Long before Ira Levin penned “The Stepford Wives,” rulers had been coming up with a variety of ideas on how to mold citizens to their liking.
In the Middle Ages, the “crowd sculptors” believed that Spartans and Athenians had imprudently “over-skilled” their subjects, and considered illiteracy of “commoners” helpful in strengthening political legitimacy of kings who ruled “appointed by God” and, subsequently, in preventing “sacrilegious” dissent.
Hitler helped himself to Nietzsche’s concept of “Ubermensch” to justify the balderdash “Aryan master race theory.” Nazi “supermen” were perpetually brainwashed; even their holidays consisted of listening to songs about “beloved Fuhrer” and watching movies that praised national socialism.
Stalin’s “New Soviet Man” was to be a selfless comrade, ready to die for “good cause” or whatever reason Stalin would come up with. Mao’s “mini-me” subjects were to substitute their identity with “Select Quotations from Chairman Mao.”
In line with the principle “show me your ‘ideal citizen’ and I’ll know what kind of leader you really are,” one can’t help but reflect on more modern trends in what Stalin called “engineering of human souls.”
When Donald Trump announced his intention of making America great again, he instantly made loyal supporters and acrimonious enemies. His supporters recognized themselves in a Reaganesque style of citizenship, where individual freedom and national values are sacred. His enemies had long abandoned those values and have been trying to fit into the politically correct neo-globalist mold.
The PC citizen model has been tirelessly promoted for decades by left-wing parties in the U.S. and Europe. Using shame as the core driver of this strategy is not a new concept. In the Middle Ages, forgiveness for a sin passed through “indulgence,” or the paying of an absolution fee to the not-so-ascetic church.
Nowadays, repentance means supporting political parties that shame people for what they are: for being born in a “richer” country, for not being confused about their gender, for being “anchored” in traditional values or even (if white) for “colonialism.”
The masochistic “ideal citizen” should also feel he somehow “owes” opening his country’s borders to immigration, no matter how hostile the immigrant may be. Such strategic molding is naturally disastrous for the country and beneficial for the enemies.
Patriotism is being condemned as ultra-nationalism, and the most despicable attacks from a country’s foes should be excused and rationalized as being “my country’s fault.”
Should common sense kick in, the media’s role has been to silence it. Intellectual laziness has been promoted simultaneously with anti-values: There’s no difference between fame and notoriety, since both guarantee wealth, power and freedom from accountability for the most hideous of crimes.
Snap selfies, enjoy new found “fame” on Facebook and don’t ask who “Nazis” were; just call the opposition by this name and take part in harassment of dissidents.
When Stalin initiated his “Great Purge” killing spree (669,929 arrested and 376,202 executed) with orders to “liquidate kulaks as a class” (those were the peasants rich and hard-working enough to own a farm), the fanatic mob members (made mainly of other peasants) threw stones and insults at them while they were led to the place of their execution.
Later, Stalin’s “collectivization” fans were brought to their knees by serfdom in a sovkhozy, and starvation made them not only victims but co-conspirators for 6 to 8 million lives lost during the “Great Famine.”
It looks like the Stepford voting “useful idiots” (term first used by Lenin to describe his sympathizers in the U.S.) are as guilty of crimes against humanity, as their power-hungry leaders. As long as basic education doesn’t mean learning the price of freedom from the casualties of past dictatorships, un-exorcised tyranny will keep haunting us.
Joanna Rosamond is a coach for high-stress jobs and a consultant on PTSD and burnout. She pledges unconditional support for soldiers and veterans.
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