Social Injustice

Useful Idiot
By Benjamin James

Sitting on a concrete slab in a prison cell hate-watching the nightly news brings to mind some adverse thoughts on the topic of following orders and challenging authority. I remember reading about the trials in Nuremberg, Germany prosecuting former Nazi Party soldiers and officials after World War Two. Many of the Nazis charged with war crimes were indignant to accusations of wrongdoing.
They were just following orders, after all.
The Nazis had been trained to do whatever they were told to do on command, the same as any other soldier of any other nation. The soldiers on trial were apparently sincerely convinced of their righteousness due to their own low station in the hierarchal power dynamic. It is unbelievable, but the fact is this type of righteous indignation shows its ugly face all the time.
Politically speaking, the concept of the useful idiot is not a far cry away from the Nazi grunt.
Same ingredients, same formula.
People seem to be put under the spell of mainstream and social medias very easily and tend to follow all the ideological bents and political leanings that lead the way for their fellow echo-chamber comrades.
They think and feel about certain things whatever, in their view, everyone else around them is thinking and feeling. Rarely, if ever, do they put their own positions under scrutiny or apply any self-inspired critical thinking to a situation or subject.
A useful idiot takes all available information at face value if it comes from within their own ideological peer group. They digest it as gospel and proceed to regurgitate it along the grapevine as if the information available then is all the information there will ever be.
They do not question anything.
The German soldiers who turned on the gas valve at Dachau have the same bug in their systems as the Americans who committed the My Lai Massacre and the Soviets who loaded Ukrainian grain onto trains. They did what they were told to do not necessarily because they evaluated the circumstances for themselves and decided that murdering a bunch of fairly innocent and defenseless people was the correct course of action.
No; they did what they were told to do because of their uncritical attitudes toward those who told them to do it.
And that bug is the same as that of the useful idiots of the political world, who only move at the behest of the mindless twitter zombies who rule them.
The lesson in all this is that independence is not insubordination.
We should always work to cultivate a culture of open, independent, brave communication between ourselves and those close to our lives, especially our leaders and political representatives who make choices on our behalf.
Cohesion and critique are not always mutually exclusive, and courage and curiosity often are.
Morality is a more natural concept than we perhaps give it credit for, and even a prisoner sitting on a concrete slab hate-watching the nightly news can just change the channel.
Turns out, when you question everything, you get answers.
Imagine that…

Benjamin James, age 36, is a writer from the Cincinnati area. He has been a prisoner since age 18. His memoirs, ‘The Simple Torture Situation’, will be available soon…

Thank you!!!