Marlowe's Shade

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

We Beat the Soviets But Lost the Cold War

BBC Radio did a poll of their listeners, inviting them vote for their favorite philosopher. Who do you think won? Plato? Aristotle? Kant?

No, comrades, it was Karl Marx.

Marx rolled over a field of the ten greatest philosophers of all time like a Soviet tank, with 28% of the vote. Skeptic David Hume was a distant second with a little less than 13% and the rest were far behind.

I'd like to write this off as more European idiocy, or blame the BBC's benighted global audience, but I think that would be a mistake. I might consider the BBC's audience ill-educated but they are not under-educated (this in fact might be part of the problem). The concern for me is despite the fall of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc, not only has communism not been discredited by it's dismal historical track record, but seems to be as popular as ever with world intellectuals. And in fact a stealthier form of Marx's ideas has captured the political imagination of Europe and even parts of the body politic in the US.

I'm starting to see what we called the Cold War in a different light and one recurring image is that tiered chess board from Star Trek. World Communism as fronted by the Soviets stalemated us militarily but collapsed economically and then politically. But what is now becoming apparent to me is that they had stunning success on our home front.

The "Red Scare" of the 1950's is a good example. Joe McCarthy did a fantastic job discrediting his own cause. He knew who had been involved with Communist front organizations but being more of a demagogue than a researcher, he never did his homework and eventually became an embarrassment to his own party. By the time the Venona Papers confirmed many of the suspicions of the HUAC [McCarthy actually served on a different committee] the press and public opinion were already had a hardwired view of the "witch hunts".

What the Venona Papers uncovered was a stunning infiltration of all levels of government, business and the media by Soviet agents. The Hollywood blacklists were just the tip of the iceberg. The list is mind-boggling but what I found most disturbing is how little concern this revelation created in 1986 when it was finally revealed. And when the Soviet Union fell less then 5 years later, it was completely forgotten.

The compromising of figures like the Rosenbergs, Fuchs and Sax had grave consequences for the course of our history, as did the Soviet infestation of the OSS, which later became the CIA. But we should be no less concerned with the infiltration of our media. Among the Venona contacts were CBS journalist Stephen Laird and Richard Lauterbach from Time. Also Richard Setaro, journalist/writer at CBS was on the list, as well as Anna Louise Strong, journalist for The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, and The Nation, and finally IF Stone also of The Nation. This of course doesn't include journalists who were sympathetic to the Left without needing a KGB case officer.

Under the cover of this media black-out since the fall of Joe McCarthy, I propose much has been accomplished in our society that furthered the aims of the enemies of our society. The Soviets were one of these enemies, but I hope to demonstrate in future posts that they may not even have been chief among our adversaries. But I'd like to conclude this first installment with what I consider a particularly haunting installment that was introduced to me by Jaime at Song of Time. It was a list of Communist objectives that he found at Free Republic but had originally been published in book called The Naked Communist, as well as being entered into the Congressional Record in the early 60's. Were in not for this provenance, the list is so eerily accurate I would suspect it was an urban legend. I'll post the whole thing despite it's length. Note the agenda items that do not correspond to the Soviet ideal, I think they are particularly significant:

[From "The Naked Communist," by Cleon Skousen]


1. U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.

2. U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.

3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.

4. Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.

5. Extension of long-term loans to Russia and Soviet satellites.

6. Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.

7. Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.

8. Set up East and West Germany as separate states in spite of Khrushchev's promise in 1955 to settle the German question by free elections under supervision of the U.N.

9. Prolong the conferences to ban atomic tests because the United States has agreed to suspend tests as long as negotiations are in progress.

10. Allow all Soviet satellites individual representation in the U.N.

11. Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces. (Some Communist leaders believe the world can be taken over as easily by the U.N. as by Moscow. Sometimes these two centers compete with each other as they are now doing in the Congo.)

12. Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.

13. Do away with all loyalty oaths.

14. Continue giving Russia access to the U.S. Patent Office.

15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.

16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.

17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers' associations. Put the party line in textbooks.

18. Gain control of all student newspapers.

19. Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.

20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policymaking positions.

21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.

22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to "eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms."

23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art."

24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them "censorship" and a violation of free speech and free press.

25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.

26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."

27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with "social" religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a "religious crutch."

28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state."

29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.

30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the "common man."

31. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the "big picture." Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.

32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture--education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.

33. Eliminate all laws or procedures which interfere with the operation of the Communist apparatus.

34. Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

35. Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.

36. Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.

37. Infiltrate and gain control of big business.

38. Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand [or treat].

39. Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.

40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.

42. Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use ["]united force["] to solve economic, political or social problems.

43. Overthrow all colonial governments before native populations are ready for self-government.

44. Internationalize the Panama Canal.

45. Repeal the Connally reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction [over domestic problems. Give the World Court jurisdiction] over nations and individuals alike.

Crossposted on Internet Journal of Public Policy
papijoe 8:12 AM