Russia’s assault on the 2016 election should be seen as what British sociologist Anthony Giddens terms a “high consequence risk,” a disruptive event that can alter people’s perceptions of the world and even a nation’s trajectory. In Giddens’ thinking, the globally interconnected economy and our information technologies make human societies more susceptible to attacks by smaller groups of people using less expensive means. 9/11 presented one such risk. Russia’s election attack is another.
While the analogy is jarring given the extraordinary loss of life and global impact of 9/11, the terrorists and the Russians exploited American businesses and legal and policy loopholes to attack from within. The terrorists used airlines, flight schools, and weaknesses in airport security. The Russians exploited technology companies, weaved through election-law loopholes, and penetrated weak cybersecurity.
Because the internet is inherently vulnerable, Moscow only needed a relatively small, skilled force with modest resources to affect American society. By stealing and publishing private emails, purchasing and targeting divisive ads, and spreading propaganda through social media, Russia turned tools of everyday use into weapons of attack against American elections. There is no way to tell how much Russia’s intrusion affected the election’s outcome; nor can Trump’s rise be blamed on the Russians (that responsibility falls to Americans). Yet the man Vladimir Putin sought to assist is now president, and public trust in America’s media, digital communications, and electoral systems has been undermined.
This was not the kind of cyberattack that the national-security community had anticipated. For years, the dominant concern has been to prevent a destructive cyberattack on U.S. critical infrastructure like the energy or financial sectors. In two separate attacks in 2015 and 2016, for example, Russia conducted malware attacks on Ukraine’s power grid that disrupted the transmission of power to parts of the Ukrainian population. Russia has also previously implanted malware on American industrial-control systems, suspected to include those of nuclear power plants.
— Vikram Singh, Jonathan Reiber
Where’s the 9/11 Commission for Russia’s Election Attack?
The final purpose of these apparently mad actions were recently outlined by Vladislav Surkov, the Kremlin’s official Mouth-of-Sauron (1, 2). His new opus was published by Russia Today, a state-controlled propaganda channel.
The line “done with all your hypocrisy” in this context sounds both like a prophecy and a verdict, and as the motto of a new era.
People in large quantities and even more often make a strange choice. Rejection of the political landscape is being observed everywhere in the West. Mistrust towards everything ordinary increases. What’s usual is perceived as false, artificial. What’s unusual brings hope. The normal person loses popularity, the freak gains it.
Hypocrisy is blameworthy, but in order to investigate it there is a need – like when studying all blameworthy but at the same time widely practiced things, such as war, infidelity, overeating – to consider the question out of moral coordinates.
Double standards, sanctimoniusness, duplicity, threefold standards, political correctness, intrigues, propaganda, flattery, and slyness are widespread not only in politics. Society is steady if all its elements found with each other a common language — a language in which it is convenient to lie. And not only to others, but to yourself too.
The language of hypocrisy is weaved from allegories, innuendoes, euphemisms, riddles, metaphors, magic formulas, methods of taboo-making, verbiage, cliches, slogans, ambiguities, and labels. It serves as material both for the industry of popular arts and political programming, and for communication at the household level, and even for silence.
To say one thing, to think a second thing, and to do a third thing is seemingly bad, but almost nobody succeeds to do it in another way. Hypocrisy in the rationalistic paradigm of the western civilization is inevitable for two reasons.
Firstly, the structure of speech itself – at least coherent, “reasonable” speech – is too linear and too formal in order to fully reflect so-called reality. Hegel fairly claimed that a noncontradictory statement can’t be truthful.
What seems to be logical is always more or less false. Language is a two-dimensional space, all means of expression and all “richness and diversity” of which is reduced to endless repetitions – in different scales and on different topics – of the elementary sense-making couple “yes/no”. This off/on switch of any word and any phrase – from the request to “pass the mustard”, to the “Karamazov Brothers“ and String theory – clicks one thousand times a day in billions of heads. But no matter how much it clicks, it can’t cram in the oversized multidimensional world into flat human thinking.
The universal and, it is possible to say, unrestrained use of binary codes (yes/no, 0/1, +/-, god/human, angel/demon, republican/democrat, truth/lie, and so on) works well. However, to work well doesn’t mean to be truthful. That’s why during rare assaults of sharp truthfulness people say not exactly what it is in reality — “the uttered thought is a lie”.
The second reason for the domination of hypocrites is much deeper. To pretend to be what you aren’t and to hide your intentions are the most important technologies of biological survival. Without this, in wild nature it is impossible to both attack or hide yourself. People inherited a pretence instinct from wild ancestors and strongly developed it.
In the cultures of all people there are two main types of heroes — the fighter and the cunning person. Crafty Odysseus isn’t less esteemed than the mighty and rough Achilles. Odysseys, of course, is also a fighter. He is both brave and strong, but nevertheless his main traits are foxery, eloquence, and cunningness. Enemies don’t disperse having only caught sight of him, as it happens when Achilles appears. And it’s not he, but Achilles who kills great Hector. But Odysseus, unlike Achilles, survives and comes back home with honor. And even receives from Homer a personal poem, because his feats aren’t so monotonous as Achilles’, and adventures are entertaining and fascinating.
A trickster, a cheat, a deceiver, and a player are the central characters of both art narrations and real historical events.
The feint is a basic skill of the football player and boxer. Military cunningness is the main weapon of the commander. Guile is the valor of the spy. Perfidy is not a forbidden method in the fight for power.
A person more willingly demands truthfulness and transparency from others than they do from themselves — a natural desire to disarm a rival and to remain armed themselves. Competing groups of influence furiously demand from each other extreme and often obviously impracticable openness, stimulating growth of innovations in the sphere of concealment of truth. The most honest entrenched themselves in the deep and dark Internet. The others improve their skill in view of all. The general passion for transparency raised the quality of hypocrisy to earlier-unprecedented heights.
In general, hypocrisy is disgusting, effective, and inevitable. But hypocritical discourses, languages in which lies are told, and metaphors of hypocrisy periodically become outdated. Camouflaging phrases depreciate due to frequent repetition, discrepancies and mismatches start being prominent.
More and more slips of the tongue, justifications, explanations, longueurs, and pauses are spent on saving the status quo (and all of this with smaller returns). The system reaches the limit of complexity, complexity turns into frightening confusion. A request for simplification arises, causing even more destructive rhetorical storms and inflow of demagogy.
Ethical schemes fade away. “Right or wrong – I can hardly tell,” sings Moody.
The public contract written on the breaking-up of political language starts gradually losing force. The basic provisions of this contract written in golden letters become boring and hated. And what was bashfully written down in it in small, almost unreadable font, which by common consent was moved to the footnotes and appendices, starts suddenly interesting everyone, and someone, having deeply examined it, is the first to exclaim: “We were deceived!”.
The oath of a hypocrite, whether its said touching the Bible or on Facebook, can’t convince anybody any more.
Various social groups deprived of common language stand apart in order to create their “truthful” dialect. The mixing up of languages arrives, and the turbulence – lasting until society, in disputes and clashes, reaches despair and resigns to any new half-truth, with reformed and “improved” hypocrisy.
It is precisely such a phase as intolerance to falseness, mixing up of languages, and disappointment in the norm that now some western nations pass through.
It is thus possible to call this set of strangenesses of our days “the crisis of hypocrisy”.
Obviously, it’s not only a question of semantics, it’s not simply a philological or purely communicative problem. This is one of the manifestations of big technological, demographic, and, perhaps, climatic shifts.
An interesting and dangerous time. The disintegration of semantic designs releases a huge amount of social energy. Will the Western world manage to scatter its surpluses by means of virtual games, series about violence, sports competitions, economic bubbles, rap battles and rock concerts, electoral shows, local wars, and TV news? Or there will be a heating of the system to a temperature of revolution and big war? Who knows.
Examples of civilizations reaching the dangerous limit of complexity are known. Further, either a crash or a salvaging simplification of the system followed.
The most difficult democratic and oligarchical organism of the ancient Roman republic at some point became too complex and started produce chaos instead of order. After Gracchus and Sulpicia, and after mutinies and civil wars, Sulla, then Caesar, and, finally, Octavian came, who gradually actually abolished the republic. An empire appeared in its place. Emperors didn’t call themselves kings, without wishing to offend the memory of the republic, but they were kings. And this updated hypocrisy for some centuries prolonged the life of the Roman world.
Literally all institutes of republican Rome served one main goal — not to allow the return of kings. The fear of the usurpation of power forced the Romans to create a more and more sophisticated system of restraint and counterbalances, and they were so fond of it that they got confused by their own “blossoming complexity”, which they were obliged to sort out by means of a simple imperial vertical. The kings returned.
Perhaps, tomorrow too the confused crowds will be brought out from “all this chaos and all this lie” by a strong hand. A king of the West, a founder of digital dictatorship, a leader with semi-artificial intelligence is already predicted by prophetic comics. Why wouldn’t these comics come true? It is also an option.
“I’m waiting here for anyone to wash it all away,” sings Five Finger Death Punch. America sings.
— Vladislav Surkov: The Crisis of Hypocrisy – “I Hear America Singing”
via some site
Probably, I have heard something like this. Oh, yes:
The first step which visibly brought mankind away from the animal world was that which led to the first invention. The invention itself owes its origin to the ruses and stratagems which man employed to assist him in the struggle with other creatures for his existence and often to provide him with the only means he could adopt to achieve success in the struggle. Those first very crude inventions cannot be attributed to the individual; for the subsequent observer, that is to say the modern observer, recognizes them only as collective phenomena. Certain tricks and skilful tactics which can be observed in use among the animals strike the eye of the observer as established facts which may be seen everywhere; and man is no longer in a position to discover or explain their primary cause and so he contents himself with calling such phenomena ‘instinctive.’
In our case this term has no meaning. Because everyone who believes in the higher evolution of living organisms must admit that every manifestation of the vital urge and struggle to live must have had a definite beginning in time and that one subject alone must have manifested it for the first time. It was then repeated again and again; and the practice of it spread over a widening area, until finally it passed into the subconscience of every member of the species, where it manifested itself as ‘instinct.’
This is more easily understood and more easy to believe in the case of man. His first skilled tactics in the struggle with the rest of the animals undoubtedly originated in his management of creatures which possessed special capabilities.
There can be no doubt that personality was then the sole factor in all decisions and achievements, which were afterwards taken over by the whole of humanity as a matter of course. An exact exemplification of this may be found in those fundamental military principles which have now become the basis of all strategy in war. Originally they sprang from the brain of a single individual and in the course of many years, maybe even thousands of years, they were accepted all round as a matter of course and this gained universal validity.
Man completed his first discovery by making a second. Among other things he learned how to master other living beings and make them serve him in his struggle for existence. And thus began the real inventive activity of mankind, as it is now visible before our eyes. Those material inventions, beginning with the use of stones as weapons, which led to the domestication of animals, the production of fire by artificial means, down to the marvellous inventions of our own days, show clearly that an individual was the originator in each case. The nearer we come to our own time and the more important and revolutionary the inventions become, the more clearly do we recognize the truth of that statement. All the material inventions which we see around us have been produced by the creative powers and capabilities of individuals. And all these inventions help man to raise himself higher and higher above the animal world and to separate himself from that world in an absolutely definite way. Hence they serve to elevate the human species and continually to promote its progress. And what the most primitive artifice once did for man in his struggle for existence, as he went hunting through the primeval forest, that same sort of assistance is rendered him to-day in the form of marvellous scientific inventions which help him in the present day struggle for life and to forge weapons for future struggles. In their final consequences all human thought and invention help man in his life-struggle on this planet, even though the so-called practical utility of an invention, a discovery or a profound scientific theory, may not be evident at first sight. Everything contributes to raise man higher and higher above the level of all the other creatures that surround him, thereby strengthening and consolidating his position; so that he develops more and more in every direction as the ruling being on this earth.
Hence all inventions are the result of the creative faculty of the individual. And all such individuals, whether they have willed it or not, are the benefactors of mankind, both great and small. Through their work millions and indeed billions of human beings have been provided with means and resources which facilitate their struggle for existence.
Thus at the origin of the material civilization which flourishes to-day we always see individual persons. They supplement one another and one of them bases his work on that of the other. The same is true in regard to the practical application of those inventions and discoveries. For all the various methods of production are in their turn inventions also and consequently dependent on the creative faculty of the individual. Even the purely theoretical work, which cannot be measured by a definite rule and is preliminary to all subsequent technical discoveries, is exclusively the product of the individual brain. The broad masses do not invent, nor does the majority organize or think; but always and in every case the individual man, the person.
Accordingly a human community is well organized only when it facilitates to the highest possible degree individual creative forces and utilizes their work for the benefit of the community. The most valuable factor of an invention, whether it be in the world of material realities or in the world of abstract ideas, is the personality of the inventor himself. The first and supreme duty of an organized folk community is to place the inventor in a position where he can be of the greatest benefit to all. Indeed the very purpose of the organization is to put this principle into practice. Only by so doing can it ward off the curse of mechanization and remain a living thing. In itself it must personify the effort to place men of brains above the multitude and to make the latter obey the former.
Therefore not only does the organization possess no right to prevent men of brains from rising above the multitude but, on the contrary, it must use its organizing powers to enable and promote that ascension as far as it possibly can. It must start out from the principle that the blessings of mankind never came from the masses but from the creative brains of individuals, who are therefore the real benefactors of humanity. It is in the interest of all to assure men of creative brains a decisive influence and facilitate their work. This common interest is surely not served by allowing the multitude to rule, for they are not capable of thinking nor are they efficient and in no case whatsoever can they be said to be gifted. Only those should rule who have the natural temperament and gifts of leadership.
Such men of brains are selected mainly, as I have already said, through the hard struggle for existence itself. In this struggle there are many who break down and collapse and thereby show that they are not called by Destiny to fill the highest positions; and only very few are left who can be classed among the elect. In the realm of thought and of artistic creation, and even in the economic field, this same process of selection takes place, although–especially in the economic field–its operation is heavily handicapped. This same principle of selection rules in the administration of the State and in that department of power which personifies the organized military defence of the nation. The idea of personality rules everywhere, the authority of the individual over his subordinates and the responsibility of the individual towards the persons who are placed over him. It is only in political life that this very natural principle has been completely excluded. Though all human civilization has resulted exclusively from the creative activity of the individual, the principle that it is the mass which counts–through the decision of the majority–makes its appearance only in the administration of the national community especially in the higher grades; and from there downwards the poison gradually filters into all branches of national life, thus causing a veritable decomposition. The destructive workings of Judaism in different parts of the national body can be ascribed fundamentally to the persistent Jewish efforts at undermining the importance of personality among the nations that are their hosts and, in place of personality, substituting the domination of the masses. The constructive principle of Aryan humanity is thus displaced by the destructive principle of the Jews, They become the ‘ferment of decomposition’ among nations and races and, in a broad sense, the wreckers of human civilization.
The People’s State must assure the welfare of its citizens by recognizing the importance of personal values under all circumstances and by preparing the way for the maximum of productive efficiency in all the various branches of economic life, thus securing to the individual the highest possible share in the general output.
Hence the People’s State must mercilessly expurgate from all the leading circles in the government of the country the parliamentarian principle, according to which decisive power through the majority vote is invested in the multitude. Personal responsibility must be substituted in its stead.
From this the following conclusion results:
The best constitution and the best form of government is that which makes it quite natural for the best brains to reach a position of dominant importance and influence in the community.
Just as in the field of economics men of outstanding ability cannot be designated from above but must come forward in virtue of their own efforts, and just as there is an unceasing educative process that leads from the smallest shop to the largest undertaking, and just as life itself is the school in which those lessons are taught, so in the political field it is not possible to ‘discover’ political talent all in a moment. Genius of an extraordinary stamp is not to be judged by normal standards whereby we judge other men.
In its organization the State must be established on the principle of personality, starting from the smallest cell and ascending up to the supreme government of the country.
There are no decisions made by the majority vote, but only by responsible persons. And the word ‘council’ is once more restored to its original meaning. Every man in a position of responsibility will have councillors at his side, but the decision is made by that individual person alone.
The principle which made the former Prussian Army an admirable instrument of the German nation will have to become the basis of our statal constitution, that is to say, full authority over his subordinates must be invested in each leader and he must be responsible to those above him.
Even then we shall not be able to do without those corporations which at present we call parliaments. But they will be real councils, in the sense that they will have to give advice. The responsibility can and must be borne by one individual, who alone will be vested with authority and the right to command.
Parliaments as such are necessary because they alone furnish the opportunity for leaders to rise gradually who will be entrusted subsequently with positions of special responsibility.
The following is an outline of the picture which the organization will present:
From the municipal administration up to the government of the REICH, the People’s State will not have any body of representatives which makes its decisions through the majority vote. It will have only advisory bodies to assist the chosen leader for the time being and he will distribute among them the various duties they are to perform. In certain fields they may, if necessary, have to assume full responsibility, such as the leader or president of each corporation possesses on a larger scale.
In principle the People’s State must forbid the custom of taking advice on certain political problems–economics, for instance–from persons who are entirely incompetent because they lack special training and practical experience in such matters. Consequently the State must divide its representative bodies into a political chamber and a corporative chamber that represents the respective trades and professions.
To assure an effective co-operation between those two bodies, a selected body will be placed over them. This will be a special senate.
No vote will be taken in the chambers or senate. They are to be organizations for work and not voting machines. The individual members will have consultive votes but no right of decision will be attached thereto. The right of decision belongs exclusively to the president, who must be entirely responsible for the matter under discussion.
This principle of combining absolute authority with absolute responsibility will gradually cause a selected group of leaders to emerge; which is not even thinkable in our present epoch of irresponsible parliamentarianism.
The political construction of the nation will thereby be brought into harmony with those laws to which the nation already owes its greatness in the economic and cultural spheres.
Regarding the possibility of putting these principles into practice, I should like to call attention to the fact that the principle of parliamentarian democracy, whereby decisions are enacted through the majority vote, has not always ruled the world. On the contrary, we find it prevalent only during short periods of history, and those have always been periods of decline in nations and States.
One must not believe, however, that such a radical change could be effected by measures of a purely theoretical character, operating from above downwards; for the change I have been describing could not be limited to transforming the constitution of a State but would have to include the various fields of legislation and civic existence as a whole. Such a revolution can be brought about only by means of a movement which is itself organized under the inspiration of these principles and thus bears the germ of the future State in its own organism.
Therefore it is well for the National Socialist Movement to make itself completely familiar with those principles to-day and actually to put them into practice within its own organization, so that not only will it be in a position to serve as a guide for the future State but will have its own organization such that it can subsequently be placed at the disposal of the State itself.
— Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, tr. by James Murphy
Interestingly, this openly unmasking Surkov’s text hasn’t been translated for the English-language version of RT. Too much allusions, perhaps.
Of course, deliberate allusions.