The Domestic Cognitive War – a Path Toward Tyranny


Edward L. Haugland

January 26, 2021

We are in the midst of a Cognitive War that began a millennium ago and will last a millennium or longer.  It is a war that is timeless. As In its basic form – the Cognitive War is a war that occurs in the cognitive domain – the domain of the human mind.  It is a war of ideas and ideology, between tyranny and freedom, control or enabling, dictatorships versus democracy. It is a global war.  Yet it is also occurring domestically.  The global war is concerning, but the domestic cognitive war is truly an existential threat.  A threat which few understand, and therefore few can defend against.  It is not kinetic in nature – albeit it can be at times.


It is the subtle subjugation of society, piece by piece, from our grade schools to colleges. From local country boards to federal legislatures.  From the local police and court rooms to the federal justice system and national security apparatus. It is a cancer of tyranny that slowly overtakes the reins of freedom, independence, and opportunity – to turn a great experiment in democracy on its head.  But this is not new. We have seen this creeping cancer play out throughout history – as the world’s “useful idiots” stood idle, or complacent, or silent.  The free, but silent majority, in multiple cases was overtaken by a vocal, violent, and power-mongering minority.


What are seeing today in America of 2020 is history repeating itself.  Over a hundred years ago, in 1918 we saw the Bolshevik revolution, and with it the rise of a radical left wing extremist ideology.  During this period, we saw the rise of socialism/communism and the popularity of dystopian views rise in the western democracies behind false narratives of utopian dreams and a new society. Then in the 1930’s we saw a similar utopian society grow under the guise of the Social Democratic Party – aka Nazi party.


In both cases, what followed was the confiscation of arms, subjugation of freedoms, show trials, and the demonization, dehumanization, and subsequent persecution, prosecution, and slaughter of innocents.  In both cases we also saw a so called “free press” forgo any serious investigation or reporting.  Rather, they bought hook, line, and sinker the false narratives, the lies, and ignored the facts – first in the case of the communists, and subsequently the Nazi party. The press drooled and marveled at both utopian societies.


They remained blind and the so-called educated elite of American collegiate system perpetuated these lies, and except for Hitler, continue to perpetuate the lies of the former Soviet Union and communist dictatorships.  Over a hundred years have passed, and the radical left has learned well. They have honed their skills.  And they understand that the greatest power is that of ideas and the use of information – controlled, manipulated, distorted, etc. to influence the masses.  And with the advent of the information age and democratization of technology, it allowed the radical left to use, abuse and advance false narratives, utopian dreams, and lies faster and more powerful than ever before.


A little over a hundred years ago, the American communist part was founded, and grew substantially.  The radical left communists controlled the media, and therefore the narrative.  Western media acquiesced and applauded the dystopian views as the salvation of mankind, while ignoring the false trials, subjugation of the masses, and execution of millions.  We saw the same occur a few decades later, as the Socialist Democratic Party – aka Nazi party – grew and used similar tactics to subjugate the masses.


Today, we see the radical left’s advance on society in much the same way that both the communists and Nazi’s advanced.  They have usurped our pre-schools, high-schools, colleges, local boards, country boards, etc.  They have overtaken and embedded likeminded people throughout our FBI, CIA, DNI and DOJ.  The national security apparatus.  They have tried to do the same with our legislative and judicial arms – but not as successfully.


When a man named Trump, ran for office, and began to use their same tactics against them – they freaked out.  At first, they laughed and gave him all the airtime they could, for they figured they had already compromised the systems enough that they had the election “in the bag.”  But when they “woke,” just prior to the actual election, as it appeared “possible” this long-shot could win, they then implemented their “guarantee” via our DNI, CIA, FBI, and DOJ.  Using fraudulent investigations, and not performing the basic vetting – tradecraft 101 in intelligence – of the sources or dossier, they then executed an attempted smear, then coup on the candidate then president.


We saw Congressman and Senators who knew the facts, the details, but hid them to then smear others who sounded the alarm.  Then we saw four years of hyperbole, attacks, and psychotic screaming parties of those who sought to fulfill the utopian fantasy of society promised by their candidate Clinton. When that did not work, they brought out both today’s versions of the communists (the Marxist BLM), and fascists (the so-called anti-fascists Antifa).


Not surprisingly the compromised press, much like a hundred years ago, whored themselves out yet once again to the utopian dreams and declared these mobs of anarchists, looters, arsonists, murderers, thugs, and harassers – calling them “peaceful protesters.”


You know the rest of the story, as the media, along with social media, and the left-wing congress – now call for total subjugation, censorship, attack, imprisonment, and a second impeachment – for any person who differs in thought that the radical left’s Orwellian, dystopian, dysfunctional, and psychotic utopian dreams.


The Cognitive War, unfortunately, remains mostly a hidden war.  This is because it rarely involves direct confrontation or kinetic action.  It involves a mixture of subtle and aggressive use of false narrative – a war of ideas and ideologies.  It is a war that leverages information, communication, and speed – using tactics, techniques, and procedures the far left has refined over decades.  It is a war for which those who support freedom, independence and opportunity remain unarmed, unaware, and unwitting.  Most think we are just dealing with yet another set of political opposition and name calling.  Yet, they are deadly wrong. This is war for absolute power, and we have seen the many calls by the radical left to usurp all power by packing the courts, changing voting rules, forgoing the filibuster, etc. to “change America forever.”


While China and Russia remain the primary “global” threats in the cognitive domain, the true existential threat is among us. As famously quote notes “we’ve met the enemy, and it is us.”


If American’s do not wake-up, and we fail to not only counter punch, or build a sustained and proactive foundation to advance in the cognitive domain, we will likely end up in an eventual kinetic conflict.  Whether globally with our primary adversaries, or domestically, via another civil war.


Engaging in the cognitive domain, and winning this ongoing Cognitive War, requires moving from a perpetually reactive posture to advancing proactive influence operations and impacts that require our adversaries to react.  By engaging in the cognitive domain, we can not only avoid most kinetic options, but remove ourselves from a perpetual cycle of conflict in other regions of the world.


The Trump administration was the first decades not only to avoid starting another war, but expanding peace treaties in the most hostile areas, while pushing back the most authoritarian regimes in China and Russia.


For our nation to ensure we build the future we desire of freedom, independence, and opportunity vice the current road we are on to tyranny, requires a broader strategy and whole of nation approach.  The strategy must leverage the individual strength, will and patriotism of our people and government, private sector and academic institutions working together in the cognitive domain to counter those who wish to direct, control, threaten, or punish different ideals. To be truly successful, it requires partnerships with our allies and other coalitions worldwide. For as noted, the Cognitive War is being waged both globally and domestically.


The Cognitive War – a battle which occurs in the cognitive domain – brings broader challenges in that it requires a strategy that can last beyond our political election cycles to enable a long-term sustained and proactive means to influence and impact others to affect change that advances our ideals.  Our nation faces a variety of threats from near-peer to those sponsored by nation states, virtual nations and spanning to long-wolf actors that aligned with a variety of ideological, religious, or other beliefs that motivate their cause and actions.


Unless we begin to undertake proactive measures and actions to compete in the cognitive domain and realign our educational, legal, legislative, governance and national security institutions to advance freedom – we will remain on a path towards tyranny.


© Copyright 2021, Edward L. Haugland All Rights Reserved