Yuri Alexandrovich Bezmenov was a Soviet journalist for RIA Novosti, Russia’s international news agency. He was also an informant for the Soviet First Main Directorate KGB, who defected to the West in 1985 after becoming disillusioned with Soviet-style communism.
Bezmenov stated that, while posted in India, he’d been “instructed not to waste time with idealistic leftists (otherwise known as ‘useful idiots’ in communist circles), as these would become disillusioned, bitter, and adversarial when they realized the true nature of Soviet Communism.” Upon discovering that many such idealists were slated for execution once the Soviets achieved control, his disaffection led him to begin making plans to defect to the West.
In 1985 he executed his plan. Upon arriving in North America and being granted political asylum in Canada, Bezmenov had a very grim message for the American people. He described the ideological subversion that has been ongoing in the U.S. for decades as a process in which the perception of reality of every American has been changed to such a degree that “despite the abundance of information (available to them), no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interest of defending themselves, their families, their community, and their country.”
He went on to describe ideological subversion as “a great brainwashing process which goes very slowly and is divided into four basic stages: The first (is) demoralization. It takes from 15-20 years to demoralize a nation. Why that many years? Because this is the minimum number of years required to educate one generation of students in the country of your enemy. In other words, Marxist ideology has been pumped into the soft skulls of at least three generations of U.S. students without being challenged or counter-balanced by the basic values of Americanism.
“The result? The result you can see,” he continued. “Most of the people who graduated in the sixties… drop-outs or half-baked intellectuals… are now occupying the positions of power in the government, civil service, business, mass media, the educational system. You are stuck with them. You cannot get rid of them. They are contaminated; they are programmed to think and react to certain stimuli in a certain pattern. You cannot change their minds, even if you expose them to authentic information, even if you prove that white is white and black is black, you still cannot change the basic perception and the logic of behavior.
“In other words, (in) these people, the process of demoralization is complete and irreversible. To rid society of these people you need another fifteen or twenty years to educate a new generation of patriotically-minded and common-sense people who would be acting in favor and in the interests of United States society.”
One of the most glaring examples of the ideological subversion and demoralization Bezmenov described can be seen in the almost total lack of knowledge of American history and world geography that we find in children educated in American public schools. As a grammar school student during the 1940s, I can recall geography quizzes in which one of the questions might have been: “Name twelve European countries and their capitals.” It was a rare student who could not answer such questions quickly and correctly. But how many of today’s 5th and 6th grade students could match our knowledge of geography? And if today’s students are incapable of locating the nations of Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America on a map, let alone identify the fifty U.S. states and their major cities, how can we expect them to have any real sense of belonging, of family history, of ethnic identity, of national pride? And if the American people suddenly made a giant collegial decision to return to the educational standards and methods of yesteryear, it would take at least two generations to purge the bad actors out of our schools, our school boards, our colleges and universities, and our school administrations.
The ideological subversion and demoralization that Bezmenov described is thoroughly understood by conservatives. We have recognized it and fought against it unremittingly for nearly a century, yet we see evidence of it all around us… every day, in every way. But one doesn’t have to be a conservative to understand the ideological rot that has slowly but surely infected the minds of a great many Americans.
On July 12, 2016, New York Times columnist, David Brooks, had this to say: “I never really understood how fascism could have come to Europe, but I think I understand better now. You start with some fundamental historical transformation, like the Great Depression or the shift to an information economy. A certain number of people are dispossessed. They lose identity, self-respect and hope. They begin to base their sense of self-worth on their tribe, not their behavior. They become mired in their resentments, spiraling deeper into the addiction of their own victimology. They fall for politicians who lie about the source of their problems and about how they can surmount them.
“Facts lose their meaning. Entertainment replaces reality. Once facts are unmoored, everything else is unmoored, too. People who value humility and kindness in private life abandon those traits when they select leaders in the common sphere. Hardened by a corrosive cynicism, they fall for morally deranged little showmen… (name any prominent Democrat).
“Normally, nations pull together after tragedy, but a society plagued by dislocation and slipped off the rails of reality can go the other way. Rallies become gripped by an exaltation of tribal fervor. Before you know it, political life has spun out of control, dragging the country itself into a place both bizarre and unrecognizable. This happened in Europe in the 1930s. We’re not close to that kind of descent in America today, but we’re closer than we’ve been… How can America answer a set of generational challenges when the leadership class is dysfunctional, political conversation has entered a post-fact era, and the political parties are divided on racial lines…?
Who can make the case that political conversation in America has not entered a “post-fact” era, or that the America of 2019 is not a “bizarre and unrecognizable” place when compared to the America of the 1950s? Since when have facts meant anything to liberals and Democrats? In 2016 they were so certain that they would retake the White House that, when they lost, they staged what can only be described as a thinly veiled coup d’état against Donald Trump. They used an all-hands-on-deck effort to convince their base that Trump was (is) a tool of the Kremlin.
Given the obtuse nature of the Democrat Party, we can’t say we weren’t warned. We can’t say we didn’t know what was coming.
Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College. He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.