Reading the following article made me think long and hard about the right, and our future.
It was written back in 1997 by Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters, then part of the office of the White House Chief of Staff. You might recognize him as he is a regular foreign policy analyst for Fox News, and was noteworthy last year as a leading neocon endorsement of Hillary Clinton. The shrill tone he used at that time definitely gives the impression that his arrogance has been tempered since the 90s, and yet this essay published in the US Army War College Quarterly is an ominous delve into the mind of the enemy, for the neoconservatives are the military strategists of Liberalism. While the left liberals have pursued domestic policies designed to destroy any remnant of Tradition at the heart of the Western World, the neocons have shouldered the insidious task of paving the way for the pattern of infection abroad, and I have never heard it expressed so blatantly as it is here. He begins by opining on the landscape of ‘information warfare’ mentioned by Bill Clinton during his presidency.
“Those of us who can sort, digest, synthesize, and apply relevant knowledge soar–professionally, financially, politically, militarily, and socially. We, the winners, are a minority. For the world masses, devastated by information they cannot manage or effectively interpret, life is “nasty, brutish . . . and short-circuited.” The general pace of change is overwhelming, and information is both the motor and signifier of change. Those humans, in every country and region, who cannot understand the new world, or who cannot profit from its uncertainties, or who cannot reconcile themselves to its dynamics, will become the violent enemies of their inadequate governments, of their more fortunate neighbors, and ultimately of the United States. We are entering a new American century, in which we will become still wealthier, culturally more lethal, and increasingly powerful. We will excite hatreds without precedent.”
This is where the essay departs from the usual bile from the likes of Charles Krauthammer. It is not merely wealth or military technology which concerns Peters, it is cultural lethality. What does this phrase mean? Why would a culture be described as lethal? Often this is instead termed “culturally more attractive”, as in, “other cultures want to emulate aspects of our culture”, yet Peters is more blunt and thus reveals the actual motivations of a cultural information war. Culture can be lethal to other societies. It can break down their defenses and render them susceptible to coercion; which is where the application of soft (economic) and hard (military) power can then be brought to bear. In the wake of WWII, it is said that the United States through the Marshall Plan was rebuilding a tattered Europe so that it could resist Soviet domination, and while this may have been a secondary goal, the primary goal was to forge an unshakable cultural connection with all of Europe, not just Britain. Through this connection, culturally lethal toxins could flow freely in an open market. It is prior culture, not prior economics, which defines the visible divisions between countries like France and Poland today.
“Technology was more apt to batter down the city gates than to change the nature of the city. The rise of the modern West broke the pattern. Whether speaking of the dispossessions and dislocations caused in Europe through the introduction of machine-driven production or elsewhere by the great age of European imperialism, an explosion of disorienting information intruded ever further into Braudel’s “structures of everyday life.” Historically, ignorance was bliss. Today, ignorance is no longer possible, only error.”
Peters is entirely correct. In the World of Tradition, technological advances were limited in their ability to intrude upon the characters of areas which were incredibly difficult to change without unprecedented atrocity. The information war is affordable total war, that is in fact less about defeating armies, as making entire populations submit without realizing it. These Peters terms the “information victims”.
“Information, from the internet to rock videos, will not be contained, and fundamentalism cannot control its children. Our victims volunteer. These noncompetitive cultures, such as that of Arabo-Persian Islam or the rejectionist segment of our own population, are enraged. Their cultures are under assault; their cherished values have proven dysfunctional, and the successful move on without them. The laid-off blue-collar worker in America and the Taliban militiaman in Afghanistan are brothers in suffering.”
A few things to unpack here. The first is to say that it is no coincidence that Peters aligns those he helped to kill in the Middle East to disaffected blue-collar workers at home (read: today’s Trump voters). They are without distinction in his information warfare. They have both rejected the rule of the “information masters” and thus must be assaulted. “Our victims” is another telling line. It is with such a predatory view of man, and worse still, man’s culture, that our enemies are revealed to be worse than all the jackbooted boogeymen they have dreamed up. Who would have thought that benevolent hegemons had victims? I thought only Nazis and Communists had victims. However, the thrust of the argument has merit. This weaponized information can victimize the masses of any nation, no matter their race, sex, or religion. What Peters neglects is that masses are inconsequential to history. They are in fact the perpetual charges of ideologues who choose whether the charge becomes a victim or something else. Peters himself is a fundamentalist, all be it an unconventional one. The only difference is that his fundamentalism has proved a particularly effective tool for the faux elite.
yes, neocons are worse
“Contemporary American culture is the most powerful in history, and the most destructive of competitor cultures. While some other cultures, such as those of East Asia, appear strong enough to survive the onslaught by adaptive behaviors, most are not. The genius, the secret weapon, of American culture is the essence that the elites despise: ours is the first genuine people’s culture. It stresses comfort and convenience–ease–and it generates pleasure for the masses. We are Karl Marx’s dream, and his nightmare.”
The idea of cultural competition is itself demonic. Cultural exchange exists throughout history, but cultural competition is not simply a product of economic factors, but of ideological commitments which see superior cultures and inferior cultures, rather than simply different cultures for different peoples. We’re on familiar ground when we think back on Maistre’s statements concerning constitutions made for none. Competition implies an eventual supremacy, not preference, supremacy. And supremacy has to be acted upon. Don’t like our culture? We will force it upon you! And if we can’t do that where you are, we’ll lure you to wherever we feel that we can force it upon you. It’s a mistake to think Liberals want jihadist Muslims in Western countries. Wrong. What they want is to conquer them with Liberalism. Every ‘moderate Muslim’ is a victory for Liberalism, for they can say pridefully: “You see, we emasculated you and forced you to submit to our gods, just like we did to the Christians. We cut off your balls. You are our information victims.”
“America has figured it out, and we are brilliant at operationalizing our knowledge, and our cultural power will hinder even those cultures we do not undermine. There is no “peer competitor” in the cultural (or military) department. Our cultural empire has the addicted–men and women everywhere–clamoring for more. And they pay for the privilege of their disillusionment.”
The glee with which this was written is difficult to stomach. For what purpose would you undermine a culture? Obviously there are practical reasons to undermine a state, an economy, a military; the construction of empire. But when you intentionally undermine a foreign culture, not its superficialities, but its very essence, you are undermining man himself. I just want to point out how similar this is to Gramscian Marxism, coming from the mouth of a neocon.
“The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing.”
Was this EVER outlined as a motivation for the upcoming “war on terror”? My God, was there not a single person with public credibility who read the neocons, either in Europe or the United States? It was never about anybody’s safety. It was about sterile (and likely cronyist) economics, and most importantly cultural annihilation. That’s what gullible soldiers signed up for when they ran to the recruitment offices after 9/11. The sick fantasies of Liberalism.
let’s be honest, they probably were behind it
Peters then goes on for quite a bit, a love letter to the culture he describes in terms that are fantastic at the same time as they are gladly depraved. He revels in it, declaring no other country can rival the United States in the future, for its supremacy in so many areas stems from this sick culture itself. He lauds the creative genius of this soup, and looks glittery-eyed towards tomorrow’s techno-warriors (in 1997, so coming of age now this would be the hipster generation).
“The very struggle of other cultures to resist American cultural intrusion fatefully diverts their energies from the pursuit of the future.”
It is rather nice when the enemy wraps his statements so perfectly in black and white, rather than shades of grey. It is infinitely better when someone admits to a struggle, admits to intrusion, rather than try to make out that there is no intrusion at all. You see, an enemy in full view is far easier to mobilize a committed faction against than a mere phantom which can only be understood in the most academic sense.
As stated before, while Peters’ view of the information war’s significance for the masses is tragically correct, this doesn’t determine the course of history. Actually he alludes to the truth when he later talks about the biggest danger being “renegade elites”. To be frank, renegade elites are precisely what we intend to create. Fanatics who can seamlessly ghost through institutions to acquire necessary assets, whose only purpose is duty to our principles, no matter the costs. Perhaps our own trump card is that while Peters is clear-eyed that the world is going to become even more divided between haves and have-nots, all that must be done is to convince the right kind of have-nots that they could have more were they to implement our agenda rather than that of Peters and his culture. After all, not every have-not is created equal. Some are simply have-less-and-want-more (for many they deserve more), and still others value things beyond the material. What’s worse, Colonel, is that the very technology you lionize will fall into the hands of a million unpredictable hands, and some of them will be ours. You have a ceiling, and we’ll bring it down on top of you, when the moment arrives.
Another point is that while Peters touts the enduring creativity of America which guarantees “stable retirements” (you have to laugh at this now), demographics are destiny after all. We know Peters is wrong about culture’s intersection with race. America has been formidable as an ostensibly white power, but the white part is becoming smaller and smaller each year, and what’s worse a growing contingent of that white part is itself “rejectionist” in some form, since they can read the tea-leaves and see what lies in store for their own ethnic group under Liberalism. Obviously Europe is more precarious due to geographical restrictions, but maybe the same principle applies.
diminishing returns on investment?
The cultural warriors which Peters relies upon are weak. He didn’t predict that in 1997, but we see it all too clearly. The techno-generation are pathetic zombies, and much of what is valuable is being attracted to our persuasion, the future’s “renegade elites”. Peters has nothing to offer them, because at heart his culture is bankrupt. While Pokemon Go can engross a good number of men, those men were never of any use to begin with. The useful see through a thinning mist.
I would point to two motivations which are the strongest and most invaluable to the general who needs his assets to be ruthless and effective. Survival instinct, and a dogmatic belief that they are fighting evil. Sorry to say Colonel, but the comfort of your disgusting culture has nixed the first, and the relativism inherent on the back-end of your ideology makes your appeals to the latter increasingly unbelievable. Meanwhile, we have both. We can, given the right environmental factors, compel men to act out of both a collective sense of survival, and a religious conviction that people like you are satanic, and while the second motivation is wasted on Arabs who are limited by various endogenous characteristics, I’ve little doubt our people will be far more deadly in the games which are to come.
We look forward to seeing you across the battlefield, Colonel.