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The West's Descent into 'Cultural Revolution'

January 18, 2019

The goal of the Cultural Revolution isn't to persuade, it's to enforce compliance.

A Cultural Revolution is a movement designed to preserve the political and financial power of a ruling elite by social rather than political or financial means. Thus the primary tools of a Cultural Revolution are not redistributing power via elections (politics) or financial reforms; the primary tools are public shaming and denouncements, purges of those in positions of authority, show trials, guilt-by-association, wholesale denouncements of entire classes and widespread accusations of anti-progressive ("counter-revolutionary") tendencies in which guilt is defined by all-or-nothing litmus tests of one's loyalties to the Cultural Revolution's strict ideology.

You haven't memorized Mao's Little Red Book? Off to re-education camp you go. Or house arrest, banishment, beatings, imprisonment or if the mob's blood lust demands it, execution.

The key dynamic of a Cultural Revolution is the oppressors appropriate the language of liberation as their favored tool of suppressing dissent, denouncing opponents and fueling widespread purges of anyone who might harbor the slightest potential to question the social suppression of dissent.

A Photographer’s Quest to Reverse China’s Historical Amnesia (New York Times)

Now, more than a half-century after the Cultural Revolution began, there is little public discussion of that period in China. What some have called the nation’s collective amnesia has only gotten worse in recent years as leaders have walked back efforts to reckon with the country’s modern history.

To those launching a Cultural Revolution, the solution to a diversity of opinion is to crush dissent and narratives that threaten the ruling elites' power. This is of course the exact opposite of democracy and Enlightenment-era liberalism. But the point of a Cultural Revolution isn't to broaden political enfranchisement or representation--the point of the anti-Deplorables / anti-Brexit / anti-yellow vest campaigns is to strip dissenters (those who disagree with the ruling neoliberal elites) of political and social representation.

The goal of the Cultural Revolution is to render all those who resist the ruling elites politically and socially invisible. The goal isn't to play nice and share power and wealth with the losers of financialization-globalization; the goal is to liquidate their influence in politics and society via relentless negative stereotyping by the elite-controlled mass media and an Orwellian reversal of identity that makes the dissenters into threats to democracy while elevating the elitist oppressors into selfless guardians of democracy--the exact opposite of reality.

In China's Cultural Revolution, the Red Guards mindlessly destroyed much of China's priceless cultural heritage as part of the deranged agenda of destroying whatever was traditional and valued by "counter-revolutionaries." Out with the old, in with the new--the time-honored pattern of power grabs masked by utopian goals.

If in doubt, purge, destroy, denounce. This is the Inquisition nature of all Cultural Revolutions.

China's ruling elites don't want any unedited history of the Cultural Revolution to leak into the public sphere because virtually everyone who was killed, tortured, imprisoned or denounced was innocent. Virtually every one of the millions of victims of the Cultural Revolution was a loyal cadre or average citizen going about their lives. "Counter-revolutionaries" were an illusory, fabricated threat.

Since we have many friends in China, we've heard the reality of the Cultural Revolution in private conversations, spoken in low tones even in the U.S. Nobody dares speak openly about what happened or the Party's role. One friend's father was an officer in the People's Liberation Army, a man whose loyalty was unquestioned. He was imprisoned. Another friend's father was put in house arrest for years because he'd visited Eastern Europe (at the Party's behest, of course) and was therefore suspect.

In Cultural Revolutions, the "crimes" are fabricated but the destruction is real. Take a look at the mainstream media coverage in France, the U.S. and the U.K. of the yellow vest dissenters. Make a list of all the public officials, intellectuals, actors, media pundits etc. who publicly defend the yellow vests and how many denounce them. Did you find any articles on the yellow vests on Page One? What percentage of the corporate-state media depicted the yellow vests as violent, unreasonable, and so on?

If you pursue an objective survey, you'll find few public figures supporting the yellow vest movement and little mainstream media coverage that presents the yellow vest movement in a positive light.

That's how Cultural Revolutions roll. The Nobility in our neofeudal system will work all the levers of power to marginalize, demonize, stereotype and disenfranchise any threats to their power.

The goal of the Cultural Revolution isn't to persuade, it's to enforce compliance. Virtue-signal your compliance in social media every day (i.e. wave your Little Red Book publicly) or you become suspect. Nobody cares what you actually believe, the point is to prove your compliance and complicity to those enforcing compliance and complicity.




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(Kindle ebook $6.95, print $12 )

America teeters on the precipice: our government is now captive to special interests and big money, twin cancers that threaten our democracy. This accelerating crisis is exacerbated by a toxic social media-fueled tribalism that has replaced “what do you think?” with “which side are you on?”

Our crisis isn’t just political—it’s structural: as the pace of change explodes from gradual to non-linear, the organizations that dominate our economy—centralized corporations and government—become destined to fail. We see this failure in both the soaring inequality that has hollowed out the American Dream as well as in the rising tide of social and political disunity.

To prevent the fall of our democratic republic, we must transform our economy and society from the ground up. As we enter a new era of rapid, unprecedented tumult, it is we citizens who will need to save our democracy. For our political and financial elites will cling to their centralized power, doing more of what’s failed, even as civil society unravels.

All is not lost--yet. Our way forward starts with understanding the fatal flaws of our brittle, self-serving status quo and embracing this basic truth: better options are available if we’re willing to explore.

To pathfind our way to a better destiny, we must create new localized structures optimized for resilience and adaptability—a flexible, decentralized, sustainable, democratic, opportunity-for-all nation.

Read the first section for free in PDF format.

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic (ebook $6.95, print $12)



Recent entries:

The West's Descent into 'Cultural Revolution' January 18, 2019

A Manifesto for a 'Deplorable' Party January 17, 2019

France's Ghosts of '68: General Strike vs. Macron and the Technocrat Elites January 16, 2019

As Germany and France Come Apart, So Too Will the EU January 15, 2019

The Decline and Fall of the European Union January 14, 2019

Where Will You Be Seated at the Banquet of Consequences? January 11, 2019

The Recession Will Be Unevenly Distributed January 10, 2019

If We Can No Longer Tell the Truth, We've Failed January 9, 2019

2019: Fragmented, Unevenly Distributed, Asymmetric, Opaque January 8, 2019

Could Stocks Rally Even as Parts of the Economy Are Recessionary? January 7, 2019

What Do the CIA, Soros Foundation and the Kremlin Have in Common? January 5, 2019

Commoditization = Deflation January 4, 2019

The Crisis of 2025 January 2, 2019

A Couple of Thoughts on 2019 January 1, 2019

The Crisis of Capital December 31, 2018


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Extra-Special Bonus Aphorisms:

"There is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity."
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"We are what we repeatedly do." (Aristotle)

"Do the thing and you shall have the power." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." (E.F. Schumacher, via Tom R.)

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"Where there is ruin, there is hope for treasures." (Rumi)

"The realm of gratitude is boundless." (CHS, 11/25/15)

"History doesn't have a reverse gear." (CHS, 12/22/15)

Smith's Law of Conservation of Risk: Every sustained action has more than one consequence. Some consequences will appear positive for a time before revealing their destructive nature. Some consequences will be intended, some will not. Some will be foreseeable, some will not. Some will be controllable, some will not. Those that are unforeseen and uncontrollable will trigger waves of other unforeseen and uncontrollable consequences. (July 8, 2014)(thanks to Lew G. for retitling the idea.)

Smith's Neofeudalism Principle #1: If the citizenry cannot replace a kleptocratic authoritarian government and/or limit the power of the financial Aristocracy at the ballot box, the nation is a democracy in name only.

The Smith Corollary to Metcalfe's Law (The Network Effect): the value of the network is created not just by the number of connected devices/users but by the value of the information and knowledge shared by users in sub-networks and in the entire network. (CHS, 4/6/16)

My Credo of Liberation: I no longer care if the power centers of our society--the distant, fortified castles of our financial feudal system--are changed by my actions, for I am liberated by the act of resistance. I am no longer complicit in perpetuating fraudulent feudalism and the pathology of concentrated power. I no longer covet signifiers of membership in the Upper Caste that serves the plutocracy. I am liberated from self-destructive consumerist-State financialization and the delusion that debt servitude and obedience to sociopathological Elites serve my self-interests. (Thank you, Klaus-Peter L., for reminding me)

"We've become a culture of excuses rather than solutions: solutions always require sustained effort and discipline." (CHS 4/9/16)

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"Creativity = problem solving = value creation." (CHS 6/4/16)

"Truth is powerful because it is the core dynamic of solving problems." (CHS 7/21/17)

"We live in a system of human emotions that masquerades as a science (economics)." (CHS 1/1/18)

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