"...ideological and memetic warfare has been a favored tactic for... America’s (major recent) adversaries — Nazis, Communists, and Islamists. All three put substantial effort into cultivating American proxies to influence U.S. domestic policy and foreign policy in favorable directions... like the (Nazi) “German-American Bund”... Today, the Islamists are having some success at manipulating our politics through... organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations.read it all
But it was the Soviet Union, in its day, that was the master of this game. They made dezinformatsiya (disinformation) a central weapon of their war against... the U.S. They conducted memetic subversion against the U.S. on many levels at a scale that is only now becoming clear as historians burrow through their archives and ex-KGB officers sell their memoirs.
The Soviets had an entire “active measures” department devoted to churning out anti-American dezinformatsiya... (and) their memes seeped into Western popular culture and are repeated endlessly in (for example) the products of Hollywood.
Indeed, the index of Soviet success is that most of us no longer think of these memes as Communist propaganda. It takes a significant amount of digging and rethinking and remembering... to realize that there was a time... when all of these ideas would have seemed alien, absurd, and repulsive to most people — at best, the beliefs of a nutty left-wing fringe, and at worst instruments of deliberate subversion intended to destroy the American way of life.
Koch shows us that the worst-case scenario was, as it turns out now, the correct one; these ideas (were) deliberately designed to destroy the American way of life. Another index of their success is that most members of the bicoastal elite can no longer speak of “the American way of life” without deprecation (or) irony... In this and other ways, the corrosive effects of Stalin’s meme war have come to utterly pervade our culture.
The most paranoid and xenophobic conservatives of the Cold War were... the closest to the truth in estimating the magnitude and subtlety of Soviet subversion. (Though anticommunists) dismissed half of the Right’s complaint as crude blather. We were wrong; the Rosenbergs and Alger Hiss really were guilty, the Hollywood Ten really were Stalinist tools, and all of Joseph McCarthy’s rants about “Communists in the State Department” were essentially true. The Venona transcripts and other new material leave no room for reasonable doubt on this score.
While the espionage apparatus of the Soviet Union didn’t outlast it, their memetic weapons did. These memes are now coming near to crippling our culture’s response to Islamic terrorism."
update: then read this somewhat-related piece