Open Source Conspiracy

In comments at his own blog and Dreaming 5GW, Wolf Pangloss takes the ball I moved down field (in “The Importance of 5GW” and “Describing the Military-Industrial-Syadmin-Complex“), and forms a flawless reverse Statue of Liberty play, stunning in its brevity and implication

Exactly, Shane. As I replied on my site before expanding it here, the way I see it, 5GW could encompass ideological swarming and other uncoordinated but coherent attacks. It could also encompass open-source conspiracies, memetic engineering, and bespoke ideologies intended to transform our allies or enemies, or influential third parties. This makes the composition of the 5GW force very flexible.

Further, as an attempt to change the reflexive actions of people in the society, 5GW clearly involves ideological changes to the target society. The active phase of a 5GW could consist of ideologues attacking using ideology as their weapon. And that’s why it’s dangerous, because it just keeps on going, rebuilding itself automatically whenever it is attacked, until the ideological/memetic programming behind it gets subverted/disarmed.

Once the ideology/meme is made ready and turned on the conspirators can retire. Their weapon and army will continue with its programming without any further intervention.

What interests me is how to subvert/disarm an attacking meme/ideology. What does it take? How long does it take? Etc.

How does this an open source conspiracy fit with the state-within’s transformation into the state-beyond? I have no idea, at least not precisely. Stay tuned. These are exciting times.

7 thoughts on “Open Source Conspiracy”

  1. “… 5GW clearly involves ideological changes to the target society. ”

    The communists have been doing this for a century. Note especially the career of Willi Muenzenberg.

    If Mao is the ur-father of 4GW, is Muenzenberg the ur-father of 5GW?

    Why are western, liberal societies so susceptible to adopting self-destructive ideological ideas, or to make a metaphor of it, so easily victimized by ideological viruses intentionally injected into them?

  2. Funny about “take that, Bill Lind”. One of his consistent themes is that the Frankfurt School Marxists are a sort of embedded conspiracy undermining America and the West. And, if you read the section about them in Arthur Herman's book The Idea of Decline in Western History, he describes them very much succeeding in making ideological changes to the target society.

    So, maybe Lind is already dreaming of 5GW but he just hasn't called it that.

    Also, isnt' this pretty far from super-empowered individuals? Or is the most super-duper-empowered individual the guy who has a destructive idea?

    Were Orwell's 1984, Hayek's Road to Serfdom and Milton Friedman's Free to Choose 5GW counter-weapons?

  3. Perhaps because the west is built upon the foundations of a civilization(s) that collapsed, it comes ingrained with the obsession of decline and decadence. Also, Western society is the most adaptive of all civilizations, for good or for ill; thus some sections of it will always be open to dangerous ideologies. Perhaps this is the price we pay for a dynamic society, to be not only open to change, but to actively seek it.

    It could also be that our very success, our very wealth spoils us.

  4. ElamBend,

    Do you see World War I as a decisive point in the West's loss of self-confidence?


    I do not believe that Mao was the Ur-Father of 4GW in anything but a rhetorical sense. [1]

    Willi's Muenzenberg [2] seems to be a sort of Marxist Saint Paul [3]. Specifically, his actions seem to be the second stage of 4th Generation Warfare [4].

    Willi was attempting to support Marxism in a political faction. While a wise 4GW maneuver, this would be suicide in 5GW, because 5GW organizations are simply too weak to complete politically.


    I think my comparison to him with John Norman [5] was more of a “take *that*” moment :-p


  5. Lexington,

    “Also, isnt' this pretty far from super-empowered individuals? Or is the most super-duper-empowered individual the guy who has a destructive idea?”

    It has been my thinking (strengthened after reading Taleb's Black Swan) that the real power that we are looking at with the super-empowered individual is the ability to affect a target system in ways that are completely unanticipated, and because our systems are increasingly interconnected the effects have an even wider potential reach.

  6. “…his actions seem to be the second stage of 4th Generation Warfare “

    I was more interested in his having set in motion a set of virus-like destructive memes in Western civilization that were, initially, tactically, meant to serve the USSR and international communism — but which have outlived their sponsor and initial purpose and are cotinuing to undermine civilizational confidence. That is what struck me as “5GW” about him.

    i got the idea of Mao as the ur-father from Hammes, who seems to me to be the most coherent writer on 4GW as a possibly useful idea.

  7. Aherring,

    Highly connected systems also dampen each other two, because more gets lost in static. That said, he who can still cause constructive cascades in such systems is all the more impressive!


    Hmmm… It would be interesting to look for any Soviet 5GWs that are still operating…

    However, in the specific case of communism, Marxism preceded the Soviet Union. As in North Vietnam, the revolutionary movement first seized a vanguard state (North Vietnam / USSR) and from their attempted to spread. A true 5GW would be created by the state for its own purposes.

  8. Dan,
    Important, but not decisive. Had it been decisive, the Germans would have had it even more easier and Britain would have cut a deal rather than fight. That the alternative outcome was a real possibility shows how much a blow WW1 was to the west.

    It is also important the the war happened in Europe. In the U.S. Civil war almost 50 years previous virtually every major weapons system except blitzkrieg and airplanes saw use or implementation, at least in proto-form. The carnage was just as fantastic. Yet, America did not recoil from technology or the idea of the future. Even the South, which licked its wounds for near 100 years embraced progress. Europe, on the other hand, had always had a love-hate relationship with such things, and after the first world war and definitely after the second, it became easy to equate progress with destruction (this is the true genesis of the modern green movement).

    Similarly the confidence in the 'western civilization,' particularly as it was seen in Europe took a blow in WWI, but other than the Hapsburg Dynasty, no European Empire collapse until after WWII. However, instead of becoming a movement of spreading better Western ideas of freedom and democracy, anti-colonialism became an incubator for the worst of western ideas, particularly socialism and communism.

    However, what arose to replace those empires was a trading empire that, although seems virtually American-centric, is not truly an American empire. Should the American will to police its structures, like trade lanes wither and someone else take her place, like the Chinese, the engine would go on.

    What doubters in the West forget, what they cannot see in front of their eyes, is that this system was forged by the West and bears it's imprint. Imperfect as it is, it works as a catalyst for spreading western thoughts and memes (both good and ill, unfortunately). Those who are truly against it understand it and try to withdraw, but never can completely (see Hugo Chavez).

    Don't forget that the lack of confidence we here from certain quarters of the west has never been without precedent. Most of us commenting here are too young to remember how bad the feeling of “America's a loser” was in the late seventies after Vietnam, Oil shocks, watergate, and whiny president. (I make no assumptions on Lexington Green).

    So, after that rambling answer that was typed while also making breakfast. No. The uncontrolled and willy-nilly collapse of empire and a second brutal war in so many generations was worse.

  9. “…… It would be interesting to look for any Soviet 5GWs that are still operating… “

    But there are. The link I tried to insert didn't work.

    An excerpt:

    “His biggest achievement was the Sacco-Vanzetti case. He … turned it into a left-wing cause célèbre, achieving two things. The campaign pulled together disparate left-wing and well-meaning individuals and organizations under covert Communist control … It countered the potent myth of the Open Door and the American Dream for immigrants, a rival myth to that of the Soviet utopia, by creating an image of America of a murderous, xenophobic society that destroys innocent immigrants if they happen to have the wrong political view. We can date the irrational anti-Americanism so prevalent in Britain, Europe and the American left from that campaign. Münzenberg’s work lives on.”

    There's more.

    Soviet 5GW campaigns are still poisoining, like industrial waste in the groundwater

  10. I can't seem to post a damned thing to this entry, at least not links

    Soob had a very good post on the Russian brigades, but alas, you'll have to search Soob to find it since I can't post them here

  11. Elam,
    there are other differences between the US after the Civil War and Europe after WWII. Much of the South got plastered, in our case, but parts saw relatively little fighting, and most of the North and West were untouched. Fewer people saw the devastation, many of those who did could just pack up and move to a part that didn't, and the South was bound at the hip to an economy that could rebuild them. There were few parts of Europe, however, that didn't get hammered by fighting and bombing raids; none of them were economic power houses, and it couldn't be taken for granted that outsiders would help them rebuild (like we wound up doing).

    And no sooner did WWII end than the Cold War began. Europe spent several decades straddling the front line of a conflict that, if it turned hot, would leave nothing to rebuild. I don't always agree with the decisions European countries make, but I would say they've earned the right to be gun-shy if anyone has. It's just a gun-shyness they need to get over.

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