Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Always Remember, the Villains Don't Think of Themselves as Villains

I'd not seen this film, about the work of the East German Stasi. That organization, whose mission was to use spying on its own citizens, intimidation, social control, and nearly unlimited power to enforce its edicts, was a large part of what made life in the Communist-controlled part of Germany so grim.

But, I'm convinced that most of the Stasi, if asked, would have said that their work was necessary to assist their government in persuading its citizens to act appropriately and help the nation to become a world leader. That, thanks to the effort of the Stasi agents, East Germany would run efficiently, provide for its citizens, and take its place in the ranks of world leaders.

All GOOD aims. NOT evil.

OK, so they had to act somewhat - forcefully - to make all those wonderful things happen. But, as Arnold Schwarzenegger said in True Lies, when asked if he killed people as part of his spy job, "Only the BAD ones." It was acceptable for him to kill, because his goal was a GOOD one.

So, likewise, are the SJWs and Leftists convinced that their methods are justified by the saintliness of their objectives. This thought occurred to me when I was reading (for the first time) the Tom Clancy book, Rainbow Six. In that book, the environmental Leftists commit horrible crimes. 

Those crimes, however, don't count, because their heart is pure.

The same thinking permeates the ethos of many antisocial political movements. Initially, it's something small that the members are asked to do - scrawl graffiti on a wall, break an 'unjust' law, use their collective actions to intimidate a bureaucrat.

It escalates from there. Larry Grathwohl wrote about his experience as a FBI informer, embedded with the Weather Underground (Weathermen) radicals. His descriptions of how Bill Ayre and Bernadette Dohrn (now married) used psychological techniques to break down their followers' resistance to immoral acts and/or illegal acts provide some understanding of the many ways the Left uses deviations from normal conventions to twist their group into conforming to a New Normal.

In doing so, they create a cohesive identity in their group, who begin thinking of US (the GOOD guys) against THEM (the BAD guys). This process in an essential part of creating a ruthless machinery that will not hesitate at any act, to push their agenda.

Individual thinking is discouraged. The good of the group is what counts. Any act that promotes the good of the many is appropriate.

Pretty soon, unspeakable acts - bombings, kidnapping, torture - can be used against ideological opponents, without mercy.

And, of course, this is all justified. They are the Good Ones, whose aims are so sanctified that their methods cannot be questioned.


Paul in Boston said...

My father, who survived the Holocaust, always said there was one big Hitler because there were many little Hitlers. He was not a fan of Stalin either.


I keep quoting Solzhenitsyn (among other similar thoughts, like the CS Lewis quote): "To get people to do evil, convince them they are doing good".

Why do you think there's a move on the Left to legalize abortion up to the moment of birth (and some have argued even beyond that)? If you're willing to kill an infant that, by definition, is guilty only of doing what biology demands since conception - then what will you be willing to do to a person who is standing in your way?

You are a "good person" who wants to save the planet from the end of all life because of CO2 emissions. People oppose you, regardless of the reasoning or evidence they present... therefore they must want all life to end. So they're evil.

You are a "good person" who wants to eliminate hunger, poverty, war, racism, hatred, etc. People oppose you, regardless of the reasoning or evidence they present... therefore they must want hunger, poverty, war, racism, hatred, etc. So they're evil.

And what does a good person, in a good society, do against such reckless evil? One eliminates it.

Linda Fox said...

I agree. Probably the most influential book I ever read was the Gulag Archipelago, when I was about 19. It led me to years of not being able to follow the crowd (didn't fall into the drug use, rampant sex, violence, no matter what others did). I'd never been much of a follower (too geeky and not part of the crowd), and this just enforced that natural tendency.

I can't say why, but I believed Solzhenitsyn was telling the truth. It made it difficult to fall in line with the Appeasement Years of the 70s. I mistrusted Russia and China, even before the 'Bear' commercial of Reagan's campaign. I thought Trust, But Verify was a sensible precept.