Many today ridicule prior generations’ concern over Communist infiltration. But current trends are bringing that concern back into focus.
BY ANDREW MIILLER
Imagine the United States allying with Russia. If you were alive when Nazi Germany was rampaging across Europe during World War ii, you didn’t have to imagine it. You saw it: The world’s greatest capitalist nation forged a “strange alliance” with the world’s greatest Communist state, the Soviet Union.
When this happened, a peculiar phenomenon surged across America: a wave of popular emotional fervor for the Soviets.
Influential men and media fawned over Joseph Stalin. President Franklin Roosevelt released Communist Party-U.S.A. leader Earl Browder from prison to promote “national unity” between American Communists and the general public.
Yet even during this trying and confusing time, one strong voice cried out a warning against not only the imminent fascist threat from Germany, but the less-understood Communist threat from the Soviet Union.
America emerged from World War ii victorious. It enjoyed economic, political and military dominance and assumed leadership of the free world. It was rivaled only by the Soviet Union.
But even at America’s pinnacle, Herbert W. Armstrong boldly warned that the nation would eventually be invaded by a revived Holy Roman Empire led by Germany. And before that, America’s rejection of God would allow communism to weaken the nation so that it could be invaded.
“Communism is a worldwide political movement, organized inside many countries,” Mr. Armstrong wrote in the April-May 1944 Plain Truth. “From official Communist literature anyone can learn, if he wishes to know the truth, that communism is a plan, in action, for the violent overthrow of capitalism and the capitalistic governments. And capitalism means democracy, since it is the democracies who control more than two thirds of the world’s capital.”
During and after the Second World War, Mr. Armstrong boldly proclaimed the biblical truth that Russia would not go to war with America militarily. However, he said, Russia would wage psychological warfare: propaganda, infiltration, subversion and demoralization. The Communist Russians would attack “our minds, our moral and spiritual values, rather than our bodies and our earthly possessions,” he said.
“What we fail to grasp, in the struggle with Russia, is this: We are not fighting a single nation in a military war, but a gigantic worldwide, plain–clothes army, masquerading as a political party, seeking to conquer the world with an entirely new kind of warfare,” Mr. Armstrong wrote in 1956. “It’s a kind of warfare we don’t understand, or know how to cope with. It uses every diabolical means to weaken us from within, sapping our strength, perverting our morals, sabotaging our educational system, wrecking our social structure, destroying our spiritual and religious life, weakening our industrial and economic power, demoralizing our armed forces, and finally, after such infiltration, overthrowing our government by force and violence! All this, cleverly disguised as a harmless political party! Communism is worldwide psychological warfare!”
In the 1940s and 1950s, many Americans found that warning to ring true. But as time went on, many dismissed it as a Communist scare that never quite appeared. By the new millennium, such a notion seemed outdated.
Today, however, many are starting to wonder what has happened to America and the West—and if this invisible Communist threat was real after all.
Mr. Armstrong never wavered. He exposed communism’s cultural incursion and told the world what the real threat to America was. Why was he so sure? Because his message didn’t come from popular opinion, statistical trends or covert intelligence. It came from the Bible.
Mr. Armstrong directed his readers and listeners to Scripture, which says that end-time Israel would become “mixed up” ideologically “with foreigners.” In particular, he pointed to Hosea 7:8-13 (Moffatt translation), which warns that Britain and America would “seek alliances with foreign nations, forsaking God”—foreign alliances that would “eat away” America’s strength “unknown to him” (ibid).
Was Mr. Armstrong right after all? Did this happen? Did communism infiltrate America? Did it cause America’s now-obvious decline from the inside out? Did the Bible prophesy that this would happen?
The First Stage of Subversion
Thirty-six years after Mr. Armstrong first warned American radio audiences about communism in 1934, kgb agent Yuri Bezmenov defected from the Soviet Union and eventually escaped to Canada. He warned America that it was at war with communism.
Bezmenov said that subverting foreign nations was so important to the kgb that most of its resources were allocated to it. “Only about 15 percent of time, money and manpower is spent on espionage as such,” he explained in an interview with G. Edward Griffin in 1985. “The other 85 percent is a slow process which we call either ideological subversion or ‘active measures.’”
Ideological subversion, Bezmenov said, is a long-term process involving four stages: 1) demoralization, 2) destabilization, 3) crisis and 4) normalization.
The first state, demoralization, is now an eerily familiar concept among Americans. Many who recognize it think it occurred accidentally, naturally or even fortunately. But former kgb agents, said Bezmenov, recognize it as an intentional ideological attack aimed to “change the perception of reality of every American to such an extent that despite the abundance of information, no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interest of defending themselves, their families, their community and their country.”
“It takes about 15 to 20 years to demoralize a nation,” Bezmenov wrote in his book, Love Letter to America. “Why that many (or few)? Simple: this is the minimum number of years needed to ‘educate’ one generation of students in a target country (America, for example) and expose them to the ideology of the subverter.”
Such Soviet reeducation methods took deep root in America during the 1960s and ’70s. Bezmenov warned that kgb agents and their socialistic “fellow travelers” would use abstract art, perverted music, pornographic images, homosexual rights, racist politics, pacifist foreign policy and socialist economics to demoralize America.
Whether you believe Bezmenov or not, you have to ask yourself: Does any of this sound familiar?
Mr. Armstrong also warned of this infiltration of America. In a 1980 edition of the Worldwide News, he wrote, “I was saying over the air, and writing, back in 1934, that the Communist[s’] unwavering strategy was, as a first offensive toward world domination, propaganda. They began sowing the seeds of their Communist atheistic education all over the United States—especially among college professors and students.”
“They invaded American university campuses, full force,” he continued, “and the U.S. universities trustingly let them in.”
In practice, communism has never been the grassroots movement Karl Marx predicted. It has been driven by small groups of intellectuals and elites who seize power. Hence the targeting of the American intelligentsia—present and future.
Mr. Armstrong understood this—and he saw a much bigger picture. He warned that demoralization tactics originated from a source beyond Marx, the kgb or the Soviet Union. That warning also explains the effectiveness of the demoralization process: “Communism is the devil’s effort, through his demon-inspired human tools, to take from us this greatest national and economic blessing God ever conferred on any people,” he wrote in 1949.
Even though the Soviet Union fell before it could take advantage of the “destabilization” and “crisis” stages of its subversion, the demoralization virus it had inflicted continued to multiply inside its host. Something much more powerful was at work here than Soviet initiatives. Something more powerful than even communism itself.
Corruption of Modern Education
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Soviet archives revealed the Communist Party-u.s.a. (an organization that is still alive and well today) received $2 to $3 million a year from the Kremlin to further its subversion activities.
Most of the efforts of the Kremlin, the Communist Party-U.S.A. and their “fellow travelers” went not toward traditional espionage, but toward infiltrating American education. According to Bezmenov, the Soviets’ main methods of demoralization were: exchanging students with Moscow; flooding college campuses with Marxist literature; participating in international seminars; infiltrating universities with radical leftists (often unknowingly under the guidance of kgb subverters); establishing Communist-staffed news media; and organizing “study groups” to disseminate Communist propaganda.
“Before World War ii the Communist Party in the United States was making great headway,” Mr. Armstrong wrote in the April 1980 Plain Truth. “They began infiltrating the colleges and universities. If they could not ‘convert’ professors, they worked on students who would become teachers later. Thus they were recruiting teachers to teach their doctrine all over the United States.”
According to a former staff director of a Senate investigations subcommittee, in the years between 1935 and 1953, the Communist Party “enlisted the support of at least 3,500 professors—many of them as dues-paying members, many others as fellow travelers, some as out-and-out espionage agents, some as adherents of the party line in varying degrees, and some as the unwitting dupes of subversion” (J. B. Matthews, “Communism and the Colleges,” American Mercury, May 1953).
The ultimate goal of communism is a “utopian” society where every individual is completely reliant on society (as the Communist Party). This is why Marxist-Leninist education emphasizes “mass character” and “collectivism” over “individual abilities.” For a collectivist society to truly succeed, it needs more than just a generation of people who don’t want to support themselves: It needs a generation of people who cannot support themselves!
This is the direction America is going. In the words of Bezmenov, “The American romance with state-run education as encouraged by kgb subverters has already produced generations of graduates who cannot spell, cannot find Nicaragua on a world map, cannot think creatively and independently. I wonder if Albert Einstein would have arrived at his theory of relativity if he had been educated in one of today’s American public schools. Most likely he would have ‘discovered’ marijuana and variant methods of sexual intercourse instead.”
Wrecking the Economy
As Mr. Armstrong wrote, it is important to understand what communism is. It sees itself not as a mere alternative or competitor to capitalism, but as a global movement in harmony with the fact that human history revolves around the production of material. It renders culture, art, ethics, philosophy, religion, family and even the individual as secondary, superfluous or dangerous. After workers around the globe violently overthrow those who possess capital, the ideology purports, humanity will ultimately achieve this inevitable “utopian” future. The property—and everything else—pertaining to an individual will be abolished, and each person will simply become a cog in the giant, glorious machinery of the global utopian state.
“Communism, of course, is many things,” Mr. Armstrong wrote in the February 1962 Plain Truth. “It is a doctrine. … It is a revolutionary program. It is relentless class war. It is a radical philosophy of history. It is a radical philosophy of society. It is a social system. It is an economic system. It is a political strategy. It is a world conspiracy.”
As an economic system, communism pits the larger, poorer groups against the smaller, more wealthy groups. It calls for that wealth to be removed from those who have it and spread evenly among everyone. To accomplish this re-distribution of wealth, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote in The Communist Manifesto that private land ownership must be abolished, a heavily progressive income tax must be instituted, and all factories and financial institutions must be nationalized.
Regarding the troublesome matter of people (both wealthy and poor) who resist the program, Marx favored violence over reform. The only way to speed the march to his new society was “revolutionary terror,” he wrote.
The mantra of Marxist economics is: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” The value produced by those with more “ability” must be redistributed to those with more “need.” This philosophy directly contradicts Jesus Christ’s teaching, represented in the parable of the pounds (Luke 19:12-27), in which each of Christ’s servants is rewarded differently based on how much he actually produced with what he was given.
The main reason Marxism doesn’t work is that when human beings don’t receive the full benefits of their labor, they lack incentive to work. The Soviet Union fell because of Russia’s enthusiastic embrace of Marxist-Leninist economics. As Russian economist Grigory Yavlinsky, an adviser to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, once said: “The Soviet system is not working because the workers are not working.”
Despite the economic disaster that befell the Soviet Union, and the consistent failures of economies that follow Communist ideals, a shocking number of American economists still cling to the socialist movement and Marxist thought.
Communism has survived. And despite the cautionary plight of tens of millions who have recently suffered and died under Communist regimes, it has thrived—even inside the government of its sworn enemy, the United States. America’s current political environment exalts many Communist ideals. There is even compelling evidence connecting the current president to some of the biggest names in America’s Communist history.
Herbert Armstrong warned that Communist economics would sap America’s strength and weaken its economic power. “Satan is not a visible red devil with tail, horns and a pitchfork,” he wrote in the October 1951 Plain Truth. “The real Satan is invisible. The world doesn’t see him or recognize his works. … It doesn’t grasp the diabolical deception of communism—Satan’s economic delusion, employing propaganda based on false economies as its first arm of attack ….”
The Plot to Abolish the Family
Herbert W. Armstrong warned that Communist subversion would use “every diabolical means” to pervert “our morals,” wreck “our social structure,” and destroy “our spiritual and religious life.”
Perhaps the most diabolical of these means is the Marxist plot to destroy the family. The Communist Manifesto calls the family a capitalist institution based “on private gain.” Marriage, it says, is but the “hypocritical” concealment of private prostitution. The authors hoped and predicted that both “bourgeois family” and “bourgeois marriage” would disappear with the vanishing of private capital.
Throughout the 1960s and into the ’70s, Soviet front groups worked throughout America to destroy marriage. Federal Bureau of Investigation informant Larry Grathwohl penetrated the revolutionary Communist group Weather Underground. After palling around with Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn and their crew for months, Grathwohl wrote his report, “Bringing Down America: An fbi Informer With the Weathermen.” The report revealed that the Weather Underground network was determined to abolish monogamous marriage, which they viewed as a repressive remnant of male and white supremacy.
In his book The Naked Communist, author Willard Cleon Skousen identified 45 Communist goals for the ideological subversion of America. These goals were read on the floor of Congress on Jan. 10, 1963. Among them are: discrediting the family as an institution; encouraging promiscuity and easy divorce; emphasizing the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents; promoting pornography; and presenting homosexuality as “normal, natural, healthy.”
Under the influence of Marxist philosophy and Soviet subversion tactics, American educators have spent decades trumpeting sexual liberation, militant feminism and homosexual rights. All this has been done under the banner of freedom, but the truth is that these movements have served as Trojan horses in the assault on marriage.
In Karl Marx’s words: “Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis; it therefore acts in contradiction to all past historical experience.”
Or, in Herbert W. Armstrong’s words, “Communism is the vulture of decadent, dying politics, religion, and society” (Plain Truth subscriber letter, Nov. 24, 1967).
Mr. Armstrong elaborated in a 1979 World Tomorrow television broadcast where he again reiterated the biblical truth that Satan actively and invisibly rules the world (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2). He then quoted a statement by Jesus Christ that becomes very troubling in the light of American society in 2014. “If the United States gets divided too much between the idea of freedom and the idea of communism,” he said, “this country could not stand.”
America may not have replaced the stars on its flag with hammers and sickles, but it is by now undeniable that it is divided between the idea of freedom and that of communism. The American people long ago rejected God and allowed Satan-inspired Communist philosophy to infiltrate, subvert and divide the nation. God will allow this experience to teach America the natural consequences of broken law.
Talk of equality sounds noble, but as Mr. Armstrong warned, the Communist version of “equality” is only a means to an end. “As fostered by the Soviet Union,” he wrote in 1949, “communism is launched as a worldwide class struggle, pitting the poorer class against those who have been economically more successful, arousing class prejudice, stirring up race hatreds. While they pretend to stand for peace, they engender only strife, and they feed like a vulture on poverty, discontent, discouragement, confusion and chaos.”
He warned, “Communism is the devil’s effort, through his demon-inspired human tools, to take from us this greatest national and economic blessing God ever conferred on any people.”
Looking at America today, you have to admit that Mr. Armstrong was right.