Perhaps it's time to come up with a new term to describe what's going on in America.
We know that the Soviet Union was founded through a violent coup by a minority of dedicated revolutionaries, on a nation that was largely rural and uneducated. That coup was cemented in place by violence on a previously unprecedented scale--repeated purges, terror campaigns, deliberately caused famines.
We also know that Western revolutionaries have adopted largely non-violent tactics to impose their own neo-Marxist utopia in more modern times through variations on the ideological theme of Cultural Marxism.
The difference between today and the Soviet era is that the target of our revolutionaries is not a largely rural, backward nation, but the most technically advanced nation in history with a highly educated and, presumably, informed population.
A week or two ago I got involved in an exchange with an anonymous commenter who maintained that 70-80% of the American population are "decent" people, and that the explanation for our politics lies in electoral fraud alone. I don't buy that. A populace that statistically "decent" would never have led to the situation we're experiencing today in almost every area of our lives--the thing is simply not possible. Rather, I believe that the American people have, to an alarming extent, become corrupted and have either embraced or acquiesced in evil. Ideas have consequences, and the ideas that underlie our present culture have been percolating through the collective mind of America for several generations. Ultimately, the society we have must be placed at the feet of the people who compose it.
My purpose here is not to trace the intellectual history of this process. Rather, thanks to an article today by Victor Davis Hanson, I want to point out a new phenomenon--although one that has long been predicted, notably by Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy In America (1835, 1840). That phenomenon has typically been termed "soft tyranny," but I designate it with a riff off Hanson's article: Cultural Sovietism.
What did de Tocqueville mean by "soft tyranny"? A search of "de tocqueville and soft tyranny" will provide you reading material for a long time. However, Wikipedia provides a handy summary of what de Tocqueville had in mind--Soft Tyranny:
Soft tyranny is an idea first developed by Alexis de Tocqueville in his 1835 work titled Democracy in America. It is described as the individualist preference for equality and its pleasures, requiring the state – as a tyrant majority or a benevolent authority – to step in and adjudicate. In this regime, political leaders operate under a blanket of restrictions and, while it retains the practical virtues of democracy, citizens influence policymaking through bureaucrats and non-governmental organizations. This is distinguished from despotism or tyranny (hard tyranny) in the sense that state of government in such democratic society is composed of guardians who hold immense and tutelary (protective) power.
Note that the "citizens" who "influence policymaking" in this scheme are the ideologically activist minority--those whose "pleasures" derive from imposing their own notion of "equity" on others. As we now see, modern Marxist ideologies have largely devolved into theories of "equity" that are imposed on human nature--or, more precisely, replace human nature.
The soft tyranny that Tocqueville envisioned is described as "absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild." Here, the state is analogous to a parent and is run by "benevolent schoolmasters" who secure the needs of the people and watches over their fate, creating an "orderly, gentle, peaceful slavery" under an administrative despotism. As the objective and the authority of the state provide for people's gratifications, the exercise of the free agency of man is no longer useful or used less frequently, with his will circumscribed within a narrower range, finally reducing him to a perpetual childhood. According to Tocqueville, the danger of this form of government comes amid the satisfaction of material well-being because it puts the individuals' critical faculties to sleep. In this condition, people who are used to a culture of gain, comfort, career, and wealth shudder at the thought of revolution and the emergent consumerism drives the society's cultural decline.
Tocqueville explained that the principle of equality is partly responsible for this phenomenon because it has disposed men to endure such kind of tyranny and made them look on it and its features as benefits. Some consider soft tyranny a phenomenon of modern societies (or of the future) because these are considered infertile grounds for hard tyranny. The thinker cited that there are those such as the Americans who overcome the danger soft tyranny by ascribing to the ideal of liberty, one that is understood as taking responsibility for one's self-governance and this tradition, for Tocqueville, allows America to avoid soft despotism.
I submit that Americans are well described in the first two paragraphs--having submitted to a tutelary administrative state. The "ideal of liberty" guarded by a population that takes responsibility for its own "self-governance" is now relegated to political formalities--such as regular elections, which are also controlled by the "guardians". This is not the sign of an overwhelmingly "decent" people--unless you wish to quibble about the meaning of "decent."
Hanson's article is titled Are Americans Becoming Sovietized? I suggest that what Hanson is actually describing is a state of "soft tyranny" or, as I believe may resonate more today, Cultural Sovietism.
Hanson offers ten signs that Americans have become Sovietized. My contention is that we should carefully differentiate this process from the violent Bolshevik style revolution in a backward nation. Nor, for the most part, has the American people embraced Cultural Marxism as an ideology. Rather, we have arrived at this state of Cultural Sovietism through the process described as the advent of "soft tyranny" in a technically advanced but intellectually flabby nation. That there should be similarities between a Bolshevik union of soviets and the federal republic of America--as it has become under a soft tyranny--is hardly surprising. Human ingenuity in political matters is distinctly limited.
Here are Hanson's ten markers. Obviously, they are designed to make his case, but I have to say that they constitute a pretty fair portrait of 21st century America--Culturally Sovietized. I've excerpted the ten points. In the article Hanson offers his own comments for each of the ten. Each category is basically self explanatory:
1. There was no escape from ideological indoctrination—anywhere. A job in the bureaucracy or a military assignment hinged not so much on merit, expertise, or past achievement. What mattered was loud enthusiasm for the Soviet system.
American Exceptionalism! Who we are as Americans! Right and Left.
2. The Soviets fused their press with the government. Pravda, or “Truth,” was the official megaphone of state-sanctioned lies. Journalists simply regurgitated the talking points of their Communist Party partners.
3. The Soviet surveillance state enlisted apparatchiks and lackeys to ferret out ideological dissidents.
Remarkably, under this heading Hanson fails to mention our Tech overlords and the Zhou plan to subcontract domestic spying. However, his focus on educational commissars of ideological purity--our degraded institutions of education/indoctrination--is fully justified.
4. The Soviet educational system sought not to enlighten but to indoctrinate young minds in proper government-approved thought.
5. The Soviet Union was run by a pampered elite, exempt from the ramifications of their own radical ideologies.
6. The Soviets mastered Trotskyization, or the rewriting and airbrushing away of history to fabricate present reality.
7. The Soviets created a climate of fear and rewarded stool pigeons for rooting out all potential enemies of the people.
8. Soviet prosecutors and courts were weaponized according to ideology.
The degradation of our "justice" system. What could be more clear?
9. The Soviets doled out prizes on the basis of correct Soviet thought.
10. The Soviets offered no apologies for extinguishing freedom. Instead, they boasted that they were advocates for equity, champions of the underclass, enemies of privilege—and therefore could terminate anyone or anything they pleased.