A reader writes to discuss the 1954 book Psychological Warfare, by Paul Linebarger. The book is in the public domain here. Linebarger — bio here — was a Johns Hopkins professor of East Asia Studies and involved with the US intelligence community. The reader writes:
In the passage below, (on pages 8-17), Linebarger describes some of the special characteristics of ideological warfare, namely that the enemy must not only be defeated, but converted. He points to the wars of Islamic conquest to define two main techniques: First, conversion by force. “A people can be converted from one faith to the other if given the choice between conversion and extermination, stubborn individuals being rooted out. To effect the initial conversion, participation in the public ceremonies and formal language of the new faith must be required. Sustained counterintelligence must remain on the alert against backsliders, but formal acceptance will become genuine acceptance if all public media of expression are denied the vanquished faith.”
The second solution, though slower, leads to the same outcome: the consignment of the old faith to the private sphere:
“If immediate wholesale conversion would require military operations that were too extensive or severe, the same result can be effected by toleration of the objectionable faith, combined with the issuance of genuine privileges to the new, preferred faith. The conquered people are left in the private, humble enjoyment of their old beliefs and folkways; but all participation in public life, whether political, cultural, or economic, is conditioned on acceptance of the new faith. In this manner, all up-rising members of the society will move in a few generations over to the new faith in the process of becoming rich, powerful, or learned; what is left of the old faith will be a gutter superstition, possessing neither power nor majesty.”
“These two rules worked once in the rise of Islam. They were applied again by Nazi overlords during World War II, the former in Poland, the Ukraine and Byelorussia, the latter in Holland, Belgium, Norway and other Western countries. The rules will probably be seen in action again. The former process is difficult and bloody, but quick; the latter is as sure as a steam-roller. If Christians, or democrats, or progressives — whatever free men may be called — are put in a position of underprivilege and shame for their beliefs, and if the door is left open to voluntary conversion, so that anyone who wants to can come over to the winning side, the winning side will sooner or later convert almost everyone who is capable of making trouble. (In the language of Vilfredo Pareto, this would probably be termed “capture of the rising elite”; in the language of present day Marxists, this would be described as “utilization of potential leadership cadres from historically superseded classes”; m the language of practical politics, it means “cut in the smart boys from the opposition, so that they can’t set up a racket of their own.”) [Emphasis is the reader’s — RD]
When I give talks on The Benedict Option, people often ask me to explain why I am so dark about the future for orthodox Christians in the West. The idea of persecution seems far-fetched and paranoid to them. I tell them that I too consider persecution unlikely in the near term, at least. In the book, I quote the then-abbot of the Norcia monastery as saying that faithful orthodox (that is to say, traditionalist) Christians who don’t do something like the Benedict Option aren’t going to make it through what’s to come. Maybe he meant persecution, but I think it more likely he was talking about this phenomenon Linebarger describes. That’s what I think is far more likely to happen than any direct persecution.
But the result will be the same: the widespread loss of the Christian faith. The reader who sent that to me says he “keeps [my] Christian identity quiet among [my] educated peers, for precisely the reasons of social disgrace and heresy implied above.”
If you, your family, and your church are not preparing for resisting this, you are going to be steamrolled. You don’t have forever to decide, either.