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Tougher Than HYDRA

Please observe your official Spoiler Warning.

Stephen McDonald


June 21, 2014 - 6:37 am

In the recent Captain America: The Winter Soldier, HYDRA is the science wing of the Nazi SS during World War II. Almost 70 years after the war’s conclusion, the organization lives on as a secret society whose acolytes include many defense personnel, government bureaucrats and politicians. With the American defense agency S.H.I.E.L.D. now controlled by HYDRA, they plan to launch a preemptive strike on the global public, killing 20 million people identified by data mining and NSA-style panopticon surveillance as potential dangers to world order.

(Their vision, in other words, is to make sure everything goes on largely as it has been. Hard to think of a more damning comment on America’s status quo.)

Much as I otherwise enjoyed the movie, using HYDRA to explain S.H.I.E.L.D.’s corruption was lazy. We have recent examples to illustrate that it doesn’t take a secret society to corrupt the State.

For instance, it’s not like Lois Lerner and her fellow Obamatons whispered some leftoid equivalent of “Hail HYDRA” in one another’s ears as they hatched the plan to use the IRS to target conservatives. (If they did, it would be something alliterative and collectivist, yet also alternative lifestyle-positive. “Masturbate Marx”, perhaps.) Instead, they all simply shared the same understanding–the same conceptual metaphor–of their political adversaries. Some variation of “conservatives are evil”, evil in this case being a noun rather than an adjective.

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No secret groups or decoder rings needed. Just like-minded people following their beliefs to their natural conclusion. An organic conspiracy.

This is chilling in its implications. A real life HYDRA-equivalent would lose its power once it was uncovered, so much of its success depending on secrecy. The kind of organic conspiracy we see in the IRS scandal, on the other hand, loses nothing once a Lois Lerner is identified. Because an organic conspiracy has no formal structure, people that think precisely like her will remain undetected in their respective agencies,. They will wait like a dormant virus to activate once conditions are again favorable. And then they will once more use government apparatus to wage war against their supposed fellow citizens.

How to deal with these bureaucratic pod people? Shrinking the size of government would of course be the best way to lessen their power, but it’s a joke to think that’ll happen near-term.

Let us begin by at least updating our own conceptual metaphors. Given that our present age is one where politics is war by other means, thinking of leftoids as naive but well-intentioned idiots isn’t very adaptive. Rather, we should start thinking of them in terms similar to how they think of us. Perhaps then we’ll evolve some organic conspiracies of our own, if only in self-defense.

Stephen McDonald is a writer whose work blends genres that have no business being together. In doing this, his goal is to always push to give the reader something they haven't seen before. Visit his site Series Hero here and see his work at Liberty Island here.

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When I heard the line about HYDRA taking 70 years to take over SHIELD, my first thought was that this was like the long march of Communism through our government and institutions. My next thought was to wonder how the producers got such an obvious parallel to Soviet infiltration past the Hollywood mafia. Once you strip away the genocide doctrine, as HYDRA did from Nazism, you are left with Marxism. That is, the central planners know what's best for you.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't know about you but I've *always* thought of The Left as Evil.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
It seemed to me, especially after the elaboration from Agents of SHIELD, that HYDRA worked in the US (as the reveal about Senator Stern revealed, it wasn't just SHIELD) basically as an organic conspiracy given definite form. The HYDRA remnants seemed to steadily find people who shared their worldview and picked them to serve as HYDRA. The ideals HYDRA held were not exclusive to its members, its members just organized under them.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
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