A friend of mine sent me an article from an international periodical in Russian, Lenta.ru, about a rising wave of censorship of the Internet in China by its dictatorship.
Absolutism always believed that if its “state slaves” knew only what Absolutism allowed them to know, they would be loyal; for their minds would be packed only with information on how they should be loyal to Absolutism and why.
A human mind was assumed to be a vessel containing only what was poured into it by Absolutist propaganda and behaving accordingly. The dictatorships of the past century have added nothing new to this Absolutist approach, except for a larger scale of persecution of any deviation or dissent from their conformity assuring their “state slaves” that no social order can be better for them than “state slavery,” called communism, national socialism, fascism, and other new names.
At the age of 42 I was still living in Soviet Russia, with my wife and a son, in a three-story suburban stone mansion, which in the United States would cost millions of dollars. The money to buy it in Soviet Russia? I was the first and probably the last translator of Russian classical literature into English without having ever lived in any English-speaking country. But for all our prosperity, our dream was freedom.
I wanted to publish what I wanted, not what Russian classics did. And suddenly there was a wild rumor. He or she with at least one parent who was Jewish could apply for permission to emigrate to Israel! Which practically meant to anywhere as soon as you crossed the Soviet border.
Stalin was the first to recognize the independence of Israel. He did it to contribute to the disintegration of the British Empire, but Israelis like Golda Meir concluded that Stalin did it out of his love for Jews.
To enable prosperous Soviet Jews (my mother, a medical doctor, was Jewish) to emigrate to Israel was the best way to sustain the Israeli-Soviet amity, initiated first by Stalin and then sustained by Golda Meir, who became prime minister of Israel in 1969.
My wife and I had grown up amid Soviet propaganda since childhood.
How purely Soviet the dictatorship expected us to be! At the same time, we were prosperous. We would tell the Israeli how prosperous we were in Soviet Russia! The illusion of the Soviet dictatorship lasted till my first article appeared in the New York “Commentary” magazine (October 1972).
Now the Soviet dictatorship came to consider me its worst enemy since 1918, and 20 years earlier (under Stalin), an attempt would be made on my life. Actually, in another 20 years (in 1991) the Soviet dictatorship collapsed. It may yet be restored with a vengeance, but as of 1991 it did tumble down “like a house of cards,” to use the Russian phrase.
All the efforts since 1918 to 1990 (72 years) to fill Russian minds with pure loyalty to their slave owners went to rack and ruin.
Before the age of book-printing, dissent was spread orally by dissenters whom Absolutism caught and killed or imprisoned for life.
In the 19th century two Russian dissenters lived in London and published a magazine called The Bell (to wake up Russia), which the tsarist police tried to intercept at the border.
After World War II, Western radio stations began broadcasting into Soviet Russia, and Stalin built jamming radio stations to jam the Western broadcasts from which Stalin’s “state slaves” could learn how much better the Westerners lived in freedom, than did Stalin’s slaves.
But what was the psychological effect of the jamming? It showed every Soviet radio owner that the West and its Liberty existed.
Liberty is a concept with vast possibilities for imagination. The Soviet owner of a jammed radio could well imagine that the life in the lands of liberty was so better, more meaningful, and beautiful than the Western radio stations could convey, had it not been jammed.
Human imagination could always surpass any report.
Today the Chinese dissidents have the Internet, a far more powerful means of global communication than radio was. The Epoch Times of Chinese dissidents is like The Bell, but transmitted not only as a printed text, but also electronically.
Let us suppose, by way of argument, that the Chinese dictatorship will achieve the total jamming of the Internet dissidence as Stalin’s jamming radio stations achieved the total jamming of the radio dissidence.
The West with its liberty will not disappear thereby from the minds of the Chinese. Nor will their dissidence.
The Tiananmen dissidence of 1989 is remembered in the West. But few Westerners know that today, 18 years later, 100,000 Tiananmens, of various sizes and forms, occur in China annually. No censorship has been of radical help to the dictatorship of China. The Chinese dissidents know that liberty exists.
Hence the need for the dictatorship to annihilate the West or to make it surrender unconditionally. This is realistic given Chinese “Manhattan Projects” developing post-nuclear superweapons. On the other hand, the suppression of the notion or image of Liberty in every Chinese mind, is only an old Absolutist hope.
The Soviet dictatorship tried it from 1918 to 1991 — and failed. The Chinese resistance keeps growing with the growth of the dictators’ censorship. The post-nuclear super weapons work as did superior weapons a century or a millennium ago — they destroy and kill. On the other hand, attempts to make “state slaves” think what their owners want them to, do not work, for the individual human mind has its own individual will and can pretend in order to deceive its captors.
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