1. to deprive (a person or persons) of spirit, courage, discipline, etc.; destroy the morale of: The continuous barrage demoralized the infantry.
2. to throw (a person) into disorder or confusion; bewilder: We were so demoralized by that one wrong turn that we were lost for hours.
3. to corrupt or undermine the morals of.
People whose thinking is disordered, who are bewildered and confused, are more apt to act irrationally and emotionally, and are more susceptible to emotional manipulation. Facts be damned.
"Demoralization" is when the truth and facts don't matter anymore. In politics demoralization has become all too pervasive, and it makes reasoned debate impossible. It's impossible to win an argument with, or to even persuade, someone who has no interest in discerning what is true, and what is false. Demoralization is a rotten foundation on which nothing can stand, and is at the root of much that ails America today.
A few months ago I came across and interesting video of a former KGB man, Yuri Bezmenov, describing the process of demoralization as a tool that was promoted by the soviets, for undermining, collapsing and taking over a country.
A summary of the four step process promoted by the Soviets can be found at the American Thinker:
From Russia with no love
[...] They describe the process as:
The point of this "Ideological Subversion" was to weaken an enemy country, strip its culture and corrupt their values to a point of complete vulnerability. Mr. Schuman describes it as:[An] overt...slow process...[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.
The first step, Demoralization, has already been completed in America and continues to perpetuate itself. The Obama Administration policies are accelerating the second step of Destabilization and rapidly approaching the third phase of Crisis. [...]
The video is here:
The interview is edited, so I looked for a complete transcript of the interview, and I found this:
Interview with Yuri Bezmenov: Part Three
Bezmenov describes was steps of Demoralization, Destabilization, Crisis, and Normalization in detail. Some excerpts:
[...] But in reality, the main emphasis of the KGB is not in the area of intelligence at all. According to my opinion and [the] opinion of many defectors of my caliber, only about 15% of time, money, and manpower [are] spent on espionage as such. The other 85% is a slow process, which we call either ‘ideological subversion,’ or ‘active measures’—‘[?]’ in the language of the KGB—or ‘psychological warfare.’ What it basically means is, to change the perception of reality, of every American, to such an extent that despite of the abundance of information, no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interests of defending themselves, their families, their community and their country.
It’s a great brainwashing process, which goes very slow[ly] and is divided [into] four basic stages. The first one [is] demoralization; it takes from 15-20 years to demoralize a nation. Why that many years? Because this is the minimum number of years which [is required] to educate one generation of students in the country of your enemy, exposed to the ideology of the enemy. In other words, Marxist-Leninist ideology is being pumped into the soft heads of at least three generations of American students, without being challenged, or counter-balanced by the basic values of Americanism (American patriotism).
The result? The result you can see. Most of the people who graduated in the sixties (drop-outs or half-baked intellectuals) are now occupying the positions of power in the government, civil service, business, mass media, [and the] educational system. You are stuck with them. You cannot get rid of them. They are contaminated; they are programmed to think and react to certain stimuli in a certain pattern. You cannot change their mind[s], even if you expose them to authentic information, even if you prove that white is white and black is black, you still cannot change the basic perception and the logic of behavior. In other words, these people... the process of demoralization is complete and irreversible. To [rid] society of these people, you need another twenty or fifteen years to educate a new generation of patriotically-minded and common sense people, who would be acting in favor and in the interests of United States society.
Griffin: And yet these people who have been ‘programmed,’ and as you say [are] in place and who are favorable to an opening with the Soviet concept... these are the very people who would be marked for extermination in this country?
Bezmenov: Most of them, yes. Simply because the psychological shock when they will see in [the] future what the beautiful society of ‘equality’ and ‘social justice’ means in practice, obviously they will revolt. They will be very unhappy, frustrated people, and the Marxist-Leninist regime does not tolerate these people. Obviously they will join the leagues of dissenters (dissidents).
Unlike in [the] present United States there will be no place for dissent in future Marxist-Leninist America. Here you can get popular like Daniel Ellsberg and filthy-rich like Jane Fonda for being ‘dissident,’ for criticizing your Pentagon. In [the] future these people will be simply [squashing sound] squashed like cockroaches. Nobody is going to pay them nothing for their beautiful, noble ideas of equality. This they don't understand and it will be [the] greatest shock for them, of course.
The demoralization process in [the] United States is basically completed already. For the last 25 years... actually, it's over-fulfilled because demoralization now reaches such areas where previously not even Comrade Andropov and all his experts would even dream of such a tremendous success. Most of it is done by Americans to Americans, thanks to [a] lack of moral standards.
As I mentioned before, exposure to true information does not matter anymore. A person who was demoralized is unable to assess true information. The facts tell nothing to him. Even if I shower him with information, with authentic proof, with documents, with pictures; even if I take him by force to the Soviet Union and show him [a] concentration camp, he will refuse to believe it, until he [receives] a kick in his fan-bottom. When a military boot crashes his... then he will understand. But not before that. That's the [tragedy] of the situation of demoralization.
So basically America is stuck with demoralization and unless... even if you start right now, here, this minute, you start educating [a] new generation of American[s], it will still take you fifteen to twenty years to turn the tide of ideological perception of reality back to normalcy and patriotism.
The next stage is destabilization. This time [the] subverter does not care about your ideas and the patterns of your consumption; whether you eat junk food and get fat and flabby doesn’t matter any more. This time—and it takes only from two to five years to destabilize a nation—what matters [are] essentials: economy, foreign relations, [and] defense systems. And you can see it quite clearly that in some areas, in such sensitive areas as defense and [the] economy, the influence of Marxist-Leninist ideas in [the] United States is absolutely fantastic. I could never believe it fourteen years ago when I landed in this part of the world that the process [would have gone] that fast.
The next stage, of course, is crisis. It may take only up to six weeks to bring a country to the verge of crisis. You can see it in Central America now.
And, after crisis, with a violent change of power, structure, and economy, you have [the so-called] period of normalization. It may last indefinitely. Normalization is a cynical expression borrowed from Soviet propaganda. When the Soviet tanks moved into Czechoslovakia in ‘68, Comrade Brezhnev said, ‘Now the situation in brotherly Czechoslovakia is normalized.’
This is what will happen in [the] United States if you allow all these schmucks to bring the country to crisis, to promise people all kind[s] of goodies and the paradise on earth, to destabilize your economy, to eliminate the principle of free market competition, and to put [a] Big Brother government in Washington, D.C. with benevolent dictators like Walter Mondale, who will promise lots of thing[s], never mind whether the promises are fulfillable or not. He will go to Moscow to kiss the bottoms of [a] new generation of Soviet assassins, never mind... he will create false illusions that the situation is under control. [The] situation is not under control. [The] situation is disgustingly out of control.[...]
Of course Walter Mondale didn't win. Yet the rest of that paragraph sounds very much like what is happening in Washington D.C. now. There isn't a Soviet Union anymore, but there are plenty of Marxists and Marxist sympathizers worldwide, wanting to collapse current governments and economies, and replace them with... something else.
I would say we are now in the destabilization phase, and approaching the crisis phase. The crushing of dissent comes in the Normalization phase. Bezmenov makes recommendations about what we should do to avert these phases. But that was 25 years ago. Is it too late now?
The above link to the transcript is to part three, but it's worth reading parts one and two as well. Bezmenov's story is fascinating, and there are photos too, as well as links to the other parts of the transcript.
Even though this interview is from 25 years ago, and the "Soviets" no longer exist, these techniques and practices have been adopted by the continuing International socialist/communist Left. American Activist Leftists like Cloward-Piven adopted many of these methods into their own plans, and are using them now, even inside our government, to rot it from within.
It matters little who is doing it, because the end result will be the same. What matters it to recognize it and respond appropriately.
In a review of one of Bezmenov's books, Love Letter to America", the reviewer suggests that perhaps Bezmenov makes too great a case for Soviet power and influence; that perhaps demoralization is an already existing process in Western Democracies, and the Soviets were simply trying to exploit it to their advantage; that the rot is often aimless, and there are patriots who counteract it.
I don't disagree with that. I would just say that more important than where it comes from, or even how intentionally it is (or isn't) orchestrated, is to recognize the rot where it occurs, and treat it before it spreads. Just like you would fix rot in your home, before it spreads and weakens the supporting structures of your house. Regardless of what caused the rot, or how it got there, you would fix it to preserve the structure of your home. You would be vigilant and take steps to prevent rot from even taking hold. In such matters, vigilance is always a virtue.
Demoralization is just a kind of rot that occurs through a lack or neglect of real education, the result of which obfuscates clear thinking and reasoning, and by default allows confusion and emotional manipulation to seep in. Like rain water seeping in through the roof, it can be prevented, but work must be done to maintain the roof. Like so many things in this world that are worth preserving, it requires eternal vigilance, and conscious, continual effort. It's the never-ending story. It's work to preserve and promote the good, but it's still better than trying to deal with resulting chaos of neglect and indifference. It's why we persevere.