Many have made analogies between the woke “cancel culture” phenomenon and the Chinese Cultural Revolution. I think this is a great analogy, but I think that another, perhaps better, analog has been overlooked, namely the “Disintegration Directive” of the East German Stasi.
Briefly, the Disintegration Directive, also known as the Decomposition Directive (officially Richtlinie 1/76 or the Zersetzung in German) was the approach that the East German secret police (the Stasi) took from 1976 onwards to crush dissent, or even potential dissent.
Before 1976, the Stasi used the conventional gulag-and-torture methods to control political opinion in the DDR. But in the 1970s, the DDR was seeking international recognition, so they needed a lower-profile method of suppressing opposition to Communism.
The goal was to destroy dissidents and potential dissidents socially and emotionally without resorting to arrest and imprisonment. The Stasi collected information about the victim’s private life, and proceeded to “disintegrate” their careers and their family and private life.
Damaging lies (or truths) would be conveyed to employers until the target was rendered unemployable. Relationships with spouses and kids would be poisoned with gossip by operatives, professional failure, and financial stress. Friends would be warned away through the grapevine.
The goal was to destroy the reputation of the target and make him so preoccupied with his personal difficulties and emotional turmoil that he had no will to question the government of the DDR. It was done covertly, and often victims weren’t believed even if they discovered it.
At this point, I think the parallels with the cancel culture of the modern West are obvious. To be clear, I’m not suggesting that the U.S. or other western governments are using these methods (yet). But I am suggesting that private groups and movements are doing so.
If a professor, journalist, or corporate executive isn’t communicating the political ideas that you want spread, what better way to silence him than to make him unemployable, with all of the personal and financial stress that goes with that?
Once you have a large enough movement established, spreading the lies about your target becomes easier – even those who know that the narrative about the “offender” is a lie won’t dare to speak up. We are now well into that phase of the operation.
Clearly, the “trans” movement and its backers now use this approach with the likes of J.K. Rowling and Jesse Singal. Their actual views are being distorted beyond recognition in an attempt to destroy their professional worlds, and to alienate friends, colleagues, and even family.
Although I dislike and do not respect Donald Trump, I believe that the response of journalists and educational institution to his administration can only be regarded as a kind of Sersetzung. Call it directive 11/16, I guess.
The goal of course was to so distort his actions and comments so that it not only turned voters against him, but disturbed his mental equilibrium (such as it was) and made him so radioactive that even those who understood the truth wouldn’t dare question or correct the narrative.
Hence, we have the fusillade of easy falsifiable lies told in the American press – Russian collusion, pee tapes, white supremacists as “fine people”, “kids in cages”, all the way up to “fomenting an armed insurrection”.
To be fair, the task of selling these lies was simplified by the fact that Trump actually did appear to be tempermentally, intellectually, morally, and experientially unfit for office.
Also to be fair, the right wing did have its own attempted little Sersetzung against Obama, involving lies about his citizenship, faith, and even his wife’s gender. Unlike today’s left, they couldn’t pull it off, as they lacked control of the press and educational centers.
So to the canceled folk who have have been victims of the left’s Disintegration Directive, all I can say is “buck up”. The depression and rejection you’re feeling is exactly what they are trying to accomplish in order to shut you up and keep control. It really isn’t your fault.
To those assisting in leftist disintegrations, I say “Your regime won’t last forever.” Eventually, the Stasi was dismantled and its records opened. The previously anonymous operatives who carried out the disintegrations became among the most hated people in a united Germany.