Saturday, February 19, 2011

Life in Soviet America

I've been reminiscing on another blog about the Soviet state and the way it crumbled from inside, as its leaders refused to acknowledge any facts that contradicted official ideology. Even as they fell desperately behind the West, official ideology held that Soviet technology was the best, that Soviet military might could roll over Western Europe within weeks, that the Red Army was an unbeatable force of unspeakable might, and so forth. Sounds an awful lot like Republican politicians on Capital Hill talking about health care, where they still insist that the U.S. has the "best health care system in the world" even though all statistics -- *ALL* statistics (other than cost) -- show that it's mediocre, ranking somewhere amongst the recently-freed states of Eastern Europe in outcomes. But don't try to tell them that. Any facts which do not conform with official ideology get discarded -- often violently, in the case of the Soviets, as individuals who dared contradict official ideology were removed from their jobs and sent to mental institutions or forced labor camps.

Hopefully the U.S. will wake up before reaching the point of collapse that denial led to in the Soviet Union. I’m not feeling too optimistic though, we have different minders here (called “television”, “teabaggers”, “freepers”, and “dittoheads”), but the effect is the same — people are afraid to talk about things that contradict official ideology, except in certain circumscribed circumstances such as on blogs, for fear that they’ll be ostracized, fired, have their homes and vehicles vandalized, or otherwise suffer dire consequences. If you’re going to set up a police state, that’s the smart way to do it — everybody’s an informant, everybody’s an enforcer, and Siberia is an economic class, not a geographic place. We could end homelessness here in America within months, even in big cities there’s plenty of empty commercial space that could be used to house the homeless in hostel-type settings, but the homeless are useful. “Don’t rock the boat, or you’ll be a miserable homeless spat-upon nobody just like them.” Thus the reason I blog as a penguin rather than as a member of homo sapiens, especially considering the industry I work in.

The mistake our oligarchs are making right now is that they’ve decided that keeping the general rabble fat and happy is no longer necessary, that they’ve consolidated their power so well that they can make things work in their favor even if they allow the rabble to become increasingly impoverished and desperate. This thirty-year project thus far seems to be succeeding… but we’ll see. The oligarchs in 1929 thought they’d arrived at a steady state where they could strip the assets of the general population away (via deflating the money supply) without repercussions too, and the end result was FDR and the New Deal.

– Badtux the Sovok Penguin


  1. It's not just the official commissars, 'Baggers and Freepers who buy into this. Average folks believe it too, that the Benighted States is the bestest place ever. I used to talk to lots of average folks in American hospitals, and I still chat to friends and family members inside the borders of the Eroding Empire. They've heard stats and stories about what life is like in other countries, but they don't KNOW that at a gut level, so it's easy to dismiss how things are elsewhere. People want to believe that their life is good, that their land is wonderful -- human nature. It's what happens when you're raised in an atmosphere of nationalistic propaganda, and aren't sufficiently skeptical to think otherwise. North Koreans believe they're living in a socialist paradise too. The ideological blinders aren't merely imposed from the top. They're put on willingly by the blinded.

  2. Right, everyone's an informant, everyone's an enforcer. People won't even think about facts contradicting established ideology, it's just inconceivable to them, and any thoughts that their ideology is leading them to disaster is dismissed with a shudder of horror.

    I've thought about the expat life, but the fur-bearin' varmints keep me grounded. Not all that easy anyhow at my age and in my profession, best way to manage it would be as an overseas manager for a large multinational corporation, but I've avoided working for those large multinational corporations with the same zeal as I'd avoid working for the Nazi Party if I'd lived in Germany in 1935. So I guess I'm going to go down with the ship as Soviet America collapses. Bummer.

    - Badtux the Piano-player-in-the-dance-band-on-the-Titanic Penguin

  3. Well, not everybody's going to die. Life was tolerable, if downgraded from what it was before for a few during the Great Depression, the Panic of 1872, and all manner of other hard times. The people who can at least imagine it coming will be psychically braced and more physically prepared. The ones who can't think outside the Sovok, those are the ones whose heads will explode. Often from the firing of weapons they're holding to their own heads.

  4. people are afraid to talk about things that contradict official ideology, except in certain circumscribed circumstances such as on blogs, for fear that they’ll be ostracized, fired, have their homes and vehicles vandalized, or otherwise suffer dire consequences.

    Exactly why I blog under a pseudonym.



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