Soviet-American Totalitarian Common Denominator

The ability to doubt and reject requires more mental resources than acceptance… Statements people believe to be true produced little characteristic brain activity – just a few brief flickers in regions associated with reasoning and emotional reward. In contrast, disbelief produced longer and stronger activation in regions associated with deliberation and decision-making, as if the brain had to work harder to reach the state of disbelief. Statements the volunteers did not believe also activated regions associated with emotion, but in this case pain and disgust… Belief comes easily; doubt takes effort… Conservatives react more fearfully than liberals to threatening images – they perceive the world as a more dangerous place… [They] often feel strong revulsion at the violations of the status quo and so judge them to be morally unacceptable…
Graham Lanton – “Special Report: Belief”, p. 28 – 33, “New Scientist”, April 4, 2015

Democracy is a very difficult political system to live through – it expects from the populace not only tireless participation but permanent thinking (when the inner thinker while thinking has to keep its horses – its emotional reactions under control and not to transform thoughts into passionate impulses: slogans of the battlefield). If (democratic) thinker will surrender to sloganeering the very prospect of winning over the anti-democratic forces means totalitarian elimination of opposing opinions instead of building/developing democratic project (when opposing interests could find a common – civilized goal and language).

Democracy can function only if people are democratically oriented – not rivalrous freaks trying to out-compete one another and outmaneuver each other with their power/wealth. But people are naturally not democratic. Neighbors are idiosyncratic to each other’s presence near “my narcissistically bloated” ego. Traditional conservative systems are strictly hierarchical – based on inequality of power and wealth rule, where more power/wealth means more influence in terms of the right to individual advantage and to deciding the destiny of the whole society. Totalitarian systems are openly power oriented, but democratic systems, especially in the 21st century, are essentially so – without proclaiming this as its ruling principle (democracy is an excellent ideological and propaganda tool, much better than communism). When the electorate consists of psychologically authoritarian people – those whom it elects will act as authoritarian (pre-democratic) leaders. In Soviet Union it was also well understood how to avoid honest election. Communism and Democracy both claim to be egalitarianly oriented, but in reality both are hierarchical societies. In US of 21st century the wealthy decision-makers have outsmarted democratic procedure of the election through political ads money and gerrymandering, while in USSR the procedure of subduing elections was even more obvious. If elections in Soviet Union were essentially eliminated by the Party tops, in US they are undermined not without the help of anti-democratic conservative electorate which exactly hates what democracy introduced into American life and who use procedure of elections to, practically, overturn democracy.

People of power and wealth accumulation as a main drive cannot love a real democracy which gives people the right to decide who is in power. That’s not what power-worshippers need. They need more wealth in order to have more power, and more power to have more wealth. Indeed, why on Earth the strong/wealthy people have to surrender their decision-making prerogative to the demos? Why should they voluntarily strip themselves of power? They would feel themselves then like a soldier going to the enemies while leaving his machine-gun on the ground behind, or like a man who decides to undress to complete nakedness in the freezing temperature. You have to be a masochist to do something like this. Neither the leading Soviet Communists nor the American rich and their political servant/clients want to be in such an absurd role. So, Soviet Communism/Socialism was a dictatorship of the ruling CP members, like American democracy of 21st century is a dictatorship of the corporate leaders and their politicians (if they want war – they will have their war, if they want austerity for the American population – they will have it for the majority of Americans).

With the Russian population being used to despotic rule for centuries, Communist dictatorship looked not only natural but “organic”. The narcissistic contempt for a world resisting Socialist transformation was enough psychological compensation for the aggrandized (by Soviet ideology) masses feeling themselves as the “vanguard of humankind”, like Americans have their own vanguard ideology of Democracy (“…ethnocentric disease of American exceptionalism… As political leaders like to assert: America is today’s ‘the light of the world’ – Matthew 5: 14 – 16” [“America’s God Complex”, Rev. William E. Alberts, A United Methodist Minister and former Hospital Chaplin at Boston Medical Center]). The both groups of people, the Americans and Soviet Russians like to think that they carry into the world the torch of supreme wisdom, communist or democratic correspondingly. Like Soviets sacrificed themselves for future Communism, today’s Americans sacrifice themselves for… the interests of the wealthy decision-makers who by the magic trick of trickle down economy will share their prosperity with less lucky.

Of course, the propagandist task of the American powerful/wealthy minority is much more difficult than it was for Communist elite in the Soviet Union. Soviet Socialism was a dictatorship, proud and righteous, but American leader-bosses had to represent oligarchy as a democracy, despotism as equality, injustice as brotherhood. It is not surprising that the Soviet Communists were successful with the (Russian) masses, but why did the Americans fall for the American propaganda – why even American poor agree to defend the financial elite, as if, the interests of the wealthy are the same as interests of the poor? The answer is, basically, the same as the answer to question “Why did the Russian poor majority for 70 years were passionate fighters for the Soviet Communist leadership?”

The answer is – because of emotional identification with powerful (in USSR) and with the wealthy/powerful (in USA) on the part of even the most materially deprived segments of population. Only some members of the Middle class can get a relative psychological independence from the fetish of power/wealth because of humanistic education. But even a big chunk of the American homeless in the 21st century is passionately for the rightwing positions in internal and external politics (those who have lost nearly everything – desperately need to believe in the power and wealth to feel themselves as if powerful and wealthy, although only ideologically and psychologically (they also want to have a right to patronizingly hate foreigners inside and outside US (who are “less than we, Americans”). But even among the Middle class the humanistically educated who took this education seriously are a minority – only they are able to make inside their souls the nest of democratic truth as abode of independent (from the official slogans) meaning.

Conservative think-tanks or tank-thinks (financed by Belle-lionaires who save a lot of money on taxes cut for them by politicians – senior [neocons] and juniors [democrats], and on other loopholes by the price of pauperizing the majority of the Americans) were and are working very hard over the issue of how to represent for the masses oligarchy as democracy. The American propaganda specialists were surprised themselves how not difficult it was to represent to the masses monarchy of money/consumerism as democracy. Propaganda always appeals to beliefs which support people’s megalomaniacal needs (to feel associated with the super-human wisdom and power, to feel that they are “better” than other people – to feel this for them is, as if be saved for immortality). Materially prosperous life can serve as a confirming factor that “we” (and our political system) are “best” in the world, and so can the possession of superior weaponry. In Soviet Union, where people were much poorer than in US, the main confirming mass megalomania factor was the appeal of Marxism as a conceptual system capable of saving the human race. It is very pleasant to have the more authentic and wisest god than anybody else, and the smartest ideology. American propagandists use similar psychological motif of super-greatness of the American Democracy – and the masses are not able to detect the inevitability of the drastic discrepancy between propagandist clichés and the reality of American life. So, people blame the foreigners inside and outside their country for screwing up their life which, according to propaganda, is supposed to be exceptionally good and just. The same reaction was in the Soviet Union – people blamed the “imperialists” (and their “secret agents inside Russia”) for the inability of “Communism” to achieve what the propaganda had promised.

The Soviet and American propaganda specialists knew/know that the majority of people (the poor and those on or close to the bottom of the social hierarchy) are full of resentment and latent hate – so, the task is to find ways to channelize/displace resentment/hate of the masses from being directed at the rich and powerful of their own country to internal or external enemies. Megalomania becomes highly regressive and inflamed as American life, for the majority, is slapped with austerity – it regresses to the most basic situation of self-assertion (through trying to prove “our” superiority by acts of violence against others). At this point war becomes the only way to make the masses happy – it provides people with the right to kill, to mistreat/violate others’ will and life and “feel strong and great”.

Psychologically money- and/or power-worship were already present in religious worship – accumulation of ontological value in the idol and appropriation of this value into fanatic/fundamentalist possession through absolute belief. Through consumption of the deity (including the god of communism or god of democracy) people get the confidence to continue to live and the right to conquer others. Psychologically, megalomania is association with what you believe is super-human. In this psychological sense (as a human reaction) the fundamentalist appropriation of the fetish of communism is not different from the Western money-profit worship. The both reactions are opposite of a democratic self-respectful humility and openness to the otherness of the world.

Sovetization of American democracy inevitably means its totalitarization. To lose democracy it means to transform it into a totalitarian country – keeping its population in poverty and hate for dissimilar others, reducing its freedoms, forcing unification of political opinions and stimulating emotional and verbal intolerance. .

Practitioners of financial self-enrichment in US and Europe made a discovery that the Soviet ruling communists made much earlier – that real money is not private but privatized, appropriated from the public and public assets. This appropriation, which in the Soviet Union was done matter-of-factly under the mask of free use of the “collective”/state property by the rulers of the country, is done in the West not only by cutting taxes for the rich and endless loopholes, but through bailing out the failed financial institutions, privatizing the pension funds and radical privatization of public assets. In this sense communists are successful teachers of today’s appropriators of somebody else’s wealth (who also follow the Soviet communists in their fear of free market and relying on monopoly – in USSR – Federal, in USA – corporate: with Fed’s help).

Butt-brains credulity of a culturally illiterate and intellectually underdeveloped population in any country is the basic reason of people’s susceptibility to politico-ideological and politico-commercial propaganda.