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Useful idiot

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A useful idiot is someone who supports one side of an ideological debate, but who is manipulated and held in contempt by the leaders of their faction or is unaware of the ultimate agenda driving the ideology to which they subscribe. The term originated in early 1950s America in reference to members of the Socialist Party, allegedly promoted by the malevolent KGB to weaken America as a nation.[1] The closely related term fellow traveller refers to one who sympathizes with and is willing to support the publicly stated goals of the Party, while not being a dues-paying, card-carrying member. The origin of the phrase has often been attributed to Vladimir Lenin[2], but there is no evidence Lenin ever said or wrote it.[3][4]

Contents

[edit] Misuse

As a subjective label, the term is often abused. There are reasonable differences on matters of rhetoric and tactics in any ideological movement, but these differences can be unjustly smeared as idiocy with this label. Nor are all poor representatives of a position necessarily useful idiots: a useful idiot is specifically a poor representative who is raised as a figurehead by a third party with malign intentions. VenomFangX might be a spectacular failure at Christian apologetics, but he's not a useful idiot because his popularity derives from other Christians, not atheists.

[edit] Alleged examples

[edit] See also

[edit] Footnotes

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