Friday, January 2, 2015

Russian Conspiracy Theories and the Bedell Plan

Fascinating essay by Walter Laquer on the fantastic political ideologies currently promoted in Russia. Consider the many conspiracy theories that surround the collapse of the Soviet Union:
This search for the real culprits took various forms. One was the search for a masterplan, the so-called Dulles doctrine. This was the CIA strategy allegedly devised by Allen Dulles in 1945 which aimed at destroying the Soviet Union. The strategy was simple but ingenious. It did not envisage a war or warlike action, but the destruction of the country, the state, and the nation from within by undermining and corrupting the cultural heritage of the Soviet Union and the moral values of the Soviet nation. Soviet writers, actors and film-makers were to be influenced to spread violence, depravity, alcoholism, drug addiction, shamelessness, cosmopolitan views, corruption, hatred between nationalities and general distrust, to mention but a few factors.
This notion has become so widespread that Metropolitan Ioan of St Petersburg and Ladoga quoted from the Dulles Plan at length in a famous 1993 sermon:
By sowing chaos in Russia we imperceptibly replace their values with false ones, which will force them to believe. How? We'll find our accomplices, helpers and allies in Russia herself. In a series of episodes, a tragedy, grandiose in scale, will be played out: the demise of the last unbroken nation on earth, the final irrevocable extinguishment of their national self-consciousness. From art and literature, for example, we'll gradually exterminate the social element. We'll retrain artists, discourage in them the desire to depict the world and examine those processes taking place in the masses of the people. Literature, the theatre and the cinema will all proclaim the basest of human feelings. We shall use all our means to support and promote those so-called creators who will hammer into the people's consciousness the cult of sex, violence, sadism, and betrayal, in a word — immorality.
I was just describing this article to a friend and he said that many Russians think the current fall in world oil prices was engineered by the U.S. and their Saudi friends to punish Putin over Ukraine. This actually strikes me as a really good idea, if the U.S. were really capable of engineering such things, which I doubt.

But, anyway, reading this gave me a new life's ambition: to become the alleged author of a secret plan for world domination. But what should the Bedell Plan involve? Perhaps a liberal conspiracy to subvert American values by introducing egalitarian socialism into fantasy literature, hitherto a reliably aristocratic bastion.

No, too plausible.

I suppose I could sign my name to a plot to use the threat of global warming to overturn capitalism, destroy rural America, and subvert patriarchy by banning gasoline-powered tools. I mean, it would practically write itself. But even if I put my name on it they would insist on calling it the Obama Plan.

How about a document written to circulate at Davos, explaining how the elite will control the world by distracting the people with pointless political arguments: arouse the progressives and social conservatives with gay marriage, and the capitalists and environmentalists with global warming, while distracting the rest with football and the Kardashians; meanwhile our agents will work behind the scenes to protect our banking schemes and hold off the threat of high taxes with talk of freedom and "job creation."

Other suggestions?


G. Verloren said...

I have a theory that the sport of cricket doesn't actually exist - it's entire history is a massive, elaborate, societal hoax perpetrated and perpetuated by the British in the form of a sort of memetic virus.

As it isn't actually a sport, but merely a practical joke writ large, cricket doesn't actually have an established structure. The rules and play are actually improvised on the fly - albeit within a predetermined framework ultimately overseen by a secret adjudicating body. This explains why outside observers "unfamiliar" with the "sport" find themselves baffled both by the strange spectacle unfolding before their eyes, as well as by any and all attempts by others to "explain" the proceedings.

The inconsistancies of the rules and play from match to match, and even from moment to moment, are masked in two chief ways. First, the bizarre and theatrical nature of the actual action occuring on the field serves to stupefy observers - matches are designed to take a very long time to complete, and to be as nonsensical and hard to follow in form and motion as possible, confusing and fatiguing the minds of those watching. Second, this effect is compounded via the sport's own terminology, chiefly encountered in the form of match commentary - as with the rules themselves, terms are continuously improvised and modified on the fly, with any apparent inconsistancies obscured by invoking historical precedents and obscure by-laws, all of which are themselves also improvised on the spot.

This combined paralytic and incapacitory effect is more than enough to disuade the average observer from any sort of serious analysis of the proceedings. The non-indoctrinated feel vaguely repulsed, bored, and/or shockingly baffled by even a cursory examination of the "game", and consequently it retains an air of impermeable ineffability for most people.

For those unfortunate souls who actually embrace cricket as a sport (and who are not in on the joke), the effects are far more pronounced, but manifest in a different form. The inconsistances of the rules and play are interpreted by "fans" as merely being the complexities of a sport which has countless variations across both time and space. When confronted with evidence of said inconsistancies, their minds instinctively attempt to rationalize them through the invention of plausible explanations invoking the absurdly complex - and in hidden fact entirely fabricated - centuries long history of the sport. This of course spawns countless endless and passionate debates and discussions as to the nature of these "rules", and in the course of argumentation - subtly manipulated by the aforementioned stupifaction of the itself and its ongoing commentary - all of which ends in a trip to the local pup, which after several hours on the pitch, ensures the obliteration of all meaningful conceptions and discourse by the second or third pint.

John said...

You didn't mention the score, which includes three separate numbers, making it impossible for someone not in on the conspiracy to tell who actually won the match.