Grand Strategy in the Age of Mass Destruction

Notes on and Uncertain Future

The Time Traveler's Lesson

Commentary of 10 February 2014

Imagine a time traveler from 2014, fallen from the sky in a space capsule, taken into custody by the FBI on February 10, 1964. The time traveler is brought to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover for interrogation. But Hoover finds the time-traveler’s story to be the most egregious nonsense he has ever heard. From Hoover’s perspective the time-traveler is obviously perpetrating a hoax, and nobody in Washington would judge any differently; for according to the time traveler America (in the future) will be led by a black man with an Arabic name mentored (as a youth) by a suspected Communist subversive named Frank Marshall Davis, whose file Hoover would dig out and read with the certain knowledge that no such person could mentor an American president.

When the time traveler explains that the leading social question of 2014 will be gay marriage, Hoover might readily ask, “Does NASA think this is funny, to play a practical joke on the FBI?” Neither would Hoover credit the time traveler’s claim that the national debt will be more than $17 trillion in 2014, or that Venezuela and Nicaragua will have been quietly taken over by Fidel Castro’s friends, that Zimbabwe, Angola, South Africa and the Congo will be in the hands of African Communists, that North Korea will possess nuclear weapons. None of this would be believable. None of it makes any sense to someone living in 1964.

When the time traveler finally reports that the United States will be reduced to a state of manufacturing inferiority to Red China, there would be an end to the interview. What self-respecting American official (in 1964) would allow himself to be abused so insolently?

Now let us imagine a time traveler from 2064 being taken into custody by the FBI today. Do you have any idea what kind of report would be given about our future? I can guarantee that a time traveler’s report from 2064 would so frighten and confound our current leadership in Washington that their reaction would be similar to Hoover’s reaction. They would assume a hoax, without further investigation or thought. No proof could possibly alter their conclusion. The unfortunate time traveler would become a permanent prisoner, muzzled until his dying day. Not only would our officials disbelieve him, they would act as if they had never heard his warnings.

What can we learn from this imaginative story of time travel? First, that truth is always inconvenient for men in power. It may also be said that truth and power, like love and power, do not mix well. It is a rare man, and a gifted man, who can hold power and credit an unpleasant truth at the same time. It is, in this context, a profound understatement to say that our leaders have no sense of history or foresight. They do not even possess, in themselves, the spiritual or intellectual prerequisites for higher wisdom of any kind. They are political foxes whose thinking is short-term, and whose wisdom is crudely flexible and oriented to the requirements of the day.    

The current dispensation is a madman’s nightmare in which all the worst signs are already manifested. Most people in 1964 would have rejected the kind of decadence that is routinely accepted as normal in 2014. We are no longer capable of realizing our dreadful position. The degeneration which we see around us, which has overtaken the United States in a few decades, may be viewed as the natural consequence of too much affluence. It may also be viewed as the product, in part, of the subversion of revolutionary intellectuals and “change agents.” Here we find weapons that are far more powerful than guns or howitzers, and far more effective than atomic bombs. The subversives and revolutionaries in our midst have succeeded in using legitimate issues as a front by which to smuggle revolution in the back way.

Let us be honest. The domestic victory of socialism was always merely a matter of time. All conservative self-congratulations on the “fall of Communism” prove the point. Our anti-Communists, anti-revolutionaries, anti-subversives never understood their enemy. They never understood themselves. A party whose policies are founded on self-deception and misunderstanding cannot hold onto power. The fact that the “conservative” Republican congress of 1999 was far more leftist than the Democratic Congress of 1980 demonstrates this fact in the most dramatic manner possible (See Tim Groseclose’s book, Left Turn). If today’s Republicans are more liberal than yesterday’s Democrats, then what is a Democrat today? And what will a Republican be in the future. The revolutionary momentum points to the answer: Tomorrow’s Republicans will be Communists.

As the socialist revolution in America nears its climax, the consequences will be felt by one and all, as described in Gustave Le Bon’s Psychology of Socialism:

Modern socialism is far more a mental state than a doctrine. What makes it so threatening is not the very insignificant changes which it has so far produced in the popular mind, but the already very great changes which it has caused in the mind of the directing classes. The modern bourgeoisie are no longer sure of their rights. Or rather they are not sure of anything, and they do not know how to defend anything. They listen to everything and tremble before the most pitiable windbags. They are incapable of firm will and discipline, of the community of hereditary sentiments, which are the cement of society and without which no human association has hitherto been able to exist….

Social upheavals always are begun from above, never from below. Was it the people who started our great [French] revolution? Not they indeed! They had never dreamed of such a thing. It was let loose by the nobility and the ruling class.

According to Le Bon, “Before the hour of its triumph, which will be quickly followed by that of its fall, socialism is destined to widen its influence, and no argument drawn from reason will be able to prevail against it….”

The immediate fate of the nation which shall first see the triumph of socialism may be traced in a few lines. The people will of course begin by despoiling and then shooting a few thousands of employers, capitalists and members of the wealthy class…. Intelligence and ability will be replaced by mediocrity. The equality of servitude will be established everywhere. The socialists’ dream being accomplished, eternal felicity should reign on earth and paradise descend.

Alas, no! It will be a hell, a terrible hell….

A man is not a socialist without hating some person or thing…. Servitude, misery, and Caesarism are the fatal precipices to which all the roads of the socialists lead. Nevertheless, the frightful system would appear to be inevitable.

Here we begin to glimpse the sociology of the counter-revolution. Socialism is defeated when the destructive work of the revolution is accomplished. When this happens, nobody will want to be associated with socialist slogans. Since this madness is not sustainable, it must collapse upon itself. The victory of counter-revolution, as unlikely and remote as it may seem at the present time, is inevitable. Whether that victory comes in ten years or fifty, it will come. Whether it is brought by persons now living or persons yet unborn, it will come. Whether it happens after an atomic war or prior to an atomic war, it will come. The revolutionary party is doomed because it bases itself upon false principles and the denial of human nature.

That which has always been true, and will always be true, cannot be denied forever and cannot be ultimately defeated. Even if the Russians and Chinese plow the rubble and harvest their pillage, they cannot profit from it. The embodiment of annihilation does not gain by annihilating. It merely exhausts itself upon the destroyed object and passes away. Man returns to himself, despite what happens. Feminism will be discarded, homosexual marriage will no longer be an issue, multiculturalism will remembered as an absurd craze. The ruins of so many cities will remind future generations that there is no safety in thinking oneself a “citizen of the world,” and there is no future in denying the eternal law.  Man may only build safely as he has built before.