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This is a random thing but it caught my attention. At almost the exact middle of Fellini's La Dolce Vita there is a somber discussion as Marcello, the tabloid journalist protagonist, tells Steiner the intellectual he wishes he had such a nice & accomplished life.
But Steiner looks out the window and fears for the life his children will face. He says he wishes he could "live outside of time, detached" in English subtitles, anyway. He's one of the more distinctly anti-fascist characters in the film & he seems to also be lamenting what appear to be persistent spotlights of the spectacle outside his windows.
Sometimes at night this darkness, this silence, weighs on me. Peace frightens me. I'm afraid of peace more than anything else. To me it seems that it's only an outer shell and that hell is hiding behind it. I think of what my children will see tomorrow. "The world will be wonderful," they say. From what point of view? When a phone call can announce the end of the world. One should live outside of passions, beyond emotions, in that harmony you find in completed artworks in that enchanted order. We should learn to love each other so much, to live outside of time, detached. Detached.
Thus ends the middle segment of the film divided into seven days and nights.
The idea is explored by associating the various snakes and orphic egg iconography with the sort of wiggly path that a person's life takes, as if it were seen from a five-dimensional or timeless perspective, a "frozen universe". Likewise the notions of fixed fates & destinies were always so big in ancient western mythology. Connections are made to the ancient Mithra cult, an important underlying source of symbolism for Roman Catholicism. No surprise, then, that the idea would have wiggled its way into a film so closely linked to Italy & Catholicism as Vita.
And of course, Hoffman writes about the notion that entheogenic drugs allow the 'ego death' so that one can finally see a glimpse of that weird little fixed place in the cosmos, before you shake it off and resume weaving forward on your linear life path…
I'm sure there are other interesting symbols stuffed into Dolce Vita that I've only barely begun to find, but I definitely dig how this particular moment is right at the very middle of the film.
Born on 26 October 1879 to Ukrainian farmers, Lev Davidovich Bronstein was a revolutionary student instrumental in founding the South Russia Workers Union and in 1898 the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP). Arrested for his political activities, it was in prison in Odessa in 1898 that he read, in the prison library, back issues of Orthodox Review: "The articles dealing with freemasonry in the theological magazines aroused my interest. Where did this strange movement come from? I asked myself. How would Marxism explain it?  In 1902 he escaped to London and adopted the name Leon Trotsky. in 1903 at the Second Congress of the RSDLP, the Bolsheviks were led by Lenin, while Trotsky was among the Menshevik leaders. Trotsky participated actively in the first Russian Revolution in 1905, and in December that year he was elected President of the St Petersburg Soviet. Arrested and sent to Siberia in 1907, he again escaped to London where, among other work, he published Pravda. Returning to Russia in 1917, Trotsky became a member of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party. In 1918 Trotsky was appointed People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs and was the Soviet Union’s first Foreign Minister. In 1927 Stalin had Trotsky expelled from the Executive Committe of Comintern and, the following year from the USSR. He eventually found asylum in Mexico. On 20 August 1940 Leon Trotsky was attacked with an ice-axe in his office in Mexico City by one of Stalin’s followers. He died the following day, survived by his wife Natal'ia Ivanovna Sedova (1882 - 1962). His children predeceased him: one daughter committed suicide, the other died of tuberculosis, both sons were killed by Stalin’s orders.
It was during that period that I became interested in freemasonry. For several months, I avidly studied books on its history, books given to me by relatives and friends in the town. Why had the merchants, artists, bankers, officials, and lawyers, from the first quarter of the seventeenth century on, begun to call themselves masons and tried to recreate the ritual of the mediaeval guilds? What was all this strange masquerade about? Gradually the picture grew clearer. The old guild was more than a producing organization; it regulated the ethics and mode of life of its members as well. It completely embraced the life of the urban population, especially the guilds of semi-artisans and semi-artists of the building trades. The break-up of the guild system brought a moral crisis in a society which had barely emerged from mediaevalism. The new morality was taking shape much more slowly than the old was being cut down. Hence, the attempt, so common in history, to preserve a form of moral discipline when its social foundations, which in this instance were those of the industrial guilds, had long since been undermined by the processes of history. Active masonry became theoretical masonry.
But the old moral ways of living, which men were trying to keep just for the sake of keeping them, acquired a new meaning. In certain branches of freemasonry, elements of an obvious reactionary feudalism were prominent, as in the Scottish system. In the eighteenth century, freemasonry became expressive of a militant policy of enlightenment, as in the case of theIlluminati, who were the forerunners of revolution; on its left, it culminated in the Carbonari. Freemasons counted among their members both Louis XVI [false - ed.] and the Dr. Guillotin who invented the guillotine. In southern Germany, freemasonry assumed an openly revolutionary character, whereas at the court of Catherine the Great it was a masquerade reflecting the aristocratic and bureaucratic hierarchy. A freemason Novikov was exiled to Siberia by a freemason empress.
Although in our day of cheap and ready-made clothing hardly anybody is still wearing his grandfather’s surtout, in the world of ideas thesurtout and the crinoline are still in fashion. Ideas are handed down from generation to generation, although, like grandmother’s pillows and covers, they reek of staleness. Even those who are obliged to change the substance of their opinions force them into ancient moulds. The revolution in industry has been much more far-reaching than it has in ideas, where piece-work is preferred to new structures. That is why the French parliamentarians of the petty bourgeoisie could find no better way of creating moral ties to hold the people together against the disruptiveness of modern relations than to put on white aprons and arm themselves with a pair of compasses or a plumb-line. They were really thinking less of erecting a new building than of finding their way back into the old one of parliament or ministry.
As the prison rules demanded that a prisoner give up his old exercise-book when he was given a new one, I got for my studies on freemasonry an exercise-book with a thousand numbered pages, and entered in it, in tiny characters, excerpts from many books, interspersed with my own reflections on freemasonry, as well as on the materialist conception of history. This took up the better part of a year. I edited each chapter carefully, copied it into a note-book which had been smuggled in to me, and then sent that out to friends in other cells to read. For contriving this, we had a complicated system which we called the "telephone." The person for whom the package was intended-that is, if his cell was not too far away-would attach a weight to a piece of string, and then, holding his hand as far as he could out of the window, would swing the weight in a circle. As previously arranged through tapping, I would stick my broom out so that the weight could swing around it. Then I would draw the broom in and tie the manuscript to the string. When the person to whom I wanted to send it was too far away, we managed it by a series of stages, which of course made things more complicated.
Toward the end of my stay in the Odessa prison, the fat exercise-book, protected by the signature of the senior police sergeant, Usov, had become a veritable well of historical erudition and philosophic thought. I don't know whether it could be printed to-day as I wrote it then. I was learning too much at a time, from too many different spheres, epochs, and countries, and I am afraid that I was too anxious to tell everything at once in my first work. But I think that its main ideas and conclusions were correct. I felt, even at that time, that I was standing firmly on my own feet, and as the work progressed, I had the feeling even more strongly. I would give a great deal to-day to find that manuscript. It went with me into exile, although there I discontinued my work on freemasonry to take up the study of Marxian economics. After my escape abroad, Alexandra Lvovna* forwarded the script to me from Siberia, through my parents, when they visited me in Paris in 1903. Later on, when I went on a secret mission to Russia, it was left in Geneva with the rest of my modest émigré archives, to become part of the Iskra’s archives and to find there an untimely grave. After my second escape from Siberia, I tried to recover it, but in vain. Apparently it had been used to light fires or some such thing by the Swiss landlady who had been intrusted with the custody of the archives. I can't refrain here from conveying my reproaches to that worthy woman.
The way in which my work on freemasonry had to be carried on, in prison, where literary resources at my disposal were of course very limited, served me in good stead. At that time I was still comparatively ignorant of the basic literature of the Marxists. The essays by Labriola were really philosophic pamphlets and presumed a knowledge that I didn't have, and for which I had to substitute guesswork. I finished them with a bunch of hypotheses in my head. The work on freemasonry acted as a test for these hypotheses. I made no new discoveries; all the methodological conclusions at which I had arrived had been made long ago and were being applied in practice. But I groped my way to them, and somewhat independently. I think this influenced the whole course of my subsequent intellectual development. In the writings of Marx, Engels, Plekhanov and Mehring, I later found confirmation for what in prison seemed to me only a guess needing verification and theoretical justification. I did not absorb historical materialism at once, dogmatically. The dialectic method revealed itself to me for the first time not-as abstract defiftitions but as a living spring which I had found in the historical process as I tried to understand it.
* Alexandra Lvovna Sokolovskaya, who was exiled to Siberia with the author and became his wife.-Translator. 
1. Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), My life : an attempt at an autobiography. With an introd. by Joseph Hansen. New York : Pathfinder Press, Inc., 1970. xxxvii, 602 p ; 23 cm Seventh printing 1987 ISBN: 0-863480-143-7 [translated from the Russian MS.] Also see: My Life: The Rise and Fall of a Dictator, Leon Trotsky. London: Thornton Butterworth Ltd, 1930, London, 1930. Cloth. First Edition. Red cloth boards, gilt titles. MOIA ZHIZN' (Russian Transliteration MY LIFE) ; MOIA ZHIZN', Leon Trotsky. Berlin Izd-vo "Granit" 1930. 2 volumes. First edition. 8vo, beige wrappers, lettered in Russian in black on the spines and in black and red on the upper covers. Red morocco over cloth clamshell box, lettered in gilt on the spine between raised bands. 325 (contents), 338 (contents). Note: anti-masons will misquote and quote out of context from My Life: The Rise and Fall of a Dictator to imply that Freemasonry was Trotsky’s inspiration for revolution. pp. 119, 120-23.
2. [Aleksandra L'vovna Sokolovskaia, m. Bronshteina (1872 - 1938) arrested, banished, shot]. "She [Sedova] was to remain his companion for the rest of his life and to share with him to the full triumph and defeat. Sokolovskaya [Sokolovskaia], however, remained his legal wife and bore his name. To all three the legal niceties of their connexion did not matter at all - like other revolutionaries they disregarded on principle the canons of middle-class respectability. [...] As far as we know, the question of a reunion between Trotsky and his first wife never arose. When he and Sedova returned to Russia there was no suggestion of discord. Ties of respect and a high-minded friendship were to bind the three of them to the end; and eventually his political fortunes affected with equal tragedy both the women and the children of both" [Deutscher, I.: The prophet armed, London, 2003, p.59]
I remember seeing Spook years ago on a rough videotape with horrible audio at the Soap Factory - shortly thereafter it was possible to obtain the DVD, based on a negative long-hidden in some film vault under a false name.
Spook is one of those incredible movies - a 1973 narrative of a black CIA agent turned domestic revolutionary. The FBI bullied United Artists into dropping the film -- based on an earlier book by Greenlee, which covers the global guerrilla strategies more deeply -- and the actors got blacklisted. Why would the FBI have a problem with a film where black gangs organize to demand autonomy, attack the police & seize military hardware?
Infiltrating Hollywood: The Rise and Fall of the Spook Who Sat by the Door is an award winning independent documentary on the controversial and FBI repressed 1973 black film The Spook Who Sat By the Door. The Spook Who Sat by The Door is widely hailed as a cult classic and one of the most important underground black productions of the era. The film was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry in 2012.
Through interviews, with author Sam Greenlee, Berlie Dixon, widow of director Ivan Dixon, Academy Award winning editor Michael Kahn, Melvin Van Peebles several actors from the film, investors, academics, Todd Boyd, Ed Guerrero, and Eric Pierson; archival footage and production documents, Infiltrating Hollywood tells the story of The Spook Who Sat by the Door from its inception as a novel to its release and repression.
San Diego Black Film Festival: Best Film, Sacramento International Film Festival: Best Film, Cine-Soul, Athens International Film Festival: Honorable Mention, Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival: Finalist HBO Documentary Competition, Saatchi and Saatchi Producer’s Award, International Black Film Festival of Nashville: Best Documentary, Hollywood Black Film Festival: Honorable Mention.
"The Spook Who Sat By the Door" filmmaker, writer and community activist SAM GREENLEE Answer questions from callers and talks about his LEGENDARY MOVIE. He speaks on the struggle and obstacles when trying to releasing the controversial movie, why they were banned from shooting in Chicago, the reason he and Jesse Jackson dislike each other and more!!!!
// pt 1 of 4 "Project Brotherhood Power Hour" Shot by Lyle Muse
// Pt 2 Spook interview/
Sam Greenlee on black filmmaking today (posted in 2008):
Anyway these items are just excellent. Thanks Mr Greenlee & the actors who got blacklisted as punishment, good careers crushed including lead Lawrence Cook or "Dan Freeman". And screw Hollywood for papering over how they let the government suppress a film without any accountability.
Ah so it's been a decade eh comrades? The skrewing over of emergency personnel has gone almost unnoticed. FDNY member on 9/11 Truth “I support you guys” | We Are Change -- some new stuff has been trickling out -- pretty solid stuff, at that. The glorious official narrative got its booster shot, but noticeably absent from the necro-political media spectacle were all those sickly and/or dead 9-11 first responders. Over time we find more elements that are obviously pretty credible against the official narrative, but it's still difficult to get a larger picture. Let's nosh on some new goodies -- what better time than now?
Ali Soufan describes the situation behind the scenes with the FBI and 9-11 foreknowledge as well as the torture nightmare going on.... obviously Soufan was able to get better intel from captured militants by persuasion than cruel & unusual coercion, but what else is new?
CIA Threats of Federal Prosecution Delay 9/11 Documentary | 911 Truth News - this newly unearthed Rich Blee figure is one of the latest twists on the 9-11 CIA front. This is the project which the Richard Clarke speculation about hoping to flip al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar to the CIA was the reason their identities were buried... however that also doesn't track entirely because they were already in touch with another government operative or 2 (an FBI informant and a likely Saudi government operative)
I'm posting the whole bit as it's one of the more substantial elements in the scheme to surface lately.
On Thursday, the CIA threatened the journalists behind Who Is Rich Blee? with possible federal prosecution if their investigative podcast reveals the names of two CIA analysts at the center of a pattern of obstruction and mishandling of intelligence that many feel would have stopped the 9/11 attacks.
Like FBI agent Ali Soufan and Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer before them, the podcast team, including John Duffy and Ray Nowosielski, are being subjected to intimidation and censorship by government officials over blowing the whistle on the true story surrounding two alleged 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar.
The podcast originally scheduled for September 11th release presents a narrative of how three CIA analysts working under Richard Blee, the long unknown former head of CIA’s Bin Laden Station, deliberately misled their colleagues and withheld key intelligence from FBI and the White House regarding the presence of two known Al-Qaeda operatives in the U.S.
Four government investigations into CIA handling of pre-911 intelligence included personal details of the two CIA analysts and their actions. Nowosielski and Duffy deduced the identities of the two as yet unnamed CIA employees from internet research based on details provided from these and other open sources. When the producers used their full names in interviews, interviewees offered no correction. The CIA response provided the final confirmation.
In project updates posted at SecrecyKills.com the producers announced the delay of the podcast and posted background of a complicated case that involves dozens of violations of protocol, intimidation, and incidents of obstruction by the CIA, with the two yet named CIA analysts at the center of many of them.
Author and expert on the subject, Kevin Fenton, documents 35 such incidents between January 2000 and September 11th in his book, Disconnecting the Dots: How 9/11 Was Allowed to Happen.
Pulitzer-prize winner Lawrence Wright, interviewed for the podcast, told producers the actions of one of the unnamed CIA analysts still employed at CIA amounts to obstruction of justice in the FBI’s criminal investigation of the deaths of 17 seaman aboard the USS Cole.
The producers are not the first subject to government censorship over this case. Last month The New York Times reported on CIA efforts to censor an autobiography by Ali Soufan, a front-line FBI counter-terrorism special agent. Prior to 9/11, Soufan was interested in Mihdhar and Hazmi because of links to the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. The CIA censored references to a passport photo of Mihdhar the CIA had withheld from Soufan, despite three written requests.
Scott Shane of the New York Times reports today that, “Mr. Soufan accuses C.I.A. officials of deliberately withholding crucial documents and photographs of Qaeda operatives from the F.B.I. before Sept. 11, 2001, despite three written requests, and then later lying about it to the 9/11 Commission.”
Lt. Colonel Anthony Shaffer, interviewed for the podcast, was himself intimidated, demoted and smeared by the Pentagon after he came forward to the 9/11 Commission with details of how, on three occasions, unnamed DoD officials prevented his Able Danger operation from meeting with the FBI prior the attacks.
In 2000 the Able Danger data-mining program placed Mohammed Atta in a Brooklyn terrorist cell but had also placed Hazmi and Mihdhar in a San Diego cell, the epicenter of intrigue around Alec Station’s Rich Blee, Tom Wilshere and the two as yet unnamed subordinates who themselves repeatedly withheld intelligence from the FBI. Though Shaffer was interviewed by 9/11 Commission’s Director Philip Zelikow and staffer Dieter Snell, the Commission left any mention of Able Danger from its final report.
In the planned podcast, 9/11 Commission Chair Tom Kean is asked about a scant footnote to Chapter 6 of the 9/11 Report referring to an intelligence cable, seen by 50 at the CIA, but prevented from reaching the FBI. For Kean the incident was not a case of bungling or intel ‘stovepiping’: “Oh, it wasn’t careless oversight. It was purposeful. No question about that in mind. It was purposeful.”
Whereas Kean explains it as a penchant for secrecy, Richard Clarke, the former head of counter-terrorism at the Bush White House, goes farther suggesting malfeasance and the possibility of illegal CIA-led domestic spying activity. Comments by Clarke released in a video in August led to a formal statement from George Tenet, Cofer Black and Richard Blee, and a response from the producers.
“This was perhaps the closest U.S. intelligence got to foiling the 9/11 plot,” explains Nowosielski, “but instead of stopping the attack, the CIA stopped intel on two high-value targets from getting to the right people, repeatedly. And still the CIA protects the individuals responsible by intimidating those who simply want to know the truth behind a shocking and possibly criminal pattern of obstruction”
In an email Thursday the CIA warned Nowosielski he could be subject to prosecution under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, a law intended to apply to government employees who violate their security clearance and never used to convict journalists.
The producer’s online response: “The Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics states that ‘journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know’ and should ‘be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.’ The day that journalists’ exposés of wrongdoing within government agencies require the approval of those government agencies before release, that is the day that transparency and accountability are lost.”
John Duffy and Ray Nowosielski, both graduates of Chicago’s Columbia College Film School, produced the critically acclaimed 2006 documentary “9/11: Press for Truth.”
This is Part 3 of our three-part one-of-a-kind interview series with author and researcher Paul Thompson. For additional background information please visit the complete 9/11 Timeline Investigative Project at HistoryCommons.Org.
Paul Thompson joins us to discuss one of the most blacked-out and censored aspects of Al-Qaeda-CIA connections: The partnership and alliance between the CIA and Al Qaeda and their joint operations in Central Asia, Balkans and Caucasus throughout the 1990’s. Mr. Thompson talks about Al-Qaeda’s Balkans operations, running training camps, money-laundering, and drug running networks in the region, Ayman Al-Zawahiri and his residence in Bulgaria in order to help manage the Al Qaeda effort in nearby Bosnia, the Al Qaeda cells in Chechnya and Azerbaijan, BCCI and more!
Frankly I think at this point it should be noted that George Tenet is just one of many intelligence establishment figures who are members of the Knights of Malta - a key authoritarian little nest of establishment weasels, probably more relevant to geopolitical happenings than, say, the Freemasons :)
Bernard-Henri Lévy gets Libyan rebels to support Israel & doesn't like your Bilderberg conspiracies!
Apparently this French philosopher with a penchant for drama is calling more shots than people realize. However, he has had enough with your conspiracies! What is this guy's deal? After reading about he was a go-between for Netanyahu and the Libyan rebels via DC alt/deep weirdness journalist Wayne Madsen, I couldn't resist looking a little closer, then getting into weird French artwork. You're right, no conspiracy here, Mr Lévy. Touché!
Libya’s rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) is ready to recognise Israel, according to French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who says he has passed the message on to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The NTC “will be concerned with justice for the Palestinians and security for Israel” it it takes power, Lévy said after meeting Netanyahu Thursday.“The future regime will maintain normal relations with other democratic countries, including Israel.”Netanyahu's office confirmed the meeting with Lévy but did not comment on the discussion. "The prime minister likes to meet intellectuals," a spokesperson said.
AFP - French writer Bernard Henri Levy said he delivered a message on Thursday from Libyan rebel leaders to Israel's premier saying they would seek diplomatic ties with Israel if they came to power.
Levy told AFP he passed on the verbal message from Libya's National Transitional Council during a 90-minute meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. "The main point was that the future Libyan regime would be moderate and anti-terrorist and will be concerned with justice for the Palestinians and security for Israel," Levy said.
"The future regime will maintain normal relations with other democratic countries, including Israel," he added.
Levy, who helped engineer France's recognition of Libya's fledgling rebel authority, visited the rebel-held Libyan city of Misrata last weekend.
He said on Thursday that Netanyahu "did not appear surprised" at the content of the Libyan message. Netanyahu's office confirmed the meeting with the French writer and philosopher but did not comment on the discussion. "The prime minister likes to meet intellectuals," a spokesman said.
In early March, Levy went to the eastern Libyan town of Benghazi, days after its capture by rebel forces. He met members of the just-formed National Transitional Council and arranged for some of them to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on March 10.
At the end of that meeting, which Levy attended, France became the first country to recognise the provisional body as legitimate and to call for targeted air strikes against Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's forces.
Nothing like organizing another fine French-flavored revolution! Some people on Madsen's site pointed out Lévy has previously been flacking for interventionism and military operations to break up Yugoslavia. He wrote a book on the subject wherein he spends a while attacking delusional conspiracy theorists for daring to suggest geopolitics rather than purely humanitarian factors motivated the Western war to break up Yugoslavia and take control at Evil Serbia's expense.
Main Idea: If you dare believe that NGOs and oil companies are shady enough to work in sync, you must be as delirious as those linking Freemasonry and the French Revolution!
Of course I couldn't resist poking around for more French Revolution/Masonic artwork. Found some great ones this time.
Jean-Baptiste Regnault - La Liberté ou la Mort!
And add a sweet tribute to Rousseau - French Revolution artwork is really interesting and also features the interesting Liberty Hat -- a mysterious iconic red cap which appeared in American and French artwork, and even US coins as well. Oddly: Liberty Hat: U.S. Senate Seal
Here are nice Masonic ones, complete with Ouroboros :)
And a quality Revolutionary Calendar - with the hat in upper-right by the cannonballs, weird lightning bolts on the bottom, Justice leaning on fasces with a four-headed slain monster, and two pillars resembling Boaz & Jachin, the major Masonic symbols. These people weren't messing around!
This one's awesome too: Gotta dig the pyramidal look for "Surveillance" and the groovy Egalité square in the upper right.
And this one's plenty interesting too: Fasces topped with the liberty cap & Ouroboros and a lovely eye of Horus rounding out the action. "Declaration of the Rights of Man".
Clearly freemasonry, esotericism and its ideals and imagery (let alone specific organizations) had nothing to do with the French Revolution. Delirium says Mr Lévy!
Here's that book "Left in Dark Times" - Interesting review about the left "soft on Fascislamism"... France's leading public intellectual voices vestigial allegiance to the Left—while trashing it—in this convoluted manifesto. Philosopher-journalist Lévy (American Vertigo) feels a family loyalty not to a dead programmatic socialism but to images, events and reflexes—drawn from the Dreyfus Affair, the 1968 upheavals and other historical milestones that expressed the French Left's opposition to racism and fascism, its support of egalitarianism and its attitude of all-embracing moral responsibility. Lévy follows this muted tribute with a harsh critique of present-day leftist politics. Flogging everyone from Noam Chomsky to Cindy Sheehan, the author attacks the Left for its antiliberalism and anti-Americanism (a veiled anti-Semitism, he believes) and for being soft on Fascislamism, warning that this progressivism without progress adopts the Right's worst features with its isolationism and resistance to humanitarian interventions in Bosnia and Darfur. Lévy is a more cerebral—and judicious—Christopher Hitchens; despite his grandiosity, arcane allusions and the high rhetoric of his long, coiling sentences, he is a lucid, cogent polemicist. Although the dudgeon he directs at the diminished sins of a marginalized postcommunist Left seems overdone, Lévy's many American fans will relish it. (Sept. 16)
“But where was the Central Observation Bureau? Where was the professorial and student body which should have been recording these irregularities and producing plans for adjustment?”
What I like about HG Wells The Shape of Things to Come, is it all comes down to the World State, the City of London and transportation systems -- three topics kicking around this week. This guy was spinning the first yarns about this stuff, tied in with all sorts of people.
Fortunately Mr Wells wrote this strange 1933 work about the Air Dictatorship of the technocrats. The Huxley boys took it from there. Fabian-related utopianism, always entertaining with a neo-classical feel. These people wanted to drive a vision of the future - and science fiction was a good way to drive that vision into the public at large.
Also this piece was one of the earliest to use 'CE' notation -- I always thought 'Common Era' was sketchy!
3. The Accumulating Disproportions of the Old Order
Let us consider some of the main appearances that disposed many minds to expect a world community in the early twentieth century. In the first place a very considerable financial unity had been achieved.The credit of the City of Londonran to the ends of the earth and the gold sovereign was for all practical purposes a world coin, exchangeable locally for local expenditure within relatively slight fluctuations. Economic life was becoming very generalized. Over great areas trade moved with but small impediments, and the British still hoped to see their cosmopolitan conception of Free Trade accepted by the whole world. The International Institute of Agriculture in Rome was developing an annual census of staple production and reaching out towards a world control of commodity transport. Considerable movements and readjustments of population were going on, unimpeded by any government interference. Swarms of Russian Poles, for instance, drifted into Eastern Germany for the harvest work and returned; hundreds of thousands of Italians went to work in the United States for a few years and then came back with their earnings to their native villages. An ordinary traveller might go all over the more settled parts of the earth and never be asked for a passport unless he wanted to obtain a registered letter at a post office or otherwise prove his identity.
A number of minor but significant federal services had also come into existence and had a sound legal standing throughout the world, the Postal Union for example. Before 1914 C.E. a written document was delivered into the hands of the addressee at almost every point upon the planet, almost as surely as, if less swiftly than, it is to-day. (The Historical Documents Board has recently reprinted a small book, International Government, prepared for the little old Fabian Society during the Great War period by L. S. Woolf, which gives a summary of such arrangements. He lists twenty-three important world unions dealing at that time with trade, industry, finance, communications, health, science, art, literature, drugs, brothels, criminals, emigration and immigration and minor political affairs.)These world-wide cooperations seemed — more particularly to the English-speaking peoples — to presage a direct and comparatively smooth transition from the political patchwork of the nineteenth century, as the divisions of the patchwork grew insensibly fainter, to a stable confederation of mankind. The idea of a coming World-State was quite familiar at the time — one finds it, for instance, as early as Lord Tennyson’s Locksley Hall (published in 1842); but there was no effort whatever to achieve it, and indeed no sense of the need of such effort. The World-State was expected to come about automatically by the inherent forces in things.
That belief in some underlying benevolence in uncontrolled events was a common error, one might almost say THE common error, of the time. It affected every school of thought. In exactly the same fashion the followers of Marx (before the invigorating advent of Lenin and the Bolshevist reconstruction of Communism) regarded their dream of world communism as inevitable, and the disciples of Herbert Spencer found a benevolent Providence in “free competition”. “Trust Evolution”, said the extreme Socialist and the extreme Individualist, as piously as the Christians put their trust in God. It was the Bolshevik movement in the twentieth century which put will into Communism. The thought of the nineteenth century revolutionary and reactionary alike was saturated with that confident irresponsible laziness. As Professor K. Chandra Sen has remarked, hope in the Victorian period was not a stimulant but an opiate.
We who live in a disciplined order, the chastened victors of a hard-fought battle, understand how superficial and unsubstantial were all those hopeful appearances. The great processes of mechanical invention, which have been described in our general account of the release of experimental science from deductive intellectualism, were increasing the power and range of every operating material force quite irrespective of its fitness or unfitness for the new occasions of mankind. With an equal impartiality they were bringing world-wide understanding and world-wide massacre into the range of human possibility.
It was through no fault of these inventors and investigators that the new opportunities they created were misused. That was outside their range. They had as yet no common culture of their own. Nor, since each worked in his own field, were they responsible for the fragmentary irregularity of their discoveries. Biological and especially social invention were lagging far behind the practical advances of the exacter, simpler sciences. Their application was more difficult; the matters they affected were so much more deeply embedded in ordinary use and wont, variation was more intimate, novelties could not be inserted with the same freedom. It was easy to supplant the coach and horses on the macadamized road by the steam-engine or the railway, because it was not necessary to do anything to the road or the coach and horses to bring about the change. They were just left alone to run themselves out as the railroad (and later the automobile on the rubber-glass track) superseded them. But men cannot set up new social institutions, new social and political and industrial relationships, side by side with the old in that fashion. It must be an altogether tougher and slower job. It is a question not of ousting but of reconstruction. The old must be converted into the new without ceasing for a moment to be a going concern. The over-running of the biologically old by the mechanically new, due to these differences in timing, was inevitable, and it reached its maximum in the twentieth century.
A pathological analogy may be useful here. In the past, before the correlation of development in living organisms began to be studied, people used to suffer helplessly and often very dreadfully from all sorts of irregularities of growth in their bodies. The medical services of the time, such as they were, were quite unable to control them. One of these, due to what is called the Nurmi ratios in the blood, was a great overproduction of bone, either locally or generally. The suffered gradually underwent distortion into a clumsy caricature of his former self; his features became coarse and massive, his skull bones underwent a monstrous expansion; the proportions of his limbs altered, and the leverage of his muscles went askew. He was made to look grotesque; he was crippled and at last killed. Something strictly parallel happened to human society in the hundred years before the Great War. Under the stimulus of mechanical invention and experimental physics it achieved, to pursue our metaphor, a hypertrophy of bone, muscle and stomach, without any corresponding enlargement of its nervous controls.
Long before the Great War this progressive disproportion had been dimly recognized by many observers. The favourite formula was to declare that “spiritual” — for the naïve primordial opposition of spirit and matter was still accepted in those days — had not kept pace with “material” advance. This was usually said with an air of moral superiority to the world at large. Mostly there was a vague implication that if these other people would only refrain from using modern inventions so briskly, or go to church more, or marry earlier and artlessly, or read a more “spiritual” type of literature, or refrain from mixed bathing, or work harder and accept lower wages, or be more respectful and obedient to constituted authority, all might yet be well. Beyond this sort of thing there was little recognition of the great and increasing disharmonies of the social corpus until after the Great War.
The young reader will ask, “But where was the Central Observation Bureau? Where was the professorial and student body which should have been recording these irregularities and producing plans for adjustment?”
There was no Central Observation Bureau. That did not exist for another century. That complex organization of discussion, calculation, criticism and forecast was undreamt of. Those cities of thought, full of serene activities, came into existence only after the organization of the Record and Library Network under the Air Dictatorship between 2010 and 2030.Even the mother thought-city, the World Encyclopædia Establishment, was not founded until 2012.In the early twentieth century there was still no adequate estimate of economic forces and their social reactions. There were only a few score professors and amateurs of these fundamentally important studies scattered throughout the earth. They were scattered in every sense; even their communications were unsystematic. They had no powers of enquiry, no adequate statistics, little prestige; few people heeded what they thought or said.
Maybe they deserved nothing better. They bickered stupidly with and discredited each other. They ignored or wilfully misunderstood each other. It is impossible to read such social and economic literature as the period produced without realizing the extraordinary backwardness of that side of the world’s intellectual life. It is difficult to believe nowadays that the
5. The Way in Which Competition and Monetary Inefficiency Strained the Old Order
In the twentieth century of the Christian era there was still no common currency by which to measure and carry on the world’s economic exchanges. Those transactions were not merely apprehended inexactly because of this; they were falsified, and it did not seem possible that there would ever be an effective simplification.It is true that during what is known as the First Period of General Prosperity, from 1850 C.E. until 1914, there was a kind of working world system of currency and credit, centring upon the City of London and based on the gold pound;but this was a purely accidental growth, made workable by successive gold discoveries which prevented too disastrous a fall in prices as productive efficiency increased, and by the circumstances that gave the insular English a lead in the development of steam transport on land and sea and real incentives towards a practical propaganda of world free trade.
That first gleam of cosmopolitan sunlight waned as it had waxed, without any contemporary apprehension of the real forces at work, much less any attempt to seize upon them and organize them in permanence. The financial ascendency and initiative of the City of London crumbled away after the war and nothing appeared to take its place. In any case, this quasi-cosmopolitan system based on the gold sovereign, and owing its modicum of success to continual increments in the available gold, would have wilted as the world’s gold supplies gave out, but the strangulation of the world’s industry after the war was greatly accelerated by the gold hoarding of the Americans and French.
And during all that phase of opportunity there was no substantial effort to take hold of the land, sea and natural resources of the planet and bring them from a state of fragmentary, chaotic and wasteful exploitation into a general scheme. There remained sixty-odd “sovereign” governments, each claiming a supreme control of all the natural wealth of the areas within its frontiers, and under these governments, under conditions that varied with each, there were private corporations and individuals with a right to deal more or less freely with the fragment upon which they had established a grip. Everywhere the guiding principle in the exploitation of the minerals, sunshine and power resources of the globe was the profit of single or associated private individuals, and the patchwork governments of the time interfered in the profit scramble only in favour of their nationals against their foreign rivals. Yet for nearly a hundred years, because of the fortunate influx of gold and inventions, this profit-seeking system, linked to the metallic monetary system, sufficed to sustain a very great expansion and enlargement of human life, and it was hard to convince the mass of men, and still harder to convince the prosperous manufacturers, traders, miners, cultivators and financiers who dominated public affairs, that this was not a permanent system and that the world already needed veryessential modifications of its economic methods. A considerable measure of breakdown, a phase of display, fear and distress, was necessary before they could be disillusioned.
The nineteenth century had for its watchwords “individual enterprise and free competition”. But the natural end of all competition is the triumph of one competitor. It was in America that the phenomena of Big Business first appeared and demonstrated the force of this truism; at a score of points triumphant organizations capable of crushing out new competitors and crippling and restraining new initiatives that threatened their predominance appeared. In Europe there was little governmental resistance to industrial alliances and concentrations in restraint of competition, and they speedily developed upon a scale that transcended political frontiers, but in the United States of America there was a genuine effort to prevent enterprises developing on a monopolistic scale. The conspicuous leader of this preventive effort was the first President Roosevelt (1858-1919) and its chief fruit the Sherman Anti-Trust Act (1890), which proved a rich mine for lawyers in the subsequent decades.
These great consolidations, which closed the phase of free competition, were so far effective in controlling trade and arresting new developments that Hilary Hooker, in his Studies in Business Coagulation During the First Period of General Prosperity, is able to cite rather more than two thousand instances, ranging from radium and new fruits and foodstuffs to gramophones, automobiles, reconstructed households, artificial moonlight for the roadways by the countryside, and comfortable and economical railway plant, in which ample supplies or beneficial improvements were successfully kept off the market in the interests of established profit-making systems. After 1900 C.E. again there was a world-wide cessation of daily newspaper initiative and a consequent systole of free speech. Distribution, paper supply and news services had fallen into the hands of powerful groups able and willing to crush out any new types of periodical, or any inimical schools of public suggestion. They set about stereotyping the public mind.
These same profit-making systems in possession also played a large part in arresting competition from countries in which they were less completely in control, by subsidized political action for the maintenance of protective tariffs. Long before the world break-down became manifest, the experience of the ordinary consumer so far belied the sanguine theory that free competition was a mode of endless progress, that he was still living in a house, wearing clothes, using appliances, travelling about in conveyances, and being fed with phrases and ideas that by the standard of the known and worked-out inventions of the time should have been discarded on an average, Hooker computes, from a quarter to half a century before. There was labour unemployed and abundant material available to remedy all this, but its utilization was held up by the rent-exacting and profit-earning systems already in possession.
This lag in modernization added greatly to the effects of increased productive efficiency in the disengagement of those vast masses of destitute unemployed and unemploying people which began to appear almost everywhere, like the morbid secretion of a diseased body, as the twentieth century passed on into its third decade.
HG Wells, the Huxley boys, Darwin, the Fabians... Oh you guys. The British friends of eugenics and imagery like "Morbid secretions" regarding the Depression. Now we're talkin' true technocrats. See also15 Influential Early Works of Apocalyptic Fiction and the bad 1970s B-Movie ripoff!!
"....we will suggest below that if the hard core arises for certain identifiable reasons, it can be broken up or at least muted by government action." .... "We suggest a role for government efforts, and agents, in introducing such diversity. Government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action."
This is one hell of a chestnut. It seems obvious, in retrospect, the best way to conceal the truth of establishment shady business and institutionalized crime is to mix in a ton of bullshit in order to turn all the skeptics and inquirers against each other. Only now it's Obama's dang 'information czar' pitching the strategy!
Interestingly, the more I broaden my sources, the more I appreciate the broad spectrum of people that have cancelled their subscriptions to Establishment Bollox and the Lies of the Mighty Wurlitzer. It's amazing how so many features of Establishment Reality are so widely loathed from within so many different worldviews.
This important fact is what people like Cass Sunstein don't understand. Like faux Establishment 'Centrists', they believe that ontological truth, or even the 'optimal' policy outcome, is like @ the 50% mark between where the dialectical left & right goalposts are placed.
It's like Howard Fineman - accurately dubbed the Weathervane because you only have to look which way he's pointing to determine what reassuring centrist reality is today's hot item. Howard Fineman is the precise opposite of a 'conspiracy theorist' in Sunstein's world.
The Establishment's Hegelian social control techniques are obvious: just set the left and right goalposts, stir and repeat. Problem-reaction-solution. If one can influence both the left and right goalposts in the great false dichotomy, it makes the product of "centrists" far more acceptable. Everything floating around outside this parlor game is the prima materia of 'conspiracy' that the State should attack professionally, Sunstein says!
Anyhow Cass Sunstein was appointed by President Obama as some kind of info czar. Interestingly he wrote a paper about how to manipulate conspiracy theorists by attempting to throw their groups off the Hegelian deep end, thus opening an opportunity for defamatory information warfare. Fascinating stuff, and it's got Alex Jones incensed!!
This whole thing reminds me of how the JFK conspiracy scene is managed as "A Story/B Story" wherein there are two alternate, mutually irreconcilable narratives. Dribs and drabs of facts supporting A and B (roughly, CIA/Mafia and Lone Gunman, usually) can be offered and safely paddle around on the History Channel.
Let us share a few choice links about how the CIA type control system AKA the Intelligence Power controls the World of Conspiracy. This is good stuff -- this is exactly how Mama Cass wants the world of conspiracies organized.
For The Win: Fintan Dunne called the Sunstein approach years ago!
The CIA Fakes is a catchphrase term to describe a group which includes:
-- Covert Operatives of the CIA, NSA and DIA; of the U.S. Corporate/Military Industrial Complex; of the intelligence services of U.K. Spain, France Holland, Germany, and Russia.
-- Political Agents working within the Democratic Party, Republican Party, Democratic Black Caucus, Green Party, and Patriot Movement.
-- Politicians in the U.S., U.K. Spain, France, Germany and Russia --who pose as 9/11 skeptics.
-- Media, including Mainstream, Alternative Media and Internet broadcasting media who either front for, cooperate with, or are directly employed by intelligence services mentioned above.
The primary objectives of the CIA FAKES are:
-- To leverage the Fakes into position as the leadership/spokespersons
for the 9/11 skeptics movement. --To splinter and divide that movement. --To promote lame, tame and/or booby-trapped questions about 9/11.
-- To be sufficiently over-the-top as to prevent the 9/11 issue getting
any traction in the media or left-wing.
-- To ensure that the movement would not have a politically-active
leadership capable of turning it into an effective political lobby campaign.
The questions about 9/11 were bound to be asked, the important
aspect for the perpetrators was and is ...by whom?
One big corner of that overall 9/11 picture is formed by four disparate-seeming individuals: a veteran whistleblower, an attractive novice whistleblower, a campaigning journalist and a reputed lingerie model; jigsaw peices called Ellsberg, Edmonds, Hopsicker and Keller. Ellsberg supports Edmonds, confirmed by Hopsicker --backed by eyewitness accounts from Keller. But they're all telling different flavors of the same story.
To specify which story that is, let's take a look at the popular tales of 9/11. The notorious main division is between LIHOP and MIHOP. But it's much more detailed than that. Explanations come in a full range of flavors --starting with the official story:
A. Official story:
CIA/FBI were incompetent; Bush and/or Clinton were complacent.
B. OfficialLame Conspiracy:
CIA/FBI were incompetent; Bush/Cheney maybe let it happen; Israelis Knew.
C. OfficialLIHOP Conspiracy:
CIA/FBI were compromised; Bush/Cheney did let it happen; Israelis Helped.
D. OfficialLIHOP Wild Conspiracy:
CIA/FBI compromised; Bush/Cheney/Neocons let it happen; Israelis Did It.
E. OfficialLIHOP Tinfoil Conspiracy:
Israelis/Neocons/Bush/Cheney Did It; CIA/FBI looked the other way.
F. OfficialMIHOP 'Serious' Conspiracy:
Israelis/Neocons/CIA/FBI/Bush/Cheney/Military-Industrial-Complex Did It.
G. OfficialLoony Conspiracies:
Rothschilds and/or Rockefellers and/or CFR and/or Bildebergers did it.
Globalists who want to run everything in a World Government did it.
Jews and Jewish bankers -who already run everything- did it.
Satanists, Opus Dei or Reptilians did it.
It's a terrific variety of theories.
It plays out something like this:
The mainstream media push version A; hint at B; sneer at G.
The controlled right/intellectual media pushes version B.
The controlled left/intellectual media pushes version C.
The 'moderate' Fake internet sites push versions C and D.
The 'softcore' Fake internet sites push versions D and E.
The 'independent' Fake internet sites push version F.
The 'loony' Fake interent sites push variations of version G.
But every single one, from A to G are OFFICIAL versions, sanctioned and promoted by the 9/11 intelligence coverup operation and their CIA Fakes network. They have a flavor for every market.
The creation of this multiplicity of explanations is a core element of the coverup. Left to their own devices, people on the Internet might have figured out the truth themselves. But with this circus in action, there is always plenty of distraction and lots of division in opinion.
The intelligence coverup is not trying to stop 9/11 conspiracy theories on the internet. It's creating them. Then playing off supporters of the different theories against each other. That's a classic Cointelpro-style tactic.
"I have heard much of the nefarious, and dangerous plan, and doctrines of the Illuminati, but never saw the Book until you were pleased to send it to me."
"It was not my intention to doubt that, the Doctrines of the Illuminati, and principles of Jacobinism had not spread in the United States. On the contrary, no one is more truly satisfied of this fact than I am."
You have this situation where things are objectively 'breaking down' and these days it seems like hardcore 'late capitalism' in an apocalyptic sense. A lot of people are pointing fingers, a new political party controls the country and a lot of people are acting really shady. Meanwhile behind all this horrorshow the Federal Reserve System keeps handing out staggering piles of money to the elite in new and interesting ways.
You've got a whole bunch of factions working an establishment system that needs to traffic in blame somehow and you've definitely got a very powerful and expanding 'homeland security state' system surviving the Bush-Obama transition with hardly a dent.
So paranoia itself becomes commidified, and the establishment can gatekeep over the angry 'fringes' and the increasingly turbulent mainstream, by trafficking in paranoia! Glenn Beck can play at the great ACORN conspiracy, Michele Bachmann can get all her figures wrong when criticizing the vast global warming regulatory bandwagon, all of this paranoid rhetoric resonates because some parts of it are definitely true.
But everyone gets overly serious, and badly bunkered and divided, leaving a lot of decent people behind. That's just where the corrupt elite needs all these critics to be at. One step down from this is 'concern trolling,' a sort of false flag tactic to instill paranoia through nitpicking and selling anxiety. [i.e. when the Washington establishment tells critical upstarts to STFU, for example.]
The terrible thing is that a lot of people who fight with each other on Internet threads would probably have an OK time with their opponents, drinking and bitching about stuff and finding some things in common.
Paranoia isn't just something sold around the underground anymore -- and perhaps it never was. The very 'official story' of many key events, like 9-11, Iraq, etc., are sold AS conspiracy theories. The paranoia is used as a political lever by the establishment side, with extreme seriousness.
I'll propose that the way out of this terrible situation is to have a better sense of humor about it, and try not to lose the forest for the 'trees' of the details. The New World Order is a joke! It is supposed to seem like a terrible, inevitable global authoritarian regime, but that very fear is just an illusion conjured up.
Relax and resist what's going on in this gloomy world -- and just maybe beat the game by satirizing the Paranoid Style!
[With regards to Illuminati at the beginning of American history, this website is one of very few to expose George Washington's letters about the Illuminati!!!! Which is so awesome I am shocked it has been so overlooked.]
And now for something completely different :-D
The Paranoid Style in American Politics
By Richard Hofstadter†
Harper’s Magazine, November 1964, pp. 77-86.
It had been around a long time before the Radical Right discovered it—and its targets have ranged from “the international bankers” to Masons, Jesuits, and munitions makers.
American politics has often been an arena for angry minds. In recent years we have seen angry minds at work mainly among extreme right-wingers, who have now demonstrated in the Goldwater movement how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority. But behind this I believe there is a style of mind that is far from new and that is not necessarily right-wind. I call it the paranoid style simply because no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind. In using the expression “paranoid style” I am not speaking in a clinical sense, but borrowing a clinical term for other purposes. I have neither the competence nor the desire to classify any figures of the past or present as certifiable lunatics., In fact, the idea of the paranoid style as a force in politics would have little contemporary relevance or historical value if it were applied only to men with profoundly disturbed minds. It is the use of paranoid modes of expression by more or less normal people that makes the phenomenon significant.
Of course this term is pejorative, and it is meant to be; the paranoid style has a greater affinity for bad causes than good. But nothing really prevents a sound program or demand from being advocated in the paranoid style. Style has more to do with the way in which ideas are believed than with the truth or falsity of their content. I am interested here in getting at our political psychology through our political rhetoric. The paranoid style is an old and recurrent phenomenon in our public life which has been frequently linked with movements of suspicious discontent.
Here is Senator McCarthy, speaking in June 1951 about the parlous situation of the United States:
How can we account for our present situation unless we believe that men high in this government are concerting to deliver us to disaster? This must be the product of a great conspiracy on a scale so immense as to dwarf any previous such venture in the history of man. A conspiracy of infamy so black that, which it is finally exposed, its principals shall be forever deserving of the maledictions of all honest men.…What can be made of this unbroken series of decisions and acts contributing to the strategy of defeat? They cannot be attributed to incompetence.…The laws of probability would dictate that part of…[the] decisions would serve the country’s interest.
Now turn back fifty years to a manifesto signed in 1895 by a number of leaders of the Populist party:
As early as 1865-66 a conspiracy was entered into between the gold gamblers of Europe and America.…For nearly thirty years these conspirators have kept the people quarreling over less important matters while they have pursued with unrelenting zeal their one central purpose.…Every device of treachery, every resource of statecraft, and every artifice known to the secret cabals of the international gold ring are being used to deal a blow to the prosperity of the people and the financial and commercial independence of the country.
Next, a Texas newspaper article of 1855:
…It is a notorious fact that the Monarchs of Europe and the Pope of Rome are at this very moment plotting our destruction and threatening the extinction of our political, civil, and religious institutions. We have the best reasons for believing that corruption has found its way into our Executive Chamber, and that our Executive head is tainted with the infectious venom of Catholicism.…The Pope has recently sent his ambassador of state to this country on a secret commission, the effect of which is an extraordinary boldness of the Catholic church throughout the United States.…These minions of the Pope are boldly insulting our Senators; reprimanding our Statesmen; propagating the adulterous union of Church and State; abusing with foul calumny all governments but Catholic, and spewing out the bitterest execrations on all Protestantism. The Catholics in the United States receive from abroad more than $200,000 annually for the propagation of their creed. Add to this the vast revenues collected here.…
These quotations give the keynote of the style. In the history of the United States one find it, for example, in the anti-Masonic movement, the nativist and anti-Catholic movement, in certain spokesmen of abolitionism who regarded the United States as being in the grip of a slaveholders’ conspiracy, in many alarmists about the Mormons, in some Greenback and Populist writers who constructed a great conspiracy of international bankers, in the exposure of a munitions makers’ conspiracy of World War I, in the popular left-wing press, in the contemporary American right wing, and on both sides of the race controversy today, among White Citizens’ Councils and Black Muslims. I do not propose to try to trace the variations of the paranoid style that can be found in all these movements, but will confine myself to a few leading episodes in our past history in which the style emerged in full and archetypal splendor.
Illuminism and Masonry
I begin with a particularly revealing episode—the panic that broke out in some quarters at the end of the eighteenth century over the allegedly subversive activities of the Bavarian Illuminati. This panic was a part of the general reaction to the French Revolution. In the United States it was heightened by the response of certain men, mostly in New England and among the established clergy, to the rise of Jeffersonian democracy. Illuminism had been started in 1776 by Adam Weishaupt, a professor of law at the University of Ingolstadt. Its teachings today seem to be no more than another version of Enlightenment rationalism, spiced with the anticlerical atmosphere of eighteenth-century Bavaria. It was a somewhat naïve and utopian movement which aspired ultimately to bring the human race under the rules of reason. Its humanitarian rationalism appears to have acquired a fairly wide influence in Masonic lodges.
Americans first learned of Illumism in 1797, from a volume published in Edinburgh (later reprinted in New York) under the title, Proofs of a Conspiracy Against All the Religions and Governments of Europe, Carried on in the Secret Meetings of Free Masons, Illuminati, and Reading Societies. Its author was a well-known Scottish scientist, John Robison, who had himself been a somewhat casual adherent of Masonry in Britain, but whose imagination had been inflamed by what he considered to be the far less innocent Masonic movement on the Continent. Robison seems to have made his work as factual as he could, but when he came to estimating the moral character and the political influence of Illuminism, he made the characteristic paranoid leap into fantasy. The association, he thought, was formed “for the express purpose of rooting out all religious establishments, and overturning all the existing governments of europe.” It had become “one great and wicked project fermenting and working all over Europe.” And to it he attributed a central role in bringing about the French Revolution. He saw it as a libertine, anti-Christian movement, given to the corruption of women, the cultivation of sensual pleasures, and the violation of property rights. Its members had plans for making a tea that caused abortion—a secret substance that “blinds or kills when spurted in the face,” and a device that sounds like a stench bomb—a “method for filling a bedchamber with pestilential vapours.”
These notions were quick to make themselves felt in America. In May 1798, a minister of the Massachusetts Congregational establishment in Boston, Jedidiah Morse, delivered a timely sermon to the young country, which was then sharply divided between Jeffersonians and Federalists, Francophiles and Anglomen. Having read Robison, Morse was convinced of a Jacobinical plot touched off by Illuminism, and that the country should be rallied to defend itself. His warnings were heeded throughout New England wherever Federalists brooded about the rising tide of religious infidelity or Jeffersonian democracy. Timothy Dwight, the president of Yale, followed Morse’s sermon with a Fourth-of-July discourse on The Duty of Americans in the Present Crisis, in which he held forth against the Antichrist in his own glowing rhetoric. Soon the pulpits of New England were ringing with denunciations of the Illuminati, as though the country were swarming with them.
The anti-Masonic movement of the late 1820s and the 1830s took up and extended the obsession with conspiracy. At first, this movement may seem to be no more than an extension or repetition of the anti-Masonic theme sounded in the outcry against the Bavarian Illuminati. But whereas the panic of the 1790s was confined mainly to New England and linked to an ultraconservative point of view, the later anti-Masonic movement affected many parts of the northern United States, and was intimately linked with popular democracy and rural egalitarianism. Although anti-Masonry happened to be anti-Jacksonian (Jackson was a Mason), it manifested the same animus against the closure of opportunity for the common man and against aristocratic institutions that one finds in the Jacksonian crusade against the Bank of the United States.
The anti-Masonic movement was a product not merely of natural enthusiasm but also of the vicissitudes of party politics. It was joined and used by a great many men who did not fully share its original anti-Masonic feelings. It attracted the support of several reputable statement who had only mild sympathy with its fundamental bias, but who as politicians could not afford to ignore it. Still, it was a folk movement of considerable power, and the rural enthusiasts who provided its real impetus believed in it wholeheartedly.
As a secret society, Masonry was considered to be a standing conspiracy against republican government. It was held to be particularly liable to treason—for example, Aaron Burr’s famous conspiracy was alleged to have been conducted by Masons. Masonry was accused of constituting a separate system of loyalty, a separate imperium within the framework of federal and state governments, which was inconsistent with loyalty to them. Quite plausibly it was argued that the Masons had set up a jurisdiction of their own, with their own obligations and punishments, liable to enforcement even by the penalty of death. So basic was the conflict felt to be between secrecy and democracy that other, more innocent societies such as Phi Beta Kappa came under attack.
Since Masons were pledged to come to each other’s aid under circumstances of distress, and to extend fraternal indulgence at all times, is was held that the order nullified the enforcement of regular law. Masonic constables, sheriffs, juries, and judges must all be in league with Masonic criminals and fugitives. The press was believed to have been so “muzzled” by Masonic editors and proprietors that news of Masonic malfeasance could be suppressed. At a moment when almost every alleged citadel of privilege in America was under democratic assault, Masonry was attacked as a fraternity of the privileged, closing business opportunities and nearly monopolizing political offices.
Certain elements of truth and reality there may have been in these views of Masonry. What must be emphasized here, however, is the apocalyptic and absolutistic framework in which this hostility was commonly expressed. Anti-Masons were not content simply to say that secret societies were rather a bad idea. The author of the standard exposition of anti-Masonry declared that Freemasonry was “not only the most abominable but also the most dangerous institution that ever was imposed on man.…It may truly be said to be hell’s master piece.”
The Jesuit Threat
Fear of a Masonic plot had hardly been quieted when the rumors arose of a Catholic plot against American values. One meets here again the same frame of mind, but a different villain. The anti-Catholic movement converged with a growing nativism, and while they were not identical, together they cut such a wide swath in American life that they were bound to embrace many moderates to whom the paranoid style, in its full glory, did not appeal. Moreover, we need not dismiss out of hand as totally parochial or mean-spirited the desire of Yankee Americans to maintain an ethnically and religiously homogeneous society nor the particular Protestant commitments to individualism and freedom that were brought into play. But the movement had a large paranoid infusion, and the most influential anti-Catholic militants certainly had a strong affinity for the paranoid style.
Two books which appeared in 1835 described the new danger to the ?American way of life and may be taken as expressions of the anti-Catholic mentality. One, Foreign Conspiracies against the Liberties of the United States, was from the hand of the celebrated painter and inventor of the telegraph, S.F.B. Morse. “A conspiracy exists,” Morse proclaimed , and “its plans are already in operation…we are attacked in a vulnerable quarter which cannot be defended by our ships, our forts, or our armies.” The main source of the conspiracy Morse found in Metternich’s government: “Austria is now acting in this country. She has devised a grand scheme. She has organized a great plan for doing something here.…She has her Jesuit missionaries traveling through the land; she has supplied them with money, and has furnished a fountain for a regular supply.” Were the plot successful, Morse said, some scion of the House of Hapsburg would soon be installed as Emperor of the United States.
“It is an ascertained fact,” wrote another Protestant militant,
that Jesuits are prowling about all parts of the United States in every possible disguise, expressly to ascertain the advantageous situations and modes to disseminate Popery. A minister of the Gospel from Ohio has informed us that he discovered one carrying on his devices in his congregation; and he says that the western country swarms with them under the name of puppet show men, dancing masters, music teachers, peddlers of images and ornaments, barrel organ players, and similar practitioners.
Lyman Beecher, the elder of a famous family and the father of Harriet Beecher Stowe, wrote in the same year his Plea for the West, in which he considered the possibility that the Christian millennium might come in the American states. Everything depended, in his judgment, upon what influences dominated the great West, where the future of the country lay. There Protestantism was engaged in a life-or-death struggle with Catholicism. “Whatever we do, it must be done quickly.…” A great tide of immigration, hostile to free institutions, was sweeping in upon the country, subsidized and sent by “the potentates of Europe,” multiplying tumult and violence, filling jails, crowding poorhouses, quadrupling taxation, and sending increasing thousands of voters to “lay their inexperienced hand upon the helm of our power.”
The Paranoid Style in Action
The John Birch Society is attempting to suppress a television series about the United Nations by means of a mass letter-writing campaign to the sponsor,…The Xerox Corporation. The corporation, however, intends to go ahead with the programs.…
The July issue of the John Birch Society Bulletin…said an “avalanche of mail ought to convince them of the unwisdom of their proposed action—just as United Air Lines was persuaded to back down and take the U.N. insignia off their planes.” (A United Air Lines spokesman confirmed that the U.N. emblem was removed from its planes, following “considerable public reaction against it.”)
Birch official John Rousselot said, ”We hate to see a corporation of this country promote the U.N. when we know that it is an instrument of the Soviet Communist conspiracy.”
—San Francisco Chronicle, July 31, 1964
Anti-Catholicism has always been the pornography of the Puritan. Whereas the anti-Masons had envisaged drinking bouts and had entertained themselves with sado-masochistic fantasies about the actual enforcement of grisly Masonic oaths,* the anti-Catholics invented an immense lore about libertine priests, the confessional as an opportunity for seduction, licentious convents and monasteries. Probably the most widely read contemporary book in the United States before Uncle Tom’s Cabinwas a work supposedly written by one Maria Monk, entitled Awful Disclosures, which appeared in 1836. The author, who purported to have escaped from the Hotel Dieu nunnery in Montreal after five years there as novice and nun, reported her convent life in elaborate and circumstantial detail. She reported having been told by the Mother Superior that she must “obey the priests in all things”; to her “utter astonishment and horror,” she soon found what the nature of such obedience was. Infants born of convent liaisons were baptized and then killed, she said, so that they might ascend at once to heaven. Her book, hotly attacked and defended , continued to be read and believed even after her mother gave testimony that Maria had been somewhat addled ever since childhood after she had rammed a pencil into her head. Maria died in prison in 1849, after having been arrested in a brothel as a pickpocket.
Anti-Catholicism, like anti-Masonry, mixed its fortunes with American party politics, and it became an enduring factor in American politics. The American Protective Association of the 1890s revived it with ideological variations more suitable to the times—the depression of 1893, for example, was alleged to be an international creation of the Catholics who began it by starting a run on the banks. Some spokesmen of the movement circulated a bogus encyclical attributed to Leo XIII instructing American Catholics on a certain date in 1893 to exterminate all heretics, and a great many anti-Catholics daily expected a nationwide uprising. The myth of an impending Catholic war of mutilation and extermination of heretics persisted into the twentieth century.
Why They Feel Dispossessed
If, after our historically discontinuous examples of the paranoid style, we now take the long jump to the contemporary right wing, we find some rather important differences from the nineteenth-century movements. The spokesmen of those earlier movements felt that they stood for causes and personal types that were still in possession of their country—that they were fending off threats to a still established way of life. But the modern right wing, as Daniel Bell has put it, feels dispossessed: America has been largely taken away from them and their kind, though they are determined to try to repossess it and to prevent the final destructive act of subversion. The old American virtues have already been eaten away by cosmopolitans and intellectuals; the old competitive capitalism has been gradually undermined by socialistic and communistic schemers; the old national security and independence have been destroyed by treasonous plots, having as their most powerful agents not merely outsiders and foreigners as of old but major statesmen who are at the very centers of American power. Their predecessors had discovered conspiracies; the modern radical right finds conspiracy to be betrayal from on high.
Important changes may also be traced to the effects of the mass media. The villains of the modern right are much more vivid than those of their paranoid predecessors, much better known to the public; the literature of the paranoid style is by the same token richer and more circumstantial in personal description and personal invective. For the vaguely delineated villains of the anti-Masons, for the obscure and disguised Jesuit agents, the little-known papal delegates of the anti-Catholics, for the shadowy international bankers of the monetary conspiracies, we may now substitute eminent public figures like Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower., secretaries of State like Marshall, Acheson, and Dulles, Justices of the Supreme Court like Frankfurter and Warren, and the whole battery of lesser but still famous and vivid alleged conspirators headed by Alger Hiss.
Events since 1939 have given the contemporary right-wing paranoid a vast theatre for his imagination, full of rich and proliferating detail, replete with realistic cues and undeniable proofs of the validity of his suspicions. The theatre of action is now the entire world, and he can draw not only on the events of World War II, but also on those of the Korean War and the Cold War. Any historian of warfare knows it is in good part a comedy of errors and a museum of incompetence; but if for every error and every act of incompetence one can substitute an act of treason, many points of fascinating interpretation are open to the paranoid imagination. In the end, the real mystery, for one who reads the primary works of paranoid scholarship, is not how the United States has been brought to its present dangerous position but how it has managed to survive at all.
The basic elements of contemporary right-wing thought can be reduced to three: First, there has been the now-familiar sustained conspiracy, running over more than a generation, and reaching its climax in Roosevelt’s New Deal, to undermine free capitalism, to bring the economy under the direction of the federal government, and to pave the way for socialism or communism. A great many right-wingers would agree with Frank Chodorov, the author of The Income Tax: The Root of All Evil, that this campaign began with the passage of the income-tax amendment to the Constitution in 1913.
The second contention is that top government officialdom has been so infiltrated by Communists that American policy, at least since the days leading up to Pearl Harbor, has been dominated by men who were shrewdly and consistently selling out American national interests.
Finally, the country is infused with a network of Communist agents, just as in the old days it was infiltrated by Jesuit agents, so that the whole apparatus of education, religion, the press, and the mass media is engaged in a common effort to paralyze the resistance of loyal Americans.
Perhaps the most representative document of the McCarthyist phase was a long indictment of Secretary of State George C. Marshall, delivered in 1951 in the Senate by senator McCarthy, and later published in a somewhat different form. McCarthy pictured Marshall was the focal figure in a betrayal of American interests stretching in time from the strategic plans for World War II to the formulation of the Marshall Plan. Marshal was associated with practically every American failure or defeat, McCarthy insisted, and none of this was either accident or incompetence. There was a “baffling pattern” of Marshall’s interventions in the war, which always conduced to the well-being of the Kremlin. The sharp decline in America’s relative strength from 1945 to 1951 did not “just happen”; it was “brought about, step by step, by will and intention,” the consequence not of mistakes but of a treasonous conspiracy, “a conspiracy on a scale so immense as to dwarf any previous such venture in the history of man.”
Today, the mantle of McCarthy has fallen on a retired candy manufacturer, Robert H. Welch, Jr., who is less strategically placed and has a much smaller but better organized following than the Senator. A few years ago Welch proclaimed that “Communist influences are now in almost complete control of our government”—note the care and scrupulousness of that “almost.” He has offered a full scale interpretation of our recent history n which Communists figure at every turn: They started a run on American banks in 1933 that forced their closure; they contrived the recognition of the Soviet Union by the United States in the same year, just in time to save the Soviets from economic collapse; they have stirred up the fuss over segregation in the South; they have taken over the Supreme Court and made it “one of the most important agencies of Communism.”
Close attention to history wins for Mr. Welch an insight into affairs that is given to few of us. “For many reasons and after a lot of study,” he wrote some years ago, “I personally believe [John Foster] Dulles to be a Communist agent.” The job of Professor Arthur F. Burns as head of Eisenhower’s Council of Economic Advisors was “merely a cover-up for Burns’s liaison work between Eisenhower and some of his Communist bosses.” Eisenhower’s brother Milton was “actually [his] superior and boss within the Communist party.” As for Eisenhower himself, Welch characterized him, in words that have made the candy manufacturer famous, as “a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy”—a conclusion, he added, “based on an accumulation of detailed evidence so extensive and so palpable that it seems to put this conviction beyond any reasonable doubt.”
Emulating the Enemy
The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms—he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization. He constantly lives at a turning point. Like religious millenialists he expresses the anxiety of those who are living through the last days and he is sometimes disposed to set a date fort the apocalypse. (“Time is running out,” said Welch in 1951. “Evidence is piling up on many sides and from many sources that October 1952 is the fatal month when Stalin will attack.”)
As a member of the avant-garde who is capable of perceiving the conspiracy before it is fully obvious to an as yet unaroused public, the paranoid is a militant leader. He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated—if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began, and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes.
The enemy is clearly delineated: he is a perfect model of malice, a kind of amoral superman—sinister, ubiquitous, powerful, cruel, sensual, luxury-loving. Unlike the rest of us, the enemy is not caught in the toils of the vast mechanism of history, himself a victim of his past, his desires, his limitations. He wills, indeed he manufactures, the mechanism of history, or tries to deflect the normal course of history in an evil way. He makes crises, starts runs on banks, causes depressions, manufactures disasters, and then enjoys and profits from the misery he has produced. The paranoid’s interpretation of history is distinctly personal: decisive events are not taken as part of the stream of history, but as the consequences of someone’s will. Very often the enemy is held to possess some especially effective source of power: he controls the press; he has unlimited funds; he has a new secret for influencing the mind (brainwashing); he has a special technique for seduction (the Catholic confessional).
It is hard to resist the conclusion that this enemy is on many counts the projection of the self; both the ideal and the unacceptable aspects of the self are attributed to him. The enemy may be the cosmopolitan intellectual, but the paranoid will outdo him in the apparatus of scholarship, even of pedantry. Secret organizations set up to combat secret organizations give the same flattery. The Ku Klux Klan imitated Catholicism to the point of donning priestly vestments, developing an elaborate ritual and an equally elaborate hierarchy. The John Birch Society emulates Communist cells and quasi-secret operation through “front” groups, and preaches a ruthless prosecution of the ideological war along lines very similar to those it finds in the Communist enemy.* Spokesmen of the various fundamentalist anti-Communist “crusades” openly express their admiration for the dedication and discipline the Communist cause calls forth.
On the other hand, the sexual freedom often attributed to the enemy, his lack of moral inhibition, his possession of especially effective techniques for fulfilling his desires, give exponents of the paranoid style an opportunity to project and express unacknowledgeable aspects of their own psychological concerns. Catholics and Mormons—later, Negroes and Jews—have lent themselves to a preoccupation with illicit sex. Very often the fantasies of true believers reveal strong sadomasochistic outlets, vividly expressed, for example, in the delight of anti-Masons with the cruelty of Masonic punishments.
Renegades and Pedants
A special significance attaches to the figure of the renegade from the enemy cause. The anti-Masonic movement seemed at times to be the creation of ex-Masons; certainly the highest significance was attributed to their revelations, and every word they said was believed. Anti-Catholicism used the runaway nun and the apostate priest; the place of ex-Communists in the avant-garde anti-Communist movements of our time is well known. In some part, the special authority accorded the renegade derives from the obsession with secrecy so characteristics of such movements: the renegade is the man or woman who has been in the Arcanum, and brings forth with him or her the final verification of suspicions which might otherwise have been doubted by a skeptical world. But I think there is a deeper eschatological significance that attaches to the person of the renegade: in the spiritual wrestling match between good and evil which is the paranoid’s archetypal model of the world, the renegade is living proof that all the conversions are not made by the wrong side. He brings with him the promise of redemption and victory.
A final characteristic of the paranoid style is related to the quality of its pedantry. One of the impressive things about paranoid literature is the contrast between its fantasied conclusions and the almost touching concern with factuality it invariably shows. It produces heroic strivings for evidence to prove that the unbelievable is the only thing that can be believed. Of course, there are highbrow, lowbrow, and middlebrow paranoids, as there are likely to be in any political tendency. But respectable paranoid literature not only starts from certain moral commitments that can indeed be justified but also carefully and all but obsessively accumulates :evidence.” The difference between this “evidence” and that commonly employed by others is that it seems less a means of entering into normal political controversy than a means of warding off the profane intrusion of the secular political world. The paranoid seems to have little expectation of actually convincing a hostile world, but he can accumulate evidence in order to protect his cherished convictions from it.
Paranoid writing begins with certain broad defensible judgments. There was something to be said for the anti-Masons. After all, a secret society composed of influential men bound by special obligations could conceivable pose some kind of threat to the civil order in which they were suspended. There was also something to be said for the Protestant principles of individuality and freedom, as well as for the nativist desire to develop in North America a homogeneous civilization. Again, in our time an actual laxity in security allowed some Communists to find a place in governmental circles, and innumerable decisions of World War II and the Cold War could be faulted.
The higher paranoid scholarship is nothing if not coherent—in fact the paranoid mind is far more coherent than the real world. It is nothing if not scholarly in technique. McCarthy’s 96-page pamphlet, McCarthyism, contains no less than 313 footnote references, and Mr. Welch’s incredible assault on Eisenhower, The Politician, has one hundred pages of bibliography and notes. The entire right-wing movement of our time is a parade of experts, study groups, monographs, footnotes, and bibliographies. Sometimes the right-wing striving for scholarly depth and an inclusive world view has startling consequences: Mr. Welch, for example, has charged that the popularity of Arnold Toynbee’s historical work is the consequence of a plot on the part of Fabians, “Labour party bosses in England,” and various members of the Anglo-American “liberal establishment” to overshadow the much more truthful and illuminating work of Oswald Spengler.
The Double Sufferer
The paranoid style is not confined to our own country and time; it is an international phenomenon. Studying the millennial sects of Europe from the eleventh to the sixteenth century, Norman Cohn believed he found a persistent psychic complex that corresponds broadly with what I have been considering—a style made up of certain preoccupations and fantasies: “the megalomaniac view of oneself as the Elect, wholly good, abominably persecuted, yet assured of ultimate triumph; the attribution of gigantic and demonic powers to the adversary; the refusal to accept the ineluctable limitations and imperfections of human existence, such as transience, dissention, conflict, fallibility whether intellectual or moral; the obsession with inerrable prophecies…systematized misinterpretations, always gross and often grotesque.”
This glimpse across a long span of time emboldens me to make the conjecture—it is no more than that—that a mentality disposed to see the world in this way may be a persistent psychic phenomenon, more or less constantly affecting a modest minority of the population. But certain religious traditions, certain social structures and national inheritances, certain historical catastrophes or frustrations may be conducive to the release of such psychic energies, and to situations in which they can more readily be built into mass movements or political parties. In American experience ethnic and religious conflict have plainly been a major focus for militant and suspicious minds of this sort, but class conflicts also can mobilize such energies. Perhaps the central situation conducive to the diffusion of the paranoid tendency is a confrontation of opposed interests which are (or are felt to be) totally irreconcilable, and thus by nature not susceptible to the normal political processes of bargain and compromise. The situation becomes worse when the representatives of a particular social interest—perhaps because of the very unrealistic and unrealizable nature of its demands—are shut out of the political process. Having no access to political bargaining or the making of decisions, they find their original conception that the world of power is sinister and malicious fully confirmed. They see only the consequences of power—and this through distorting lenses—and have no chance to observe its actual machinery. A distinguished historian has said that one of the most valuable things about history is that it teaches us how things do not happen. It is precisely this kind of awareness that the paranoid fails to develop. He has a special resistance of his own, of course, to developing such awareness, but circumstances often deprive him of exposure to events that might enlighten him—and in any case he resists enlightenment.
We are all sufferers from history, but the paranoid is a double sufferer, since he is afflicted not only by the real world, with the rest of us, but by his fantasies as well.
†Richard Hofstadter is DeWitt Clinton Professor of American History at Columbia University. His latest book, “Anti-intellectualism in American Life,” was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction earlier this year. This essay is adapted from the Herbert Spencer Lecture delivered at Oxford University in November 1963.
* Many anti-Masons had been fascinated by the penalties involved if Masons failed to live up to their obligations. My own favorite is the oath attributed to a royal archmason who invited “having my skull smote off and my brains exposed to the scorching rays of the sun.”
* In his recent book, How to Win an Election, Stephen C. Shadegg cites a statement attributed to Mao Tse-tung: “Give me just two or three men in a village and I will take the village.” Shadegg comments: “ In the Goldwater campaigns of 1952 and 1958 and in all other campaigns where I have served as consultant I have followed the advice of Mao Tse-tung.” “I would suggest,” writes senator Goldwater in Why Not Victory? “that we analyze and copy the strategy of the enemy; theirs has worked and ours has not.
I have always believed, and argued, that a true understanding of the Kennedy assassination will lead not to `a few bad people,’ but to the institutional and parapolitical arrangements which constitute the way we are systematically governed.
We have to get a chunk of this! Peter Dale Scott, a Berkeley professor, is one of the classic scholars of suspicious American political conspiracies, the JFK assassination, the ongoing fake war on drugs, and other things that good kids keep their fuckin' mouths shut about.
I was impressed by the latest from ol' Scott, and it also led me around to look at L. Fletcher Prouty's"The Secret Team, The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World" which you can read for free there. Following here is an excerpt of how the Global Dominance Mindset works - and how ugly and weird events like 9/11 and the JFK assassination mark episodes of turmoil among this stratum of the American establishment.
9/11, Deep Events, and the Global Dominance Mindset in American Society
The continuity of past deep events is part of the problem facing those who wish to understand and correct what underlies them. For the mainstream U.S. media (as we now clearly see them) have become so implicated in past protective lies about Korea, Tonkin Gulf, and the JFK assassination that they, as well as the government, have now a demonstrated interest in preventing the truth about any of these events from coming out.
This means that the current threat to constitutional rights does not derive from the deep state alone. As I have written elsewhere, the problem is a global dominance mindset that prevails not only inside the Washington Beltway but also in the mainstream media and even in the universities, one which has come to accept recent inroads on constitutional liberties, and stigmatizes, or at least responds with silence to, those who are alarmed by them. Just as acceptance of bureaucratic groupthink is a necessary condition for advancement within the state, so acceptance of this mindset’s notions of decorum has increasingly become a condition for participation in mainstream public life.
In saying this, I mean something more narrow than the pervasive "business-defined consensus" which Gabriel Kolko once asserted was "a central reality," underlying how "a ruling class makes its policies operate." I would agree that, at least since the Reagan era, the mindset I am describing has become more and more clearly identified with the mentality of an overworld determined to protect its privileges and even enlarge them at the expense of the rest of society.
But the mindset I mean is narrower in focus – originally concerned with defending and now increasingly concerned with enlarging America’s dominance in the world, in an era of finite and increasingly scarcer resources. And it is also, increasingly, less a consensus than an arena of serious division and debate.
It is clear that the mindset is not monolithic. There have been recurring notable dissents within it, such as when James Risen and Eric Lichtblau revealed in the New York Times that the Bush administration, in defiance of the FISA Act, was engaged in warrantless electronic surveillance of telephone calls inside the United States.47 But on other issues, notably the Iraq War, the Timeshas conspicuously failed to play the judicious critical role that it did with respect to the U.S. war in Vietnam. In general, as Kristina Borjesson reports in her devastating book, "Investigative reporting is dwindling…because it is expensive, attracts lawsuits, and can be hostile to the corporate interests and/or government connections of a news division’s parent company." And as to critical thinking about 9/11, as before about the Kennedy assassination, the Post has predictably gone out of its way to depict the 9/11 truth movement as a "cacophonous and free-range…bunch of conspiracists."
According to a survey of Lexis Nexis, the New York Times did not report Attorney General Gonzalez’ newsworthy claim that "There is no expressed grant of habeas corpus in the Constitution." (The Washington Post reported it, without comment, in a story of 197 words.) And on the question of torture even a liberal Harvard University professor, Michael Ignatieff, has argued in a University Press book from an even-handed starting point – "A democracy is committed to both the security of the majority and the rights of the individual" -- to an alarming defense of "coercive questioning."
In this state of affairs, I shall argue, the Internet provides an opportunity for opposition, of potentially immense political importance.
Deep Events as Intrigues within the Global Dominance Consensus
Many critics of American foreign policy on the left tend to stress its substantial coherence over time, from the War-Peace Studies for post-war planning of the Council on Foreign Relations in the 1940s, to Defense Secretary Charles Wilson’s plans in the 1950s for a "permanent war economy," to Clinton’s declaration to the United Nations in 1993 that the U.S. will act "multilaterally when possible, but unilaterally when necessary."
This view of America’s policies has persuaded some, notably Alexander Cockburn, to lament the displacement of coherent Marxist analysis by the "fundamental idiocy" and "foolishness" of "9/11 conspiracism." But it is quite possible to acknowledge both that there are ongoing continuities in American policy and also important, hidden, and recurring internal divisions, which have given rise to America’s structural deep events. These events have always involved friction between Wall Street and the Council on Foreign Relations, on the one hand, and the increasingly powerful oil- and military-dominated economic centers of the Midwest and the Texas Sunbelt on the other.
At the time that General MacArthur, drawing on his Midwest and Texas support, threatened to challenge Truman and the State Department, the opposition was seen as one between the traditional Europe-Firsters of the Northeast and new-wealth Asia-Firsters. In the 1952 election, the foreign policy debate was between Democratic "containment" and Republican "rollback." Bruce Cumings, following Franz Schurmann, wrote later of the split, even within the CIA, between "Wall Street internationalism" on the one hand and "cowboy-style expansionism" on the other.
Many have followed Michael Klare in defining the conflict as one, even within the Council on Foreign Relations, between "traders" and warrior "Prussians." Since the rise to eminence of the so-called "Vulcans" – notably Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and Paul Wolfowitz, backed by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) – the struggle has frequently been described as a struggle between the multilateralists of the status quo and the unilateralists seeking indisputable American hegemony.
Underlying every one of the deep events I have mentioned, and others such as the U-2 incident, can be seen this contest between traderly (multilateralist) and warriorly (unilateralist) approaches to the maintenance of U.S. global dominance. For decades the warriorly faction was clearly a minority; but it was also an activist and well-funded minority, in marked contrast to the relatively passive and disorganized traderly majority. Hence the warriorly preference for war, thanks to ample funding from the military-industrial complex and also to a series of deep events, was able time after time to prevail.
The 1970s can be seen as a turning-point, when a minority CFR faction, led by Paul Nitze, united with corporate executives from the military-industrial complex like David Packard and pro-Zionist future neocons like Richard Perle to forge a succession of militant political coalitions, such as the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD). Cheney and Rumsfeld, then in the Ford White House, participated in this onslaught on the multilateral foreign policy of Henry Kissinger. In the late 1990s Cheney and Rumsfeld, even while secretly refining the COG provisions put into force on 9/11, also participated openly in the successor organization to the CPD, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).
From his office interfacing between CIA and the U.S. Air Force, Col. L. Fletcher Prouty deduced that there was a single Secret Team, within the CIA but not confined to it, responsible for not only the Tonkin Gulf incidents (timed to enable already planned military action against North Vietnam) but other deep events, such as the U-2 incident of 1960 (which in Prouty’s opinion was planned and timed to frustrate the projected summit conference between Eisenhower and Khrushchev) and even the assassination of President Kennedy (after which the Secret Team "moved to take over the whole direction of the war and to dominate the activity of the United States of America").
In language applicable to both Korea in 1950 and Tonkin Gulf in 1964, Prouty argued that CIA actions followed a pattern of actions which "went completely out of control in Southeast Asia:"
The clandestine operator… prepares the stage by launching a very minor and very secret, provocative attack of a kind that is bound to bring open reprisal. These secret attacks, which may have been made by third parties or by stateless mercenaries whose materials were supplied secretly by the CIA, will undoubtedly create reaction which in turn is observed in the United States…. It is not a new game. [but] it was raised to a high state of art under Walt Rostow and McGeorge Bundy against North Vietnam, to set the pattern for the Gulf of Tonkin attacks.
I mention Prouty’s thesis here in order to record my partial dissent from it. In my view his notion of a "team" localizes what I call the global dominance mindset too narrowly in a restricted group who are not only like-minded but in conspiratorial communication over a long term. He exhibits the kind of conspiratorialist mentality once criticized by G. William Domhoff:
We all have a tremendous tendency to want to get caught up in believing that there's some secret evil cause for all of the obvious ills of the world …. [Conspiracy theories] encourage a belief that if we get rid of a few bad people, everything will be well in the world.
My own position is still that which I articulated years ago in response to Domhoff:
I have always believed, and argued, that a true understanding of the Kennedy assassination will lead not to `a few bad people,’ but to the institutional and parapolitical arrangements which constitute the way we are systematically governed.
Quoting what I had written, Michael Parenti added, "In sum, national security state conspiracies [or what I would call deep events] are components of our political structure, not deviations from it."
The outcome of the deep events I have mentioned so far has been chiefly a series of victories for the warriors. But there have been other structural deep events, notably Watergate in 1972-74 and Iran-Contra in 1986-87, which can be interpreted, if not as victories for the traders, at least as temporary setbacks for the warriors. In The Road to 9/11 I have tried to show that Cheney and Rumsfeld, while in the Ford White House, bitterly resented the setback represented by the post-Watergate reforms, and immediately set in motion a series of moves to reverse them. I argue there that the climax of these moves was the imposition after 9/11 of their long-planned provisions for COG, formulated under their supervision since the early 1980s.
Thus since World War Two the warriorly position, initially that of a marginal but conspiratorial minority, has moved since the Reagan and Bush presidencies into a more and more central position. This is well symbolized by the rise in influence since 1981 of the Council for National Policy, originally funded by Texas oil billionaire Nelson Bunker Hunt and explicitly designed to offset the influence of the Council on Foreign Relations. Comparing the 1950s with the present decade, it is striking how much the status of the State Department has declined vis-à-vis the Pentagon. With the accelerated militarization of the U.S. economy, the question arises whether a more traderly foreign policy can ever again prevail.
And since 9/11, especially with the institution of unknown COG procedures, some have talked of the overall subversion of democracy, by a new Imperial Presidency in the Bush White House.
Well that's all for now, kids. Have fun in the endless rabbit holes of Deep Politics and Cryptocracies!