RE: Memetics basics

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Wed 07 Jan 2004 - 05:43:44 GMT

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    >From: Vincent Campbell <>
    >To: "''" <>
    >Subject: RE: Memetics basics
    >Date: Tue, 6 Jan 2004 12:51:33 -0000
    [brevity snip]
    > Yep, that's certainly true. Joe's views are typical of a post-cold
    >war "search for an enemy" necessary to maintain certain ideological
    >frameworks, particularly but not exclusively in the USA, in not dissimiliar
    >ways to how the ufo/abduction movement has sprung up in the face of
    >science's ever greater rolling back of the unknown, challenging religious
    >certainties- indeed fundamentalism can also be seen as a response to this.
    I don't know if it's necessarily a search for an enemy. Instead it boils down to conflicting worldviews generating mutual mistrust and enmity, a two way street. Enemies might not actively be searched for, but passively found on both sides of the equation.

    I think looking at the history of US conflict and related foreign policy from WWII onward one might make use of a concept of perspctive shift or change in ideological relations.

    WWII was "anti-fascistic". There was an effort to crush the German and Japanese war machines in the European and Asian theaters. In undertaking this task, bridges were built between the ideological poles of capitalism and communism. The US was allied with its Soviet antipode to stand against the fascistic Germans. To a very small degree, a tempest in a teapot in SE Asia, the Office of Strategic Services (CIA predecessor) made contact with future enemy Ho Chi Minh and his Viet Minh organization as a contingency against the Japanese in that part of the Asian theater (see OSS officer Archimedes Patti's informative _Why Viet Nam?_ for more on these obscure historical details).

    After WWII the US ideological outlook shifted against communism (ie-
    "anti-communism") and the Cold War was the over riding concern. The US and Soviet Union squared off against each other, as conflicting ideologies competed for facts on the ground, no longer allies of convenience against a common fascist enemy.

    Ho Chi Minh, somewhat courted by OSS ("Deer Team") for help against the Japanese during WWII became *persona non grata* in view of policies of
    *containment* and mindsets such as the *domino theory*, especially when Mao's group sent Chiang's Nationalists packing for Formosa (aka Taiwan).

    [terrible segue here]

    Fast forward to the 80's and the interests of US anti-communism and Islamic fundamentalism dovetailed after the '79 Soviet communist invasion of Afghanistan. Washington and the mujahideen both wished for the exit of the Soviets from Afghanistan.

    After the collapse of the Soviet Union another shift occurred where former allies of convenience (the US and some "Arab Afghan" mujahideen) against the Soviets became enemies.

    In a strange way, the historical overview above might show how contigency is such an important factor in historical systems, as former allies, due to circumstance, become enemies as the perspective changes. Maybe the shift is in perspective determining the relationship(s) between ideologies, but historical events and interpersonal and national realities play major roles.

    I'm not sure how redily this can be distilled into a simple and straightforward approach like memetics, without losing important subtle points that add necessary context.

    One could focus on sterile abstractions like communism and capitalism, but they'd lose the distinctions within these abstractions. Is Ayn Rand equivalent to Bill Gates or Objectivism anything like Microsoft? ;-)

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