Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Mind-warper for the day: Eric S. Raymond's essay on the legacy of Stalinist memetic warfare. Essentially, he's re-imagined the post-Marxist/transnational progressivist intellectual hangover as a species of pollution - the imaginative equivalent of buried nukes or bioweapons contaminating intellectual groundwaters. Hell, on a small scale, those WWI-era shells French farmers still keep getting blown up by now and again in the fields of the Somme or Meuse. He calls this poisoning by abandoned, unguided Stalinist intellectual warfare Gramscian damage.


The first step to recovery is understanding the problem. Knowing that suicidalist memes were launched at us as war weapons by the espionage apparatus of the most evil despotism in human history is in itself liberating.

I've always called it "the monster in your mind" when I've encountered this societal rage in others, although usually not to their face. But Raymond seems to be making a case for the intellectual equivalent of environmental poisoning: not ideological vampirism, but Stalinist lead poisoning, the product of a stunting of a person's moral and intellectual growth at a vulnerable age.

Raymond doesn't stop with that idea. He goes on:

Again, this is by design. Lenin and Stalin wanted classical-liberal individualism replaced with something less able to resist totalitarianism, not more. Volk-Marxist fantasy and postmodern nihilism served their purposes; the emergence of an adhesive counter-ideology would not have. Thus, the Chomskys and Moores and Fisks are running a program carefully designed to dead-end at nothing.

He worries that the replacement which fills in the space left by the termination of the "suicidalist" ideology will be a monster, less likely a jihadist caliphate than a radicalized, hateful European-style fascism, bitter from repeated terror-nukings:

The U.S., fortunately, is still on a demographic expansion wave and will be till at least 2050. But if the Islamists achieve their dream of nuking "“crusader" cities, they'’ll make crusaders out of the U.S., too. And this time, a West with a chauvinized America at its head would smite the Saracen with weapons that would destroy entire populations and fuse Mecca into glass. The horror of our victory would echo for a thousand years.

I recognize this is over-quoting, but I love that last sentence with a pure and platonic ardour.

Via Instapundit this morning.

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