth (the example he gives is “2x2 = 4”), but multitudes are ready to die for “the truth of God”. On the one hand, multitudes are also ready to die for the truth of the Party, while on the other, the multitudes ready to die for “the truth of God” today, are Muslims. Faith, a form of irrationality, is Bezmenov’s solution to the irrationality that is the outcome of his KGB activities:

A person who was demoralised is unable to assess true information. The facts tell nothing to him. Even if I show him with information, with authentic proof, with documents, with pictures, even if I take him by force to the Soviet Union and show him a concentration camp, he will refuse to believe it.

“He will refuse to believe it,” because to believe it, is to believe something other than that which he already believes. In the twenty years and three months since 9/11, Muslims have murdered almost 41,000 people. When someone responds to information like this with, "but not all Muslims," then it doesn't matter whether you tell him about one murder or 100,000 murders, "the facts tell nothing to him." Whether you go from God to Communism, or from Communism to God, either way you are committing blasphemy. It does not matter whether the believer’s mental world is framed by a religion or not, the point is that the objective world is the unreal world, while the world he has constructed inside his head is the real world. The one demoralised by the KGB is in the same condition as the one demoralised by the priest, the imam, the rabbi, or the teacher. It is only a matter of whether such demoralisation occurs in adult life or takes place in early childhood.