« PreviousContinue »
limited to the United States. And in this whole the most directly coveted part today is Europe and Asia, not America. If facing the U.S.S.R. the United States is the fortress, Eurasia is the prey. Washington supplies a shield, but the first objective of Soviet aggression is Paris, London, Delhi.
FALLACY NO. 2: THE SOVIETS BRISTLE BECAUSE THEY ARE AFRAID
The notion that the U.S.S.R. is bristling with missiles and surrounded by a glacis because she fears attack from the West is one of the absurdities on which proto-Soviet propaganda makes Westerners stumble the most often. This notion appeals to many of them because they strive for the prestige of the so-called "au-dessus de la melee" 13 attitude and because it is an extension of the old resentment over the anti-Bolshevik intervention of 1919-20. It does the Soviets considerable service because it results in total inversion of responsibilities: to the Soviets, the aggressors, has fallen the role of the poor besieged, and to the West, the victim of aggression, the obligation of proving its innocence.
The idea that the Soviets act aggressively only through fear will not bear examination. No government in the free world has the slightest intention of assailing the U.S.S.R., and the free world gave striking proof of it by disarming and remaining disarmed in the face of an overarmed Russia from 1945 to 1951. After the Communist aggression in Korea the Western powers did rearm in their turn, but this was in pure self-defense. They only began to rearm Western Germany when faced with the overarming of Eastern Germany.
It is preposterous to imagine that the rulers in Moscow, who are always well informed, think the contrary of so evident a truth. In fact they are perfectly convinced that no democratic power wants to wage a war against them, and if they pretend to believe the opposite it is to substantiate the myth of "capitalist encirclement" which plays a leading role in their propaganda, as it supplies the only plausible pretext for excusing their dictatorship. It is the old trick of Hitler, the poor lamb worried by the big bad wolves of Prague and Warsaw. It is the threadbare but apparently still effective alibi of the tyrant who pretends to be bolting the doors because the Devil is hanging about outside, when he himself is the only devil and is shutting himself up to rule the better inside. Thus the Moscow dictators, having no reason to be afraid, are not afraid. If they are overarmed it is first of all because militarism is the necessary prop and climate of every dictatorship—see Budapest-and secondly because they do have aggressive designs.
It is really high time that "neutralists" came back down into the melee, where their own fate is being decided just as much as that of their committed fellow-citizens.
Have they already forgotten the tide of annexations, aggressions and coups that communism loosed, after the last war, over Manchuria, Korea, China, the Baltic States, Iran, Czechoslovakia, and Berlin?
Can anything comparable be honestly laid to the charge of the West? The crimes of Moscow and the mistakes of Washington are no longer in the least commensurable, just as the mistakes of London and Paris were not in the least commensurable with the crimes of Hitler, and Literally: above the battle; colloquially: "ivory tower."
to hand out equal blame to them is no longer either noble nor courageous, because it is no longer true. What is noble and courageous, what honors a thinker, is not always to say his own side is just as guilty as the other side; it is to say so when it is true and to say the opposite when the opposite is true.
FALLACY NO. 3: THE WEST SHUTS ITSELF UP IN A NEGATIVE ATTITUDE
This propaganda theme speculates on the congenital inclination of democrats to criticize their governments. It serves the Soviets because it cultivates an inferiority complex in democracies toward totalitarians, which it pictures in the guise of petulant youths whom the old fogies of the West are only capable of treating by rebuff.
Yet if the concrete proposals of the "two blocs" in the last decade were checked it would be seen that constructive proposals to promote understanding have never ceased to come from the Western side, whereas from the Soviet side have issued only hollow or venomous words and 87 Soviet vetos compared with no American ones at the U.N. Who is negative?
Even after the crime of Budapest, democracy was inexhaustibly patient and easy with the Soviet rulers, and replied in the negative only to the victims, not to the slaughterers. Every day the Soviet press is full of gross slander about the United States, every day the United States answers with Olympian observations, if not with favors by throwing open their television to the slanderers. On the count of free circulation of books from one side to the other, who is negative and who positive? That is, which of the two opens its newsstands and bookshops to the publications of the other, and who closes them? Who allows the radio broadcasts of the other to be heard and who jams them? And so on in every field.
The Kremlin's only positive attitude is aggression. If for the West the mere fact of resisting is negative, it means that a positive attitude would consist in letting one's throat be cut.
FALLACY NO. 4: THE MOST SERIOUS PROBLEM OF THE MODERN WORLD IS ATOMIC ENERGY
This propaganda theme exploits pacifist feeling, highly respectable in itself, and also the dramatic character of the new nuclear factor, which promotes the hasty reaction of regarding it as the alpha and omega of our time. Actually it is nothing of the kind. The most serious problem of the modern world is dictatorship in Moscow. If that did not exist, if the presently Communist world were run by democratic governments like those functioning in London, Bonn, Paris, and Washington, knowledge about atomic energy could progress as quickly and as far as desired without anyone in the world being in the least worried. Conversely, even if nuclear energy had not been discovered and if we had stuck to the superbombs and gases of Hitler's day the threats of Khrushchev would be enough to fill the world with anxiety.
In fact it is doing the Kremlin the greatest service to vent, in a philosophical complaint on the demiurgic power science confers on man, what should be political awareness of the plans for oppression that communism harbors against mankind.
FALLACY NO. 5: A MILLIARD COMMUNISTS CANNOT BE IGNORED
This propaganda theme titillates so-called realistic tendencies. It promotes dreaming of friendlier relations and exchanges apt to win the heart of the milliard and prove to them that at bottom we are all brothers.
Now this is one of the most cunning themes because it masks the crucial fact that friendly relations are rewarding only between people in possession of their free will, whereas under totalitarianism people are walled in and muzzled, and unfortunately no diplomatic or touristic approach can reach them.
Moreover this propaganda theme is treacherous because it leads people to believe that there are a milliard Communists in the world, which substantiates the Kremlin's show of power, when nothing is more false.
There are not a milliard Communists but a milliard human beings who live under a Communist dictatorship against their will. For if it were not against their will, dictatorship would be unnecessary. What cannot be ignored is therefore that a milliard of our contemporaries suffer under communism. They cry out their hatred for this regime with their blood in Vorkuta, Tiflis, East Berlin, Poznan, Budapest; they cry it out with their voices when they are prisoners of war as in Korea, choosing by 90 percent not to go home. They cry it out with their feet, fleeing by millions through all the cracks in the Iron Curtain: Berlin, Trieste, the Burmese jungle, Macao, Hong Kong, the 30th parallel in Vietnam, the 18th parallel in Korea; they cry it out with their silence, pointing to their censored press, their sham elections; they cry it out from all the concentration camps of Siberia and China.
In fact those famous "systematic anti-Communists," whom so many Western beaux esprits find more expedient to condemn than the Soviet dictators, are first and foremost the milliard subjects of Communist countries. It is thanks to their indomitable hatred of dictatorship, to the silent but fierce "Nyet" that the Kremlin rulers have never ceased to read on their muzzled lips, that the aggressiveness of these rulers have been held in check and the West can still enjoy freedom. If this milliard people must be invoked, it is therefore not as a reference to justify our abdication before their tyrants, but as our most valuable allies in our common defense against these tyrants. For, all things considered, while it is surely necessary to strengthen NATO, while it is necessary to conclude pacts, while it is necessary to make counterpropaganda, no text, no preaching will bring us final security so long as totalitarians control an empire of a milliard serfs. There is only one hope of peace for the men of our time: it is the fall of the Moscow dictatorship. For as long as it stands, no man anywhere on earth will be able to face the future with confidence. And the best chance of avoiding a world war is that the milliard of its oppressed subjects will overturn this dictatorship from within.
FALLACY NO. 6: THE SUCCESS OF COMMUNISM RESULTS FROM SOCIAL INJUSTICE
This propaganda theme speculates on the Marxist propensity to look for the origin of any political disease in an economic disorder, as on the generous tendency to cure the causes of an ill rather than repress its makers.
That also explains the services this idea renders to communism: it leads democratic governments to mortal forbearance toward the Communist apparatus, which, in addition, it haloes by presenting it as a reaction to poverty when it is only an appendage of dictatorship.
The falsity of this notion becomes quite clear as soon as one perceives that the surest strongholds of communism have in the past often been and are increasingly today the social strata best provided for (the labor aristocracy in France, in Weimar Germany, and in the Czechoslovakia of Benes; intellectuals in Asia, businessmen in Japan), whereas numerous poor segments of the people oppose or have opposed it (Spain, China before Mao, South America).
This idea that in Asia and Africa the masses are in no need of freedom and ask above all for bread-it being implied that this is the reason why they turn toward Moscow-is doubly wrong, first because political freedom is the most effective means of raising standards of life, second because the very worst way for a poverty-stricken people to get bread is to accept Communist dictatorship, a systematic producer of underconsumption. The real vehicle of communism in Asia is not the hunger of the people but the ambition of the intellectuals.
No doubt for democrats the most sacred duty is to raise the standard of living of the masses in order to alleviate human misery, but it would be pure illusion to believe that this is enough to ward off the Communist peril. The more so as no reform can silence Communist demagogy, which knows no limit in bad faith and overbidding. Moreover, it is clearly inconceivable that all social injustice can be eliminated within the next decades, however hard we try. Yet the Communist threat is already harassing our flank with its spear. The parry suggested is totally out of phase with the threat.
The struggle against social injustice must certainly be carried on unfalteringly, but to regard it as the very weapon for fighting communism, to confine oneself to coming to the aid of the suburbs while letting the ministries be infiltrated, is an evasion behind a noble front that greatly furthers the Communist assault.
FALLACY NO. 7: THE REMEDY FOR THE SOVIET THREAT IS AID TO UNDERDEVELOPED COUNTRIES
This is the counterpart on the international level of the above propaganda theme on the domestic level. The feelings and the circles affected are the same. The service done to the Soviets is also of the same type: shifting a direct retort their attack makes immediately necessary to a very long-term indirect rehabilitation job. Here again it must be emphasized that the objective in itself is unassailable. It is of course necessary to do away with the poverty of underdeveloped peoples for reasons of human solidarity. What is false is that this necessary generosity is enough to ward off the infection of communism.
Let us not forget that this infection has also attacked economically highly developed countries like Czechoslovakia and France, for it is based on passions and myths just as much as on needs.
In fact America, which professes to be humanist and Christian, acts in a Marxist way, while the U.S.S.R., which claims to believe in "Marxist materialism", resorts only to "idealistic" methods of proselytism; America thinks that it has only to build schools, hospitals, railways in underdeveloped countries, hand out Spam and fruit juice, for their peoples to stand up automatically against Soviet imperialism. Meanwhile the U.S.S.R. works exclusively on minds. In its approach, a rise in the standard of living of peoples will be the result of their faith in communism and their hatred of the West. And the U.S.S.R. embodies this idea in an inexhaustible stream of books, pamphlets, leaflets, written in every language and adapted to every level of intelligence.
Thus a division of work has set in between the U.S.S.R. and the United States, which will rapidly bring the former to crush the latter. The United States supplies foodstuffs, the Soviets propaganda. The United States builds schools to teach the alphabet to underdeveloped peoples; the U.S.S.R. prints anti-American newspapers these peoples will be able to read, thanks to American aid. The United States builds libraries, the Soviets fill them with Leninist literature. United States spreads hospitals; the Soviets staff them with Communist nurses who will indoctrinate the patients.
The above should not be interpreted as meaning that economic aid programs must be discontinued. This aid can have excellent effects, but only if it is supplemented by political education programs. lars without cadres, native cadres aware of the Communist peril, invariably end up in the pockets of Soviet auxiliaries.
The truth is that to resist Soviet propaganda the most urgent thing is aid not to underdeveloped countries, but to underdeveloped minds, in the West as in the East. Such aid is the purpose of the constructive measures now to be proposed.
VI. CONSTRUCTIVE PROPOSALS
OUR SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON COUNTERPROPAGANDA
Before reviewing the means that should be brought into play by the free world to counter this formidable propaganda and conspiracy machine maintained by the Soviets, it is important for us to convince ourselves that the task is urgent.
The very survival of the West is at stake. We only resist in fact on the military front. But, owing to the balance of horror reached between atomic armaments, it is not in this sphere that the contest will be decided; it will be decided in the sphere of propaganda, where the West is inactive.
It is not sufficiently realized in the West that the seeds of propaganda have yielded the Soviets an extraordinary harvest of territorial and strategic advantages that could only be obtained up to now by arms. In fact almost all their conquests have been achieved not at the point of the bayonet but through political warfare, that is, as an effect of poisoning of democratic minds-apart from their victory over Nazi Germany, which rather falls under the head of reconquest of their own