Sun-Tzu outline the principles of subversion around 500BC as it was part of his writings on the art of war. He found that if you had time and patience then you could defeat your enemy without firing a single shot. He detailed these principles as follows.
- Cover with ridicule all the valid traditions in your opponent’s country.
- Implicate their leaders in criminal affairs and turn them over to the people at the right time.
- Disrupt the work of government by every means.
- Do not shun aid to the lowest and most despicable individuals of your enemy’s country.
- Spread disunity and dispute among the citizens.
- Turn the young against the old.
- Be generous with promises and rewards to collaborators and accomplices.
The Russians paid close attention to this philosophy in addition to how other regimes had been toppled from within by those who did not care to have an armed conflict that held no certainty of success. Yuri Bezmenov outlined the ways in which his political masters refined the ways to subvert a regime or country.
- Corrupt the young, get them interested in sex. Take them away from religion. Make them superficial and enfeebled.
- Divide the people into hostile groups by constantly harping on controversial issues of no importance.
- Destroy people’s faith in their national leaders by holding the latter up for contempt, ridicule, and disgrace.
- Always preach democracy but seize power as fast and as ruthlessly as possible.
- By encouraging government extravagances, destroy credit; produce years of inflation with rising prices and general discontent.
- Incite unnecessary strikes in vital industries, encourage civil disorders and foster a lenient and soft attitude on the part of the government towards such disorders.
- Cause breakdown of the old moral virtues: honesty, sobriety, self-restraint, and faith in the pledged word.
The Soviet playbook on how to overthrow an existing regime or system of government was described by Yuri Bezmenov as consisting of just four elements. This is the methodology employed when replacing the political leadership of any given country with their own Soviet ideology and then making them a vassal state. As with anything, the devil is in the detail.
These elements are Demoralisation, Destabilisation, Crisis, Normalisation.
Yuri explained the methodology in detail, as this was basically his job within the Russian system. He detailed many of the tactics that were used to basically manipulate and indoctrinate people. It is interesting once you get past his accent, which requires close listening.
Distraction, Deflection, Deception. The three D’s of manipulation, and the common tools of the deceitful. I formulated this strategy of how a teenager tries to manipulate the parent given that I am a parent and as evidence provides I was once a teenager who. Yet these same tactics hold true for society in general, as these are common practices.
I mention my theory of manipulation as it relates to how I consider that society is currently being manipulated on a grand scale. For the teenager it a small-scale operation with a limited scope and with the intent being a personal outcome. However, when enacted on a grand scale it is a messy and complex thing that takes many different paths due entirely to economies of scale. The three D’s still apply.
When you consider how a teenager uses the three D’s of manipulation to get something they want or to obscure something they have done. It is normally conducted to some degree on an emotional level as they cash in on advantage by creating guilt within the parent. Teenagers also tend to be selective with information, as to control the information supplied to the parent is to control the amount of knowledge and the veracity of that knowledge the parent has relative to how the teenager is attempting to control the situation. Usually there is a grain or two of truth in what the teenager is disclosing. Par for the course are the embellishments and sometimes outright lies to have, and maintain, a plausible story.
This methodology is merely scaled to suit political manipulation regards subverting a regime or country. The larger the target, population wise, the larger and more complex the manipulation required.
So, for the teenager to be effective in achieving their goal they must have consistency. Fortunately for many parents, teenagers are seldom capable of maintaining consistency when they are being manipulative, and holes begin to appear in the story they are telling. That is when it begins to unravel for the teenager as they feel a compulsion to strengthen their position of manipulation. In simple terms, once they win the point, they then continue trying to win it over and again by embellishing.
There are indicators of when the teenager feels threatened as their story falls apart. The main indicator is the application of guilt to distract and deflect from the parent asking pointed questions that will contradict the cover story. Every parent has heard at least these two phrases that are thrown at them from a teenager when questioned, ‘You don’t believe me’, ‘You don’t care about me’. There is also the good old fallback guilt trip comment, ‘You don’t love me’. Another indicator is anger when questioned, as attack is sometimes the best type of defence. If the teenager can get the parent to stop poking holes in their story, then that is good enough for them.
Secrecy is another indicator of a manipulation failing because if you hide something then it needs to be found, simple logic. The better you hide something then the harder it is to find and that requires more effort on behalf of the parent. By hiding a thing, the teenager is gambling on it being too much effort for the parent and hopes that they just give up.
The ramping up of these indicators sometimes works, particularly if the parent is time poor with all the other things they must contend with in their world. Teenagers are somewhat smart in that they know their parents, at least they know what they know, and exploit this knowledge of them to manipulate them more effectively. That is nothing more than logic. On a Freudian level it is ego at work, as they have an underdeveloped super ego due simply to nothing more than that they haven’t been alive long enough, and experienced enough of life, to develop a sound super ego. Some never develop a sound and functional super ego.
When ramping things up doesn’t work it is the time when the parent, for want of better words, calls bullshit on the story being presented. The parent calls bullshit when the questions they ask, and the answers they get are contradictory or lodged in emotion devoid of facts to support the story. This is the moment the parent has reasonable knowledge that their child is playing them for reasons known only to them. In many instances, as you can never be totally certain of the motivation for manipulation unless the manipulator comes clean and puts their cards on the table. That rarely happens.
More than anything what a teenager hates is when the parent decides to seek information to corroborate the story told by their child. It isn’t just children who hate it when someone decides to verify the credence of a story, everyone hates it if they have something to hide or they have an agenda. In my experience when you decide to seek clarification from other sources you are bombarded by a variety of means to prevent you from finding that clarification. Casting guilt and using anger are probably the most common tactics used to try and deflect someone away from doing something.
With children it is easy for the parent, as the child has limited resources and ability to prevent the parent from asking questions to determine the validity of a story. With adults it is exponentially harder as they have the benefit of experience, and sometimes resources, if manipulation is their stock in trade.
Subversion to regimes or countries works along much the same lines and uses the same tools but much more refined, and sufficient for the task at hand.
In the world we live in currently, and the political and social environment we live in is perhaps one of the most difficult times in recent decades. It is difficult due to the ways in which mixed messages and the destabilisation of long-established social norms, concepts on sex and sexuality, religion, and the family unit are being dismantled to be replaced by something else. A something big on promises but small on delivering those promises, all the while wrapped in constant hypocrisy.
It is a simple historical fact that if you want to change the way a society operates and thinks then you target the young as they are the adults of the future. If you can sell your vision, then you do it through the young as they have a limited world view and tend to overly simplify matters rather than apply any meaningful critical inspection. Young people also have a tendency to operate on a more emotional level rather than anything else. I know this as I reflect, with embarrassment, the follies of my youth at embracing things on an emotional level rather than anything else.
What the hell does this have to do with using subversion as a tool?
To understand a thing, you must know the mechanics of a thing. By presenting examples that many can relate to, even if they don’t hold the same views, it illustrates the point. People can and are manipulated by utilising deflection, distraction, and deception to achieve a goal. The larger the application then the larger the manipulation.
Regardless of if the manipulation is being enacted on a country or globally, it is nothing more than volume and intent. The larger the manipulation requires the manipulators to be unrelenting in their manipulation. This is regardless of how many holes are poked into the story the manipulators present as they simply apply guilt and accusation to make the questioners either retreat or are discredited by more obfuscation simply to silence them.
To use a modern term, let’s unpack this argument.
The argument is that there is a massive subversion being undertaken and it has been hugely successful so far as western societies are in a state of turmoil and upheaval whilst global sabre-rattling and political manoeuvring is on the rise.
We live in a society that is constantly being delivered scandals and crisis’s and are being forced to confront problems that are created from those who rule. The human condition is one filled with flaws and faults. It is the magnification of these flaws and faults and the singling out of segments of population that the manipulators are focussed in order to create division, confusion, and a general sense of discontent on all levels of the social and political spheres.
It is relatively simple to see that replacing one ideology with another is the goal, but that is simplistic if you only look at it in isolation. To my mind this appears to be a determination to tear down Western Civilisation and replace it with something else. Socialism, or Communism is perhaps the best answer to what the manipulators desire to achieve. Socialism has proven to be a destructive ideology to society in general as it is repressive and authoritarian in application but not in theory. A socialist ideology that rules any society must be repressive and authoritarian, as the actuality of socialism in practice contradicts the concept of socialism. Socialism in concept promotes a utopian society where everyone is equal, and everything is equally shared. Yet it simply isn’t so.
It is interesting the World Economic Forum (WEF) have been promoting their concept of a ‘Great Reset’ for the global population. Despite the fashion in which they present and have promoted it, their vision of how the world should be ordered is vastly worse than socialism. The WEF advertise for something not since medieval times, that of lords and serfs. A global order where a select few control the affairs of the world, one country being the world police of which they had once advocated that China should be that. A world in which everyone else would own nothing and be dependent on the system in order to exist.
Subversion is not necessarily a Communist activity. Everyone can have a go. A fair number of countries have been dabbling for decades with different forms of subversion, regardless of the politics of the country. Every time it is with the goal of securing a personal economic advantage and to further spread the political ideology of the subverter.
America is currently a prime example of how one ideology is being replaced by another and how the process is currently being accelerated and the disparity between the messages presented are not reflected in the actions taken. This shows the absolute hypocrisy between what they say and what they do as for the manipulators simply do not care about the people they are manipulating. The same is happening in Australia and many other countries. America is the place where it is more apparent than ever, and the ideology contained in arguments and events designed to divide are exported around the world, at least to countries that are democracies.
To understand how America is being manipulated societally all that is required is to examine the multitude of ways in which the three D’s are being enacted. Some of the sources of manipulation are blatantly clear to see, particularly in the way that the gloves have come off and the heavy-handed way in which change is being enacted regardless of what the population want in large part.
It is reasonable to say that what began at least thirty years ago, and perhaps as far back as the 1960’s has been refined to fit modern times, modern society, and all of the advances that have allowed for manipulation to be enacted with more ease than ever before. The main advance being computing, computers, and the internet with all the myriad avenues available.
I consider that from Sun-Tzu’s principles all but point four are being used. From Yuri Bezmenov it is a case of it isn’t broken then don’t fix it in that all that was needed was some refinement by looking back in history to make things work in modernity.
It doesn’t take a mind the size of a small planet to see that events over the last decade, and particularly over the past five years as the manipulation has accelerated. Naturally this has been a process underway for decades as it takes time to put ideas in place in society and to normalise what once was not accepted within a society. That requires patience and an unrelenting approach of advance and then withdraw for a time if determined opposition occurs. Then refine the approach from the lessons learnt from rejection to take the next step forward.
One thought on “Subversion as a tool”
Yeah nice.. Universally natural transport systems all look similar regardless of the scale because the physics and optimisation of the system doesn’t care how big a system is, it could be a tiny a leaf, or cell or a complex mammalian vascular system. Everything tries to follow a path of least resistance and needs to constantly test different possible paths in its immediate vicinity before it moves forward, grows or progresses in that direction. People and behaviour follow a similar set of rules. Individuals and populations be they a toddler, a teenager, a family, a town, a city, a country, a nation, a utopian united Earth civilisation all start with similar building blocks. It will be interesting to see how the Darwinism of development determines the balanced environment of the human specie if indeed one system of politics. I agree with your sentiment, that the western world of the past half century is strong but perhaps too young like a teenager with a pile of uncertain hormones and a vanity of knowing all 🙂 … Nice article..
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