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Propaganda, Resonance, Resistance

user profile picture Truman Verdun Sep 02, 2023
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The following are excerpts from Mr. Verdun’s book, “Mass Formation: 2nd Look: Propaganda, Resonance, Resistance” 

 

Insights from the Goebbels Diaries 

An insight into the dead end of reality-denying totalitarianism comes from, perhaps inadvertently, Joseph Goebbels, the stalwart Nazi propaganda minister—and, for the last day of his life, Chancellor of the Third Reich. (His chancellorship was greatly abbreviated by his suicide.)

By autumn 1943, despite carefully managed propaganda promising eventual victory, the Nazi leadership knew that the war was lost. The invasion of the USSR was in its second failing year, having lost Stalingrad in early 1943 and steadily losing ground; the seasons were turning again, and the coming Russian winter would be no friendlier to Hitler’s troops than it had been to the Grand Armée of Napoleon over 130 years earlier. The Russians were a rugged people in for the long haul, defending their country in what they would come to call The Great Patriotic War.

In western Europe, the news was also not cheerful for the Nazis. America had entered the war nearly two years earlier, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Perhaps unnecessarily, Germany had declared war on America later the same day, so Hitler was now fighting a distant enemy, an industrial giant protected by thousands of miles of ocean, and which had thrown itself into military production at a pace that the world had previously never seen. The USA was rapidly deploying weapons, warships, troops, trucks, fuel, and heavy bombers to all spheres of war. In 1943, the war of the Atlantic had turned decisively against the Germans, who were losing U-boats to radar-equipped Allied airplanes far more rapidly than they were sinking enemy ships. In an air campaign that would only escalate, American and British bombers were raining down hundreds of tons of explosives in near-nightly raids on German cities.

By contrast, Germany was losing allies and its armies were shedding soldiers daily to injury and death. In early September, Italy entered an armistice with the Allies, who landed in southern Italy and fought their way north through the German-defended middle of the country. In time, Italy would be completely lost.

In May 1943 Germany suffered total defeat in North Africa, where the charismatic tank commander Erwin Rommel had already lost his touch two months earlier, and the Axis surrendered a quarter of a million soldiers. Coming just three months after the disastrous loss at Stalingrad, the humiliation in Africa spelled the end of any realistic German ambitions. Anyone looking soberly at the prospects would know that the war was unwinnable and Germany should try to negotiate a peace while still holding captured territory and before it got any weaker.

The Wehrmacht generals knew the war couldn’t be won, as did Goebbels—and as did Hitler when he wasn’t caught up in a Hail Mary fantasy of how everything could be won if he could just pull off X, Y, and Z. But he’d have no more stunning successes as he’d had from 1939 to 1941.

But at the same time that Hitler knew the war couldn’t be won, he also knew that he couldn’t sue for peace, he couldn’t stop the war. And this inability to stop the killing was not due entirely to the Allies avowed policy of unconditional surrender (which they would end up adhering to—but there’s no saying what they might have done in 1942 had the Germans signaled an earnest willingness to negotiate a peace).

The principal reason why the Nazis couldn’t, or wouldn’t, stop the war—which would, of course, end up destroying Germany—was that the regime had gone too deep into crimes against humanity—in particular its systematic slaughter of the Jews, gypsies, Slavs, homosexuals, cripples, Catholics, and other “undesirables” in its project of racial “purification.” To this impossibility of escaping justice—and the sudden tug of a knotted rope—was added in October 1943 the new Nazi decree of “total war,” in which the German people were asked to sacrifice even more for the increasingly desperate cause, even if it meant the complete and utter destruction of the nation.

Like mafiosi who couldn’t back out of criminal life, the Nazis had no choice but to grind forward, knowing full well that they’d eventually hit the wall sealing their fate. But pain and disgrace deferred is motive enough for those on the wrong side of a gamble, and so they pushed on, hoping too for the wild card that the Allies would fall out with each other, tire of the war, or make some catastrophic blunder that would grant Germany a luft, a crack in the wall through which they could escape.

At the time of Hitler’s “total war” communique of October 7th, 1943, the message was clear: “The whole German nation knew that it was a matter of life and death. They had burned their bridges behind them. Their only alternative was to go forward.”[i]

This type of hard reckoning cropped up continually for the remainder of the war, and the Nazis continued to double down even harder on their genocides, even picking up the pace as the German empire crumbled. In 1944, when defeat was practically in sight, the death camps murdered more people than in previous years. The annihilation machine had its own crazy too-late-to-stop-now momentum, as if the criminals were trying desperately to escape past crimes by committing new ones. Insane, of course, but history is full of such unhinged attempts to escape the inevitable.

What was true for the Nazis was also true for their most bloodstained allies. In assessing the Axis late in the war, Hitler had little faith in conquered or strong-armed countries that had resisted or slow-walked the deporting of their Jewish citizens, but had confidence in others like Hungary, which in 1944 avidly embraced the Jewish genocide and in a mere three months railroaded 437,000 Hungarian Jews to the death camps. Hungary, like Hitler himself, had gotten in way too deep, and would not be able to withdraw from its fatal alliance with Nazism. “Now that the Hungarians have begun implementing our Jewish policy,” reads Goebbels’ summary of Hitler’s 1944 remarks, “they can no longer back out of it. After a certain point the Jewish policy gains its own momentum.”[ii]

In Too Deep: 2023

The relevance to this book of resolute Nazi self-destruction—which swept along with it the extinction of millions—should be obvious enough. We are not going to see any apologies or mea culpas from our so-called leaders. We are also not going to hear many soul-searching ruminations from “true believers” who got caught up in rapturous hysteria and hostility. We are never going to hear our “leaders” admit:

You know, People, we have a confession to make: we did wrong, we did very wrong, we did evil; in some few cases, we might have started out with good intentions, but soon enough we were just gaslighting and lying to cover our asses. Even when we knew our policies were stupid or harmful, we persisted in ramming them down your throats.  

We attacked doctors, patients, journalists, whistleblowers—anyone who was telling the truth, or even seeking it.  

We lied about just about everything—the virus: its gain-of-function origins, its lethality, the lab escape; early treatments: their efficacy, safety profiles, and inconvenience to EUAs; we lied about the “vaccines”: their safety, efficacy, and wild profitability to Big Pharma, to power brokers in government and “charitable” foundations; we lied about masks, lockdowns, and school closures: their inutility, their harms, and long-term collateral damage; we cynically enlisted in our anti-freedom campaigns the most aggressive and even violent brownshirt activists by granting them an outsized platform for their divisive and self-serving agendas; we lied about the wrecking of our own economy, currency, and energy infrastructure; also the undermining of our election, judicial, and educational systems; the wholesale upendings of history, biology, law, and any other discipline of consequence; we lied about our reckless warmongering in foreign lands where we have no business (other than kickbacks, money-laundering, and powerlust); we lied about the assault on civil liberties regarding speech, religion, search & seizure, due process, and the right to bear arms; we lied about pipeline explosions and insurrections; we lied about the rampant state-directed censorship in mass and social media: the hotlines between the CIA and FBI and Twitter, Facebook, and Google, and so on… 

We know that our crimes and willful blundering have killed and injured millions, and has perhaps fatally destroyed the already threadbare credibility of the government at home and abroad, so we plead guilty, guilty, guilty. Please skip the trial and hang us ASAP—and of course confiscate all our ill-gotten wealth for just and proper restitution … 

No, we are never going to hear anything like that. Instead, what we’ve seen, and will continue to see, through a blizzard of evasions, denials, and mind-scrambling propaganda, is something closer to a Hitlerian drive to the bitter end—though perhaps without the crematoria. (Ukraine, however, the pet project of the globalist neocons, is beginning to resemble Germany, 1945.)

Despite increasing evidence of vaccine injuries and the government’s own (long-ago) admission of the vaccines’ failure to prevent contraction or spread of COVID—we’ve seen a doubling down on mandates, continued urging of outdated vaxxes on the public, unanimous FDA approval of mRNA vaccines for toddlers; the continued compliance-theatrics around masks (long after they’d been proven ineffective or even harmful)—even when it became undeniable that the highly contagious (but relatively benign) Omicron had made the world safer than vaccination ever could; even when, despite fervid attempts to continue fanning the flames of fear, it became obvious that COVID was rapidly becoming no more than a slightly odd seasonal cold.

Even after all that, we saw the laughable attempt to launch a new hysteria around monkeypox (“epic fail,” as the kids say) and the attempt to link climate change with every other item on the progressive agenda. We also noted the quiet dropping of various compliance requirements without explanation or apology—just a whimsical change of course from the mysterious and unaccountable gods.

What was the message we got above all? Know your place, little people, and deal with it. 

ON “INEVITABILITY”

Ideologues and propagandists for Power relentlessly push the narrative that All These Changes Are “Inevitable.” All this brazen steamrolling over our rights and health and human heritage is “Progress.” All this unwanted sweep of destruction is the grand tide of history—it’s Destiny rolling in, and it can’t be stopped. It’s Inevitable. That’s the gospel of Goebbels and Lenin and Mao right there.

The rhetorical strategy of the overlords is to peremptorily knock the heart out of the people—to demoralize and defeat them before they even think of resisting; to convince them fully and forcefully of the futility of all resistance—so that they meekly submit without a fight. After all, says the shoulder-shrug, it’s Inevitable.

And all this shaking-up and sorting out is for our own good, too, claims the Narrative: if we weren’t so selfish and stupid and “­—ist” we would perhaps see it, but luckily our Betters (and the vast Armies of the Anointed) have superior vision, so perhaps we will be thrown a few FEMA crumbs now and again if we learn to behave. Otherwise, we will be roadkill on the progressive highway—opossums flattened in a tyre-zagged frozen grimace.

That’s the Narrative. We’ve been hearing some version of it all our lives. It’s powerful—but it’s wrong. It’s a fiction. While it is true that some sort of change is inevitable in the world (e.g., entropy, death, plate tectonics), these particular sociopolitical changes are not.

While there is some element of cultural drift, the most aggressive changes are matters of deliberate policy—of push and pull and tinkering and tampering. These are the jolts and swerves of a giant runaway tractor with giddy children at the wheel—they have no idea what they’re doing, and their recklessness is already past dangerous.

In the summer of 2022, when the Powers attacked farmers in the Netherlands (and elsewhere: the EU, USA, Canada), and moronically cut off their own energy supply (esp. in Germany), we are looking at folly and tragedy of epic proportions. The fallout might not be immediate, but it will have to come—it’s a pure matter of physics and energy. Paperback copies of this book may be burned in coming winters—but it won’t be because of Nazi censorship: it will be people not wanting to freeze to death.

We’ve heard globalists like Klaus Schwab say that “total transparency”—i.e., total eradication of personal privacy via constant spying and surveillance—is “unstoppable” and the little people had better get used to it.

Yet there is nothing “inevitable” about this mess. It doesn’t have to be this way. At all. Writing on this exact theme in 1970, in an essay first published (incredibly, it seems now) in The New York Times, Eric Hoffer muses: “One cannot help but wonder how inevitable the future is that seemingly is waiting for us around the corner. Might not the common people, so cowed and silent at the moment, eventually kick up their heels, and trample the would-be elitists in the dirt? There is no earthly reason why the common people who for over a century have been doing things which in other countries are reserved for elites, should not be capable of overcoming the present crisis.” [i]

And so young David picks up his stone—and the Story changes dramatically.[ii]

Hating Those We’ve Hurt

To anyone who’s lived long enough, who has any insight into human behavior, and who is reasonably honest, the truth of following passage should be apparent:

There is perhaps no surer way of infecting ourselves with virulent hatred towards a person than by doing him a grave injustice. That others have a just grievance against us is a more potent reason for hating them than that we have a just grievance against them. We do not make people humble and meek when we show them their guilt and cause them to be ashamed of themselves. We are more likely to stir their arrogance and rouse in them a reckless aggressiveness. Self-righteousness is a loud din raised to drown the voice of guilt within us.[iii] 

That observation is by Eric Hoffer, the mid-20th c. American philosopher, and author of the landmark text on mass psychology, The True Believer (1951).[iv] Needless to say, Hoffer’s insight can be applied all across the personal and political spectrum—no single side of a struggle has a monopoly on bad behavior.

No more comment is necessary—except perhaps to say that hatred fueled by guilt may help explain why autocratic regimes almost never apologize, why they double down on harmful policy—and why writers, whistleblowers, and the deep ranks of the wronged will continue to be targets of hatred and disdain.

[i] Peter Longerich, Goebbels: a Biography, p. 611)

[ii] Longerich, p. 625-626.

[iii] Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, p. 95.

[iv] For readers unacquainted with Eric Hoffer, the many references throughout these Mass Formation books indeed indicate that the idiosyncratic American is a foundational thinker on the nature of mass movements. Having lived through the tumultuous 1930s and 1940s, Hoffer published his landmark The True Believer in 1951, and that text, whose lucid style might remind readers of George Orwell or Thomas Sowell, remains a jewel of clarity, precision, and restrained wit. The same brilliance is also true of his other works.