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Yuri Bezmenov vs. Barack Obama

KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov writing in a pamphlet circa 1985 entitled “Black is Beautiful, Communism is Not“:

I don’t want you to go home depressed. I want you to go home happy. You deserve to be happy. You look like normal people. The process of demoralization, which takes 20 years, has taken place only in part. Andropov, a year ago when he was still half alive, talking to the Kremlin assembly, said, “We (meaning communists) are entering the final stage of the battle for minds and hearts of the people.” He was not talking about invasion of El Salvador. No, he was talking about this process I just described. You have five more years, according to Andropov. Presuming that you are demoralized, which I don’t believe because you are still alive, and Andropov is dead. So is Chernenko.

What to do about this crazy situation. Believe me, the solution is ridiculously simple.

[…]

Just for the sake of experiment, listen to Schuman. It costs you nothing. My solution is simple. You don’t want to be demoralized. Stay moral. See how simple? Stay moral. What does this imply? Exactly what CAUSA is telling you. Exactly what many millions of sensible Americans who belong to a multiplicity of conservative and religious groups are telling you on TV and radio. These stations grow like mushrooms. Stay moral

And so that they [the youth] will grow up realizing that their right to live, to be free and pursue happiness, is not given by the state or federal government. It is given by God. You have to implant in the minds of your children, before it is too late, that yours is the best system.

[…]

Suppose you believe Andropov and are demoralized. Suppose we are really entering the final stage of your life, destabilization, five more years. Even then there is a solution. And again, this solution has nothing to do with more nuclear warheads. This solution is so primitive and so simple that nobody wants to listen to me, in the establishment. It is very simple, peaceful, nonviolent and very beneficial: stop aiding your enemy.

[…]

And if we are talking specifically about media like that, already I gave you the solution. Start your own media. If you read such monsters as The New York Times, or The Washington Post, or The Los Angeles Times, if you watch the garbage coming through the three major TV networks, just for curiosity’s sake, please subscribe to conservative literature. If you watch The Phil Donahue Show, just for curiosity watch Pat Robertson or Jimmy Swaggart, or Jerry Falwell; there are many others.

If you read The Los Angeles Times, read The Washington Times for a change. You will see the difference. That’s all I have to say to you. Please do it fast. Because if you pooh-pooh your system, you will follow the destiny of the Vietnamese, Cambodians, Nicaraguans, Zimbabweans and Ethiopians. And yours will be the last country.

Why am I shouting? Why am I so emotional? I am sick and tired of defecting! And believe me, if you destroy your system, you will have no place to defect to. Because your country is the last hope for mankind’s survival, freedom and justice.

President Barack Obama in his commencement address to the graduating class of 2010 at the University of Michigan:

Today’s twenty-four/seven echo chamber amplifies the most inflammatory soundbites louder and faster than ever before. It has also, however, given us unprecedented choice. Whereas most Americans used to get their news from the same three networks over dinner or a few influential papers on Sunday morning, we now have the option to get our information from any number of blogs or websites or cable news shows. And this can have both a good and bad development for our democracy.

For if we choose only to expose ourselves to opinions and viewpoints that are in line with our own, studies suggest that we will become more polarized, more set in our ways. That will only reinforce and even deepen the political divides in this country. But if we choose to actively seek out information that challenges our assumptions and our beliefs, perhaps we can begin to understand where the people who disagree with us are coming from.

Now this requires us to agree on a certain set of facts to debate from; that is why we need a vibrant and thriving news business that is separate from opinion makers and talking heads. That’s why we need an educated citizenry that uses hard evidence and not just assertion. As Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

Still, if you’re somebody who only reads the editorial page of The New York Times, try glancing at the page of The Wall Street Journal once in awhile. If you’re a fan of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, try reading a few columns on the Huffington Post website. It may make your blood boil; your mind may not be changed. But the practice of listening to opposing views is essential for effective citizenship. It’s essential for our democracy.

Leaving aside Bezmenov’s emphasis on the religious right as the antidote to socialism, which I think should be broadened more properly as Judeo-Christian morality (and with it an emphasis on justice and freedom), the irony herein is striking.

Oh and just in case you are not familiar with the concept of demoralization and Bezmenov’s contributions on Communist ideological subversion in the West, here is a visual aid:
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