Lenin's Train Goes Chugging through American Education
After the October Revolution, propaganda trains toured the Russian countryside with actors and artists on board, officials, a printing press, a mobile movie theater, posters, and leaflets to be thrown from the windows.
The V.I. Lenin was the most famous of such trains. Comrade Lenin lived there for weeks at a time circa 1918 as he took his Revolution directly to the peasants. Everyone called this train "Lenin's Train."
What was the aim and the spirit of this propaganda train, and of Lenin's leadership generally? As Lenin famously proclaimed: "We must be ready to employ trickery, deceit, law-breaking, withholding and concealing truth[.] ... We can and must write in a language which sows among the masses hate, revulsion, and scorn toward those who disagree with us."
The Bolsheviks took over Russia pretending to have widespread popular support. In fact, a tiny cult had seized power against the will of the vast majority. To hide this nasty reality, "the leading Bolsheviks instituted propaganda on a governmental level. While propaganda had been around for a long time, the Bolshevik innovation consisted in assigning propaganda a central place in national life: previously employed to touch up or distort reality, in Communist Russia propaganda became a surrogate reality."
That's the essence of Lenin's Train: it's another world. The key weapon in its influence is agitprop, a portmanteau for "highly politicized art, journalism, or education. The Department for Agitation and Propaganda was the government agency established to produce Agitpróp. This label was specific to the Marxism practiced by Communists in the Soviet Union." Agitprop was cocaine and steroids for the far left. Even if they couldn't win philosophically or militarily, the communists believed they could destroy any target with ever more ingenious lies and disinformation.
Nothing has changed in 100 years. Aren't CNN and the machinations of Adam Schiff descended from Lenin's Train? Ditto the New York Times with its 1619 project, which is pure agitprop (where the Times tries to out-Zinn Zinn).
In effect, the Communist Party in Moscow, with lethal contempt, waged continuous war against everyone outside the party. You ride Lenin's Train or you don't ride.
Lenin preached the necessity of trickery, deceit, lawbreaking, and concealing truth. Americans should wonder about consequences: "[s]uch convictions set the stage for decades of murder on an industrial scale. In total, no fewer than 20 million Soviet citizens were put to death by the regime or died as a direct result of its repressive policies. This does not include the millions who died in the wars, epidemics and famines that were predictable consequences of Bolshevik policies, if not directly caused by them." As Lenin said, "the goal of socialism is communism." Apparently, the goal of communism is the liquidation of everything else.
A long forgotten conspiracy from the 1950s illustrates how well organized and aggressive these communists were. The Korean War revealed that one third of American prisoners of war collaborated with the enemy. The main explanation was that American soldiers didn't know any reasons to be patriotic. Merrill Root, a literature professor, published a book in 1958 titled Brainwashing in the High Schools, which pointed out that 11 of the history books used in public schools were basically the same book, each written by a left-wing professor, each suppressing anything favorable or flattering to the US.
Think of the organizational power required to manipulate the history profession, and to coordinate the publishing and selection of these 11 books. In short, the public schools were seldom teaching anything that might make future soldiers more devoted to their own country. As Prof. Root says, "[t]hey had a vacuum where they should've had a storehouse of knowledge about the American Revolution, the founding fathers, the Constitution, and the nature of our constitutional republic."
QED: "Withholding and concealing truth" had become the new mission of our schools. It's easy to think of our school system as one vast Lenin's Train with printing presses, classrooms, government teachers, textbooks, and posters to hand out. Every day, the kids board the train and learn nothing except to hate their country. Agitprop rules.
The people on Lenin's Train believe with Lenin that "there are no morals in politics; there is only expedience." All very practical, but Realpolitik as practiced by the communists tends to make humans subhuman. This process is also called "the deliberate dumbing down of America."
Stella Morabito, a shrewd observer, concludes: "Without real journalism and a free flow of real information, people lose the ability to exercise real thought. Today, when I hear a news outlet talk about its programming, I can't help but think of programming computers or cult recruits. Listening to the news is more like an exercise in thought reform — in which you are being told or nudged in how to think about an issue — than it is the objective flow of actual news you can digest and think through on your own."
Marxists.org casually acknowledges "[t]he crucial importance of revolutionary agitation and propaganda. And with good reason. Together, agitation and propaganda, are a mighty and indispensable weapon in the Party's revolutionary arsenal." Then and now.
Shockingly, our media don't even pretend to investigate or explain the steady decline of American public schools. There appears to be an unexpected but far-ranging collusion between the media and the educrats. Our newspapers seem to be ready accomplices in a political adventurism that is perfectly summed up in these words: we must be ready to employ trickery, deceit, law-breaking, withholding and concealing truth." And so the free press becomes the agitprop press.
The idiocy of K–12 education is now so pronounced, there's a flood of videos where mystified students are asked, "What's 7x9?" or "What three countries are in North America?"
The Education Establishment, like the media, can't possibly claim they don't know what's going on. They can't possibly claim they didn't preside over our educational decline. There is nothing wrong with the brains of our young people. What's wrong is that nobody bothers to teach them very much. Lenin did command his followers to withhold and conceal truth.
Bruce Deitrick Price's new book is Saving K-12 -- What happened to our public schools? How do we fix them? Price deconstructs educational methods on Improve-Education.org.