Monday, April 25, 2011

Pro Choice

Mendax News Service

East Virginia today became the latest state to legalize the production, sale, advertising, transportation and ingestion of all drugs. As she signed the bill into law, Governor Pecunia DeNero said that she is personally opposed to recreational use of drugs, but didn't want to force her beliefs on others if they think it's right.  At the signing ceremony, the Governor said that she thought the use of drugs should be "safe, legal and rare," but is pro-choice on the matter.

Anthony Comstock, the chief opponent of the bill, predicted that it will lead to widespread use of drugs and profiteering by drug companies along with increased crime and mental health problems. The bill's supporters said that they thought it would make safe drugs legally available and eliminate the unlicensed, back alley drug dealers. Supporters cited deaths from botched drug refining and violence brought on by turf wars over drug sales, claiming that these plagues will be eliminated or reduced by legalization. One supporter, Representative Tim Leery said, "Make no mistake, as long as people want drug use there will be drug use, but this gives the state control over it."

The state Department of Education is planning on introducing Drug Education courses, starting in kindergarten to make students aware of the dangers of using alcohol and addictive drugs. Opponents fret that telling children about drugs and their effects will only cause them to experiment with them. Educators dismiss these concerns as having no precedent or merit. Funding for the courses will not come from the state budget, but will come from grants provided by the drug companies and liquor distilleries. Some tobacco companies have suggested a similar program of tobacco education to warn of the dangers of smoking and chewing.

The federal government has warned that it does not recognize the state's power to legalize drugs and will prosecute residents under federal statutes. Representative Peggy Hames, the bill's author, says that her bill recognizes a person's right to control his or her own body, but federal Justice Department officials claim that no such right exists. Hames counters that the Constitution delegates no power to the federal government to regulate intrastate drugs. Justice Department Spokesman Louie Carroll stated that the Constitution "means just what we choose it to mean - neither more nor less."

Whatever the outcome with the feds, there are sure to be many more battles at the state level. Already there are proposals to require a parent's permission before anyone under 18 can purchase hallucinogenic drugs, with opponents arguing that, if enacted, the bill will force children to buy drugs on the black market. Supporters say that parents should be aware of what drugs their children are using, what kind and how often.
Many teaching professionals feel that it's best if parents are not included in a child's decision to experiment with drugs since many parents are fettered to old paradigms and outmoded ideas about health, morality, prudence and acceptability.

There are already rumblings about providing free drugs to children who will stay in school. It's an example of thinking outside the box, but educators say that if it keeps kids in school and out of trouble, it's worth considering.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Contagious Passivity

There was a story recently about a six-year-old girl being molested by a TSA stooge while the parents looked on "helplessly." This is a perfect example of what Edward S. Herman called "normalizing the unthinkable."
He says:

"Doing terrible things in an organized and systematic way rests on "normalization." This is the process whereby ugly, degrading, murderous, and unspeakable acts become routine and are accepted as "the way things are done."

Anybody living in the U.S. has to have noticed an acceleration of this trend. If these parents had been told five years ago that soon the TSA would be legally molesting children, they would probably have called you crazy. The unthinkable is rapidly becoming normalized and if you object, you're some kind of paranoid kook.

Americans might not be any more timid and sheep-like than other people, but they seem to accept any outrage if it's supposedly for their safety or to fight terrorism, or back in the old days; to fight Communism. Any bogeyman will do to justify asserting ever-increasing control over the land of the free and the home of the brave.

One of the ways - perhaps the primary way - in which this attitude is inculcated is through government schooling. Many people have written about the dangers of allowing  government to indoctrinate the youth. The first person I ever read that took up an intransigent position against government schooling was Hilaire Belloc. Belloc of course is long dead and when he was writing most of his readers probably thought he was seeing imaginary dangers. More recently I ran across arguments by Sheldon Richman, Marshall Fritz, Jacob Hornberger and others who argued for a separation of school and state. They have moved public opinion closer to seeing that putting government in charge of thought is a bad thing.

This seems much more important than fighting battles against the TSA, EPA, FDA, or any of the other evil and intrusive alphabet agencies. As long as the government is in control of forming the minds of the youth, fighting all these other battles is like trying to purify a stream downstream from a sewage dump. Get rid of the cause and the effect will go away. This does not mean that all people will be clear-thinking if we can just get rid of government control of schooling, but it will eliminate a disease-causing agent.

Walter Karp wrote an article for Harper's Magazine back in 1985 called Why Johnny Can't Think, that illustrates perfectly the problem with government schooling. The problem is not just with the schools, but also with the textbooks. Private schools and homeschooling are miles ahead of the Hitler Youth atmosphere of government schools, but the books are geared mainly to government customers. A friend told me that the first inkling he had that he'd been brainwashed was when he started reading about WW II armored engagements and found that most of the action was between Russia and Germany. He had not heard anything about the Russian front in school.

Teaching error is not the only problem with government control of schooling (schooling is not education and teachers are not "educators") and probably not the most important one. The government-run Day Prisons that are presented as schools induce a sort of gullibility and a contagious timidity in the inmates. After twelve years of being told to be quiet, stop chewing gum, stop running, no smoking, do this, don't do that; a student has about as much ability to think independently as an organ grinder's monkey. For all the blabber about thinking outside the box, that's the last thing that schools want in their students.

The outrages perpetrated by the TSA and other government agencies are bad, but they can be reversed at the stroke of a pen. The damage inflicted by the schools is probably in most cases irreversible.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Destroying The Mind

 A recent story about a Warden of a Chicago Day Prison prohibiting the inmates from bringing their lunches from home has people in an uproar. It is indeed evil and presumptuous to arrogate to yourself authority over other people's children, but this has been happening for years; why the outrage over this instance?

Children in the government-run day prisons are all now effectively wards of the state, with the parents being relegated to providing a place to sleep and some food and clothing. For years the parents have been thwarted in their efforts to determine what their children are taught. If the parents don't approve of sex education or the political slant of various courses, it's tough luck.

What is more important - what is put into the mind or what is put into the body? It is much easier to correct maladies of the body than of the mind. If someone is taught a demonstrable error - such as two plus two equals five - it is much easier to correct that than if they are taught something like the idea that people in the time of Columbus thought the earth was flat. They in fact did not think it was flat, but I was taught this as a child and I have no doubt they're still teaching children this nonsense. We were also taught that Juan Ponce de Leon was looking for the fountain of youth, which he wasn't. It is very hard to disabuse someone of something like this that "everybody knows." A more recurring example is probably that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation.

Government schools have probably never been about educating anybody since most people can't be educated anyway. I don't know that I've ever met an educated person, but if so, they have been few and far between.
Even back in the time of Marcus Aurelius, he could write: 
"From my grandfather Verus I learned good morals and the government of my temper.

From the reputation and remembrance of my father, modesty and a manly character.

From my mother, piety and beneficence, and abstinence, not only from evil deeds, but even from evil thoughts; and further, simplicity in my way of living, far removed from the habits of the rich.

From my great-grandfather, not to have frequented public schools, and to have had good teachers at home, and to know that on such things a man should spend liberally."

It appears as though the Emperor's concerns were weighted more toward intellectual matters than dietary.

Whenever I see the yellow paddy wagons disgorging the inmates from the day prisons, I cringe to think how difficult it will be for them to ever attain a grasp of reality.What is being fed them in the cafeteria is not nearly as pernicious as what is being fed into their minds.

Parents should fear those that can destroy the mind more than those who harm the body. The body is easier to repair and is of little value when operated by a diseased mind.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Blaise Pascal is known for many things, but probably one of the things he is best known for by the general population is his Wager. In its most distilled form, it says that if you are going to wager about the existence of God, it only makes sense to wager that he exists. If you wager that he doesn't exist and he does, you're in trouble.

This tool is applicable to everyday life in the most mundane things. When a politician tells you that he's going to abolish waste fraud and abuse, the prudent position would be to wager that he's lying. Why would a person seeking a position of power work to abolish the means by which he maintains that power? One man's waste is another man's essential program. Any ambitious person knows that you don't alienate those that can do you harm and you cultivate those that can help you. Wager that the politician will always act in his own interest, not yours; not the country's; not the troops; not his next door neighbor's; but his and his alone.

When a government wants to pass a "temporary tax" you should wager that it will never go away and vote against it. When any proposal is "revenue neutral" you can bet that it isn't. If it's revenue neutral, why do they want to do it?

Wager that whatever the government says, it's a lie. When seat belt laws were first proposed in Georgia, it was never going to be a reason to stop anybody, but only a violation if you were stopped for something else and weren't wearing it. Now we are subjected to the silly slogan "click it or ticket" and can be fined for not wearing it in the absence of any other "crime."

Politicians always tell the gullible voter that they want to "serve."  If there was ever a case of betting on a sure thing, wager that they want to acquire power over their fellow man. If service is what they're looking for, they can go volunteer at a hospice or soup kitchen or spread good cheer in a hospital. If that doesn't suit them, they can teach adult reading or volunteer time at Traveler's Aid - there are many opportunities for service by the selfless person.

Back in the '90s, I coined the word "sanguinoid" to describe a mental disorder that causes the sufferer to believe that everybody is out to help him; sort of the opposite of paranoia. It seems that this disorder afflicts many people at election times. The election just past brought out lots of people who believed the "throw the bums out" mantra of the Tea Party and others. This is sort of understandable with young voters who haven't seen the same performance over and over again, but I was talking to a 72 year-old man that thought the Republicans were going to come in and clean house. If he had adopted my "wager that they're lying" principle he would not now be disappointed.

There are certain professions that are perceived as being dominated by crooks. Examples would be car salesmen, pawn brokers, jewelers, loan officers, cops and politicians. Politicians seem to be the only ones that are held in contempt individually, but highly esteemed collectively. A collection of politicians in something called a legislature is still a collection of crooks. It doesn't matter that the news refers to them in reverential terms such as "lawmakers", they're still self-serving crooks. Nothing they say can be believed.

When the government says that the Spanish have blown up the Maine, wager that they're lying.
When the government says that withholding tax is a temporary wartime measure, wager that they're lying.
When the government says that U.S. ships have been attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin, wager that they're lying.
When the government says that the Swine Flu vaccine is safe, wager that they're lying.
When the government says that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, wager that they're lying.
When the government wants to control the internet for "national security" reasons, wager that they're lying.
Politicians are largely people without honor or courage, always bet that they're lying.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tragedy & Hope

In the preface of his 1966 book, Tragedy & Hope – A History of the World in Our Time, Carroll Quigley apologizes for its 1300+ page length by saying that it “is almost inexcusably lengthy.” He need not have apologized; he has written a very readable book with a wealth of information written to convey his own view of history in simple language - not to impress. An odd aspect of the book is that it has no bibliography and no footnotes, other than a very few that relate to a book he has just referenced, and a very sparse index. As an example: he spends about five pages on the overthrow of Muhammad Mossadegh in Iran, who does not appear in the index; but Colonel H. Norman Schwartzkopf – father of the Gulf War General – who orchestrated his overthrow by the CIA does, even though he is mentioned only twice on one page.

Most people, if they know anything about the book at all, know that it is an expose’ of the banking system and the network of secret societies that influence events, policies and political systems around the world. It is that, but that aspect of the book is exaggerated, and only a small part of his narrative. They might also know that Bill Clinton mentioned Quigley as an influence on him. I was surprised to read that the heads of central banks aren’t actually running the show, but are puppets of others:

“It must not be felt that these heads of the world’s chief central banks were themselves substantive powers in world finance. They were not.
Rather, they were the technicians and agents of the dominant investment bankers of their own countries, who raised them up and were perfectly capable of throwing them down. The substantive financial powers of the world were in the hands of these investment bankers (also called “international” or “merchant” bankers) who remained largely behind the scenes in their own unincorporated private banks.” (Pg. 326 – 7)

Three; more well-known books that quote Quigley to bolster their cases are None Dare Call It Conspiracy, The Creature From Jekyll Island and The Naked Capitalist. The latter is supposedly a review of Tragedy & Hope done by W. Cleon Skousen in which Skousen analyzes what Quigley says in the parts dealing with banking, communists, secret societies and various figures concerned therewith. He spends a lot of time telling the reader what Quigley really means and his motives for holding his opinions. He accuses Quigley of being “smug” and having all sorts of evil motives that do not appear to me.

There are many things in the book that I disagree with, such as his apparent admiration for FDR and Churchill and his seeming enthusiasm for relying on experts to run governments, but there are other things that border on libertarian or anarcho-capitalist thinking.

Amazingly he says things that would get any professor fired today, once the hyenas of approved public opinion found out about them. Free speech was certainly dead by 1966, but the difference between then and now is glaring.

Some of the opinions expressed that he would be attacked for today center on race, sexual differences, education, “backwards cultures” and the view that Western Civilization has a Christian basis.  An instance of many similar statements occurs when he is relating the diffusion of Western Civilization by nonmaterial means:

“For this reason the nonmaterial and spiritual elements of a culture are what give it its distinctive character rather than its tools and weapons which can be so easily exported to entirely different societies. Thus, the distinctive character of Western Civilization rests on its Christian heritage, its scientific outlook, its humanitarian elements, and its distinctive point of view in regard to the rights of the individual and respect for women rather than in such material things as firearms, tractors, plumbing fixtures, or skyscrapers, all of which are exportable commodities.” (12)

As he is laying the groundwork for his interpretation of history – up to about page 207 – he makes many statements that probably would not be well received by academia, or my impression thereof, today. Viz:
  • Struggles dissipate capital and divert wealth and energies from productive to nonproductive activities.
  • Cheap, readily available weapons generally favor non-authoritarian forms of government. Expensive specialized weapons, out of reach of the common man, favor authoritarianism.
  • Law is found by observation, not made by autocracy.
  • Democracies produce more destructive wars by their need to stir up their people in support of the war and discourage “selling out” by negotiating with the opposing power.
  • British rule in India generally refrained from interfering in religious practices with a few exceptions that produced good results: elimination of Thuggism – strangling strangers in honor of the god Kali; Suttee – widows destroying themselves on the funeral pyre; infanticide, temple prostitution and child marriages.
  • Praise for a time without passports, visas, almost no immigration or customs restrictions. “…the system allowed individuals to breath freely and develop their individual talents in a way unknown before and in jeopardy since” (69)
  • The patronage system, referred to derisively as the “spoils system” diluted the power of business influence by causing civil servants to contribute money to party machines in order to maintain their jobs. Without fear of losing their jobs, their incentive to contribute money to the politicians evaporated and caused the politicians to become dependant on contributions from business. (71)
  • Foreign affairs conflicts serve well to divert attention from domestic problems. ”In looking about for some issue which would distract public discontent from domestic economic issues, what better solution than a crisis in foreign affairs?…The great opportunity, however, came with the Cuban revolt against Spain in 1895. While the “yellow press,” led by William Randolph Hearst, roused public opinion, Henry Cabot Lodge and Theodore Roosevelt plotted how they could best get the United States into the fracas.” (75)
  • Man can function without the state. “…there was clearly a period about 900, when there was no empire, no state, and no public authority in the West. The state disappeared, yet society continued. So also, religious and economic life continued. This clearly showed that the state and society were not the same thing, that society was the basic entity, and that the state was a crowning, but not essential cap to the social structure. This experience had revolutionary effects. It was discovered that man can live without a state; this became the basis of Western Liberalism.” (83)
  • “The spread of universal education in advanced industrial countries tended to spread the nationalist point of view among the working classes.” (384)

As I said, British rule in India had its good effects, but as usual, all was not sweetness and light. An incident known as the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre that sounds eerily familiar happened on April 10, 1919. An Englishwoman was attacked on the streets of Amristar. Brigadier R. E. H. Dyer was sent to restore order.
On April 13th, he went with fifty men to disburse a prohibited meeting and fired 1650 bullets into a dense crowd causing 1516 casualties and 379 deaths. A committee was set up to investigate the atrocity. The so-called Hunter Committee refused to condemn Dyer except for “a grave error of judgment” and “an honest but mistaken conception of duty.” “A majority of the House of Lords approved his action by refusing to censure him…” (171 - 2) This is the 1919 version of “followed established procedures.”

As he is laying out the causes of WWI, he explains why he thinks democracy produces worse wars than some other forms of government.

“The influence of democracy served to increase the tension of a crisis because elected politicians felt it necessary to pander to the most irrational and crass motivations of the electorate in order to ensure future election, and did this by playing on hatred and fear of powerful neighbors or on such appealing issues as territorial expansion, nationalistic pride, ‘a place in the sun,’ ‘outlets to the sea,’ and other real or imagined benefits.…
Moreover, democracy made it impossible to examine international disputes on their merits, but instead transferred every petty argument into an affair of honor and national prestige so that no dispute could be examined on its merits or settled as a simple compromise because such a sensible approach would at once be hailed by one’s democratic opposition as a loss of face and an unseemly compromise of exalted moral principles….Metternich’s old definition, that ‘a diplomat was a man who never permitted himself the pleasure of a triumph,’ became lost completely, although it was not until after 1930 that diplomacy became the practice of polishing one’s guns in the presence of the enemy.” (222-3)

In his discussion of WW I, he mentions some of the craziest sounding things to modern ears, such as the idea that an enemy would turn and run when subjected to an overwhelming attack. Obviously this did not work out as planned, but the armies had been concentrating on such things as cavalry charges, bayonets and the headlong infantry assault. This was of course well after the invention of the machine gun, hand grenade, semi-auto pistol, such rifles as the Mauser, 03 Springfield and Lee Enfield that were effective at extreme ranges, enormous artillery pieces and rudimentary airplanes. One third of General Pershing’s Atlantic shipping train was taken up by feed for the horses that were going to be used in the soon-to-happen cavalry charge.

Societies are always changed after wars of any significance, and Quigley calls WWI
“a catastrophe of such magnitude that, even today, the imagination has some difficulty grasping it.” He refers to an estimate by the Carnegies Endowment for International Peace that concluded that the war destroyed over $400 billion worth of property when the value of every object in France and Belgium was worth less than $75 billion.

The “experts” had concluded that the war would not last more than six months because they didn’t have the financial resources, which at that time meant gold. Here the bankers rear their ugly heads.

“However, each country suspended the gold standard at the outbreak of the war. This removed the automatic limitation on the supply of paper money…The banks created the money which they lent by merely giving the government a deposit of any size against which the government could draw checks. The banks were no longer limited in the amount of credit they could create because they no longer had to pay out gold for checks on demand.” (257)

The war also had profound social effects such as procuring for women the right to vote and changing their appearance “by such innovations as shorter skirts, shorter hair, less frills, and generally a drastic reduction in the amount of clothing they wore.” (260)

Around this same time, some in the British Round Table groups were trying to establish the Kingdom of God on Earth by converting backwards people to Christianity. Of one of them, Lord Lothian, it was said, “He held that men should strive to build the Kingdom of Heaven here upon this earth, and that the leadership in that task must fall first and foremost upon the English-speaking peoples.”(147) Most of these powerful people are not usually suspected of having evangelical motives. Sir Edward Grigg, sent to Kenya to try to get things there running like clockwork, met with little success because the natives discerned that the whites taught a religion that they themselves did not obey and seemed to be using it to control the natives and betray their interests.

Another result of WWI was the establishing of the Bank for International Settlements in 1929.

“Owned by the chief central banks of the world and holding accounts for each of them, the Bank for International Settlements was to serve as ‘a Central Bankers’ Bank’ and allow international payments to be made be merely shifting credits from one country’s account to another on the books of the bank.” (310)

The war also did much to destroy the distinction between belligerents and neutrals and combatants and non-combatants as well as war and peace or “conflicts.”

“The Kellogg-Briand Pact took some of the first steps toward destroying the legal distinction between war and peace, since the Powers, having renounced the use of war, began to wage wars without declaring them, as was done by Japan in China in 1937, by Italy in Spain in 1936-1939, and by everyone in Korea in 1950.” (295)

In his discussion of the Versailles Treaty and other post war agreements, he makes it clear that the bankers participated in the negotiations and ended up profiting handsomely from the end result.

“It is worthy of note that this system was set up by the international bankers and that the subsequent lending of other people’s money to Germany was very profitable to these bankers.” (308)

A few pages later:

“In addition to these pragmatic goals, the powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole….The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.”(324)

Along these same lines he describes a situation in which companies would be formed, not to carry freight or make steel such as would be imagined in the cases of railroads and steel mills, but to issue stocks, bonds and other securities. The lenders would make money on the issuing of such instruments and also make money on the bankruptcies following. “A very pleasant cycle of flotation, bankruptcy, flotation, bankruptcy began to be practiced by these financial capitalists. The more excessive the flotation, the greater the profits, and the more immediate the bankruptcy.” (337)

Relating the history of Ivar Kreuger, the “Match King”, Quigley tells the story of a man that could have been Bernie Madoff’s mentor in the business of swindling “experts.”
Kreuger cornered the world market on matches and set up an elaborate system whereby he issued securities to various governments.

“The whole system was financed in a sumptuous fashion by selling worthless and fraudulent securities to investors through the most prominent investment bankers of the world. In all, about $750 million in such securities was sold, about one-third in the United States. The respected Lee, Higginson, and Company of Boston sold $150 million of these securities to 600 banks and brokers without making any investigation into their value or honesty and received about $6 million in fees for doing so.” (358)

As it would happen, the music stopped in 1929, and by 1932 Kreuger was unable to keep all the balls in the air simultaneously. When an $11 million note came due from International Telephone and Telegraph, Kreuger, unable to pay, killed himself.

Quigley’s account of the history of Russia can be summed up briefly as “the Russians were used to having an oppressive, police state government even before the Bolsheviks and are crazy,” but he relates how the Russians suffered runaway inflation similar to Weimar Germany, to the tune of price increases of three times the 1913 levels in 1917, but 16,000 times by 1920. Not as bad as Germany, but not a time to be saving paper money.

He also spends considerable time relating how the various “Five-Year Plans” didn’t work out as planned. For some strange reason, the land in private hands was exponentially more productive than the collective farms. When meat supplies almost vanished after the collectivization, more than a dozen of the high officials in charge of meat supplies were rounded up and shot.

In order to explain the failure of the plans, a mania to find “saboteurs” and “enemies of the state” was launched.  Millions of people were rounded up and killed, sent to Siberia or slave-labor camps.

“But, in a few cases, spectacular public trials were staged in which the accused, usually famous Soviet leaders, were berated and reviled, volubly confessed their own dastardly activities, and, after conviction, were taken out and shot.” (402)

Germany is explained as a tribal culture that had a taste for order and loyalty. I think his case is overstated and it can’t be described in any detail here, but he again returns to his thesis that the part of the West which was converted much earlier than the Germanic tribes learned its respect for the individual from the Jews and Catholics.

“We in the West have escaped the fascination of totalitarianism because we have in our tradition other elements-the refusal of the Hebrews to confuse God with the world, or religion with the state, and the realization that God is transcendental, and accordingly, all other things must be, in some degree, incomplete and thus imperfect. We also have, in our tradition, Christ, who stood apart from the state and told his followers to ‘Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s.’ And we have in our tradition the church of the catacombs, where clearly human values were neither united nor total, and were opposed to the state.” (410)

Most of us were taught that the Nazis were a far-right party, if we were taught anything at all, but Quigley says that a large proportion of Germans considered the Nazis a revolutionary Left party that differed from the Communists only in being patriotic. He relates how the Reichstag fire was used as an excuse to suspend civil liberties and invade homes.

“….a plot was worked out to burn the Reichstag building and blame the Communists. Most of the plotters were homosexuals and were able to persuade a degenerate moron from Holland named Van der Lubbe to go with them. After the building was set on fire, Van der Lubbe was left wandering about in it and was arrested by the police. The government at once arrested four Communists, including the party leader in the Reichstag (Ernst Torgler).” (437, 438)

The Nazis moved to get control of the church by “reorganizing” The Evangelical Church and pressuring the assemblies to elect a majority of Nazis. Protestant leaders like Martin Niemoller that objected were sent to concentration camps.

The Catholic Church signed an agreement to cooperate with the Nazis, which broke down after ten days. The Nazis restricted Church schools and arrested clergy on charges of  “evading the monetary foreign-exchange regulations and of immorality.” The Church retaliated by condemning the Nazi effort to revive paganism and placed Alfred Rosenberg’s book, The Myth of the Twentieth Century on the Index.  On March 14, 1937, Pope Pius XI condemned Nazism in the encyclical Mit brennender Sorge (With burning anxiety).  The encyclical was written in German, not the usual Latin, and was read in all the churches on Palm Sunday.

Hitler got rid of the SA leaders, or “Brownshirts” by calling a meeting and then having the SS arrest them in the middle of the night and shoot them. Goring did the same thing elsewhere. The excuse given was that the murdered men were homosexuals, which had been known for years, and that they were conspiring to murder Hitler.

Quigley insists that the Nazi government was “authoritarian”, not “totalitarian” because the economic system was subject to “self-rule.” He claims that “…the Nazi system was not totalitarian either in theory or in practice.” (443)

Considerable space is devoted to the interwar years and the economic causes and attempted remedies of the depression. This is best left to those trained in economics since he has some arguments that I suspect are incorrect, but are beyond my competence and it is not primarily a book about economics anyway.

In his discussion of England, he makes the statement that it is the country in Europe that Americans understand the least, but assume that they understand best because we “speak a similar language.” England has no written constitution and no separation of powers. According to Quigley, the members of Parliament do not read the bills they vote on, but vote as directed by the party. This seems quite similar to our system.

The opposition party in Parliament can question the government, but the government can refuse to answer any questions on the grounds of “public interest.” There is no way to appeal this decision. This seems to be the British equivalent of “national security.”
The two parties are also – at least as of 1966 – virtually the same; another similarity to our system. British politicians also represent financial interests in a more blatant manner than is accepted here.

“Once having accepted the fact that politicians are the direct representative of economic interests, there would be little point in objecting when politicians act in accordance with their economic interests.” (474)

In another instance of something that sounds like contemporary America, the Prevention of Violence Act was passed in 1939, which gave the secretary of state power to arrest without warrant and to deport anybody without trial, even a British subject, if he has not ordinarily been resident in England. This power was supposedly to be used if “he [the secretary] believes such a person is concerned in the preparation or instigation of acts of violence or is harboring persons so concerned.” (491)

An incident that is little known here happened on September 15, 1931 when the British fleet revolted at Invergorden, Scotland over a pay cut. Six days later, the British abandoned the gold standard.

Moving across the Channel to France, as he is laying the foundation for his exposition of French history, he says that the French Revolution was fomented by Swiss Protestant bankers.

“At that date [1800], financial power was in the hands of about ten or fifteen private banking houses whose founders, in most cases, had come from Switzerland in the second half of the eighteenth century. These bankers, all Protestant, were deeply involved in the agitations leading up to the French Revolution. When the revolutionary violence got out of hand, they were the chief forces behind the rise of Napoleon, whom they regarded as the restorer of order. As a reward for this support, Napoleon in 1800 gave these bankers a monopoly over French financial life by giving them control of the new Bank of France.” (515)

A few years later, German Jewish bankers moved in, with a smattering of Iberian origin, and still later, around 1838 or so, a Catholic group began to form. Sometimes these groups worked together, and sometimes at cross-purposes, the cooperation being based on political objectives, not religious. About 14 pages are devoted to describing the influence of these bankers.

Several pages are devoted to describing the machinations of the bankers leading up to WW II, and how the industrial revolution produced opposite results from those predicted by Karl Marx.

Summing up their influence, he says:

“The French economy was dominated by three powers (Rothschild, Mirabaud, and Schneider); the German economy was dominated by two (I. G. Farben and Vereinigte Stahl Werke); the United States was dominated by two (Morgan and Rockefeller). Other countries, like Italy or Britain, were dominated by somewhat larger numbers. In no country was the power of these great complexes paramount and exclusive, and in no country were these powers able to control the situation to such a degree that they were able to prevent their own decline under the impact of world political and economic conditions, but their ability to dominate their spheres is undeniable.” (539)

In an example of how “incidents” can be manufactured to start a war (or anything else) he relates how Hitler took political prisoners, dressed them in Polish uniforms and killed them on the Polish frontier to use as “evidence” of Polish aggression.

He does not seem to be as suspicious of FDR when relating the attack on Pearl Harbor. He gives a fairly standard version of the events leading up to the attack and doesn’t resort to the “sneaky Japs” line that was accepted history for so long, but he makes no mention of Admiral Harry Yarnell’s attack on Pearl nine years earlier which the Japanese observed, wrote a report about, and copied to the degree of attacking on Sunday morning because the officers slept late.

On the European side, he relates how Churchill did not want to invade the mainland of Europe because WWI was a recent and bitter memory, but Stalin kept demanding a second front since the Russians were bearing almost the whole burden of the war. At the same time, Churchill and FDR didn’t want to make any demands for post-war agreements for fear that Stalin would re-ally himself with Hitler, since things weren’t going as smoothly as Hitler had planned.

Considerable space is devoted to the Manhattan District, or atomic bomb project.  He relates how General Leslie Groves, head of the project, was obsessed with secrecy about matters that could have been looked up in any physics book and didn’t believe the project was going to succeed anyway, until it actually did. He also did not think that the Soviet Union could duplicate the results in less than twenty years even if given the knowledge. Quigley says, “I myself heard General Groves make these statements in 1945.” (857)

After the defeat of Germany, many of the scientists wanted to abandon the project and not build a bomb at all since Japan was effectively defeated by then, but there was the inconvenient fact that the money for the project was acquired under the table and it was thought that they needed a success to justify spending 2 billion unaccounted for dollars.

“Once the defeat of Germany ended that danger, [that they would develop a bomb] many scientists regarded continued work on the bomb as immoral and no longer defensive (since there was no chance of Japan’s developing one).” (859)

The air-force officers wanted to protect their appropriations by claiming that Japan had been defeated by air power rather that naval and ground forces; thus their desire to use the bomb.

Alfred McCormack, Director of Military Intelligence for the Pacific is quoted as saying; “The Japanese had no longer enough food in stock, and their fuel reserves were practically exhausted. We had begun a secret process of mining all their harbors, which was steadily isolating them from the rest of the world. If we had brought this operation to its logical conclusion, the destruction of Japan’s cities with incendiary and other bombs would have been quite unnecessary.  But General Norstad declared at Washington that this blockading action was a cowardly proceeding unworthy of the Air Force. It was therefore discontinued.” (862-3)

When Quigley recounts any of the events or actions of Joe McCarthy, Barry Goldwater or the Dulles brothers, he abandons any pretense of objectivity. He does not mention that they all had bad breath and dandruff, but I’m sure they must have. It is strange how he can be so detached in his relating of people and events, but resorts to caricature and invective where these are concerned.

His narrative relating to the overthrow of Muhammad Mossadegh has relevance even today; perhaps more than when he wrote about it. Since Iran is the chief bogeyman in the news these days, the Mossadegh episode might explain why the Iranians consider the U.S. “The Great Satan.”
According to Quigley, Mossadegh was a Westernizer with an earned doctorate in economics from a Swiss university who ran afoul of the British and U.S. governments by his efforts to nationalize the oil industry. In 1901, William Knox D’Arcy obtained the right to exploit all stages of oil production in Iran with the exception of some areas bordering on Russia. Eventually this company came to be controlled by the British government and became known as the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. As in all matters involving money, friction developed between the Iranians and the Brits over the amount the Iranians were reaping from the deal. Some of the complaints that Quigley mentions are that the British were not training Iranians for positions in the company except for menial tasks, not all positions as agreed. The AIOC reduced the amount of money paid to the Iranians by “bookkeeping tricks,” such as selling oil to subsidiaries outside the country at very low prices and then reselling it at market prices, thus cheating the Iranians out of their royalties. As late as 1950, the AIOC admitted that there were 59 of these dummy corporations. The AIOC also had a scheme whereby it paid Iran based on gold at an artificially low price. Things went from bad to worse and the company appealed to the International Court of Justice, but the court refused jurisdiction.
Eventually the CIA, under the personal direction of Allen Dulles got into the act and gave Col. H. Norman Schwartzkopf, former New Jersey State Police chief, $10 million to orchestrate the overthrow of Mossadegh. Dulles directed the operation from Switzerland where he conferred with the American ambassador to Tehran and the Shah’s henchmen.
All this is probably ancient history to Americans if it’s known at all, since it happened in 1953, but probably a sore spot in Iran.

In several places the point is made that collective systems do not work. One such instance is this: “The failures of Socialist agricultural production in Russia, Cuba, China, and elsewhere, and the great triumphs of non-Socialist economies in Japan, Europe, and the United States, soon revealed, even to Khrushchev’s supporters, that the Soviet chances of triumphing over the West by peaceful competition were very small.” (1204)

He also argues that organizations that are decentralized are very difficult if not impossible to control.  “The growing power of castles in the period about 1100 B.C. or about A.D. 900 made political power so decentralized and made power units so small that all power became private power, and the state disappeared as a common form of political organization.” (1208)
Chemical and biological weapons also fall under his rubric of decentralizing factors because they don’t require the engineering projects or the delivery systems needed for nuclear weapons. Any type of off-the-grid power sources would also be decentralizing in his view. This is something that anybody into “survival” or voluntary simplicity would recognize today.
He is not too sanguine about the prospects for federalism holding up for any length of time. “On the whole, the history of federalism has not been a happy one. Even in the United States, the most significant example of a successful federalist structure in modern history, the federal principle has yielded ground to unitary government for 150 years or so.” (1218)

The last hundred or so pages are filled with observations on demographics or anthropology.

  • The breakdown of marriage and the prevalence of one-parent families have led to a class of unemployables because they are not taught discipline, orderly habits or future preference.
  • The ability to communicate is dwindling. He’s like, freaking out about this, you know?
  • There is a proliferation of worthless art and poetry that is proclaimed to be the work of genius. Those that fail to see the genius “were airily waved aside as unforgivable philistines.”
  • The Puritan point of view favored political despotism and tended to seek or produce a one-class, uniform society.
  • The application of Darwinism provided the driving force for Nazism and Fascism and their wars of extermination.
  • Jansenism has infected American Catholicism to the point of considering sexual sins worse than the sin of pride, first of the Capital Sins.
  • The decline of morality fueled by movies and novels, etc. “A similar reversal of values has flooded the market with novels filled with pointless clinical descriptions, presented in obscene language and in fictional form, of swamps of perversions ranging from homosexuality, incest, sadism, and masochism, to cannibalism, necrophilia, and coprophagia.” (1252)
  • Movies and women’s magazines present a fantasy world of romantic marriage that no man can live up to. “Bourgeois men gradually came to live under a regime of persistent nagging to become ‘better providers.’” (1258)
  • Feminization of the lower grades in school favored girls and caused boys to conclude that school was a place for girls, not boys.

This is a book that has been sitting on my shelf for about 35 years without my having read it except for the key passages, especially page 950, which I have not cited here. If you are not familiar with it, you can type, “This myth, like all fables, does in fact have a modicum of truth.” into any search engine and it will find it.
This is not so much a revelation about bankers and secret societies as it a history, or one man’s interpretation thereof, that does not omit the influence of these entities. It’s easy to see why Bill Clinton, who got a “B” in Quigley’s class, mentioned him. I’m sure he was a fascinating professor. He would be 99 years old if he were living today and it would be interesting to see if he still held the same ideas and if things have gotten even worse than he expected. He did have the humility to write in the introduction that some of his students had “compelled me to recognize that my way of looking at the world is not necessarily the only way, or even the best way, to look at it.”