Category Archives: Mind Control

Jacques Ellul: Controversies in the Rise of Propaganda

Orientation

Controversies within propaganda theory

When I was preparing for a course I had created, “Brainwashing, Propaganda and Rhetoric: Dark Psychology in the 20th Century” I came across the name Jacques Ellul over and over again. Many of the quotes from his book Propaganda amazed me, considering the book was written almost 60 years ago. Still, when I decided to read the book, I had some reservations, thinking it would be dated in many places. In this article I hope to show that not only is it not dated, but it is still among the top theories in propaganda today.

Before we can begin to compare the propaganda theory of Jacques Ellul to other theories, we must address issues within propaganda theory. After doing that we will be able to see how the seven theories of propaganda (including Ellul’s) line up in relation to the controversies. How do we define propaganda? Is propaganda always bad?  What is not propaganda? Most people think propaganda is fundamentally irrational. But can propaganda be rational too?

How far does it reach? Does propaganda exist in all countries or are some more likely to use it than others?  Does propaganda try to change society, or does it reinforce what is already there? Is propaganda limited to the printed word and to images, or can it include monuments, music, coins, postage stamps or billboards? Does propaganda’s intent to change attitudes or behavior, or both? Are some social classes more susceptible to propaganda than others? Are people more vulnerable to propaganda in collectivist societies than individualists’ societies or is it the reverse?

Is all propaganda covert or is some of it out in the open? Is propaganda about facts, interpretations or evaluations? Can propaganda be truthful in fact or is it all lies?  How do propagandists treat their audience? What is propaganda’s relationship to political ideology? In other worlds do liberals, conservatives, fascists and socialists all use propaganda or do some use it more than others? Are propagandists Machiavellian, cynical manipulators behind the scenes or do they really believe in their propaganda? How fast does propaganda work? Is it a gradual process or does it impact its audience suddenly, like a conversion experience? Typically, propaganda is thought to exist in “authoritarian” states. But what about bourgeois representational “democracies”.

My sources for this article are Jacques Ellul’s great book, Propaganda, two terrific books by J. Michael Sproule Channels of Propaganda and Propaganda and Democracy and Jowett and O’Donnell’s textbook Propaganda and Persuasion.

The seven schools of propaganda

Moving from the right wing of the political spectrum to the left there are at least seven schools of propaganda:

  • Reactionary conservative political:

In the 1930s and 1940s this would include Thurman Arnold, Huey Long, Father Charles Edward Coughlin, the Radio priest. In the 1950s there was Joseph McCarthy and William F. Buckley. Contemporary examples might be Bill O’Reilly and the shock jocks like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and Glenn Beck. They are also consistent with neoconservatives or religious fundamentalists.

  • Commercial practitioners:

In the 1920s there was Ivy Lee, and George Creel and most famously, Edward Bernays, who for propaganda reasons changed his advertising campaigns from “propaganda” to “public relations”. These are typically advertisers.

  • Mass communication scientists:

These are the liberal institutions that do polling, most famously the Gallup Poll. Theorists include Paul Lazarsfeld, Elton Mayo, the later Walter Lippmann and Harold Lasswell. Often these are mass media academics who accepted grants from the state or from capitalists such as the Harvard Business School or the Carnegie Corporation.

  • Critical thinking movement:

In the center-left of the political spectrum is the critical thinking movement. Unlike all other schools, this movement says that the issue is less the presence of propaganda than it is the lack of critical thinking schools that can see through the propaganda. Theorists include the later John Dewey, Monroe Beardsley and Robert Ennis. Most often these theorists are college instructors.

  • Reform oriented liberals:

These are the writers and journalists that back in the day were called “muckrakers”. They think that all that is needed is for propaganda to be exposed. After that the critical thinking skills of the masses would take over. The first theorists included Upton Sinclair, the early work of Walter Lippmann, Alfred Lee (the director of the short-lived organization that conducted propaganda analysis), Robert Staughton Lynd and Vance Packard.

  • Sociological school:

This is the school of Jacques Ellul that I shall highlight in this article. Ellul thought that propaganda is the inevitable byproduct of a division of labor in society. He believed it is due to modernization and mass technology. Others with a sociological orientation included Charles Merriam and Graham Wallas.

  • Radical left:

These folks, like the extreme right-wing, think propaganda is the result of class warfare driven by capitalists. The anarchist, communist left was slow to develop theories of propaganda. One of the first was Start Ewing. Noam Chomsky is the most famous example, but his theory was developed in 1988, too late for the research referred to in this article. Besides college instructors, the radical left includes self-educated anarchists and feminists as well as others from different social movements.

The time span for this article is from World War I through the early 1970s. My focus is on mass media and does not include interactive technological breakthroughs such as the internet and various social media such Facebook and Twitter. The forms of media propaganda referred to here will be soapboxes, newspapers, magazines, radio, television, polls, books and film. I think you will find that mass media is a foundation for whatever additional forms of electronic media propagandizing that follow.

Most Provocative Points of Ellul’s Propaganda Theory

  • Unlike other theorists, Ellul argued that propaganda served both the upper classes and the lower classes for different reasons.
  • Unlike other theorists, he understood propaganda as inevitable in modern societies. There is no getting around it.
  • Unlike most other theorists, he saw masses of people as complicit in their own subordination. He saw them neither as victims of circumstance nor heroic masses.
  • He distinguished between hard, fast, political propaganda and soft, slow sociological. He called political propaganda “agitation”. Education is not outside propaganda. It is sociological propaganda.
  • He identified two techniques of propagandizing the masses. First kind is mithridatization which acts like a sedative and sensibilization which is about riling people up.
  • Unlike most other theorists of propaganda, Ellul followed Joseph Goebbels and said that the best propaganda is based on facts. It becomes propaganda with the interpretation of facts. Propaganda based on lies is a sign of weakness.
  • Most propaganda theorists thought the working class was most impacted by propaganda. Ellul argued that it is the upper-middle classes that create the propaganda and that is most likely to believe it.
  • Ellul distinguished horizontal propaganda, which was made inside the group, from vertical propaganda, which uses centralized power. An example of horizontal propaganda was the educational groups of Yankee soldiers organized by the Chinese communists.
  • For Ellul, propaganda does not come from the ruling class, but from the upper-middle class.
  • Industrialist capitalist “democracies” need propaganda because they depend on public opinion, which is disorganized. It requires propaganda to compete with socialist societies.
  • Unlike other theorists, Ellul makes a distinction between ideology and myth and argues that myth is more powerful.
  • His concept of crystallization claims that the individual has latent drives and stereotypes which are vague (based on the work of Karen Horney), and they then become the foundation of propaganda.
  • Unlike other schools of propaganda, Ellul argues that quantitative study of propaganda isn’t effective. One cannot tell how many people are reached and how effective white vs black propaganda is. At what point do you say it failed? At what point does the payoff justify the cost?
  • According to Ellul, psychological propaganda in foreign countries does not work. Propagandists are too ignorant of the attitudes, centers of interest, presuppositions and suspicions of the foreign population.

Definition, Purposes, Fields of Operation and Pervasiveness

Definition

As might be expected, there are considerable differences among the schools over whether propaganda is sinister or benign. Both the reactionary conservatives and the radical left sees propaganda as a product of primarily economic forces. The radical left sees the use of propaganda by capitalists to maintain control of their wealth. The radical right thinks propaganda is necessary to fight against the forces of communism. Both consider propaganda as immoral as the message, source and means are used by either communists or capitalists to perpetuate their power.

The muckrakers are critical of propaganda and see it as used in a wider span of areas, such as advertising, religion and sports, not just in the service of economics. They believe propaganda is immoral because its message, source and means are used to protect the status quo as it pollutes public opinion and undermines democratic thinking. The critical thinking movement agrees with the muckrakers.

Both the commercial practitioners and the mass communications theorists see propaganda as benign and moral. Bernays sees “public relations” as an outgrowth of more successfully circulation of commercial products to a larger audience. They think there is nothing wrong with that. For people like Bernays, propaganda is only immoral when it fails to disclose the source of information.

Mass communications theorists see propaganda as a benign alternative to force and for this reason, they believe it is moral. They think the polls are designed so political leaders can better control their population in order for the population not to resort to violence. The critical thinking movement interestingly points to the collusion of masses of people in propaganda. If the average person had good critical thinking skills, no one would pay attention to propaganda. Surprisingly, Ellul, as a sociologist, does not see propaganda as a product of class forces. He thinks, as I said above, propaganda is inevitable in any mass society just because people need to know what is going on politically and economically, and they can no longer find out through face-to-face contact. For him, propaganda might not be very moral, but it is necessary.

Manipulable use of the word “propaganda”

There are six forms of information control. On a spectrum they can be lined up according to the extent to which they have control over people. On the extreme right, we have brainwashing. Moving towards the left we have propaganda, then rhetoric (or persuasion), then mass and public entertainment. On the extreme left, and the least controlling, is “dialectic”. I will not define these words here except to say that most of them have negative connotations and so all propaganda theorists have a stake in mixing them together.

For reactionary conservatives, propaganda is mixed with brainwashing on the right and dialectic on the left, Since the CIA used the term “brainwashing” to describe what the Chinese did with Yankee soldiers during the Korean War, communist propaganda is mixed up with brainwashing techniques. At the same time, reactionary conservatives lump in the dialectical view of history as some vast mechanical system used by the communists to explain the world. For them dialectic is a vast, controlling philosophy.

Commercial practitioners like Bernays wanted no part of the word propaganda and turned it into “public relations” which was presented as a form of persuasion, or mass entertainment. Mass communication theories also avoid the term propaganda and suggest that news is simply “information” and movies are entertainment. The critical thinking movement also avoids the word “propaganda” by using the social psychological terms “mass persuasion” or “coercive persuasion”. All three propaganda theories on the left are not bashful about using the term propaganda to describe dominant power. The radical left uses the term dialectic as an alternative to propaganda. The muckrakers and the critical thinking advocates are more sensitive about distinguishing propaganda from what they advocate, which is rhetoric and dialectic. Both rhetoric and dialectic are used by journalists and in argumentation and critical thinking classes.

Purpose

The purpose of propaganda also has a wide variation of stances. The purpose for both the extreme left and extreme right is to unmask either the communist or capitalist threat. For the commercial practitioners the purpose of propaganda is to sell products. For the Mass Communication theorists, propaganda is to act as a safety valve to let the leaders know what the public wants or doesn’t want. For critical thinking theorists, their purpose is to expose the informal logical fallacies that typically go with interpreting propaganda. This might include ad hominem arguments, “either or thinking”, bandwagon and conflict of interests within the authorities. For the muckrakers, exposure is the name of the game whether it be the corporations or the state. Ellul has something interesting to say about this. He says the purpose of propaganda is a) to support existing elites in their competition with other elites and b) it is used by the masses that need propaganda to help them understand the complexities of large-scale social life.

Fields of operation

All three theories on the right of the political spectrum in the fields of operation argue that propaganda is only political. Bernays and his followers would sinisterly deny that propaganda is political, even though Bernays himself used propaganda to convince the American public to go to war (World War I) and to support the United Fruit Company against the Guatemalan government in the early 1950s. Mass communication theorists did not really focus on the impact of propaganda outside of politics. All four of the other theories argue that propaganda is present in advertising, television, and movies.

Discontinuous vs pervasive

How well can propaganda be combatted? Not surprisingly, reactionary conservatives, commercial practitioners and mass communication scientists think that propaganda is discontinuous rather than pervasive. The reactionary conservatives think propaganda is limited to the competition between left and right political wings. All other social institutions are neutral. For the commercial practitioners, propaganda is used by advertising companies and in the competition between them, there is no single message that is communicated. In other words, propaganda cancels itself out and the consumer wins! The mass communications theorists think that science is an island immune from the impact of propaganda. The critical thinking movement argues that educational institutions are less likely to be impacted by propaganda. All left wing propaganda theorists think propaganda is pervasive, but it can be combated by political agitation.

Orchestrated or competitive

How systematic are the propaganda mechanisms? As might be expected, right-wing reactionaries think that communist propaganda is seamless and all-controlling. The commercial practitioners think propaganda is very systemic in communist countries, grinding down the population into mindless robots. But in capitalist “democracies” the competition between Republicans and Democrats cancels each other out and the voter is free to decide. In advertising, commercial practitioners deny any orchestration. Advertising techniques are a set of gimmicks and recipes. For mass communication theorists, competition between fields of science allows no overall propaganda that crosses fields. Critical thinking theorists, muckrakers and radical leftists think that propaganda is systematic and orchestrated. Ellul’s sociologist theory has the most to say about this. For him, propaganda is carefully drawn from sociology and psychological research about the needs and psychological mechanisms of the public. There is knowledge about groups and its laws of formation and dissolution. Propaganda is also based on the Pavlov’s laws of association.

Is mass media a tool of control or is it neutral?

Reactionary conservatives say mass media is a passive tool used by liberals and communists. It accuses mass media of a “liberal bias”. Both commercial practitioners and mass media communications theories see mass media as a pure clearing house for finding out either what consumers want economically or what they want politically (through polling). For critical thinking advocates, all forms of mass media are designed to make people take cognitive shortcuts. Muckrakers think that mass media owners have their own self-interests in making money and they are not completely beholden to the ruling class. As left liberals they might point at neoconservative media like Fox News as controlling mass media. Like reactionary conservatives, radical leftists think of mass media as having no independent power and are the tools of ruling class or conservative forces.

Epistemology, Irrationality and Psychological Mechanisms

Is propaganda about lying?

Both the right-wing reactionaries and the left-wing socialists naively think that propaganda is about lies and that truth has no element of propaganda in it. For commercial practitioners’ propaganda is white propaganda – white lies, tall stories, euphemisms and cliches. Mass communications theorists say propaganda is lies about facts. They agree that propaganda could never be based on the truth. Muckrakers also tend to believe propaganda is usually about incorrect facts. Critical thinking theorists think that propaganda can be about lies or about the truth. Ellul’s understanding was the most sophisticated. He followed what Goebbels said about propaganda. The best propaganda is based on facts. Where the propaganda enters is in how the facts are interpreted. Like stereotypes, no propaganda could stick in people’s minds if there wasn’t more than a grain of truth to them.

Is propaganda about rationality or irrationality?

So, is propaganda rational or irrational? Right-wing reactionaries think that communist propaganda is super-rational and fail to take into consideration the emotional side of humanity. Left-wing socialists think that the appeal of reactionary conservatives, whether religious fundamentalists or fascists, is emotional and irrational. Appeals to God and country, blood and soil have no rational basis. Commercial practitioners and mass communication theorists both agree that propaganda is irrational. Commercial practitioners argue their techniques are to appeal to infantile fantasies, as we will see. Mass communication theorists think that anything outside their realm of science is potentially irrational. They think that privately people are more likely to be rational than as a mass. Both critical thinking theorists and muckrakers understand that propaganda can be both rational and irrational. Ellul agrees, adding that propaganda is mostly rational and that irrational propaganda (citing his book written in 1960) is a thing of the past.

What is the relationship between message, source and medium?

Reactionary conservatives are old-fashioned. They focus on the message and who the source is (is the source a front group for communists?) but they don’t’ take a stand as to whether the propaganda is from books, radio or television, or movies. Radical leftists are in the same boat except that they seek out which capitalist corporations might be behind the message. Commercial practitioners think the message, source and medium are not problematic. All are neutral and individuals are free to make up their own minds. Mass communications theorists are not critical of the message or the medium. They think of mediums as interchangeable. However, they do care about the source of the message and how well the message was received by the masses.

Critical thinking advocates are critical of messages and the political leanings of the sources. They are sensitive to which medium the message comes through because fast mass media will not allow people to digest the information and take it apart critically.  It is the muckrakers who are the most critical of all three. As journalists, they are very aware that movies have enormous propaganda potential for storytelling. Television and radio communicate more quickly and there is little time to think. Books, newspapers and magazines have less propaganda potential because the audience can regulate the information at their own pace. The sociological school of Ellul is more critical of the message and the medium but pays less attention to the source.

Does propaganda want to change attitudes or change actions?

Commercial practitioners were among the first theorists to understand that it is much too difficult to try to change people’s attitudes. It was only later that the reasons came out. Attitudes are based on long-standing socialization processes involving family, friends, religious training and elementary education. These socialization processes are too deeply ingrained to change with any short-term propaganda. Therefore, these practitioners target reinforcing existing attitudes but with a slight twist that might provide an impetus to buy something.

Reactionary fascists like Goebbels also understood this and simply reinforced what the German masses seemed to believe. Ellul agrees that propaganda is not about changing attitudes but rather about strengthening what is already there. Mass communications theorists were not really interested in getting people to act, but they hoped that by studying attitudes of masses in polling, leaders could better match the wants of the masses so that they did not lead to destructive collective behavior. The radical left has been historically the most naïve about this, thinking that working class people’s attitudes could be changed towards socialism. 

Propaganda mechanisms used

As far as the precise mechanisms used to propagandize people, only three of the seven theories have mechanisms identified. Commercial practitioners largely depend on both Pavlov in his laws of association and also Skinner’s rewards and punishment scheduling. Lastly, they used an early version of Bandura’s social modeling, having models who are attractive, powerful and seem to have expertise in the products they are advertising. This social modeling will cue the shortcuts of peripheral brain routes. Mass communications theorist Herbert Lasswell had a lot to say about techniques. In addition to working in mass communication he was also involved with the State Department. Lasswell identified three kinds of symbols:

  • Symbols of demand – the aspirations of the group seeking to produce events
  • Symbols of identification – defining the needs of the protagonist and the antagonist
  • Symbols of expectation – presenting facts as immediate or future objectives

Mass communication theorists also used Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory, which involved manipulating the desire for cognitive consistency.

Ellul also relied on conditioned reflexes but then added two other processes:

  • Mithridatization which acted like a sedative
  • Sensibilization which acted like a stimulant

To paraphrase, Ellul (183) mithridatization (the sedative part) is a toxin antitoxin process whereby a person is rendered immune to a poison by tolerating gradually increased doses of it. Closing up, he becomes insensitive to propaganda as a result of past shocks. He no longer looks at posters. He no longer reads the newspaper, but skims distractedly over it. Yet he continues to obey the catchwords of propaganda.

In a mass communication society, the individual no longer has either the independence or the choice of activities sufficient to release his tensions in an appropriate way. He is forced to keep them inside. Goebbels writes that propaganda should reduce frustrations and artificially resolve real problems and anticipate the frustrations to come when they cannot avoid them. Propaganda is like a cure that would numb the liver of an alcoholic in such a way that he could continue to get drunk without feeling pain in his liver, even though it would still kill him. Propaganda suppresses the warning signals that his anxieties, maladjustments, rebellions and demands once supplied. Now he is no more himself than he is when he reacts biologically to a tranquilizer. Propaganda will appear to be a true remedy, but for a sickness deliberately provoked to fit the remedy. Propaganda will intervene as the fake instrument for reducing these tensions by external action. They will flee contradictions by escape through the contemporary ideology of happiness.

If mithridatization is cooling people out, sensibilization is riling people up. Sensibilization is the increase of sensitivity or susceptibility to stimulation. Ellul says the individualist is more sensitive, not to the content but to the impetus it gives him for the excitement it makes him feel. He needs refreshment, a booster shot. When he goes to political movies it gives an outlet.  Propaganda offers release on a grand scale. Just like in Orwell’s 1984 two-minute hate rants, it will permit hatred and provides an object of hatred. It points out enemies to be slain – Jews, bourgeoisie, or communists. Authoritarian governments allow satirical journals attacking the authorities or a wild holiday paid for by the dictator (The Friday of Sorrows in Guatemala). The bureaucrat becomes the scapegoat, while the party remains above reproach. Letters to the editor by the public serve a similar function in Yankeedom. The sensibilization process has a freshness and novelty which correspond to new situations and gives the individualist the impression of having invented new ideals. It provides humanity with a high ideal and permits him to give into his passions while seeming to accomplish a great mission.

How quickly does propaganda work?

All schools of propaganda agree that propaganda works slowly. However, reactionary conservatives imagine that propaganda can also work suddenly as in a religious conversion. Commercial advertisers know that success is not getting someone to buy a new product but to influence an audience to change brands within a product the person buys regularly. They well understand that their propaganda does not stay with the masses for long. Mass communications theorists agree. Speaking politically, muckrakers understand that propaganda cannot dictate what a person thinks. However, through censorship, they can limit the parameters of what an audience can think about. In other words, political propaganda in Yankeedom cannot convince you to vote Republican or Democrat. However, by their refusal to allow third parties into debates they can define the parameters of what audiences think about. The viability of the capitalist system, the imperialist wars overseas and the prison industrial complex are issues outside the Republican-Democrat parameters, so they get no airtime.

For its time, the most sophisticated dynamical version of the relationship between the speed at which propaganda works is Ellul’s distinction between sociological propaganda and political propaganda. Political propaganda works quickly, attempting to spread a doctrine, dividing and excluding people, as in wars and revolutions. The language is emotional loaded with virtue and vice words. Political propaganda works best in public settings where people are at the same place and the same time. People are swept out of everyday life into a kind of adventure. Political propaganda may be overt at the culmination of a campaign, but much of political propaganda is covert beforehand.

At the other extreme, sociological propaganda attempts to unify rather than divide people. It works slowly and methodically. No crisis is at hand and society is moving along at a normal pace. Whereas political propaganda spreads a political doctrine, sociological propaganda spreads a way of life. While political propaganda works best in public, sociological propaganda does not require being in the same place and the same time. Masses take in sociological propaganda over months and even years. Sociological propaganda such as advertising, movies, sports and education is overt in part because it is not perceived as propaganda. The language of sociological propaganda is not inflammatory. It acts as a sedative, using euphemisms, clichés or vague terminology. The purpose is to support the existing system rather than overturn it. Please see Table A for a full comparison.

How Are the Dominant Institutions and the Public Perceived?

Dominant institutions: Controlling or neutral?

Reactionary conservatives are paranoid, thinking that dominant institutions have been taken over by socialists or communists. The radical left-wingers of propaganda theory think that the state, mass media, the educational system and religious institutions are all determined by capitalists’ drive for profits. They follow a version of Marx’s dominant ideology theory where the ideas of the ruling class became the predominant ideology of the workers.

Both the commercial practitioners and mass communications theorists think these dominant institutions are just fine. Commercial practitioners think these institutions are simply quantitative outgrowths of free speech. Mass communication scientists think state, media, education and religious forces all compete and so there is no central control. Critical thinking theorists will be moderately skeptical of these social institutions, but they say the main problem is people’s emotionalism and suggestibility. Muckrakers are cynical about these institutions because they organize themselves to influence the public in a certain direction before the public can formulate and articulate its own needs. This takes place through think tanks, lobbyists and foundations.

Ellul argues that all the dominant institutions are there to perpetuate their own existence and this applies to both capitalist and socialist societies. Surprisingly, Ellul says that it is not the ruling class that is responsible for mass propaganda. They are too remote to understand how to influence the lower classes. Instead, it turns the job over to the upper-middle class. But as Ellul points out, the upper-middle class does not do a good job with it. The lower classes do not read newspapers or magazines. The lower classes are more susceptible to TV, especially to shows depicting upper-middle class life. The lower classes have their own music and sports which the upper-middle class does not understand or belittles.

Masses: passive, active, neutral?

Up to now, we haven’t clarified how well or badly propaganda works with the masses. Are masses passive, active, neutral or passive and active together? Reactionary conservatives do not trust masses because they are distrustful of mass society. For them, masses are dupes of communist ideology. They believe they are also dangerous when manipulated by communists. It is only at the individual level that the average person thinks more clearly, so they follow a version of Gustav LeBon’s crowd theory.  The commercial practitioners look at the targets of their advertising campaigns as passive and hedonistic. They also agree with Veblen’s emulation theory that masses want to “keep up with the Joneses”. But at the same time, they cynically present the masses as freely choosing consumers. Ellul is rather hopeless about the masses, seeing them as disorganized and passive.

Mass communications theorists are more hopeful about the masses. They are passive but can become active once the facts are given to them by the polls. For critical theorists, there is a big difference between publics and masses. Publics have more potential because they meet in face-to-face gatherings. Masses cannot see each other face-to-face and can be active only if they have overcome the reasoning fallacies. Muckrakers think of the masses as temporarily foolish but as potentially active, capable of cooperation, but simply lack information about how dominant organizations obstruct their judgment. The job of muckrakers is to expose dominant institutions. The radical left understands the public most dialectically. They see the masses as victims of capitalist institutions. But they can become active and revolutionary when not oppressed by capitalist forces.

Dynamics between dominant institutions and masses: mechanical or dialectical?

There are two ways to imagine how the relationship between the dominant order and the masses can be conceived: either mechanically or dialectically. Both the radical right and the radical left have a mechanical understanding of the relationship. Both have what is called a hypodermic needle picture. The reactionary conservatives think that people are helplessly injected with communist propaganda unless combated by the forces of anti-communism. With the exception of mass psychologist Wilhelm Reich, leftist until the 1970s saw masses of people brainwashed by capitalist institutions which could only be overcome by the agitation of socialist organizers.

The commercial practitioners talk out of both sides of their mouths. They present the masses of people as being in control of their desires (the consumer is king) while the advertising agencies are simply doing the bidding of the public. So, the masses are the ones injecting the passive advertisers. But behind closed doors, advertisers think the masses are stupid. However, in practice they are always surprised that their advertising campaigns often fail. Mass communication scientists, critical thinking advocates and muckrakers all agree that the dominant institutions have the power, but the power is not so extreme that it can be called a hypodermic needle. Mass communications theorists understand the people in polls do not always go along with these institutions. The critical thinking movement argues that by utilizing more critical thinking tools masses can resist propaganda. Muckrakers also see people banding together and forming alternative media sources. Ellul sees the relationship between propagandists and masses as mutually constitutive. Masses need propagandists in order to understand more simply the complexity of the world. Propagandists need the masses to fight wars and produce profit.

Who is Most Susceptible?

Which social classes are most susceptible?

Earlier I said that reactionary conservatives had a rather cynical attitude towards the lower classes, dismissing them as dupes. However, they also think that it is the middle-class and upper-middle class intellectuals who promote communism, get carried away with the ideology they create and spin unrealistic prospects for a utopian future. Ellul agrees. He also says the social class most susceptible to propaganda is the upper-middle class for they are the ones who are creating the symbol systems and they are the most enthralled with them. He believes that they are more interested in the social issues that the propagandists target and because they are convinced of their own superiority in understanding them. They are more vulnerable to propaganda because they think they are beyond it.

The commercial practitioners also think the middle and upper middle classes are better targets because they have the money to buy the products. Advertisers spend much less of their money targeting the lower classes because the profit margins are too low. Mass communication theorists think the lower classes are more vulnerable because they are not interested in science and are irrational. Critical theorists think working-class, and especially poor, people fall for propaganda because they are less likely to have gone to college and been more likely to learn critical thinking skills. Radical leftists think working-class people are most vulnerable because they do not have the leisure time to understand precisely how they are being manipulated.

Are collectivists or individualists more vulnerable to propaganda?

Reactionary conservatives think that the individualism of industrial capitalist societies make people more vulnerable to propaganda because city living creates rootless individuals who are alienated from the religions that once gave them comfort. Conservatives don’t think that religion in itself is a form of propaganda. Ellul agrees, saying masses of people are more vulnerable to propaganda than the face-to-face public relations of people living in collectivist societies.

Commercial practitioners agree that the lack of mass media in agricultural or tribal societies make them less vulnerable. People in pre-industrial societies do not seem to have the “infinite needs” of individualists in industrial capitalist societies, most of which is created by advertisers in the first place. Mass media communications theorists, on the other hand, think propaganda is more prevalent in collectivist societies (religious beliefs, superstition) and that democratic processes in industrial capitalist societies would train them to be less vulnerable. Critical thinking theorists think collectivists’ lack of training in critical thinking would make them more vulnerable to propaganda.  Both the muckrakers and the radical left think the individualists of industrial capitalist societies are more vulnerable because they think they are too smart to be propagandized.

Who is easiest to mobilize: the committed, the indifferent or the undecided?

All seven propaganda theorists agree that people who are already committed to a position cannot be propagandized. They have too much of a stake in what they already believe to change. At the other extreme, it is too difficult to move people out of a position of indifference. When people don’t care, something dramatic has to happen like a natural disaster, a stock market crash or a revolution to make them care. Propaganda is not strong enough by itself. The people who are most likely to be moved to change propaganda are those who are mobilized but haven’t made up their minds. This is one reason why politicians in Yankeedom work harder to appeal to voters in swing states. They don’t bother with people who have demographically been shown not to vote, nor with states that have a history of voting consistently for Republican or Democratic candidates.

What is the Relationship Between Democracy and Propaganda?

Superficially it would seem that democracy and propaganda are at opposite points on the spectrum. Societies that were democratic would not have propaganda and those who had propaganda were in some ways not democratic. But the problem is that the seven theories of propaganda do not agree about what democracy is.

Most agree that democracy is defined politically as the right to vote. However, both commercial practitioners and the radical left think of democracy as economic, rather than political. Commercial practitioners think democracy is about consumption, having infinite choices in commodities is what democracy is all about. The radical left think democracy is about controlling the workplaces and deciding economically what is produced, how it is produced and where it goes. Mass communication theorists are the most middle of the road, thinking that democracy is having two political parties and voting for them. Critical thinking advocates think that democracy is less about parties and more about issues. Thus, critical thinking texts often have a section with perhaps, ten or twelve of the typical issues Republicans and Democrats argue about in Congress. The job of a critical thinker is to use critical thinking skills to write about or debate the issues. Muckrakers go further and argue that party debate or examining the issues are both done by individuals. For them democracy is about learning how to participate in small groups, coming to group decisions. An example of that is something called “participatory budgeting” where at city council meetings citizens come together to decide on the priorities of a city budget.

Both Ellul and reactionary conservatives think that democracy doesn’t work, but for different reasons. Ellul simply thinks democracy is impossible in a modern society and the word itself is used for propagandistic purposes to give people the illusion of choice. For the reactionary conservatives, democracy is looked upon as an unfavorable turn of events at the end of the 19th century. For political conservatives there is a natural hierarchy, placing people with superior talent and good breeding at the top and their inferiors at the bottom.  Democracy is understood as the rule of a mob that should never rule. Ortega Y Gasset would be the appropriate theoretician for this view.

Please see Table B for a summary of the seven propaganda theorists and their books spanning from the 1920s to the 1960s.

* First published in Socialist Planning After Capitalism

The post Jacques Ellul: Controversies in the Rise of Propaganda first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Methanol for the CoV2 Hypodermic Chemical Experiment

“There you have it — At-will, AKA at the beckon call, beckon abuse, beckon exploitation, beckon denigration, beckon injurious behavior and workplace environment. These employers are thugs, and from the top down, with their lawyers and MBAs and institutional misleadership yahoos at the executive level, the worker is doomed by this sick system. Forced vaccinations for schools, colleges, workplaces. The systems need to burn!”

Of course, I am asked not to identify the person who wrote this to me. We all are being surveilled by these Stasi folk, whether we work for a governmental agency, school systems, private college, for-profit business, mom and pop lowbrow joint, nonprofit, you name it.

They (bosses, agencies, pre-employment interviewers) sign up for Google search notifications — any time their company is named in the media or on digital platforms, they get notifications. They track what’s said about their business, corporation, nonprofit, agency, school. That is also for anyone they want to put into the Google-Palantir search engine, for a price, monthly rate, be it a person’s name. Like mine, hmm.

This is what these Stasi Americans want in their lives — complete control. Damage control against the truth-sayers speaking truth to power. Damage the messenger, or kill him or her with constant threats of litigation, fines, subpoenas, more. Imagine one writer, me, getting hooked into the Google Gulag, but then, what about anyone with my name? Hmm, children, siblings, spouses? This is how they play their mole game.

See the source image

Below, an example of the blithe and dangerous bullshit fake journalism of the mainstream imbeciles. That the State of Oregon can force vaccinations onto people really is the issue: the state just pushes that onto the overlords running businesses or nonprofits. That’s it, no argument, hands down the policy of the land, man.

The news (sic) story below will not contain push back,  and it will be vacant of civil rights thinkers/libertarians cited, will allude to no one pushing back on these Draconian measures. In fact, the story will not frame these measures as Draconian. The journalist from the Oregon paper of record (Oregonian) is already colonized and co-opted. Then you get some “law” professor (sic) from a for-profit private university pulled into the article, to come on board to yammer on. This is the new normal that’s been pretty old normal — mainstream media faking it, looking like it’s in the hunt for balance, when it’s all false balance, false and manufactured consent. The goal is to question the prevailing party-bureaucratic-company line, and question all governments’ actions. Read here:

“I think ultimately most employers would be able to require it,” said Henry Drummonds, a Lewis & Clark Law School professor specializing in labor and employment law. “But I think most employers probably wouldn’t want to require it. I think employers could first encourage and educate employees about the safety of the vaccine and the desirability of it in terms of protecting yourself and your coworkers.”

Drummonds said that at-will employment standards allow private businesses to dictate and change the terms of employment at any time and fire employees for any reason, as long as they don’t discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age or any other protected category.

In practice, this means that employers probably could require employees to receive the vaccine to remain employed or return to the office. Both the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries have released guidance stating that employers can mandate that employees get vaccinated.

 

See the source image

Already, idiocy prevails: just recently, I witnessed a manager of a nonprofit ask her employee in front of another employee in a public place within lots of people’s earshot: “Well, Rick, got his vaccination. So did I. Most everyone in the company has. But John hasn’t.”

See the source image

I knew this was a nonprofit this manager was a member of because I was within earshot. I offered an unsolicited response, trying to equate calling someone out in public for not having this experimental and not FDA-approved chemical shot. “How’s your BMI? You looking overweight? How’s your hypertension? You looking pink in the face? How’s your probable lung cancer? You just finished off a cigarette. Come on, shaming people for not agreeing to an untested chemical compound with that jab in the arm is unethical, and in public so I can hear your conversation?” She just clammed up and scooted her two employees away.

Imagine, fewer and fewer tough guys and gals can actually make it in USA (elsewhere too) with the power of what they can and cannot decide upon, that is, what they either want to and do not want to be injected into their bodies. Mind you, the jury is far from out on these chemical shots —

On February 27, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it had “issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the third vaccine for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19),” the Janssen (Johnson&Johnson) Covid-19 vaccine.

This announcement is virtually identical to the EUAs previously issued for Covid-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer-Biontech and Moderna.

In each of the EUAs, the FDA has been careful to avoid any claim that the vaccines provide protection against infection or transmission of the virus. Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have each publicly stated that the vaccines have NOT been shown to prevent infection or transmission.

All of their regulatory documents and commentary addressing the issue state clearly that there is no evidence that the vaccines affect either infection with or transmission of the virus, nor do they prevent symptoms of Covid-19 from appearing.

— Source:  “Covid Vaccine Nonsense” [US-based human rights lawyer breaks down the contradictory claims of “effectiveness”, the incomplete studies and legal minefield of forced use of experimental vaccines] JP Jerome

 

Let’s shift to some compare and contrast between vaccine makers and cigarette makers. I  just read a short but cogent article on the menthol marketing, how 45,000 black Americans die each year from tobacco related illnesses (mostly throat, tongue, and lung cancer). Talk about cool — mentholated cigarettes’ make the poisons go down easier. Everything goes down smoother with a little bit of throat deadening. And this is legal stuff. No massive “take all the cigarettes’ and Juul’s and pipes and cigars and chew cans away.”  “Menthol Marketing Exposes Institutional Racism” by Michael Schwalbe, Counterpunch.

But forced vaccinations, and then this pact with  the devil — at-will, zero protection: screw up and you get the pink slip bullshit about American capitalism. Sort of buyer beware, user beware, consumer beware, worker beware.

In the long run, the solution to the ongoing global pandemic of tobacco-related disease is to abolish tobacco companies. Short of that, we now have an opportunity to significantly curtail the industry’s ability to profit from the destruction of Black lives. If Black lives matter, we must not let the opportunity pass.

— Michael Schwalbe, professor of sociology at North Carolina State University Source.

Low income, lots of working class people, workers in the developing world. Slick multimillion dollar a year ad campaigns: Slick, and Scientific (sic). Data driven.  Imagine, tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. Of these deaths, 1.2 million are caused by secondhand smoke exposure. Talk about an epidemic, pandemic. You know that every rotting Southern pol and every single tobacco lobbyist and every grower and CEO, they pooh-pooh these stats. “Prove it. If it’s that deadly, then why’s it legal?”

The internet seems great at scrubbing information, but the reality is that when Ray-Gun left his criminal enterprise throne, he did some hucksterism stuff for the tobacco industry. He and Edwin Meese did a talking tour overseas to push cancer sticks.

Talk about killing people from his cold-ass grave, Reagan and the long arm of his contra mentality, still with us:

But the industry did not launch its campaign for new overseas markets alone. The Reagan and Bush administrations used their economic and political clout to pry open markets in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and China for American cigarettes. At a time when one arm of the government was warning Americans about the dangers of smoking, another was helping the industry recruit a new generation of smokers abroad.

Asia is where tobacco’s search for new horizons began and where the industry came to rely most on Washington’s help. U.S. officials in effect became the industry’s lawyers, agents and collaborators. Prominent politicians such as Robert J. Dole, Jesse Helms, Dan Quayle and Al Gore played a role. “No matter how this process spins itself out,” George Griffin, commercial counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, told Matthew N. Winokur, public affairs manager of Philip Morris Asia, in a “Dear Matt” letter in January 1986, “I want to emphasize that the embassy and the various U.S. government agencies in Washington will keep the interests of Philip Morris and the other American cigarette manufacturers in the forefront of our daily concerns.”  Source.

Why the harangue by yours truly against tobacco in a piece about how rotting the at-will mentality of big, small and loser companies run by bigger losers than anyone following the Peter Principle 2.0 [well, Peter Principle update: the worse you are as a human, with no ethics, no character, well, you go up the ladder, food chain, corporate manure pile!] can imagine forcing vaccines onto workers?

Think hard about an experimental mRNA chemical put into a syringe and then forcefully delivered to the global population. Hmm, would this have been acceptable in 2019? 2001? 1990? The year I was born, 1957?

Of course not, and yet, this is it, with people being shamed or called out for reluctance on an experimental, emergency authorized, untested chemical and DNA morphing drug being forcefully put into one’s body. Not once, but with a booster, and then, now, as the world burns, yearly or bi-yearly boosters for the “new” variants of a corona cold virus.

Here, this is science and capitalism, science/capitalism/politics, like leprosery and it’s host —

One way the tobacco industry has manipulated cigarettes to increase addictiveness is by loading cigarettes with chemical compounds. Bronchodilators were added so that tobacco smoke can more easily enter the lungs. Sugars, flavors and menthol were increased to dull the harshness of smoke and make it easier to inhale. Ammonia was added so that nicotine travels to the brain faster.

Specifically, increasing the amount of nicotine was of paramount importance to tobacco company executives. Experts found that Big Tobacco companies genetically engineered their tobacco crops to contain two times the amount of nicotine and adjusted their cigarette design so that the nicotine delivered to smokers increased by 14.5 percent. As Phillip Morris Principal Scientist W.L. Dunn said in 1972, “No one has ever become a cigarette smoker by smoking cigarettes without nicotine.”  — Source

Bronchodilators and ammonia added? Come on, my students at UTEP were finding more dirt on big tobacco and the collusion with the FDA, keeping secret under governmental lock and key all the ingredients they sprayed on tobacco before becoming the stuff of rolled cigs, cigars, pipe filler and chew. Think of secret doses of anti-convulsant drugs, since the higher nicotine content and the other burning chemicals cause many people to get ticks, minor tremors; i.e., seizures. Best keep the seizures down and the sales up.

Shoot, this is just the minor list of smoke by-products — Nicotine (the addictive drug that produces the effects in the brain that people are looking for), Hydrogen cyanide, Formaldehyde, Lead, Arsenic, Ammonia, Radioactive elements, such as polonium-210, Benzene, Carbon monoxide, Tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

These Satan’s, these big and little Eichmann types, these Mad Men, these PR spinners, these profiteers and cancer mercenaries, come on, the story is bigger — 600 ingredients can be used in cigarettes, but the actual combustion of the cig produces over 4,000 chemical compounds. And, when burned, these cigarette ingredients mix together and create deadly substances, 69 of which are carcinogenic.

Yeah, how’s that pandemic and pandemic and pandemic on the horizon. SARS-CoV2, 3, 5? Remember, there is no outright statement that declares cigarette smoking causes cancers or any number of other co-occurring diseases or terminal cancers.

So, if Big Tobacco and Gore and Reagan and Clinton and Trump, et al can stump just for this singular felonious Mafia outfit, what do you think might be happening behind closed doors and inside labs and at the top of the heap tied to exactly what this experimental vaccine’s (sic) side effects might do today, next month, a year from now, etc.?

For the good of the world? The economies? For life saving ethos? You got the memo yet? You want life saving? Shit, one product, tobacco, done with, hmm, what’s that life saving factor? Banned from planet earth, more or less. And how much for all the lost labor of huffing and puffing cig smokers . . .  all the flagging physiologies, all the damage, slow and fast, caused by cigs, et al? Ya think there will be a ban tomorrow?

Hmm, NEVER. Now, multiply that a million fold with all the deadly chemicals and toxins and fumigants and fungicides and off-gassing crap in all manner of clothes, combustible materials, food, drinks, drugs. Then multiple one times two, and then factor up. How do these work, hmm, twelve together, the impossibility of really studying the synergistic effects of one chemical interacting with another, or a dozen or 4,000? Hmm, those 4,000 chemicals in one good Marlboro man drag, what’s the toll?

You think there are governmental and private financed studies on that? Think.

According to comments from vaccine scientists in September 2020 (prior to the Covid-19 EUA issuances), no vaccine had ever before been distributed on an EUA basis.

“We don’t do EUAs for vaccines,” [Dr. Peter] Hotez said, “It’s a lesser review, it’s a lower-quality review, and when you’re talking about vaccinating a large chunk of the American population, that’s not acceptable.”

Three months later, the FDA issued EUAs for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but with explicit guidance that the vaccine “has not undergone the same type of review as an FDA- approved or cleared product.”

The idea is that if there are injuries and deaths because of the experimental and untested drugs-chemicals in these shots, well, who foots the bill? Who is responsible? Hmm, in the USA, it’s the US taxpayer.

I have a friend whose niece would not take “death by any other means” as the last answer. She is pushing for an investigation into her father’s death after the vaccine was given to him. He was 74, healthy, but he did have aging issues, like we all do. Blood clots occurred rapidly, hmm, and, then he checked out in a stroke like manner. This is after, right after, vaccination. The county coroner will not do an autopsy, and alas, there are no watchdog agencies in our corner. A simple autopsy would be $6,000. This is a suspicious vaccine-related death, and she has now gone on-line and gotten more people to email her about similar deaths after vaccination. She can’t put it on Facebook, too long or too detailed like, so she is getting contacted through GoFundMe. She’s doing this surreptitiously.  There will be no Ralph Nader’s or RFK, Jr.’s coming to her family’s aid.

Just like you can’t sue successfully the big tobacco and their technicians and chemists and MD’s and lawyers and CEO’s and the politicians and marketers for selling a dangerous product to a billion people, let alone the second and third hand smoke of these cancer sticks.

The post Methanol for the CoV2 Hypodermic Chemical Experiment first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Shifty Shifters: Movers and Shapers like a Trillion Locusts

The final report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) concludes that the project has been ‘the most successful anti-poverty movement in history’. Two key claims underpin this narrative: that global poverty has been cut in half, and global hunger nearly in half, since 1990. This good-news narrative has been touted by the United Nations and has been widely repeated by the media. But closer inspection reveals that the UN’s claims about poverty and hunger are misleading, and even intentionally inaccurate. The MDGs have used targeted statistical manipulation to make it seem as though the poverty and hunger trends have been improving when in fact they have worsened. In addition, the MDGs use definitions of poverty and hunger that dramatically underestimate the scale likely of these problems. In reality, around four billion people remain in poverty today, and around two billion remain hungry – more than ever before in history, and between two and four times what the UN would have us believe. The implications of this reality are profound. Worsening poverty and hunger trends indicate that our present model of development is not working and needs to be fundamentally rethought.

— Jason Hickel, Third World Quarterly , Volume 37, 2016 – Issue 5

*–*

How could these two cohorts, the 85 richest and 3.5 billion poorest, have the same amount of wealth? The great majority of the 3.5 billion have no net wealth at all. Hundreds of millions of them have jobs that hardly pay enough to feed their families. Millions of them rely on supplements from private charity and public assistance when they can. Hundreds of millions are undernourished, suffer food insecurity, or go hungry each month, including many among the very poorest in the United States.

Most of the 3.5 billion earn an average of $2.50 a day. The poorest 40 percent of the world population accounts for just 5 percent of all global income. About 80 percent of all humanity live on less than $10 a day. And the poorest 50 percent maintain only 7.2 percent of the world’s private consumption. How exactly could they have accumulated an amount of surplus wealth comparable to the 85 filthy richest?

Michael Parenti

Genocide Phnom Penh

Staggering, no,  the memory hole shoveling going on and perpetrated by elites in commerce, weapons, media, education, a la industrial complexes in the second decade of the 21st Century? Like plagues of locusts. Leeches two hundred worth per hominid, and the tapeworm eats the last, next and current generation like a desiccating alien of our nightmares.

The more light shining on the criminals, spotlights onto the military war lords, floodlights on the entire punishment cabal in governments, in corporations, in policing and uniformed military agencies, the more that bearing witness just peters out. It flags the average Yankee, and the doodle dandy is football, flicks and frolicking with furious caloric intent.

Welcome to the West. Then, the mind-numbing retorts to the initiation of discourse, of legitimate discussion about the ails of the world, largely set loose by the captains of industries — the military-media-legal-medical-penal-computing-financial-education-energy-AI-real estate-poison-agriculture COMPLEX. And, boy, is it never really “complex” — it’s about the art of the steal, the art of the scam, the art of the grift, the art of the toll-fine-fee-garnishment-penalty-tax-attachment set forth by the lobbies of the lords of death with the Eichmann’s of Bureaucracy greasing the skids and oiling the wheels. Keep those hedge funds going, the trains running, the profits heaping.

  • “We can only take so much trauma.”
  • “The human brain can’t take so much truth.”
  • “Trigger Warning; The Following Stories About Wealth for the Rich and Poverty for the rest of Us Might Cause Spasms of Collective Amnesia, Anxiety, Animosity.”
  • “There is no meek shall inherit the earth. We are talking about the meek and the poor inheriting the toxins, pollutants, the penury, the profound suffering inflicted upon them generation after generation by the rich and their enablers, the ultimate evil — those turning a blind eye to suffering, raping, razing, murdering.”

I’m getting it from all angles, really, the tired, the over-educated (in terms of college but not in terms of smarts). The tired middle class. Retired and one-trick phony environmentalist ponies. All those huffing and puffing and blowing down the Trump Towers, folk who are self-blinding themselves, as if bearing the truth of Biden et al, as well as bearing the weight of protecting Everything/Anything Empire, while the chorus of War Mongering Democrats a la LGBTQA-+ sing ‘Hallelujah, No More Trump’ puts them right smack where Oedipus was, exposed to the truth and overcome with shame, grief, and remorse. Poking eyes out is the least the people who follow the perverse leaders should do.

Except, their blinding is symbolic, life-long, from womb to cradle to grave, as in turning a blind eye to the roots, the very radical cause of all the suffering, the police no-knocks, the cesium floating in lungs and bellies, and a dozen other micro-particles from this or that nuclear fallout incident. Symbolic and demonstrative of the kill-for-profits Capitalism.

It is too too much for the masses — The Truth —  so we all have to gather round the Zoom screen, tune into Amazon Prime, and sing, Give Peace a Chance while the world is fleeced by the billionaires, but also those millionaires (we tend to give millionaires, multi-millionaires a get-out-of-jail pass, when they too are the culprits helping spread that poisonous fallout).

Professor Bernd Grambow (co-author from IMT Atlantique) added “the present work, using cutting-edge analytical tools, gives only a very small insight in the very large diversity of particles released during the [Fukushima] nuclear accident, much more work is necessary to get a realistic picture of the highly heterogeneous environmental and health impact.”

Lockdowns for a flu virus, lockdowns for free thought, lockups for free speech, lock and loaded for the Empire, shackled to bills-mortgages-policies-ballooning debt…. BUT  for fuck’s sake, we can’t lock-down the fossil fuel monsters, lock-up the Fukushima shills, shutdown the Olympics, punish and quell the military saber rattlers (read: purveyors of nuclear- chemical-bacterial-viral-digital-intergalactic weaponry).

Business as usual is a trillion easy dollars in Pandemic Profits, and a cool several trillion more with mandatory masking, Zooming, SARS-CoV2,3,4,5,6 annual vaccinations and semi-annual boosters.

Passports to their hell. Yet, when you talk to a Kamala Harris floozy, well, they get teary eyed, sing the All Spangled Banner of Buffoonery, and then tell you to hit the road, no more Haeder in their House.

Literally, people want nothing of politics, or the reveal — showing how their own colonized and kettled thinking under the guise of “liberal” looting under the Democrat Vote has always been part of the problem, not any solution to the world thievery or a pathway to  world peace.

So What is The Answer?

It is not a $64,000 question, for sure, since the answer is collectively simple, easily repeated, easily understood, Yet, that is the jig, always looking for the messiah, or having their cake (capitalism) and eating it (profits-profits-profits) too. They are limited and limiting, and they gladly take the Kool-Aide and mix in a shot of Jack Daniels and a jigger of high fructose fizz.

Resisting for them is not an option. If they can’t converse, frame, contextualize, harmonize, recount, go back in history, recall the scene of the crime(s), then how the hell can these same folk who ask, Well, you sure know how to criticize and go on and on about the ills of Capitalism, but show me any other system that works. Humanity is humanity, whether in the center of Wall Street or out on the Rez?

This is their thinking, their great retort, and so, how do we get to that point where we just get to the basics, the Cornel West basics– Watch his rumble in the jungle: At Harvard, the worst kind of man-eating institution, along with a few hundred elite schools on this side and that side of the pond:

Listen to him, watch him, feel his presence of soul, Dr. West. Not a perfect man, thank god!

So, what is the answer? Justice. Social-spiritual-ecological-cultural-gender-age-racial-ethnic-ecnonmic-educational-food-energy JUSTICE? Using the inverse, the answer is the whole human-whole earth, toward holism, embedded in systems thinking, what it means to have the commons, what it is to be a society among other societies that is ecologically-based, agrarian-centered, humanistic-thriving, environmentally-aware, is, well, the opposite formulation of these Gandhian sins:

Wealth Without Work
Pleasure Without Conscience
Knowledge Without Character
Commerce (Business) Without Morality (Ethics)
Science Without Humanity
Religion Without Sacrifice
Politics Without Principle

It doesn’t take much K12 education and applied learning to understand that reversing these sins and following the antithesis would illuminate the bearable weight of being a human in the world, triggering change at a global and galactical level. Prometheus steals the fire from the gods and gives it to people. Bound to the mountain. Prometheus grows weary. The future, oh, the future, swallowed up by that lack of hope. Let us all be Prometheus, and help each other take from the thieves, the rich, and give warmth and fire to the world. Unbound us together. Break the chains of the illicit gods and their devils.

Really, though, one person’s hope is another person’s oppression. In capitalism, there is the king of the dung heap, the winner being the one who dies with the most toys. Dog-eat-dog, and survival of the most unfit (using the Seven Sins of Humanity above as illustrative of what makes capitalism really zip along).

In Western culture, it all might seem like a Greek Tragedy of Trailer Park or Mar-a-lago proportions. It might all seem like a hardscrabble blues tribute to American stick-to-it-ness. That hardened soul, as DH Lawrence ascribed —

The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.

We know that Western soul is a killer from the womb — those royals and despicable ones from the Old World, those Belgium in the Congo, those Romans, those hard, soldiering, religious zealots, hand in hand with silver chalice and golden rosary, those kings and queens, launching the deplorable ones, the rabble into crusades of raping-ravaging-razing. There is no “American soul” without the British slave traders-merchants-purchasers; no American soul without the French and Spanish interlopers. The American soul is part and parcel those former Nazis and the money-changers, the globalists looking for a micro-penny for every human corpuscle exploited in their gaming humanity. This is Turtle Island, not some chunk of land named for an Italian map maker for the king.

Now that’s a dark dark killer that never melts — Capitalism.  It is now cleaned up, a la Madison Avenue and slick green-blue-pink-white washing, no longer presented as cold, stoic, but happy, illustrious, coopting, brainwashing, gleeful, the ice cream truck coming to serve all the children with gooey goodies. Shifty, slick, liberal, slippery, hip. It is now a virus inside a thousand viruses —

A democratic society shapes itself – by means of the participation of its citizens in discussing and deciding how things should be organised and to what ends.

But, as even their name reveals, the Global Shapers want to “shape” society from above and in their own interests.

This is not the solution to global problems, and, the rockets and payloads of Bezos and Musk and DoD and the rest of the capitalists looking for lucre and gold on Mars and the Moon. Reset is not rebounding. Reset is not reconvening the true holistic way of life. Reset is not returning to a point in time in our civilizations where we come together in mutual aid, live a biodynamic present and future, hold onto sacred tribal principles, understand the soil-air-water. The reset is not a return to sanity, actualization for woman, man, child, ecosystem. This reset is the rich’s bargain basement theft of our agency, our independence, our collective will to strike at them as the felons of our time. Their reset is tracking our every movement, each blink of the eye, each snore and defecation. This reset is about pulling strings, forcing the Faustian Bargain each moment. They will fine-garnish-withhold-penalize-criminalize our unborn, and our dying parents. You get a universal income, but not to be spent on what they do not want you/us to spend it on.

The foregone conclusion is what the teachers teach the children. It is what the media paint around us. Each narrative directed and shot for Netflix or Amazon or Hulu or Vudu, they are set to propagandize for the rich, the resetters, the titans who want mars colonized, who want the moon for their private resort. Orbiting Club Meds in the ionosphere.

Yet, the Lesson is Dead Wolves, Manatees and Turtles

The very place of Trump and Spring Break, Florida, is emblematic of the fall, the disgusting imbalance of the world, of sanity, of thinking. Manatees dying off in unfathomable numbers. Turtles washing up sick and dead. The expansion of the ocean, wiping out much of Florida by 2100. The bastion of Spring Break and lust and speedboats and dream hoarding.

Florida has seen an alarming rise in manatee deaths in 2021.

Something not to be proud of, and to lend pause for humanity, but not more than once, and give it to me once in that 24-hour news cycle, please. At least 432 Florida manatees have already died in 2021, well over double the state’s 5-year average for the same time period.

Hundreds of sea turtles washing up on Southwest Florida beaches this year in a mass mortality event that researchers say will impact the recovery of the protected species is not a good sign of HUMAN health. The Great Reset has nothing to say about the reality of our own commons.

Gray wolves in the North American wilderness.

Then you have Wisconsin, gun-toting AR15-loving murderers taking on a record 216 wolves killed in 60 hours. What does this say about this society, this blood sport society of high powered weapons, radar trackers, dually pick-ups, $340,000 campers, TV, booze, and a quick trip in the woods to murder wolves?

Migrants rescued by Save the Children’s Vos Hestia

Or, the hard cold soul of the European, Italians, putting 20-year sentences on people working with charities to help stranded and sinking and drowning refugees from African countries. Imagine that world of the cold Great Resetters.  Save the Children and MSF among dozens facing sentences of up to 20 years over humanitarian work

Humanitarian organizations are rejecting what they say is an attempt to criminalize lifesaving aid to migrants and refugees at sea after Italian prosecutors charged three groups with aiding and abetting illegal immigration through their rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

Over 20 people are facing up to 20 years in prison. — Source.

rescue operation

Each story of injustice is the tip of the proverbial iceberg, demonstrating the insanity of systems — legal systems of punishment-abandonment-unruly laws against the suffering, laws meant to pay the rich, pay off the rotting bureaucrats, the Eichmann’s, big and small, who keep the wheels and the gears of death grinding, whether those wheels are those of the Empire, or the Capitalists, or the Economic Hitmen-Frontmen-Debasers, or all the pigs who make money off the penury and punishment unleashed by Capitalism.

Not me. Not I. Over my dead body.

The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall. We cannot be sure of having something to live for unless we are willing to die for it.

Che Guevara Photo

The post Shifty Shifters: Movers and Shapers like a Trillion Locusts first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The health which I see is disease (… if the Hierarchical Church so defines)

Gates:  The Fauci Project

In the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius Loyola, the man credited with the establishment of the Society of Jesus, to which the reigning Roman Catholic pontiff belongs, stipulated Rules to have the true sentiments, which we ought to have in the Church Militant. The thirteenth rule is:

To be right in everything, we ought always to hold that the white which I see, is black, if the Hierarchical Church so decides it, believing that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, his bride, there is the same Spirit which governs and directs us for the salvation of all souls. Because by the same Spirit and our Lord Who gave the Ten Commandments, our holy Mother the Church is directed and governed.

— Rule 13

It is conspicuous that the de facto NATO chief drug lord, Anthony Fauci, was trained by Jesuits before he became head of the US biological and chemical warfare research machine embedded in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The regimental genealogy of the NIAID can be traced to the War Research Service, the US regime’s secret biological and chemical weapons research office, run by George W. Merck, president of one of the largest pharmaceutical corporations in the world. In 1948, coincidental with the importation of Japanese and German war criminals with their cases of prison experimentation results, the War Research Service was transformed into the US Microbiological Institute.1 The War Research Service had been hidden in the Federal Security Agency, a Roosevelt organisation that included a variety of civilian programs deemed to have national security relevance. Federal security meant programs to protect against anything that could destabilise the US regime during the 1929 Great Reset.

After 1945 and the adoption of the UN Charter, repeating the injunction of the Kellogg-Briand Pact and establishing the offense at Nuremberg of “crimes against the peace”, wars did not stop.2 Instead names were changed. Names make a difference. The Washington Naval Treaty (1922) restricted the tonnage and types of ships that could be built. Hence ship classes were also renamed. At the same time armament and displacement were reallocated among new ship classes so that construction could continue. The US sought not only to buttress its secret first strike strategy against the Soviet Union but also later to circumvent the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaties (starting 1972) by maintaining the same number of missiles and introducing the so-called MIRV, multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles. In other words one missile was turned into a delivery system that could deliver the same number of warheads as additional missiles.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), America’s Gestapo, could not have been sold to the states had it been called a police force.3  In 1947, the National Security Act was also a response to the need for new language. If war was illegal then one could not have a “war department”. So the national military establishment was renamed the Department of Defence. After the ceasefire in Korea, the US was also forced to rebrand the programs developing weapons it denied ever having or using—namely the chemical weapons, already prohibited and the biological weapons it had inherited from the Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of the Kwantung Army and the Japanese war criminals of Unit 731 Douglas MacArthur hid from exposure or trials.4 The principal war criminals from this secret Japanese military research facility no doubt joined their German colleagues recruited through the good offices of Allen Dulles.5

Although military research continued under the auspices of the US Army’s Chemical Corps and biological weapons research was still conducted, mainly at Fort Detrick in Frederick, MD—with other major facilities such as Dugway Proving Ground, Wendover, UT—World War II had also raised the petrochemical industry and its sister pharmaceuticals to a major role in the military – industrial – complex. Atomic weapons had enormously expanded the already firm hold of DuPont on the munitions side. The Army Air Corps and the vastly expanded aeronautical and aerospace industry joined behind the new Air Force. Thus it should be no surprise that petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals needed their State bureaucratic partner for the massive post-war armaments program. It is important to remember here that one of the benefits of US strategic success in the war was the plunder of some of the most lucrative basic research and capture of the most ruthless research personnel available in Germany and Japan. When the leaders of the US regime whine about alleged intellectual property theft by China, they are merely sobbing at the inevitable trickle down from their historical larceny and brain draining.

It simply would have been impossible after the war in Korea to openly foster a biological warfare service in the US war machine. A solution was found. This was supported by trends already well established in the US. Since Frederick Taylor Gates assumed control over the General Education Board (GEB) within the Rockefeller tax dodge, the two largest tax dodges of the time, Carnegie and Rockefeller, had agreed to allocate the theatres of ideological warfare in defence of their fortunes, their class and the system that had come to be called capitalism. Rockefeller money would be devoted to manipulation of the domestic political environment and Carnegie money would be used to buy control of the international side.6

At the same time Gates advised Rockefeller to invest his loot in scientific medicine. Although Gates, like Rockefeller, came from a Baptist background, both had come to recognise that medicine is more powerful and intimate even than religion. Scientific medicine, based on the work of professionals operating with “security clearances” could turn the laboratory into technology for social transformation. Just as John D. Rockefeller had legalised his criminal activities to establish the Standard Oil monopoly, Gates proposed a strategy for establishing an ideological monopoly on medicine and thus a practically invincible defence of the gangster class’ prerogatives to rule.

Today’s complicity of the Johns Hopkins University (Bloomberg) School of Public Health should not be a surprise to anyone who recognises that history did not begin in 2019 or 2020. It was GEB money that founded the JHU School of Public Health (in 2001 named after the financial propaganda magnate, Michael Bloomberg, whose tax dodging has permitted him since 1995 to buy reputation at the nation’s premier population control academy).

Corporate control over scientific medicine, especially through funding of medical schools and medical research laboratories, combined with the integration of the pharmaceutical industry into the military-industrial complex. This process reached its international apex when the Rockefeller tax dodge, which had already made substantial financial donations to the United Nations organisation (notoriously supplying part of its feudal estate in Manhattan to build a kind of international “Vatican City”), managed the foundation of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The chief US delegate to the 1946 International Health Conference was Thomas Parran, the US Surgeon General, who would also be credited with the Tuskegee syphilis experiments on unwitting African-Americans (1932-1972).7  Rockefeller sent five official observers to the conference. Without a doubt the most powerful delegation at the conference was on the side of corporate medicine and pharmaceutical weaponry.

Recently those few critics of the WHO to be found complain about the amount of money it receives from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.8  However, it is important to note that WHO was deliberately underfunded when it was started. A proposal that the organisation be funded by the United Nations was defeated in favour of separate contributions by members and a provision for financial gifts (bribes) from other sources.9

In 1955, the US Microbiological Institute was again renamed. It became the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In 1946, the Office of Malaria Control in War Areas, a military operation was renamed the Communicable Disease Center (CDC) and later becomes part of the US Public Health Service—itself a derivative of military/naval hygiene operations. In 1951, the CDC established its cadre program keeping with the ultimately military tradition to which it belongs. The Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) was intended to satisfy “the need for an adequate corps of trained epidemiologists who can be deployed immediately for any contingency, including chemical or biological warfare”.

Consistent with US first strike strategy in its war against the Soviet Union, the 1950s were full of experiments to test human reactions to the radiation and the radioactive materials that formed the core of the atomic weapons economy. By 1954, the US was waging overt and covert war against all those countries that took the UN Charter seriously and attempted to establish themselves as independent and self-governing nations. As early as 1943, another operative of the Rockefeller tax dodge was leading what was called then the “Green Revolution”. In 1943 Norman Borlaug took the chemical-biological weapons research product from the US and invaded Mexico, preparing the foundation for the fertilizer-seed monopolies that together with official US policy would destabilise the largest country in Central America. The subsequent destruction of indigenous agriculture would not only stimulate migration of cheap labour to the North but contribute to the country’s debt crisis—despite its immense oil reserves.

The same technology that deceptively promised miracle harvests would be applied in the form of the herbicide Agent Orange during the 30-year US attempt to subordinate the Vietnamese population. On one hand the US wanted Vietnam to continue—with Korea—to subsidise its Japanese vassal with cheap food (rice). On the other, it was necessary to control the region’s huge opium sources inherited from France.10

1972 was a watershed in the world of war. Richard Nixon visited Mao in China. British Army units committed the massacre in Ireland known as Bloody Sunday. US aggression and bombing of Vietnam escalates massively. The assassination of eleven Israeli athletes at the Munich Summer Olympics, attributed to a terrorist group named “Black September”, provides the first pretext for major security controls at international airports. The US signs SALT I and the ABM Treaty. The Club of Rome publishes its eugenics treatise The Limits to Growth. The television whitewash of the war against Korea, M*A*S*H is first aired by CBS. The concepts of molecular biology and recombinant DNA (Stanley Cohen, Herbert Boyer, Paul Berg) receive public scientific recognition. Edelman and Porter are awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for providing a picture of the structure and action of biologically important substances previously unavailable to immunology.11   US government officials admit that they had secretly used African-Americans as guinea pigs in the Tuskegee Study. Also the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) was signed.12

The BTWC requires that each state “never in any circumstances to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain: 1. Microbial or other biological agents, or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes; 2. Weapons, equipment or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.”

The US regime, in particular the CIA, already admitted during the so-called Church hearings one notorious incident although Senator Frank Church refrained from designating it as a possible violation of international law.13  Although the US regime ratified the treaty it has consistently resisted acceptance of inspection (enforcement) protocols consistent with its general self-exemption from international criminal law; e.g., self-exemption from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court whose establishment it forced. The treaty retains an advantageous loophole since it exempts prophylactic and protective purposes. This is very consistent with the renaming practices that began after 1945. Since the US by its own policy definitions does not wage offensive war all activities by its military establishment are prophylactic or protective.

In 2001, on the anniversary of the US-sponsored overthrow of Salvador Allende in 1973, the NY World Trade Center towers were demolished following the crash of two passenger airliners into its upper floors. This triggered what became known in the US defence jargon as the Global War on Terror (GWOT). Within days of the spectacle, a sequestered federal legislature adopted the USA Patriot Act, the legislative framework for comprehensive domestic and foreign surveillance and policing. It also induced a “new normal” of invasions and occupations by US military and secret services as well as private contractors, massive air and ground travel restrictions. The Department of Homeland Security was created modelled on the CIA’s Phoenix Program in Vietnam.14  In fact, the “new normal” that has continued since 2001 is the globalisation of the Phoenix program, surveillance, kidnapping, assassination, torture, corruption and subordination of civil authority, black marketing of all manner of contraband—in short permanent covert war against the civilian population.

In 1984, Ronald Reagan, patron saint of the United States, declared during a sound check for radio broadcast, “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes”. The Sandinista National Liberation Front wins elections in Nicaragua, triggering US covert war against the poor Central American country under the patronage of the re-elected St. Ronald. A methyl isocyanate leak due to an engineering design defect at a Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, India, kills up to 23,000 people. NASA and the FAA performed an intentional crash of a Boeing 720 airliner using remote techniques for flying the Boeing 720 as a drone aircraft. In 1984, Anthony Fauci was promoted from Chief of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation to director of NIAID and chief medical advisor to the POTUS.

It was the year after which George Orwell’s novel had been named. It was the year following the assertions by researchers Robert Gallo and Luc Montagnier in 1983 that a novel retrovirus may have been infecting people with “AIDS” HIV. As director of NIAID, Anthony Fauci would lead and manage the dispersal of research funds to find treatment or cures for what was presented as a health threat of epidemic proportions. In the course of his career Dr Fauci would become the effective lord and master over HIV research and subsequent immuno-threats attributed to viruses, real or imagined. It has been said that although the mission of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is to reduce the threat of such afflictions, the number and frequency of allergies and infection diseases has increased since 1984.15

Dr Anthony Fauci is not only the highest paid federal employee; he has held his post under seven POTUS, even surpassing the 48-year reign of J Edgar Hoover as head of the secret police. Now he apparently is the drug lord with the last word on corona viruses, in particular the one known since 2020 as SARS – CoV2. Together with Bill Gates (no relation to the Rockefeller lieutenant, Frederick Taylor Gates) Anthony Fauci is in charge of defining the “new normal”. The Global War on Terror has now been turned into a biological war. The Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) augments the NATO and the World Economic Forum (WEF) to establish new more intimate and saturated means of surveillance than those adopted in Washington two decades ago.

A comparison of the strategic language of the GHSA, the Third Offset and COVID-19 The Great Reset, shows just how effective the work of a century of financial malevolence has been.16  At the beginning of the 20th century Frederick Taylor Gates bought ruling class control through the domination of scientific medicine because “freedom from disease is the great longing of all peoples” and the desire for health as a unifying force “whose values go to the palace of the rich and the hovel of the poor”—where medicine is “a work which penetrates everywhere”.17 Today the great acolyte of John D. Rockefeller, William Henry Gates III, with Anthony Fauci as his medical field marshal, tell us that scientific medicine must first deliver us from disease by means of injections (aka vaccines) that will defend us against viral threats.18 The owner of a monopoly created selling software that cannot be protected from viruses is joined with a lifelong medical bureaucrat whose institution has proven incapable of protecting anyone from viruses converge in the war games held by the “ark” of Rockefeller-based medicine, Johns Hopkins University, the medical school and school of public health.19 Can that really be for the benefit of humanity?

Others have asked this question. The question leads to historical questions of great importance for understanding the biological war being waged since December 2019. Who is Bill Gates?20  Who is Anthony Fauci?21  Who is Klaus Schwab?22  What do the GHSA 2024 Framework, the Third Offset strategy and the WEF “Great Reset” have in common? If the “new normal” of 2001 has been so firmly imposed that the US offshore prison and torture system is no longer even mentioned—twenty years later—can anyone seriously expect that the “new normal” in 2021 will not be imposed. Repeatedly it is said that crises are opportunities. It ought to be clear by now for whom.

Could it be that there is a deeper, historical origin to the present crisis? In 1947 the business of war was renamed “defence”. Perhaps the business of biological war was renamed too. For decades the military – industrial – complex has been no secret. Its necessity was kept a secret until the 1970s.23 However, since 1992, the enemies of the Western ruling class have been reduced to China and the world population at large. The NATO war against the Federated Republic of Yugoslavia, nominally waged against Serbia, not only destroyed the last surviving socialist state in Europe, it destroyed the residue of the already anaemic Left. The framework was created for the integration of the environmental movement into the neo-liberal global system, in part under the umbrella of reactionary war profiteer George Soros’ Open Society consortium.24

Quietly what then might have been called the “Bilderberg” class was adopting the language of the compatible environmentalists. Using their control over the world’s mass media—intensified after a round of mergers under POTUS Bill Clinton—the Club of Rome jargon was reiterated especially through what became Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum, formed shortly thereafter. Then in 2001 the first World Social Forum was convened in Brazil, ostensibly an opposition response to the Davos meetings. Just as the Davos meetings are paid from the troughs of multinational corporations and taxpayers, the WSF meetings could only be convened with the funds from taxpayers and corporate tax dodges funnelled through NGOs. Inevitably this has led to the creation of an international cadre whose special mission is the interface between the rulers under capitalism and the ruled. Although it would be an exaggeration to compare both institutions one-on-one, the gravy train of international conferences corrupts activists as often if not more so than scholars and scientists on the academic lecture circuit.

This harmonisation process gradually brought the jargon of the WSF, mediated by NGOs, into alignment with that of the WEF. This was most blatant with the explosion of the Swedish Alberich, Greta Thunberg, with her millenarian Climate Doom in 2019. The “Ring” cycle continued into 2020 with at least the populations of Anglo-America and the white dominions completely cowed by her doomsday performances. Thus the stage was set. It did not take much psychological pressure to turn a variant of the common cold into the “war of the worlds”. Moreover not only was the dynamic duo in Bethesda and Atlanta ready and waiting at “bat time and bat channel”, the de facto lord of the digital branch of the military-industrial-complex was able to activate all those integrated circuits in the GHSA and WEF to establish battlefield supremacy. The Colossus of Seattle and the Fauci Project presented to the planet: two worlds from which to choose—obedience or fear.

It was an appeal to Loyola’s Eighteenth Rule:

Although serving God our Lord much out of pure love is to be esteemed above all, we ought praise much the fear of His Divine Majesty, because not only filial fear is a thing pious and most holy, but even servile fear—when the man reaches nothing else better or more useful—helps much to get out of mortal sin. And when he is out, he easily comes to filial fear, which is all acceptable and grateful to God our Lord, as being at one with Divine Love.

— Rule 18

  1. “US Microbiological Institute Established to Study Malaria, Polio, Typhus and Colds”, New York Times (23 October 1948).
  2. General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy (1928).
  3. Geheime Staatspolizei, secret state police—the undercover branch of the extensive policing apparatus subsumed by the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) under Germany’s National Socialist dictatorship from 1933 – 1945. Like the FBI, the Gestapo performed as a national political police as well as conducting detective criminal investigations.
  4. See also Report of the International Scientific Commission for the Investigation of the Facts Concerning Bacterial Warfare in Korea and China (1952).
  5. Most of this is associated with the CIA program known as Operation Paperclip. However, there were numerous programs for absorbing know-how from German scientific experiments wherever performed. IG Farben, a major industrial beneficiary from concentration camp exploitation, offered a natural channel, even to US corporations, through capture or cooperation among the constituent entities restored to operations after the war; e.g., Bayer AG.
  6. E. Richard Brown, Rockefeller Medicine Men: Medicine and Capitalism in America (1981).
  7. Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, conducted by the US Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was conducted in cooperation with the historically black college, Tuskegee Institute (University). Participants were told that they were receiving free medical care when, in fact, medical care was pretended so that the effects of syphilis could be studied on these unwitting, poor black sharecroppers. The 40-year study is only the most notorious of the unethical (in fact, criminal) research performed in violation of the derived Nuremberg principle of “informed consent“. Cornelius P. Rhoads performed similar experiments in the US colony of Puerto Rico in 1932. Rhoads stated (but later denied) that he had injected cancer cells into test subjects. Rhoads was also credited with developing the use of mustard gas—a chemical weapon—as a cancer therapy. He would be appointed head of research at what became Memorial Sloan – Kettering Institute for Cancer Research.
  8. The WHO program budget anticipated contributions in the amount of $7,969,367,000 of which only $956,900,000 were assessed from members. $5,242,480,000 came from “voluntary contributions”. As of Q4 2020, BMGF was the biggest funder of the WHO (11.8%) plus the 6.8% of the GAVI Alliance. The corporate interest in directing the WHO can be seen together with the funding from several other friends of humanity, 0.42% from the Bloomberg Family Foundation, 0.15% from Wellcome Trust, 0.13% from Sanofi-Aventis, 0.12% from the Rockefeller Foundation, 0.11% from Gilead Sciences Inc, 0.09% from Merck & Co. Inc, 0.06 from Bayer AG, 0.01% from Johnson and Johnson Family of Companies Contribution Fund Inc.
  9. See UN World Health Organization Interim Commission (June 1948) Official Records of the World Health Organization, Summary Report on Proceedings, Minutes and Final Acts of the International Health Conference held in New York from 19 June to 22 July 1946.
  10. For a discussion of the US war against Vietnam, see also “A Fly’s Eye View of America’s War Against Vietnam” in Dissident Voice, April 30, 2015.
  11. Gerald Edelman (1929-2014) went from the US Army Medical Corps to the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (Rockefeller University) until 1992 when he joined the faculty of Scripps Research Institute as a professor of neurobiology.
  12. Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction. It entered into force in 1975.
  13. C-Span, Clip of William Colby, Church Committee Hearing, 16 September 1975. The treaty entered into force 26 March 1975. US Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, chaired by Senator Frank Church (D) of Idaho.
  14. See Douglas Valentine, The Phoenix Program (1990) and The CIA as Organized Crime (2017).
  15. Children’s Health Defence, statement by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
  16. See e.g. Global Preparedness Management Board, 2019 Annual Report A World at Risk, Eric P. Hillner, “The Third Offset Strategy and the Army modernisation priorities”, Center for Army Lessons Learned (May 2019) and Klaus Schwab, Thierry Malleret, Covid-19: The Great Reset (2020).
  17. Brown (1981), p. 122.
  18. US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NAID Biodefense Research for CDC Category A Agents (February 2002).
  19. 201 Event:  A global Pandemic Exercise.
  20. James Corbett, Who is Bill Gates? Corbett Report (05/01/2020).
  21. Dr David Martin, The Fauci/COVID-19 Dossier (2021) David Martin World YouTube channel.
  22. Johnny Vedmore, “Schwab Family Values”, Unlimitedhangout.com (21 February 2021) Vedmore mentions the cross-border support of the Nazis in which the Schwab family was involved. It is most likely that Allen Dulles, who was stationed in Switzerland at the time especially to monitor such relationships during WWII, knew about this and may well have provided later references for the post-war order he helped to construct.
  23. Journalism and Pornography”, Dissident Voice (5 January 2017).
  24. George Soros, Interview on CBS 60 Minutes (1998) Archive.org.  In the interview Soros explains that if he had not been profiting from the expropriation and deportation of Hungarian Jews during WWII, someone else would have done it.
The post The health which I see is disease (… if the Hierarchical Church so defines) first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Psychic Dangers of Infected Minds (With a Lie this Large)

The emergence in 2020 of the Coronavirus (or Covid-19) and the putative dire implications for us all of its unchecked spread and virulence caught most people on the planet off guard. This development signalled an epochal turning point for the global political economy, for our society and humanity. Greg Maybury gets ‘up close and personal’ with the virus, reflecting more on the ‘popular delusions and madness of crowds’ attending it, and those purporting to manage the crisis in our best interests. In this context, he offers a more off-piste reflection on the forces driving us to a destination almost surely will not be to our liking.

*****

Picture the prince, as most of them are today: a man ignorant of the law, well-nigh an enemy to his people’s advantage, while intent on his personal convenience, a dedicated voluptuary, hater of…freedom and truth, without a thought for the interests of his country, and measuring everything in terms of his own profit and desires.

Erasmus

Nothing will avail to offset this virus which is poisoning the whole world. America is the very incarnation of doom…She will drag the whole world down to the bottomless pit.

— Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer (1934).

A Blood Poisoning of the Body Politic (Foul Deeds Arising)

In an early essay “Symbols of Transformation“, archetypal ‘poster-boy’ of the collective unconscious Carl Jung noted:

There’s no adequate protection against psychic epidemics, which are infinitely more devastating than the worst of natural catastrophes. The supreme danger which threatens individuals [and] whole nations is a psychic danger.

Though history is littered with the mortal remains of the countless victims of such dangers, it’s hard to recall an event in recent times where Jung’s insight has carried such portent. The much-touted microbial perils aside for now, possibly not since September 11, 2001 have we witnessed or experienced such a sweeping psychic contamination of the global body politic implicit in Jung’s maxim, as with the emergence of the Coronavirus (or Covid-19). Both events were game changers: disparate to be sure yet ‘transformative’; both have underscored the man’s insight indubitably. It informs much of what follows.

With uncertainty, fear, anxiety, suspicion, hysteria, intolerance, paranoia, and panic in the ascendancy, infecting ever more deeply our already ‘overloaded’ psyches, and some of our most basic, hitherto presumed freedoms and liberties abruptly curtailed or suspended ostensibly for the greater good (by some earnest accounts, temporarily), all of us have been affected in some measure. For the most part and for most people, this has not been in a good way. The true calculus of the effects will be some time in coming, if, in fact, we can expect such. (See here, here, and here for just a few examples of the widely reported mental health impact of Covid and its attendant, bespoke insanities.)

Irrespective of whether one views Covid (and mooted mutations thereof) as a) as bad as we’re told it is or could be; b) [as] real an existential threat to humanity as our established and establishment sources of news and information would have it; or c) whether it is even real at all*, it is the all too human propensity for irrational thought and illogical action that gives rise to the psychopathology implicit in Jung’s assessment. (*See here and here for further information.)

This is decidedly the case when such propensities are combined with our easy willingness to accept prima facie the proclamations of our ruling elites, fuelled as they are by their own hubristic ambitions, almost all of which are fiercely echoed and mirrored by their news and information intermediaries. All this brings to mind that memorable couplet via Hamlet: ‘Foul deeds will rise, Though all the earth o’erwhelm them, to men’s eyes.’

Whilst it seems the global populace has stoically accepted the official narrative of ‘experts’ in such matters, there is all the same a highly credible, eminently qualified, and eclectic mix of folks who’ve declared themselves at least quite sceptical of the whole business. As events and developments triggered by Covid unfold, significantly more individuals and groups are coming forward and crying ‘foul’, about the severity—indeed the very authenticity—of the crisis, and the official responses to it. Indeed, there’s credible evidence the virus was not a naturally occurring phenomenon, but man-made.

To understand why this acceptance has been so ‘contagious’, a slight digression at this point is useful. In his slyly subversive 1995 tome The Doubter’s Companion: A Dictionary of Aggressive Common Sense, philosopher John Ralston Saul offers us a useful view: he presents doubt as ‘the only human activity capable of controlling power in a positive way’. For the eminent Canadian, doubt is ‘central to [our] understanding’. Ralston Saul also suggests: ‘…it is curious just how easily [our elites] set about serving only themselves, even if it means…they or the society will self-self-destruct’. For his part British philosopher John Gray had this to say:

When belief systems are contradicted by facts, beliefs are rarely renounced…More often they’re reinterpreted and thereby reinforced. Humans are more interested in preserving an internally coherent worldview than in testing their view of things against events. Nearly always, faith trumps facts.

As with Jung’s earlier insight, such musings are crucial to our fuller understanding of what’s taking place at present. They’re further critical to providing an insight into the implications of ignoring the portents therein. In the Age of The ‘Coronapocalypse’—with doubt amongst the populace an increasingly rare commodity—it seems clear we’re not only ‘over’ it as an instinctive response to the machinations of our political, economic, media, technocratic, financial, and intellectual power elites. To the extent we do embrace doubt, we’re doing so inwardly, not outwardly. In the wrong direction as it were!

All of which is to say, it is our own judgment we more readily apply such doubts to than [to] those who govern us. In its place, we’re second-guessing our “aggressive common sense”, substituting a misplaced trust in authority. These wielders of great power known and unknown, elected and unelected, for whom the quaint notion ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ is both anathema and risible, know this: as such, they leverage—politicise, weaponise and/or monetise—our (self) doubts, our fears, insecurities, anxieties, even our primal instincts against us in the service of their own agendas and individual and collective self-interest.

It is said: ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste…’. Putting aside the inherent ambiguity of this trope and the fact that the precept itself has been doing the rounds for some time in one form or another, it not by chance shoehorned itself into the political lexicon in the wake of 9/11. Yet the subtext of this meme was then and remains now, ‘if we get tired of waiting for one to show up, go the extra mile and have one tailor-made and fit-for-purpose…’. That this possibility should be apparent to all is, well, without doubt! To re-mint an old adage, we don’t need to be paranoid to see this. In any case, it may even be too late to help us. Such are the stakes with this particular crisis, such is the zeitgeist. This is not idle hyperbole.

And for those who might be tempted to view this as bordering on conspiratorial musing, as  author Lance deHaven-Smith has suggested, our ready acceptance of the edicts from on high is predicated on a misplaced ‘sentimentality’ about our political leaders, public figures and institutions ‘rather than’ he says, ‘on any unbiased reasoning and object observation. One supposes here, then, we’re talking about the benefit of a reasonable doubt versus the disadvantages of unreasonable suspicion or even unreasoned certainty.

It’s difficult, though, reconciling such “sentimentality” with any known, rational reason for it being so. For those of us not naturally inclined towards sentiment when we contemplate the general character, mindset, integrity and scruples of our average political and public figures, this especially might be the case.

Here’s the thing: If we don’t use doubta measure of political agnosticism wherein we question that misplaced trustto control the psycho-pathologically derived misanthropy and the collective totalitarian mindset of these people, they’ll have little compunction in using our inability, refusal, or unwillingness to doubt [to] control us. As indeed they are, and will continue to do! (See here and here.)

Picturing the Prince (The Ballad of ‘Bogus Bill’)

We’ll return to these themes later. But any meaningful discourse of Covid requires us to critically examine the integrity of the chief architect of the existential milieu in which we find ourselves. For those looking into our current malaise (how did we get here?), it is to Bill Gates and the Bill & Melinda Gates (BMG) Foundation we must turn our attention.

In reporting on his much-touted philanthropic endeavours, James Corbett of The Corbett Report is one who’s nailed the essence of Gates, and dared to challenge the accepted narratives of the public relations exercise which has crafted them. For those who haven’t seen Corbett’s expose, suffice to say there are many takeaways, most of which may be difficult to digest for those disinclined to doubt. But essential viewing it is. Along with being an admirer of the man’s work, it’s worth noting I’ve rarely seen him as animated as he has been about the Covid agenda. This in itself is a most telling observation.

From Microsoft to microbes of the life-threatening kind, from viruses of the digital to the less metaphorical variety, Corbett’s own finely tuned doubt receptors have rendered us a compelling portrait of Gates and his backstory, along with the myth, his agenda, and his ‘business model’ for humanity. Once such are revealed, doubt impels us to question many aspects of the Covid phenomenon, not least the disruptive and destructive impositions, edicts, and directives we’ve come to blithely accept from those purporting to manage the ‘crisis’ in our best interests. The wearing of masks, social distancing, lockdowns, border closures, self-isolation, and draconian penalties for infringements of any of the above are just a few of the countless examples.

To be sure, this purportedly philanthropic—and on its face off-piste—career ‘redirection’ for one of the world’s richest and most ruthless of capitalists had many folks reassessing their views of the man. After experiencing a ‘come to me Lord’ moment, Gates had recalibrated his values, mended his ‘wicked ways’, and set out on the road to redemption. Doubtless it was one he presumably felt would, like St Paul’s, in the fullness of time lead him to a higher moral ground and a ‘salvation’ of sorts. And one expects, an immortality of the type few folks might reasonably aspire to much less anticipate.

Sounds fair enough. Using one’s massive, somewhat ill-gotten fortune to eradicate the world’s diseases, reduce poverty along with economic and social inequality, and in general make the planet a better place for the masses (of whom there are far too many in the ‘gospel’ according to Gates), sounds like a grand idea, a selfless goal, taking the whole concept of noblesse oblige to another stratosphere entirely. Some might say it is quixotic, though in his case absent ‘the Don’s’ altruism, the windmills, suit of armour, sceptical off-sider, and trusty steed. It seems to have worked a treat.

To reiterate, there are many who didn’t buy Bill’s ‘bill of goods’ from the off, and remain consistent still; as noted even more now are, if not rejecting it outright, applying suitable mechanisms of doubt. For those doing so, the Covid agenda has revealed Gates’ apparent Damascene conversion all those years ago to all-round good guy, the prince 0f the pathogenic epoch as it were—in his case, the penultimate humanitarian of our era, making John D Rockefeller look like a curmudgeonly ‘scrooge’ even after his not dissimilar re-baptism back in the day—as a fraud, a phony, a chimera of charitable intent.

The Parasitic Profiteers of Adversity

Few people one imagines have transformed the act of giving away their money such a consummately profitable business model. We only need follow the money, or ask: Who benefits? Cui bono? as we say. As with 9/11, the dramatis personae in Covid’s ‘cattle-call’ of beneficiaries is a ‘cast of thousands’, and then some! The parasitic profiteers of angst, adversity and misfortune are rarely in short supply!

And whilst a more complete picture of the ultimate goals of the BMG Foundation, along with the agendas of its various ‘franchisees’ and subsidiaries, might remain unclear for some, it’s enough to say that if its much-touted altruistic aims are to be accepted, there is much more work to be done. In the PR domain that is. This even if the results thus far are quite impressive to say the least.

Public relations (one of whose notable pioneers was no less than Sigmund Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays, who leveraged then monetised his uncle’s conclusions about the inner working of the human mind to stunning effect), doesn’t as a rule seek to provide objective insights into contemporary events. It is about manipulating and moulding (sorry, “managing”) our perceptions of people, situation and circumstance, and doing so by deception, either by omission or commission, by misinformation or disinformation, or both, in each case! This ‘alchemical’ myth-making aims to poison—indeed mutate—the core narrative of our history, as well as the more contemporary political and civil discourse.

Now I feel I can say all this with some measure of authority as I’ve an insider’s grasp of how PR works, a previous life having afforded me such. Being able to match one’s own knowledge of history in general with the history of PR and how it has become such an omnipotent force governing the management of our political economy and our society provides such insight. For those who might challenge the substance of Freud’s own ‘warts ‘n all’ insights into the human condition, the effectiveness of PR is the best evidence we have that the fabled former Viennese ‘shrink’ knew his id from his superego.

We might even go so far to say that whatever values remained of the heritage bequeathed to us by the so-named age of enlightenment, were subverted by Freud’s conclusions around two hundred odd years later. More accurately, it was their application in the real world for purposes and motives that had little to do with enlightenment, reason and rational thinking and much to do with their antithesis, that may have been the real fly in the ointment.

 True, one does not need a post-doctoral degree in Freudian psycho-analytical theory to decide when the forces of PR are in effect. A modicum of “aggressive common sense” will do it. Yet as the American author H.D. Thoreau once mused, ‘…there is such a thing as circumstantial evidence, as when you find a trout in the milk’. Sadly, our “common sense” is not as ubiquitous as we give ourselves credit for, even less “aggressive” as it needs be.

What Gates and Co. have presented thus far is a masterclass in PR’s preternatural capacity to induce the desired doubts in the populace, and from there, mould opinion and/or manufacture out of thin air the credulous acquiescence of the misgoverned. In the view of many (nowhere near a critical mass to be sure), humanity’s ‘crisis’ du génération has unmasked the Gates’s real motives and their earnest, over-arching game-plan. Put another way, we don’t need to wait for the lab results to tell us there are rats in the gravy!

In squarely assessing the Covid phenomena, one is struck by any number of conclusions—as inescapable as they’re disturbing—about the forces driving it, and about our collective surrender to these forces. As noted (but cannot be overstated), the first is our recidivistic disposition to, like sermons upon the mount, internalise ‘fashionable’ ideas in the deeper recesses of our cognitive backyards. We continue to embrace such edicts from on high, without a great deal (if any) of critical thought, analysis or again, simple, homespun doubt. Our belief in, and acceptance of, such edicts are little more than faith-based.

In this, our education system is to be sure, a principal culprit. As someone who’s spent (another) previous life as a professional educator, for this writer that much is a given. Whilst this’ll be the subject of a future, deeper reflection on the root causes of our contemporary malaise, suffice to say there’s little provision within the modern school curriculum for the encouragement of critical thought (in this writer’s view, the opposable thumb of the intellect), the terrain having been purposely—yet covertly—well-tilled and seeded to this end over several decades. Beyond formal education itself, other forces come into play to be sure, not least our media.

Thus our “worldview” remains forever unchallenged, unchanged. It needs be noted that along with positioning himself amongst the medical and health fraternity as the ‘go-to’ global guru on public health policy in general and the dangers of contagious diseases in particular, Gates has cemented this reputation with the broader public by assiduously courting the mainstream (corporate) media and the reigning political classes and their unelected patrons in unstinting support of the BMG Foundation’s agenda.

And though the COVID thing represents the best evidence we have of how we’re being misinformed—and from there (mis) governed—in the here and now, it serves as a reliable index of how we might be so governed in the future. This much is clear: they’ll keep ‘pushing the envelope’ here until our mailboxes are full. A casual scrutiny of some of history’s most consequential events, developments and turning points is enough for the discerning doubter to appreciate this. Though it might go without saying, as indicated by then it most likely will be too late. Even if the truth of events comes out, the damage has already been done. No collective, belated epiphany upon the part of the public can undo it. Here we might recall John Gray’s earlier point about beliefs being “rarely renounced” when “contradicted by facts”.

In the Land of the Infected (None so Blind)

Now those not persuaded by the preceding views may need to ‘get out more’, to use the vernacular. Which is to say we need to wake up to the brain-numbing barrage of propaganda on the one hand and stifling censorship on the other to which we’ve been subjected for many years: this Orwellian milieu has expanded greatly since the emergence of this so-called crisis. It’s tantamount to psychological warfare of the asymmetrical kind, where the stronger power determines to have the upper hand, and is well positioned to achieve and maintain it.

As Vanessa Beeley from 21C Wire reveals, this trend towards increasing censorship, surveillance and secrecy is very much an exponential work in progress, with the latter possibly not being the most appropriate word given the zeitgeist. To the degree notions of transparency and accountability are in play, the miscreants driving these developments are now more open (or less embarrassed or apologetic) about being caught out, and ever more immune when they are called out. Any sense of embarrassment, guilt or shame their ilk might have been prone to back in the day has long since been surgically removed as if it were a ruptured appendix. (See here, here, here, here, and here for more on this.)

The perpetrators and sources of propaganda and censorship are many and various: They run the gamut from global and regional foundations, commissions, movements, and assorted agenda-driven organisations to national, state and provincial governments; [to] the corporate (mainstream) media along with the intelligence and security agencies; lobby groups, think tanks, NGOs; Big Tech, Big Pharma, Big Arms et. al.; and myriad other private and public institutions and vested interests, including even our regulatory bodies and legislative assemblies. If only we could have a vaccine to inoculate us against this cognitive onslaught, this pernicious societal and political virulence!

This operant conditioning (or programming), a euphemism for old-school brainwashing, albeit utilising more sophisticated technological and psychological instruments, is designed to elicit a false consensus effect (or bias) in people, whereby they ‘see their own behavioural choices and judgments as relatively common and appropriate to existing circumstances’. In other words, we accept our personal beliefs, values, perceptions, and attitudes as relatively widespread through the general populace, and we react in kind, something of a herd mentality one suspects. Once the herd mentality is in play, there is no herd immunity. (Think wildebeests here, or maybe lemmings).

Jung, himself, warned of the ‘politico-social delusional systems’ and ‘monkey tricks’ politicians use to ‘poison the utterly incompetent mind of the masses.’ Less lofty in tone, yet perhaps more pithily, the popular British satirist and fantasy novelist Terry Pratchett acutely observed: ‘…the IQ of a mob is the IQ of its most stupid member divided by the number of mobsters’. Aristotle’s oft-cited postulate that ‘nature abhors a vacuum’ may have its discontents; what is inarguable is that this is where stupidity finds its natural habitat, and ignorance its idyll.

Such acquiescence on our part can be aroused by sub rosa, beguiling means, like predictive programming. This is very much a forte of the film and television business to be sure. According to Alan Watt, ideas which might otherwise be seen as undesirable, bizarre, vulgar or impossible ‘are inserted into films [as] fantasy. When the viewer watches these films, his/her mind is left open to suggestion and the conditioning process begins.’ Hollywood has been called the ‘dream factory’, ironic on many levels, especially as it is no slouch in the fabrication of nightmares. That it does so purportedly for our ‘entertainment’ is doubly ironic. (Here we might again think of the events of 9/11. See here also.)

Predictive programming is usually deemed the domain of the “conspiracy theorist”, Watt and his ilk being dismissed as such. The epithet has always been and remains the de rigueur response from those who like to ‘man the barricades’ at any hint the official narrative of events past and present may not be kosher. As with such theories, whether they turn out to be true or not (we know many do, in fact; see here, here, and here just for starters), coincidence plays a key role in how we determine what’s a conspiracy and what’s not.) Again, as Gray’s previous observation underscores, even then, such revelations rarely deliver an appropriate corrective to the accepted narrative.)

Though by no means the best or the only one, an exemplar of such programming (akin to ‘tilling the soil’), is the 2008 British film Doomsday—a dystopian, nihilistic, viral-apocalypse gore-fest of the first order. The central ‘character’ in this film is the aptly named “Reaper” virus, the arrival and impact of which decimates the population and splits the UK in two under martial law. It then ‘disappears’, only to ‘mysteriously’ resurface thirty years later. By this time, we’re living the nightmare! Cue the darkness, in the land of the infected.

Slickly made—with a plot that on its face stretches plausibility and replete with over-the-top action scenes rivalling the Mad Max (aka Road Warrior) films and their ilk, only with lethal badass germs and a cast of infected zombie-like thousands a la The Living Dead roaming the desolate landscape, the film does what it says on the box. Although I didn’t see Bill Gates’ name in the credits (OK, I didn’t check; but ‘creative consultant’ or ‘technical adviser’ anyone?), it was like so many others of its ilk, scripted and produced to transcend mere edge-of-your-seat, pop-corn entertainment. (See here for the “Top Ten” in the genre; and yes, it is a “genre”.)

There was a message in the film to be sure, and it wasn’t necessarily a cautionary tale about capricious microbes waiting to bush-wack us on our evolutionary path and eradicate us all before we do same to ourselves by other means. What makes this film relevant herein is the subversive political agenda that drives much of the action. (As fictional fare, everyone, man and his dog, loves a good conspiracy theory it seems. It’s only when we step back into the real world that we have trouble entertaining, less so accepting, such possibilities. What makes us think Covid might just be different? This question need not be simply rhetorical.)

Yet for apocalyptic prescience of the pathogenic kind in fictional conspiratorial plotting, it is Israeli Hamutal Shabtai who gets the nod. Over 23 years ago she wrote a book—largely unnoticed it appears—about the emergence of a Covid-like pandemic, set in 2020. Not so imaginatively titled 2020, this novel was apparently only published in Hebrew, and according to Raul Diego of MintPress News, originally written as a film script. Diego:

Shabtai…predicts the state of the world today as a result of the counter-measures with uncanny accuracy and foretells of a society ravaged by a virus, which ushers in a “global health dictatorship”.

Rats in the Gravy

And for those unaware of the origins of the “conspiracy theory” construct as used in the pejorative (it almost always is), it’s time to bring oneself up to speed. Look no further than the CIA’s infamous Operation Mockingbird, the most enduring, successful, well-documented, psychological operation (aka ‘psy-op’) ever concocted by The Company, one promiscuously embraced by all Western intelligence and security agencies and their governments. They’ve been dining out on it for over seventy years. And we’ve been picking up the tab.

The phrase “conspiracy theorist” itself was a purpose-built initiative of OpMock and its attendant illusions and shell-games. So effective has this meme been, it has prevailed against our political enlightenment over three generations, shows no sign of approaching its use-by date, and provides us more evidence if required that Freud knew his stuff.  It has been the perfect vaccine against authentic doubt (or “aggressive common sense”), the latter being the virus that most scares our political and power elites. For his part Gates appears increasingly unhinged by all the Covid naysayers, recently decrying “conspiracy theorists” and their “crazy, evil” accusations. One marvels as to why he took so long to ‘sound the alarm’! (For more information on OpMock, see here, here and here).

And this is without mentioning MK-ULTRA (aka Artichoke), the same agency’s diabolical mind-control and brainwashing plots, programs, experiments and schemes. This is a program the records of which the CIA reportedly destroyed (at least by some accounts) in the early seventies. But this author doesn’t buy that theory. (See here, here, and here.)  Even if the names might’ve changed, that the overarching (and overreaching) goals of both programs could still be in play is something we should take as a given.

We are then via real-time surveillance faced with the prospect of more and more intrusions into, and dispossession of, our privacy—propelled by frontal attacks on our presumed entitlements in this respect. This is especially so with the advent of artificial intelligence, genetic modification (GM) and 5G intelligence and data mining and manipulation technologies: I’m reliably informed of such prospects by an associate, a long-time career computer engineer no less, who sees a dark future for humanity herein. The increasing sophistication of, and both ubiquitous and iniquitous (increasingly untested, unregulated), application of AI/GM/5G control tools and power-wielding processes makes this a given.

In this Brave New World meets 1984 future, such technologies will come to rule, direct, psychologically orchestrate, socially engineer, behaviourally manage, and genetically manipulate every aspect of our lives. One can reasonably surmise this is one of the key motives for—and objectives of—those associated with its rollout. Human nature has a track record of going off-track, and it is not one overly imbued with circumspection, erring on the side of caution, forward thinking, altruism, or broad consideration of the public weal. If it can all be monetised along with being weaponised all the better. Which it is and will continue to be. Of that we can be sure.

Though space prohibits an in-depth discussion of such, it’s worth mentioning at this point the widely perceived connections between the timing of the rollout of 5G and the arrival of Covid. It’s enough to say that one credible observer—Robert F Kennedy Jr.—foresees a “catastrophe” for humanity. For him, there are no ‘mights’ or ‘maybes’ about it. It is instructive that he made this comment in the context of talking about pandemics, vaccines and the like. But he was clearly alluding to the possible environmental and health blow-back from rolling out this scandalously untested technology. (See also here.)

And it would seem that Covid has brought into sharp relief the corruption and avarice of our once trusted medical science and health professions. In this writer’s ‘humble’ opinion, Kennedy is one of the most articulate and principled advocates for more accountability and transparency within and across the broad medical, pharmaceutical, healthcare, health insurance, health science and scientific research and associated regulatory domains. He attends his message with a no punches pulled indictment of the widespread, deep-seated conflicts of vested interests therein, and the rampant abuse and neglect of the public trust he sees as being out of control in these spheres.

In a lengthy interview last year, Kennedy gave vent to all of the above and then some. Whilst the main focus was on Covid and the disturbing implications for our future, his views extended to the numerous issues which attend Covid. There are any number of reveals in this wide-ranging discussion and RFK’s son—a litigation lawyer, safe vaccine advocate, and environmental activist—was ‘all over his brief’ as it were. Like the Corbett revelations on Gates, this interview provides valuable insights. (Similar to many who share his beliefs, Kennedy maintains that he is not against vaccines but wishes that they be more thoroughly tested and investigated.)

One striking illustration (countless others abound) providing further evidence of the misinformation and disinformation that has become the hallmark of the perpetual motion propaganda and censorship machine that has been purpose built to keep the official narrative on track is the following. Dr. Roger Hodkinson is Chairman of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons committee in Ottawa, and also CEO of a large private medical laboratory in Edmonton, Alberta. He’s also Chairman of a medical biotechnology company seeking to enter the vaccination market.

On its face this looks a typical conflict of interest of the type referred to earlier. Yet in a video (originally posted on Youtube, but tellingly removed by YT gatekeepers shortly thereafter), Hodkinson decried the utterly unfounded hysteria’ surrounding Covid, which he said was ‘driven by the media and politicians’. Along with calling it ‘the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on an unsuspected public’, Hodkinson declared the ‘crisis’ as nothing more than ‘a bad flu season. It’s politics playing medicine and that’s a very dangerous game.’ He further added:

There is no action needed…Masks are utterly useless. There is no evidence whatsoever they are even effective. It is utterly ridiculous seeing these unfortunate, uneducated people walking around like lemmings obeying without any evidence. Social distancing is also useless… [T]he risk of death under 65 is 1 in 300,000…the response utterly ridiculous.

 Quarantining Humanity (Useless Eaters and Useful Idiots)

To sum up: If we relinquish our freedom of action, choice and movement to the pandemic priesthood and supplant our individual thoughts and speech with the accepted narratives of their agendas, we do so at our own peril. We are in effect dispensing with one of the most effective tools of defence in the smoke-filled ‘wilderness of mirrors’ (located as it is inside a cacophonous echo chamber) that passes for reality, one in which we all too readily assume will present greater opportunities for us, our families and descendants to pursue, attain, then lead full, free, productive, meaningful—and better; i.e., improved—lives.

This illusory construct has been purpose-built to reflect and echo a reality of their own making. Such pseudo-realities have been with us for some time and remain extant, a work in progress. One hardly needs to be a political philosopher or logician to detect the vicious circularity of this existential malaise, and we are but bit players performing in this post-modern danse macabre, this cosmic, mordantly ironic, nihilistic opera of the absurd, one directed by criminal sociopaths and choreographed by the certifiably insane.

We sacrifice all this for what is rapidly approaching in extremis, something of a devolution of humanity, marked by soulless economic determinism, technological tyranny, social engineering, genetic manipulation, political absolutism, psychological alienation, and an ineradicable spiritual ennui unimagined of in the most conceivable of pessimistic, dystopian futures. The mythical deities of Grecian antiquity combined, from Zeus himself on down the mountain, might hardly have marshalled, much less manifested, this much narcissistic hubris towards, and disdain for, their mortal constituents and/or presumed omnipotence over them.

Brought into sharp relief by Covid, this entrenched institutional corruption, deception and fraud alone is prevalent and ongoing at the highest levels in both the private and public realms of our global political economy. As always seems to be the case, the corporate media—the glue that holds the monolithic capitalist, free market, globalist, free trade, neoliberal construct in place—have outdone themselves in this regard; after all the Russia-gate farce, some folks might’ve expected this to be a hard act to follow.

But follow it they did, doubling down and being even more brazen about it. Whilst a story for another time, they seem to have outdone themselves once more with their reportage on the conduct and outcome of the 2020 election. On both counts this has no precedent in American history, with the lies, damned lies, and dodgy statistics that underpinned their election coverage and the preordained narrative embedded therein being key to the stand-out nature of the poll.

With each passing day, though it may be too little too late, more high-profile and/or authoritative folks are beginning to speak up about the challenges and variegated dangers posed by the COVID crisis, and the manner in which it has been managed. One such person is the erudite German author Eckhart Tolle. During a recent lecture on the subject of adversity (an apposite title for the age in which we live perhaps?), Tolle delivers some poignant, yet still portentous comments on the Coronavirus hysteria.

In this two-parter, “Awakening Through Adversity,” the following are just a few of the points he covers:

  • Collective ‘hive mind’ and the spread of ‘mind viruses’;
  • How the collective mind is projected through social and mainstream media;
  • How sensationalism in mainstream media drives the ‘crisis’ narrative; and,
  • How to be more conscious of mainstream media manipulation.

 In these uncertain times, Tolle’s views on the Covid upheaval are especially worth listening to.

As a fitting coda to our ruminations then, the following might be appropriate. Insofar as COVID goes—and any plot dreamed up by hidden agenda-driven intriguers and schemers designed to serve their own interests or those in whose service they’re being amply rewarded—we’re looking down the barrel of not so much a medical, health, and/or social crisis (as bespoke as it is). We’re facing nothing less than what we might term a blood poisoning of the body politic.

It’s all but a fait accompli that we now accept it is their interests that will always come first. Although to some extent trust in our political, public and private institutions has declined precipitously, this half-assed realisation is too little, too late. We rarely seem to stop what we’re doing and consider the implications of that. Until that mistrust is converted into critical mass action, we’re on a hiding to nothing.

Which is to say, we’ll face two choices, both of which are something of the Hobson’s variety. We either become one of Vladimir Lenin’s “useful idiots” in the service of this all-out assault on democracy, the public weal, and humanity. Or we end up one of Henry Kissinger’s “useless eaters“. The ‘choice’ is ours (or not).

Or like Henry Ford once reportedly opined, ‘you can have any colour you like, as long as it’s black!’

If only we could embrace doubt with as much enduring enthusiasm and commitment as we do the purported good intentions of those who rule over us. If only…

The post The Psychic Dangers of Infected Minds (With a Lie this Large) first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Covidian Cult

One of the hallmarks of totalitarianism is mass conformity to a psychotic official narrative. Not a regular official narrative, like the “Cold War” or the “War on Terror” narratives. A totally delusional official narrative that has little or no connection to reality and that is contradicted by a preponderance of facts.

Nazism and Stalinism are the classic examples, but the phenomenon is better observed in cults and other sub-cultural societal groups. Numerous examples will spring to mind: the Manson family, Jim Jones’ People’s Temple, the Church of Scientology, Heavens Gate, etc., each with its own psychotic official narrative: Helter Skelter, Christian Communism, Xenu and the Galactic Confederacy, and so on.

Looking in from the dominant culture (or back through time in the case of the Nazis), the delusional nature of these official narratives is glaringly obvious to most rational people. What many people fail to understand is that to those who fall prey to them (whether individual cult members or entire totalitarian societies) such narratives do not register as psychotic. On the contrary, they feel entirely normal. Everything in their social “reality” reifies and reaffirms the narrative, and anything that challenges or contradicts it is perceived as an existential threat.

These narratives are invariably paranoid, portraying the cult as threatened or persecuted by an evil enemy or antagonistic force which only unquestioning conformity to the cult’s ideology can save its members from. It makes little difference whether this antagonist is mainstream culture, body thetans, counter-revolutionaries, Jews, or a virus. The point is not the identity of the enemy. The point is the atmosphere of paranoia and hysteria the official narrative generates, which keeps the cult members (or the society) compliant.

In addition to being paranoid, these narratives are often internally inconsistent, illogical, and … well, just completely ridiculous. This does not weaken them, as one might suspect. Actually, it increases their power, as it forces their adherents to attempt to reconcile their inconsistency and irrationality, and in many cases utter absurdity, in order to remain in good standing with the cult. Such reconciliation is, of course, impossible, and causes the cult members’ minds to short circuit and abandon any semblance of critical thinking, which is precisely what the cult leader wants.

Moreover, cult leaders will often radically change these narratives for no apparent reason, forcing their cult members to abruptly forswear (and often even denounce as “heresy”) the beliefs they had previously been forced to profess, and behave as if they had never believed them, which causes their minds to further short circuit, until they eventually give up even trying to think rationally, and just mindlessly parrot whatever nonsensical gibberish the cult leader fills their heads with.

Also, the cult leader’s nonsensical gibberish is not as nonsensical as it may seem at first. Most of us, upon encountering such gibberish, assume that the cult leader is trying to communicate, and that something is very wrong with his brain. The cult leader isn’t trying to communicate. He is trying to disorient and control the listener’s mind. Listen to Charlie Manson “rapping.” Not just to what he says, but how he says it. Note how he sprinkles bits of truth into his stream of free-associated nonsense, and his repetitive use of thought-terminating clichés, described by Robert J. Lifton as follows:

The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliché. The most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly selective, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed. They become the start and finish of any ideological analysis. 1

If all this sounds familiar, good. Because the same techniques that most cult leaders use to control the minds of the members of their cults are used by totalitarian systems to control the minds of entire societies: Milieu Control, Loaded Language, Sacred Science, Demand for Purity, and other standard mind-control techniques. It can happen to pretty much any society, just as anyone can fall prey to a cult, given the right set of circumstances.

It is happening to most of our societies right now. An official narrative is being implemented. A totalitarian official narrative. A totally psychotic official narrative, no less delusional than that of the Nazis, or the Manson family, or any other cult.

Most people cannot see that it is happening, for the simple reason that it is happening to them. They are literally unable to recognize it. The human mind is extremely resilient and inventive when it is pushed past its limits. Ask anyone who has struggled with psychosis or has taken too much LSD. We do not recognize when we are going insane. When reality falls apart completely, the mind will create a delusional narrative, which appears just as “real” as our normal reality, because even a delusion is better than the stark raving terror of utter chaos.

This is what totalitarians and cult leaders count on, and exploit to implant their narratives in our minds, and why actual initiation rituals (as opposed to purely symbolic rituals) begin by attacking the subject’s mind with terror, pain, physical exhaustion, psychedelic drugs, or some other means of obliterating the subject’s perception of reality. Once that is achieved, and the subject’s mind starts desperately trying to construct a new narrative to make sense out of the cognitive chaos and psychological trauma it is undergoing, it is relatively easy to “guide” that process and implant whatever narrative you want, assuming you have done your homework.

And this is why so many people — people who are able to easily recognize totalitarianism in cults and foreign countries — cannot perceive the totalitarianism that is taking shape now, right in front of their faces (or, rather, right inside their minds). Nor can they perceive the delusional nature of the official “Covid-19” narrative, no more than those in Nazi Germany were able to perceive how completely delusional their official “master race” narrative was. Such people are neither ignorant nor stupid. They have been successfully initiated into a cult, which is essentially what totalitarianism is, albeit on a societal scale.

Their initiation into the Covidian Cult began in January, when the medical authorities and corporate media turned on The Fear with projections of hundreds of millions of deaths and fake photos of people dropping dead in the streets. The psychological conditioning has continued for months. The global masses have been subjected to a constant stream of propaganda, manufactured hysteria, wild speculation, conflicting directives, exaggerations, lies, and tawdry theatrical effects. Lockdowns. Emergency field hospitals and morgues. The singing-dancing NHS staff. Death trucks. Overflowing ICUs. Dead Covid babies. Manipulated statistics. Goon squads. Masks. And all the rest of it.

Eight months later, here we are. The Head of the Health Emergencies Program at the WHO has basically confirmed an IFR of 0.14%, approximately the same as the seasonal flu. And here are the latest survival rate estimates from the Center for Disease Control:

  • Age 0-19 … 99.997%
  • Age 20-49 … 99.98%
  • Age 50-69 … 99.5%
  • Age 70+ … 94.6%

The “science” argument is officially over. An increasing number of doctors and medical experts are breaking ranks and explaining how the current mass hysteria over “cases” (which now includes perfectly healthy people) is essentially meaningless propaganda, for example, in this segment on ARD, one of the big mainstream German TV channels.

And then there is the existence of Sweden, and other countries which are not playing ball with the official Covid-19 narrative, which makes a mockery of the ongoing hysteria.

I’m not going to go on debunking the narrative. The point is, the facts are all available. Not from “conspiracy theorist” websites. From mainstream outlets and medical experts. From the Center for Fucking Disease Control.

Which does not matter in the least, not to the members of the Covidian Cult. Facts do not matter to totalitarians and cult members. What matters is loyalty to the cult or the party.

Which means we have a serious problem, those of us to whom facts still matter, and who have been trying to use them to convince the Covidian cultists that they are wrong about the virus … for going on eight months at this point.

While it is crucial to continue reporting the facts and sharing them with as many people as possible — which is becoming increasingly difficult due to the censorship of alternative and social media — it is important to accept what we are up against. What we are up against is not a misunderstanding or a rational argument over scientific facts. It is a fanatical ideological movement. A global totalitarian movement … the first of its kind in human history.

It isn’t national totalitarianism, because we’re living in a global capitalist empire, which isn’t ruled by nation-states, but rather, by supranational entities and the global capitalist system itself. And thus, the cult/culture paradigm has been inverted. Instead of the cult existing as an island within the dominant culture, the cult has become the dominant culture, and those of us who have not joined the cult have become the isolated islands within it.

I wish I could be more optimistic, and maybe offer some sort of plan of action, but the only historical parallel I can think of is how Christianity “converted” the pagan world … which doesn’t really bode so well for us. While you’re sitting at home during the “second wave” lockdowns, you might want to brush up on that history.

  1. Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of “Brainwashing” in China, 1961.

The post The Covidian Cult first appeared on Dissident Voice.

“Totalitarian” Anti-Communism: Loaded Language Straight Out of CIA, Neo-Con Playbook

ORIENTATION

Forms of language manipulation

As most of us know, verbal language is both a tool and a weapon. Verbal language allows our species to talk about the past and the future. It allows us to label mental and physical illnesses and provides us with diagnosis and prognosis. It allows us to communicate more precisely than we can with non-verbal language, whether about the world or our internal states. But language can also be used to control and manipulate. There are at least nine forms of language manipulation:

  • Loading the language with “virtue and vice” words which narrows thinking.
  • Euphemisms mask the emotional content of an experience by sanitizing the language. For example, the military specializes in this by calling prisoners of war “detainees” or murdered soldiers “collateral damage” .
  • “Weasel” words are commonly used in advertising and “slanting” is a regular staple in newsrooms.
  • Reification is common in economic analysis when we hear that “money talks” “money walks”, and “economies grow”.
  • Other forms of language manipulation are “equivocation,” “jargon”, “vagueness” and “ambiguity”.

Vice and Virtue Political Words

The subject of this article is the use of the word “totalitarian” as a loaded vice word.  It is used mostly in international political contexts by liberals and conservatives in Yankeedom to distinguish their political system from those of their perceived enemies. Totalitarianism has been used to describe Nazism and Communism, both separately or together.

“Totalitarian” is trotted out by neocons and the CIA when they are presenting to the public their views on Russia, China, North Korea or Venezuela. This continues despite the fact that the term has been criticized by social scientists in the 1960s and is 60 years out of date. In a 1948 article, Arthur Hill listed the following characteristics of totalitarianism:

  • Abolition of the right to freedom of speech, assembly and religious worship;
  • Elimination of all political parties other than the ruling party;
  • Subordination of all economic and social life to structural control of the single party bureaucracy;
  • Liquidation of free enterprise;
  • Destruction of all independent trade unions and creation of labor organizations servile to the totalitarian state;
  • Establishment of concentration camps and the use of slave labor;
  • Utter disregard for an independent judicial system;
  • Social demagogy around race and class;
  • Expansion of the military;
  • Reduction of parliamentary bodies to rubber stamp status;
  • Establishment of a system of nationwide espionage and secret police, censorship of the press and media;
  • Disregard for the rights of other nations and desregard of treaties; and,
  • Maintenance and encouragement of fifth columns abroad.

Another vice word is “dictatorship” which is regularly attributed to the heads of socialist governments, even when these socialist leaders have been elected by democratic processes. Both “totalitarian” and ‘dictatorship” are emotionally loaded “vice” words designed to narrow political thinking into an “either – or” choice between a vice word (dictatorship, totalitarian) and a virtue word “democracy”. A vice word is one in which it is impossible to think or act neutrally. So, no intelligent political person would say they are for totalitarian government or dictatorship.

On the other hand, these days everybody loves the word “democracy”. This has certainly not been the case historically. Democracy had been associated with “mob rule” and among conservatives, behind closed doors, it still is. Liberals were not much better. They were dragged kicking and screaming into using the word democracy at the end of the 19th century when working class white men got the vote. Nevertheless, the word democracy today is a virtue word. It is tantamount to committing political suicide by publicly stating you are against democracy. The CIA even names one of its international programs to overthrow socialist governments “National Endowment for Democracy”. In this article I will focus on the history of the use of the word “totalitarianism”. In my next article I will write about the history of the use of the words “dictatorship” and “democracy”.

Why should you care?

Using loaded language in politics supports narrowing the thinking process to heroes and villains, gods and devils, dictators or democrats. Working-class people do not initiate what these words mean, or in what contexts they are used. However, working class people circulate these words unconsciously when they talk about politics to others. Working-class people also internalize these words and this narrows the span of how they think about political processes. The purpose of this article and the next one is to challenge you to try purging from your vocabulary the words totalitarian dictatorship or democracy. Chances are very good that you are being played by the Yankee anti-communist campaign.

Overview of the history of the use of the word “totalitarian”

Most of this article will be based on a book Totalitarianism: The Inner History of the Cold War by Abbott Gleason (1995). He tells the story of the use of totalitarianism from its use in the 1930s to the 1980s. The early years of its use was limited to fascism. After Stalin’s pact with Hitler it was used to describe both fascism and communism. Then there was a hiatus in the use of the term totalitarian when the USSR became an ally. However, after World War II through the 1980s, the term totalitarian was used by Yankees and Europeans to refer to the Soviet Union and any other socialist countries.

THEORIES OF TOTALITARIANISM IN THE 1930s

Early theories of totalitarianism were economic in origin and only about fascism. For Franz Neumann, the totalitarian phase of Nazism was strictly confined to the first two years of rule. He used the term totalitarian to describe the all-powerful state that he believed to be one of the two central elements of fascism. Besides the state, the other element of fascism was monopoly capitalism. Fascism was understood as a development that came out of political liberalism and decaying capitalism, not primarily an attack on them. Neumann thought that capitalism rather than racism and romanticism explained the rise of Hitler. For Max Lerner, fascism and Nazism derived from inflation and middle-class fears of proletarianization. Roosevelt used the term totalitarianism infrequently and when he did, he usually referred to Germany and Italy. For the Soviet Union, fascism was understood as a manifestation of capitalist society in its imperialistic stage. Nazism and Soviet Communism appeared in these theories as the most extreme opposites. However, by 1937-1938 many academics came to regard the similarities between Nazism and Stalinism as more striking than their differences.

The United States itself was not immune to the charge of being called totalitarian by conservatives who were against FDR. Emil Lengyel, in his book, The New Deal in Europe, (1934), included US economic policies as similar to Russia, Germany and Italy. For conservatives such as Herbert Hoover, FDR was a totalitarian liberal. American isolationists argued Roosevelt’s domestically aggressive policies contained the real danger of totalitarianism

Following his committee’s vindication of Trotsky, John Dewey accepted the term totalitarian to describe Russia, and for this he was subjected to a sustained campaign of vilification by communists. He stressed totalitarianism in his book Freedom and Culture, (1939) less than two months after the signing of the Nazi-Soviet pact. With the signing of the pact in August 1939, all but a few far-left activists accepted the new terminology and called both Russia and Germany totalitarian.

TOTALITARIANISM IN EARLY WORLD WAR II

From the time the United States entered World War II until the end of the war, the United States backed off its characterization of the Soviet Union as totalitarian. Why? Because if the US was allied with the Soviet Union, the war could not be described as a war against totalitarianism. The events of 1941 — Germany’s attack on the USSR — halted a great deal of the talk of totalitarianism being of both the left and right. The imagined confrontation of totalitarian dictators with western capitalism (called democracies) would be shattered. Almost overnight the term greatly diminished as the United States and the Soviet Union fought on the same side. After the war, with Germany defeated, totalitarianism was used to characterize only the Soviet Union.

TOTALITARIANISM IN THE LATE 1940s

Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism, (1951)

Lack of specificity in what makes a totalitarian country

Hannah Arendt began to write Origins of Totalitarianism, in reaction to the realization of the scale of the death camps and the systemization of the killings of the Jews. Up until now, those writing on totalitarianism thought its roots were in the 20th century. There was some sense it was connected to nationalism, technology and racism. However, all these characteristics were also present in countries like the United States and Britain that were thought not to be totalitarian. Hannah Arendt’s book begins in 1945 and was the first book to suggest that the origins of totalitarianism originated in the 19th century.  Arendt’s own candidates for totalitarianism were the rise of mass society, psychological loneliness, Durkheim’s anomie and what she called the fanaticism of the marginalized. The “mob” for Arendt was a small section of the population, roughly equivalent to Marx’s lumpenproletariat. It consisted of declassed rootless, desperate individuals who could be recruited for criminal activity. This perception of masses was a conservative one, right out of the playbook of Le Bon and Tarde. Yet, all these conditions were also present in the US, England and France. There are no characteristics unique to Germany and Russia.

She also claimed there was a relationship between 19th century imperialism and racism. The problem was that countries that are considered non-totalitarian (US, Britain and to a lesser extent, France) were all imperialist or racist. Secondly, Russia at the time of the Tsar, was not an imperialist country, though anti-Semitism was very prevalent.

Arendt also thought that totalitarianism had a great deal to do with nationalism. The problem is she didn’t specify what kind of nationalism it was. Her attempt to link Pan Germanism with Pan Slavism breaks down because the 19th century Russian intelligentsia was not Pan-Slavic.  With a few exceptions, they were Western European modernizers. Even if Pan-Germanism and Pan-Slavism did provide the ideological roots of commonalities of Russia and Germany, it was a different kind of nationalism than in Western Europe. In Hans Kohn’s typology, Germany and Russia were ethnic, rather than civic nationalists. Arendt’s basic paradigm of the nation state was post-revolutionary France which qualifies as civic nationalism. When we consider that most of Europe, and particularly Germany and the Austro-Hungarian part of Germany (with which she is most concerned), had belonged to states that could not be thought of as civic nationalist.

Lastly, by 1948 she came to believe it was the systematic reliance of terror, institutionalized in the concentration camp that linked Russia to Germany. This ignores the concentration camps set up in United States for the Japanese.

The sloppiness of her study

There are many problems with Arendt’s study other than the fact she could name characteristics that were unique to Germany and Russia and not found in the West. In the first place, she had not studied Germany and Russia equally. This meant she was in no position to compare their similarities and differences systemically. She knew far more about Germany than Russia. She began her book with the Nazi’s and it was only three years into her writing that she tried to expand her book to include Russia. Secondly, her characterization of the Nazis and the USSR was confusing because it was not a strict comparison between fascism and communism. The term totalitarian did not even include other fascist countries such as Italy or Spain.

In addition, she failed to state the differences between Russia and Germany in terms of their politics and economic systems. Just because Hitler and Stalin were both heavy-handed leaders does not mean the political systems were the same. For one thing, Hitler was appointed whereas Stalin rose from within the Communist party. Furthermore, she failed to account for the differences in the economic system. Germany was a capitalist society; Russia was a state socialist society. Those differences are huge.

Lastly her definition of totalitarianism was too strident. Neither Germany or Russia came close to fulfilling all her criteria. Despite all these criticisms The  Origins of Totalitarianism is one of the first books that turns up in a search of the subject of totalitarianism. We can only wonder which Cold War critics keep this book in the educated public’s eye despite its many problems.

The Cold War Begins

In the summer of 1945, after the Allied victory in Europe, there was alarm over Soviet maneuvers in occupied Germany and Eastern Europe. It was then that the word totalitarianism resurfaced.  With the Communist coup of Czechoslovakia in 1948, there was a belief in a Communist blueprint or master plan for world conquest. The reinvigoration of totalitarian exclusively to the USSR served to switch powerful anti-German sentiments in the United States into the growing anti-communist movement. In 1950, the McCarran Internal Security Act barred totalitarians – Communists – from entering the United States.

Left-wing reaction

Burnham’s Managerial Revolution

Even before the end of World War II, left-wing criticism of the Soviet Union came from Trotskyist James Burnham’s The Managerial Revolution, (1941). In this book, Burnham claimed the Russian experience had demonstrated that the elimination of private property was not necessarily a step towards socialism. For Burnham, both the Soviet Union and the Western capitalists were both moving towards a managerial ruling class.

Orwell’s 1984, (1949)

As far back as 1943, Orwell realized that England was lacking in concentration camp literature, including secret police forces, censorship of opinion, torture and frame-up trials. He delivered all this in his book 1984. Orwell liked Burnham’s The Managerial Revolution and his depiction of permanent struggle between super states for world dominion. Orwell drew from and was influenced by the book We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, a soviet novelist, in his writing of 1984. Orwell argued that his book was not an attack on socialism. In fact, Orwell says his intention was to show that totalitarianism was possible since the setting for his book was England.

In the magazine The New Leader, writers such Max Nomad, Victor Serge, Paul Goodman, John Dewey, and Sidney Hook argued that the Soviet Union had so dishonored socialism that it could be compared to Germany. In 1947 there was a split on the American Left over the Soviet Union that continued to deepen and become increasingly bitter. The split between the Popular Front left and the emerging Cold War left occurred roughly in the same year. Sidney Hook became one of the most fanatical and relentless opponents of totalitarianism. This is documented in Mary Sperling McAuliffe’s book Crisis on the Left: Cold War Politics and American Liberals 1947-1954, (published 1978).

Conservative liberal reaction

Jacob Talmon’s Origins of Totalitarian Democracy, (1952)

Talmon takes aim at Soviet politics rather than Germany. He studied Jacobin dictatorships during the French Revolution at the same time the Moscow trials were reaching a climax in 1938. He then made a connection between the Jacobin and the Bolsheviks, taking the roots of totalitarianism to the end of the 18th century implicating the Enlightenment itself. Even Rousseau was seen as a precursor of totalitarianism. Talmon saw the French Revolution as a political, religious revival which covered Europe with its apostles, militants and martyrs. He was a supporter of de Tocqueville’s attempt to explain the threat of democratic despotism, as totalitarian liberalism. He contrasted that to his own pluralistic liberalism.

Right-wing reaction

Von Hayek, Lasky Niebuhr

The right-wingers were already moving towards demonizing the USSR before World War II ended. As far back as 1944, Hayek’s book The Road to Serfdom (1944) placed totalitarianism front and center. For Von Hayek, economic planning leads to totalitarianism. All collectivism was totalitarian. Von Hayek was very ambitious historically, tracing the roots of totalitarianism through Marx to Auguste Comte. The appearance of Von Hayek’s book was a great help to Yankee conservatives in setting the political agenda of postwar intellectual debates. Hayek helped support the publication of Karl Popper’s Cold War liberal book, Open Society and Its Enemies, (1945).

Conservatives wanted to use totalitarianism to paint with broad brush-strokes, attacking not only communism, but even socialism and liberalism. Some questioned the status of the New Deal itself. Neo-cons such as Melvin Lasky and Irving Kristol were part of this wave. Anti-communists organized themselves as the Americans for Democratic Action. Notice the use of virtue word “democratic” in this title. Historically, conservatives equated democracy with “mob rule.” This new wave of conservative anti-communism included the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.

Irving Kristol

Irving Kristol, writing in the New Leader at the end of WWII was Involved in Cold War liberal journals such as Commentary, the Reporter and Encounter. Neo-conservatives began to speculate about the origins of totalitarianism to a larger public, by-passing the academic totalitarian theorists. Kristol produced a typology even grander than Jacob Talmon’s indictment of the Enlightenment. He aimed to explain the difference geographically, between Anglo-American pragmatic liberalism and the continental tendency of fanaticism and revolutions.

TOTALITARIANISM IN THE 1950s

Schlesinger’s the Vital Center

In 1948 Arthur Schlesinger Jr. began his book, The Vital Center, (1949), one of the manifestos of Cold War liberalism. The book’s chief concern is communism, not Nazism. He claims that sentimental progressives have been duped by totalitarianism. For Schlesinger, totalitarianism arises when anxious 20th century human beings seeks to escape their anxiety (referring to Fromm’s Escape from Freedom) by throwing themselves into a totalitarian whole, a night in which all cows are black. Unlike previous tyrannies, which left much of the social structure intact, totalitarianism pulverizes the social structure. He stresses the importance of keeping social forms of voluntary groups from being atomized. A rich associative life can be had away from politics. He accepts a very passive version of democracy, a lack of appeal to those irrational sentiments once mobilized by religion and now by totalitarianism.

Why such a weak democracy? The notion of a popular, meaningful political life is totally illusory. Schlesinger’s totalitarian masses are plunged into a deep trance-like political apathy which he calls bureaucratic collectivism. He claims “we” must give the lonely masses a sense of individual human function away from politics. He accepts the separation between those engaged in political life and the great mass of society. His book marked a new kind of pessimism about human nature. He excluded all communist sympathizers.

Congress for Cultural Freedom

In 1950 the Congress for Cultural Freedom was constituted in Berlin to provide further organization and inspiration for the anti-Communist left in Europe. Its principle organizer was Melvin Lasky. The CIA funded their original meeting in Berlin and within three years, through Lasky, was supporting the Congress itself. The purpose of the founders was to combat the idea that respected, serious writers could be neutral in the Cold War. James Burnham, Sidney Hook and Arthur Koestler, all former leftists, went to the most extreme in depicting their own commitment to the West.

The Sovietologists in the United States

After 1945, “Russian Studies” departments developed. They were aided by Ford, Carnegie and Rockefeller. The “sovietologists” had centers at Columbia University, Harvard, UC Berkeley and the University of Washington. There was both open and some secret collaboration among foundations, universities, the CIA, the FBI and the State Department to develop Soviet Studies and keep it free of pro-Soviet personnel.

Carl Friedrich — professor of government at Harvard — organized a conference on totalitarianism which included Adam Ulam, Erik Erikson, David Riesman, and former radicals like Bertram Wolfe. Following the conference, Friedrich recruited Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Soviet specialist from Harvard’s government department as a collaborator. One fruit of their collaboration was a book called Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy, (1956). For a while it was the most influential and authoritative treatment of totalitarianism ever written, a careful scrutinization of Nazi and Soviet politics and economics. The concept of totalitarianism also became a staple of college textbooks and sometimes books for high school students, However, by the 1960s there began a rebellion in academia against the totalitarian model.

 TOTALITARIANISM IN THE 1960s

The tide began to change in 1960 when political scientist Robert Tucker pointed out three problems with the totalitarian model:

  • Cross-culturally the comparisons were too narrow. Besides Russia, Germany and Italy needed to be included.
  • Historically the comparisons were static. In the case of Russia, a distinction needs to be made between Russia under Stalin, Russia under Lenin and Russia under Khrushchev.
  • Brzezinski’s and Friedrich’s model could not explain change in the Soviet Union. Later, Chalmers Johnson edited a book called Change in Communist Systems which supported Tucker’s points.

Up until now political scientists were content to compare dictatorships with other dictatorships while treating industrial capitalist systems as if they were a different species. But political scientist Jerry Hough challenged the totalitarian model directly. Using a method he called “institutional pluralism” he provided a functional analysis of communist societies free from Cold War ideology. He asked what do communist and industrial capitalist societies have in common in terms of bureaucracies.

In summing up the attack on American sovietologists, comparative politics scholar Fainsod in his book How the Soviet Union is Governed (1979) he says:

The study of communism has become so pervaded with the values prevalent in the United States that we have not an objective and accurate knowledge of communism, but rather an ideologically distorted image. Not only our theories, but the concepts we employ – totalitarianism – are value laden. (p. 133)

TOTALITARIANISM IN THE 1970s

Leonard Shapiro

Meanwhile, on the right, neo-conservatives had been furious with what they felt was Nixon and Kissinger’s appeasement of the Soviet Union. Most neoconservatives hated Hough’s comparative politics because it neutralized the Soviet Union, presenting it as a state like any other state, instead of the demonical monster that it was imagined as being.

In his book The Origins of Soviet Autocracy British scholar, Leonard Shapiro argued that unlike Tucker’s claim, the origins of totalitarianism in Russia do not begin with Stalin, but with Lenin. Shapiro treated the Bolshevik seizure of power as a coup rather than a democratic revolution. He did not think that Trotsky or Bukharin offered any serious alternative.

Challenging Shapiro, based on his political biography of Bukharin, Steven Cohen argued that Bolshevism had a far greater evolutionary possibility that could have  been realized had Bukharin rather than Trotsky won the power struggle against Stalin after Lenin died, but whether one sided with Trotsky or Bukharin, Bolshevism and Stalinism were very different. The differences between Bukharin and Trotsky were minimal compared to their differences with Stalin. It was the fault of the totalitarian theorists that Bolshevism and Stalinism became blurred. The Bolshevik Party was more open and, in some ways, democratic than had been generally admitted. Cohen used the work of Alexander Rabinowitch’s Bolsheviks Come to Power (1976) to document his points.

Sheila Fitzpatrick

More conservative than Cohen, political scientist Sheila Fitzpatrick was not interested in saving Lenin from complicity in Stalin’s crimes. She thought that the Civil War gave the new regime a baptism by fire that the Bolsheviks wanted. She argued that what Cohen ignored is the terroristic aspect on the Russian population. Because of “The Terror” of Stalin’s reign, parents talked differently to their children, writers wrote differently, workers and managers talked to one another differently, and millions perished.

 Neocons

With the decline of the US economy after 1970, the ebbing of the left activism of the 1960s and the rise of religious fundamentalism in the late 70s, neo-conservatives saw their ship coming in. These neo-cons showed great respect for dissident intellectuals of Eastern Europe — Havel, Kolakowsky and Solzhenitsyn — and had significant ties to anti-Communist Western European intellectuals such as Karl Bracher, Jacob Talmon, and Raymond Aron. However, it wasn’t until the election of Reagan that the neoconservatives both inside and outside government began a sustained drive for hands-on political influence. It was these neo-cons who reintroduced “totalitarianism” into the US political vocabulary.

The Separation of “Authoritarian” from Totalitarianism as a way to justify cavorting with military dictatorships

The Soviet Union had to be understood as totalitarian for ideological purposes, but were all countries with centralized power, with limits on capitalists’ governments, “totalitarian”? That depends on the politics of the country. If the country has a victorious Leninist party in power, then the country is labeled totalitarian regardless of how democratic the political process was. But if the country has a right-wing military in power, no matter how many characteristics of totalitarian they have, they will be called something else, “authoritarian.”

Instrumental in the revised typology of totalitarianism was Jeanne Kirkpatrick. She accepted Friedrich and Brzezinski’s model and added Talmon’s stress on totalitarian liberalism. In her essay, Dictatorships and Double Standards, her most important innovation was to introduce a distinction between totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. Her attitude towards traditional nondemocratic regimes was Burkean. This means that traditional autocrats, unlike totalitarians, leave in place existing allocations of wealth, power and status. The religious system and traditions are left alone. They do not disturb habitual rhythms of work and leisure, where people live or family dynamics. The totalitarian regime, on the other hand, draws on resources of modern technology and wipes out these traditions.  The authoritarian regime stems from a lack of political or economic development, not the presence of modern transport and communications systems that totalitarians possess.

Why the distinction between authoritarian vs totalitarian rule? As much as neocons want to think of the political world of nations in black and white systems of rule, the reality of international relations makes this impossible. The political world consists of a spectrum of rule going from more liberal to more authoritarian. It is inevitable that countries of industrial capitalist governments must form alliances with countries who have more heavy-handed rulers because they do not have complete control over world affairs. If the political world today requires alliances, how would it look if geopolitical alliances were with countries that were classified as totalitarian?

“Authoritarian” was a way to distinguish between right-wing dictatorships that for reasons of convenience or necessity the United States should support. These must be distinguished from left-wing ones that were dangerous to western capitalist interests and so are classified as totalitarian. So, the United States could classify alliances with theocracies like Saudi Arabia or Egypt as “authoritarian”, even though they may have more characteristics that are totalitarian. Conversely, Venezuela will be classified as totalitarian, even though in practice it has one of the highest rated democratic processes in the world.

Modernization theory as propaganda to deny core countries’ creation of right-wing states

Among other claims, World-Systems theory claims that there is one single world-capitalist system with a core, periphery and semi-periphery, and these differences are based on technology, economic, political and military power. In addition to the invisible hand of capitalism there is also an invisible fist. In order to make sure the labor and land markets in the peripheral countries remain cheap, international capitalists cannot afford to have political rulers in the periphery of the system in power who have their own ideas of how to organize their economy. This is one reason why Lumumba and Qaddafi were murdered. Therefore, it pays for capitalists to throw guns and money at dictators who will keep foreign markets open, continue to develop commercial crops, keep unions from forming and assassinating any leftist troublemakers.  It is these countries that are called “emerging democracies” at best, and “authoritarian” at worst.

Modernization theory is the systematic repression and denial of the notion that military dictatorships are a creature of oppressive international power plays on the part of core-capitalist countries to keep peripheral countries dependent on the international institutions like the World Bank or the IMF. Peripheral countries are treated as isolated specimens that are undergoing internal development. Instead of these states being largely the creatures of neo-colonialism, they are treated as pre-modern authoritarian societies that only need to be exposed to western European political institutions in order to straighten up and fly right toward the path of democracy which is already happily charted by Western Europe and the United States.

•  First published in Planning Beyond Capitalism

The post “Totalitarian" Anti-Communism: Loaded Language Straight Out of CIA, Neo-Con Playbook first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The End of Reality?

In 1888,  the year before he went insane, Friedrich Nietzsche wrote the following in Twilight of the Idols:

We have got rid of the real world: what world is left?  The apparent world perhaps? … But no!  Along with the real world we’ve done away with the apparent world as well.

So, if you feel you also may be going insane in the present climate of digital screen life, where real is unreal but realer than real, the apparent is cryptic, and up is down, true is false, and what you see you don’t, it has a history.  One hundred and thirty-two years ago, Nietzsche added that “something extraordinarily nasty and evil is about to make its debut.”  We know it did, and the bloody butcher’s bench known as the twentieth century was the result. Nihilism stepped onto center stage and has been the star of the show ever since, straight through to 2020.  Roberto Calasso puts it this way in Literature and the Gods:

Here we are, announces Nietzsche, and it would be hard not to hear a mocking ring in his voice.  We thought we were living in a world where the fog had lifted, a disenchanted, ascertainable, verifiable world.  And instead everything has gone back to being a ‘fable’ again.  How are we to get our bearings … This is the paralysis, the peculiar uncertainty of modern times, a paralysis that all since have experienced.

Obviously, we haven’t gotten our bearings.  We are far more adrift today on a stormy electronic sea where the analogical circle of life has been replaced by the digital, and “truths” like numbers click into place continuously to lead us in wrong, algorithm-controlled directions. The trap is almost closed.

Of course, Nietzsche did not have the Internet, but he lived at the dawn of the electric era, when space-time transformations were occurring at a rapid pace.  Inventions such as photography, the phonograph, the telephone, electricity, etc. were contracting space and time and a disembodied “reality” was being born.  With today’s Internet and digital screen life, the baby is full-grown and completely disembodied.  It does nothing but look at its image that is looking back into a lifeless void, whose lost gaze can’t figure out what it’s seeing.

Take, for example, the phonograph, invented by Thomas Edison in 1878.  If you could record a person’s voice, and if that person died, were you then listening to the voice of a living person or one who was dead?  If the person whose voice was recorded was alive and was miles away, you had also compressed earthly space. The phonograph suppressed absence, conjured ghosts, and seemed to overcome time and death as it captured the flow of time in sound.  It allowed a disembodied human voice to inhabit a machine, an early example of downloading.

“Two ruling ambitions in modern technology,” writes John Durham Peters in his wonderful book, Speaking into the Air, “appear in the phonograph: the creation of artificial life and the conjuring of the dead.”

Many people started to hear voices, and these people were not called deluded. Soon, with the arrival of cinema, they would see ghosts as well.  Today, speaking ghosts are everywhere, hiding in hand-held devices. It’s Halloween all year round as we are surrounded by electronic zombies in a screen culture.

This technological annihilation of space and time that was happening at a frenetic pace was the material background to Nietzsche’s thought.  His philosophical and epistemological analyses emerged from German intellectual life of his time as well, where theologians and philosophers were discovering that knowledge was relative and had to be understood in situ, i.e., within its historical and social place or context.

Without going into abstruse philosophical issues here, suffice it to say, Nietzsche was suggesting that not only was God dead because people killed him, but that knowledge was a fiction that changed over time and was a human construction.  All knowledge, not just science, had to be taken “as if” it were true.  This was a consoling mental trick but falsely reassuring, for most people could not accept this, since “knowledge” was a protection racket from pain and insanity. It still is. In other words, not only had people murdered God, but they had slain absolutes as well. This left them in the lurch, not knowing if what they knew and believed were really true, or sort of true – maybe, perhaps. The worm of uncertainty had entered modern thought through modern thought.

While the average person did not delve into these revolutionary ideas, they did, through the inventions that were entering their lives, and the news about Darwin, science, religion, etc., realize, however vaguely, that something very strange and dramatic was under way. Life was passing from substance to shadow because of human ingenuity.

It is similar to what so many feel today: that reality and truth are moving beyond their grasp as technological forces that they voluntarily embrace push everyday life towards some spectral denouement.  An inhuman, trans-human, on-line electronic life where everything is a parody of everything that preceded it, like an Andy Warhol copy of a copy of a Campbell’s soup can with a canned mocking laugh track that keeps repeating itself.  All this follows from the nineteenth century relativization of knowledge, or what at least was taken as such, for to say all knowledge is relative is an absolute statement.  That contradiction goes to the heart of our present dilemma.

This old feeling of lostness is perhaps best summarized in a few lines from Mathew Arnold’s 19th century poem, “Dover Beach”:

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

But that was then.  Today, the Joker’s sardonic laughter would suffice.

*****

I am sitting outside as I write, sipping a glass of wine before dinner.  Although New England fall weather is approaching, a nasty mosquito is buzzing around my head.  I hear it.  I am in killer mode since these bastards love to bite me.  This is real life.  If I went into the house and connected to the Internet on the computer screen – news, social media, anything – I would be entering another dimension.  Screen life, not real life. The society of the spectacle. No real mosquitoes, no wine, no trees swaying in the evening breeze.

In his novel, The Sun Also Rises, written between Nietzsche’s time and now, Ernest Hemingway, a man who surely lived in the physical world, writes of how Robert Cohn, the boxing champion from Princeton University, wants Jake Barnes, the book’s protagonist, to take a trip with him to South America.  As they sit and talk in Paris, Barnes says no, and tells Cohn, “All countries look just like the moving pictures.”

Whether Hemingway was being ironic or not, or simply visionary, I don’t know.  For in the 1920s, before passports and widespread tourism, there were many places you could only see if you traveled to them and they would never appear in moving pictures, while today there is almost no place that is not available to view beforehand on the internet or television.  So why go anywhere if you’ve already seen it all on a screen? Why travel to nowhere or to where you have already been?  Déjà vu all over again, as Yogi Berra put it and everyone laughed.  Now the laugh is on us.

*****

This is neither an argument nor a story.  It’s real.  I am trying to get my bearings in a disorienting situation. Call it a compass, a weather-vane, a prayer.  You can call me Al or Ishmael.  Call me crazy.  Perhaps this writing is just an “as if.”

*****

About fifteen years ago, I was teaching at a college where most communication was done via email.  I was, as they say, out of the loop since I didn’t do email. I was often asked why I didn’t, and I would repeatedly reply, like Melville’s Bartleby, because “I prefer not to.”  Finally, in order to keep my job, I succumbed and with the laptop computer they provided me, I went “on-line.”  There were 6,954.7 emails in my in-box from the past three years.  In those three years, I had performed all my duties scrupulously and hadn’t missed a beat.  Someone showed me how to delete the emails, which I did without reading any, but I had entered the labyrinth. I went electronic.  My reality changed. I am still searching for Ariadne’s thread.

*****

But I am not yet a machine and refuse the invitation to become one.  It’s a very insistent invitation, almost an order.  Neil Postman (Oh such a rich surname!) sums it up well in Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology:

The fundamental metaphorical message of the computer, in short, is that we are machines – thinking machines, to be sure, but machines nonetheless.  It is for this reason that the computer is the quintessential, incomparable, near perfect machine for Technopoly.  It subordinates the claims of our nature, our biology, our emotions, our spirituality.  The computer claims sovereignty over the whole range of human experience, and supports its claim by showing that it ‘thinks’ better than we can…John McCarthy, the inventor of the term ‘artificial intelligence’…claims that ‘even machines as simple as thermostats can be said to have beliefs…What is significant about this response is that it has redefined the meaning of the word ‘belief’ … rejects the view that humans have internal states of mind that are the foundation of belief and argues instead that ‘belief’ means only what someone or something does … rejects the idea that the mind is a biological phenomenon … In other words, what we have here is a case of metaphor gone mad.

Postman wrote that in 1992, before the computer and the internet became ubiquitous and longer before on-line living had become de rigueur – before it was being shoved down our throats as it is today under the cover of COVID-19.

There is little doubt that we are being pushed to embrace what Klaus Schwab, the Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), calls COVID-19:The Great Reset, that involves a total acceptance of the electronic, on-line life.  On-line learning, on-line news, on-line everything – only an idiot (from Greek, idiotes, a private person who pays not attention to public affairs) would fail to see what is being promoted.  And who controls the electronic life and internet?  Not you, not I, but the powers that be, the intelligence agencies and the power elites. Goodbye  body, goodbye blood – “I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again, to be honest with you,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in support of human estrangement.

Peter Koenig, one of the most astute investigators of this propaganda effort, puts it this way:

The panacea of the future will be crowned by the Pearl of the Fourth Industrialization – Artificial intelligence (AI). It will be made possible by a 5G electromagnetic field, allowing the Internet of Things (IoT). Schwab and Malleret [Schwab’s co-author] won’t say, beware, there is opposition. 5G could still be blocked. The 5G existence and further development is necessary for surveillance and control of humanity, by digitizing everything, including human identity and money.

It will be so simple, no more cash, just electronic, digital money – that is way beyond the control of the owner, the truthful earner of the money, as it can be accessed by the Global Government and withheld and/or used for pressuring misbehaving citizens into obeying the norms imposed from above. You don’t behave according to our norms, no money to buy food, shelter and health services, we let you starve. No more travel. No more attending public events. You’ll be put gradually in your own solitary confinement. The dictatorial and tyrannical global commandeering by digital control of everything is the essence of the 4th Age of Industrialization – highly promoted by the WEF’s Great Reset.

*****

Like everything, of course, this push to place life under the aegis of cyberspace has a history, one that deifies the machine and attempts to convince people that they too are machines without existential freedom.  Thus the ongoing meme pumped out for the past three decades has been that we are controlled by our brains and that the brain is a computer and vice versa. Brain research has received massive government funding. Drugs have been offered as the solution to every human problem. So-called diseases and disorders have been created through the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of  Mental Disorders (DSM) and matched to pharmaceutical drugs (or the revers) for scandalous profits. And the mind has been reduced to a figment of deluded  imaginations. People are machines; that’s the story, marvelous machines.  They have no freedom.

If one wishes an example of techno-fascism, there is one from the art world. Back in the 1920s and 1930s there was an art movement known as Futurism.  Its leader proponent was an Italian Fascist, friend of Mussolini, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.  The futurists claimed that all life revolves around the machine, that the machine was god, that it was beyond human control and had to be obeyed.  They extolled war and speed and claimed that humans were no more significant than stones.  Patriotism, militarism, strength, method, and the kingdom of experts were their blueprint for a corporate fascist state.  The human eye and mind would be re-educated to automatically obey the machine’s dictates.

Now we have cyberspace, digital machines, and the internet, an exponential extension of the machine world of the 1930s and the rise of Mussolini, Fascism, and Hitler.  That this online world is being pushed as the new and future normal by trans-national elite forces should not be surprising.  If human communication becomes primarily digitally controlled on-line and on screens, those who control the machines will have achieved the most powerful means of mind control ever invented. That will be MKULTRA on a vast scale.  Surveillance will be complete.

Yes, there are places on the internet where truth is and will be told, such as this site where you are reading this; but as we can see from today’s growing censorship across the web, those power elites and intelligence forces who  control the companies that do their bidding will narrow the options for dissenting voices. Such censorship starts slowly, and then when one looks again, it is a fait accompli. The frog in the pan of slowly heating cold water never realizes it is being killed until it is too late. Free speech is now being strangled. Censorship is widespread.

The purpose of so much internet propaganda is to confuse, obsess, depress, and then repress the population. The overlords accomplish this by the “peculiar linking together of opposites – knowledge with ignorance, cynicism with fanaticism – [which] is one of the chief distinguishing marks of Oceanic society,” writes Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four.  “The official ideology abounds with contradictions even where there is no practical reason for them.”  One look into one’s life will suffice to see how the overlords have set people against each other.  It’s a classic tactic.  Divide and conquer. Trump vs. Biden, Democrats vs. Republicans, whites vs. blacks, liberals vs. conservatives. Pure mind games. Contradictions every day to create social disorientation.  Orwell describes Doublethink as follows:

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.  The Party intellectual knows in which direction his memories must be altered; he therefore knows he is playing tricks with reality; but by the exercise of doublethink he also satisfies himself that reality is not violated.  The process has to be conscious, or it would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to be unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and hence of guilt…To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary…If one is to rule, and to continue ruling, one must be able to dislocate the sense of reality. [author’s emphasis]

Nietzsche said that along with the real world we have done away with the apparent as well.  Digital online life has accomplished that.  It has allowed the rulers – through the media who are the magicians who serve them – to create counterfeit news and doctored videos at will, to present diametrically opposed points of view within the same paragraph, and to push breaking news items so fast that no one half-way sane could keep up with their magic shows. Nietzsche obviously didn’t foresee this technology, but he sensed the madness that the relativity of knowledge and the technology of his day would usher in.

*****

The popular 1990s term “Information Superhighway,” meaning the internet and all digital telecommunications, was the perfect term to describe this lunacy. Get on that highway and go as fast as you can while trying to catch the meaning of all the information flashing past you as you speed to nowhere.  For not only does censorship, propaganda, disinformation, mixed messages, and contradictions line the road you are traveling, but contextless information overload is so heavy that even if you were stopped in a traffic jam, there is too much information to comprehend.  And if you think this Superhighway is a freeway, think again, for the cost is high. No one puts out their hand and asks you to pay up; but the more you travel down this road you’ll notice you are missing a bit of flesh here and some blood there.  And without a speed pass, you are considered road kill.

To make matters much worse, they say we need 5G to go much faster.

Paul Virilio, who has devoted himself to the study of speed (dromology), puts it this way in Open Sky:

The speed of the new optoelectronic and electroacoustic milieu becomes the final void (the void of the quick), a vacuum that no longer depends on the interval between places or things and so on the world’s very extension, but on the interface of an instantaneous transmission of remote appearances, on a geographic and geometric retention in which all volume, all relief vanishes.

*****

And yet I don’t have a simple answer to the internet dilemma. You are reading it on-line and I am posting it there.  It is very convenient and quick. And yet…and yet….

Can we just walk away from it?  Maybe.  Perhaps like those few who, in Ursula K. Le Guin’s excruciating story, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” we may decide the price for our conveniences and so-called happiness is too high and that there are hidden victims that this techno-scientific “progress” creates beneath its veneer of efficiency.  Others, us, our children, all children, who are reaching out not for speed and machines, but for the human touch that the on-line propagandists hope to destroy.  In Le Guin’s story, the price nearly all the citizens of Omelas are willing to pay for their happiness and comfort is the imprisonment of a single child.  Perhaps we should consider what we are doing to all the world’s children and their futures.

My friend Gary recently sent me this letter.  I believe it sums up what many people feel. There is a vast hunger for reality and truth. The analog life. How to live it – the question hangs in the air as the artificial intelligence/digital controllers try to reduce us to machines.

Although apparently it isn’t clear if Twain ever said this, it’s still a great quote:  (“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed.  If you do, you’re misinformed.”)  To which “amen” is the only appropriate response.

I continue to daily stay abreast of events through the web, and these days much of what passed for “progressive media” simply regurgitates the covid madness as if it had been delivered on stone tablets – rather than by the same MSM that lie to us daily about literally ANYTHING of any importance.

There are days I wonder “why” I continue to bother to follow the unfolding madness as if it made some “difference.”  I could certainly play guitar more, and I might even get it together to write a few pieces on the nature of our collective madness, for which I have studiously assembled copious notes.  I really don’t need any more information or examples – I think I have things covered on that front.

Instead I find myself daily doing the little dance we’re all familiar with – uncomfortable with being “uninformed” – yet at almost every turn finding myself being routinely – “misinformed” – and so having to sift through the endless debris to have any chance at developing any coherent understanding of the world.

So yes, I totally get the draw of just saying to hell with the internet.  After years of shifting through the endless propaganda operations our generation has been subject too, I have no doubt you and I see through most the nonsense for what it is before we even have the proof in hand.  Once the rose-colored glasses of ‘American exceptionalism’ are off, one can almost sense and see through the lies in real time even as they are being uttered.

Reading Gary’s words reminded me of those of the Trappist monk Thomas Merton’s definition of the Unspeakable:

It is the void that contradicts everything that is spoken even before the words are said, the void that gets into the language of public and official declarations at the very moment when they are pronounced, and makes them ring dead with the hollowness of the abyss.  It is the void out of which Eichmann drew the punctilious exactitude of his obedience…

Yes, real time, real life – as we do our little dances.

Can we do our little dances and preserve reality?  I’m not sure.

The post The End of Reality? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

From Terrorists to Viruses: Dystopian Progress

For anyone old enough to have been alive and aware of the attacks of September 11, 2001 and of so-called COVID-19 in 2020, memory may serve to remind one of an eerie parallel between the two operations.  However, if memory has been expunged by the work of one’s forgettery or deleted by the corporate media flushing it down the memory hole, or if knowledge is lacking, or maybe fear or cognitive dissonance is blocking awareness, I would like to point out some similarities that might perk one up to consider some parallels and connections between these two operations.

The fundamental tie that binds them is that both events aroused the human fear of death. Underlying all fears is the fear of death.  A  fear that has both biological and cultural roots. On the biological level, we all react to death threats in a fight or flight manner. Culturally, there are multiple ways that fear can be allayed or exacerbated, purposely or not. Usually, culture serves to ease the fear of death, which can traumatize people, through its symbols and myths. Religion has for a long time served that purpose, but when religion loses its hold on people’s imaginations, especially in regard to the belief in immortality, as Orwell pointed out in the mid-1940s, a huge void is left.  Without that consolation, fear is usually tranquilized by trivial pursuits.

In the cases of the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the current corona virus operation, the fear of death has been used by the power elites in order to control populations and institute long-planned agendas.  There is a red thread that connects the two events.

Both events were clearly anticipated and planned.

In the case of September 11, 2001, as I have argued before, linguistic mind-control was carefully crafted in advance to conjure fear at the deepest levels with the use of such repeated terms as Pearl Harbor, Homeland, Ground Zero, the Unthinkable, and 9/11.  Each in its turn served to raise the fear level dramatically. Each drew on past meetings, documents, events, speeches, and deep associations of dread. This language was conjured from the chief sorcerer’s playbook, not from that of an apprentice out of control.

And as David Ray Griffin, the seminal 9/11 researcher (and others), has pointed out in a dozen meticulously argued and documented books, the events of that day had to be carefully planned in advance, and the post hoc official explanations can only be described as scientific miracles, not scientific explanations. These miracles include: massive steel-framed high-rise buildings for the first time in history coming down without explosives or incendiaries in free fall speed; one of them being WTC-7 that was not even hit by a plane; an alleged hijacker pilot, Hani Hanjour, who could barely fly a Piper Cub, flying a massive Boeing 757 in a most difficult maneuver into the Pentagon; airport security at four airports failing at the same moment on the same day; all sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies failing; air traffic control failing, etc.  The list goes on and on.  And all this controlled by Osama bin Laden. It’s a fairy tale.

Then we had the crucially important anthrax attacks that are linked to 9/11. Graeme MacQueen, in The 2001 Anthrax Deception, brilliantly shows that these too were a domestic conspiracy.

These planned events led to the invasion of Afghanistan, the Patriot Act, the U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, the invasion of Iraq , the ongoing war on terror, etc.

Let us not forget years of those fraudulent color-coded warnings of the terrorist levels and the government admonition to use duct tape around your windows to protect against a massive chemical and biological attack.

Jump to 2020.  Let me start in reverse while color-coded designs are fresh in our minds. As the COVID-19 lockdowns were under way, a funny thing happened as people were wishing that life could return to normal and they could be let out of their cages. Similar color-coded designs popped up everywhere at the same time.  They showed the step-by-step schedule of possible loosening of government controls if things went according to plan. Red to yellow to green. Eye catching. Red orange yellow blue green.  As with the terrorist warnings following September 11, 2001.  In Massachusetts, a so-called blue state where I live, it’s color chart ends in blue, not green, with Phase 4 blue termed “the new normal: Development of vaccines and/or treatments enable the resumption of ‘the new normal.’” Interesting wording.  A resumption that takes us back to the future.

As with the duct tape admonitions after 9/11, now everyone is advised to wear a mask. It’s interesting to note that the 3 M Company, a major seller of duct tape, is also one of the world’s major sellers of face masks.  The company was expected to be producing 50 million N95 respirator masks per month by June 2020 and 2 billion globally within the coming year.  Then there is 3 M’s masking tape…but this is a sticky topic.

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, we were told repeatedly that the world was changed forever. Now we are told that after COVID-19, life will never be the same.  This is the “new normal,” while the post-9/11-pre-Covid-19 world must have been the old new normal. So everything is different but normal also.  So as the Massachusetts government website puts it, in the days to come we may be enabled to enact “the resumption of ‘the new normal.’”  This new old normal will no doubt be a form of techno-fascist transhumanism enacted for our own good.

As with 9/11, there is ample evidence that the corona virus outbreak was expected and planned; that people have been the victims of a propaganda campaign to use an invisible virus to scare us into submission and shut down the world’s economy for the global elites.  It is a clear case, as Peter Koenig tells Michel Chossudovsky in this must-see interview, that is not a conspiracy theory but a blatant factual plan spelled out in the 2010 Rockefeller Report, the October 18, 2019 Event 201, and Agenda 21, among other places.

Like amorphous terrorists and a war against “terrorism,” which is a tactic and therefore not something you can fight, a virus is invisible except when the media presents it as a pale, orange-spiked bunch of floating weird balls that are everywhere and nowhere.  Watch your back, watch your face, mask up, wash your hands, keep your distance – you never know when those orange spiked balls may get you.

As with 9/11, whenever anyone questions the official narrative of Covid-19, the official statistics, the validity of the tests, the effectiveness of masks, the powers behind the heralded vaccine to come, and the horrible consequences of the lockdowns that are destroying economies, killing people, forcing people to despair and to commit suicide, creating traumatized children, bankrupting small and middle-sized businesses for the sake of enriching the richest, etc., the corporate media mock the dissidents as conspiracy nuts, aiding the viral enemy.  This is so even when the dissenters are highly respected doctors, scientists, intellectuals, et al., who are regularly disappeared from the internet. With September 11, there were initially far fewer dissenters than now, and so the censorship of opposing viewpoints didn’t need the blatant censorship that is now growing daily. This censorship happens all across the internet now, quickly and stealthily, the same internet that is being forced on everyone as the new normal as presented in the Great Global Reset, the digital lie, where, as Anthony Fauci put it, no one should ever shake hands again. A world of abstract images and beings in which, as Arthur Jensen tells Howard Beal in the film, Network, “All necessities [will be] provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused.”  A digital dystopia that is fast approaching as perhaps the end of that red thread that runs from 9/11 to today.

Heidi Evens and Thomas Hackett write in the New York Daily News:

With the nation’s illusion of safety and security in ruins, Americans begin the slow and fitful process of healing from a trauma that feels deeply, cruelly personal…leaving citizens throughout the country with the frightening knowledge of their vulnerability.

That was written on September 12, 2001.

The post From Terrorists to Viruses: Dystopian Progress first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Political and Spiritual Cults: From Rapture to Complicity to Aftermath in the Shadow of 20th Century Yankeedom

“The party is always right, even when it’s wrong”

— Democratic Workers Party slogan

ORIENTATION

Everybody knows what cults are

People who join cults are mentally unstable before they join and less educated than the general population. True or false? Cult members also define themselves as lonely. True or false? Most people who join cults are from the poor and working class. True or false? People are physically intimidated into joining a cult against their will. True or false? No matter how much your vocabulary changes once inside a cult, you can still control what and how you think. True or false? Cults draw certain kinds of criminal elements, who in a sense get what they deserve. Good people would not be drawn into such extreme circumstances. True or false? This last statement is a version of the “just world hypothesis”. The implication being that you, a good person, could never fall into a cult.

If you answered “true” to any of these questions, you might have fallen for the social media propaganda against cults. In fact, the overwhelming number of members of cults come from middle and upper middle-class backgrounds, are well-educated and have no serious psychological problems previous to joining the cult. Furthermore, people join cults voluntarily and they are lured into them by various social and psychological techniques which offer immediate gratification. In her book Cults in Our Midst, Margaret Singer says people have an initial resistance to thinking they could be “taken in,” without force.

Lastly, many people mistakenly think that thoughts and language can be neatly separated. This is mistaken.  No one can think independently of language. If you force people to not use certain words, and insist on people substituting new words, you can control their thinking process. As Orwell pointed out, when the state controls the vocabulary and strikes words from its dictionary, it narrows the thinking range that is possible. If you use the word “freedom” to express autonomous thinking, but the word “freedom” has now been labelled by a leftist political movement as “bourgeois individualism” you have a problem in using it. You cannot coin new words by yourself. There has to be a movement of people who agree to create a new word and circulate it among themselves. Cult members are slowly socialized by their leaders and lieutenants to change their vocabulary as they coin and circulate new words through forums, meetings and media events. Slowly the members find their own vocabulary changes accordingly.

How many kinds of cult are there?

There are at least three kinds of cults: spiritual, psychological and political.

All three have left-wing and right-wing variants. Jim Jones’ People’s Temple; Marshall Applewhite’s Heaven’s Gate; Rajneesh’s Tantric yoga, as well Charles Manson’s “the Family” are all examples of left-wing spiritual cults.  Right-wing cults are Reverend Moon’s Unification Church, Kurt Saxon’s Christian Identity, James Wickstrom’s Posse Comitatus and James Butler’s Aryan Nation.

Examples of left-wing psychological cults Harvey Jackins’ Re-Evaluation Counseling along with Saul B. Newton’s Sullivan Institute. Right-wing psychology cults include L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology and Charles Dederich’s Synanon. Political cults on the left include Gerry Healy in Britain and the Democratic Workers Party in San Francisco. A great example of a right-wing political cult was Lyndon LaRouche’s National Caucus of Labor Committees.

For most of this article I will be speaking of cults in general. But when I get more specific about mechanisms of control, I will sometimes refer to the left-wing Democratic Workers Party. I refer to them not only because they are especially monstrous compared to other cults. I do so more because my readers are most likely to be interested in political cults rather than spiritual or psychological cults. Secondly, my readers are more likely to identify as left-wing rather than right-wing political people. I think this article will “hit home”, especially among Leninists. I am not suggesting or implying that all Leninist parties are cults.

What is a totalistic institution?

Defining a cult has more to do with how the organization is run, not the political, psychological or spiritual beliefs of the organization. Cults can be characterized as a type of “total institution” (Goffman). Others include mental hospitals, jails, army barracks, orphanages and religious institutions such as monasteries, convents or abbeys. In modern capitalist societies, people enter and leave many social institutions during the course of a day. Examples include a son or daughter of a family at home, a student at school, an employee at work, a member of the choir at church, a fan for a sports team and a member of the national guard on the weekends.  While all these groups have a broad similarity in economic ideology (being pro-capitalism), within each group the power dynamics between the authority and the members differ. Different institutions are organized tightly or loosely with high, medium or low expectations. Most importantly the individual in a pluralistic society, with membership in all these groups can compare and contrast social expectations of each group, develop their own ideas and synthesize the results using critical thinking.

In totalistic institutions, sleeping, eating, working and playing all happen within a single organization, enacted within the same place, at the same time in the same way.  In pluralistic societies members enter into and leave a group of their own volition. In totalistic institutions members do not come and go as they please. Boundaries are strictly controlled.  Unlike in pluralistic societies, in totalistic institutions the authorities are a single centralized body, with very little feedback coming from the periphery to the core. In pluralistic societies, surveillance may be in place in certain settings, like in the military or in church, but there is no central setting from which family life, school life or work life is all watched from afar at the same time. In total institutions, besides centralized surveillance systems, there is a network of spying that goes on between members, breeding insecurity and paranoia. In totalistic institutions, everyone is treated bureaucratically in the same way, where sensitivity to the uniqueness of a person and situation is lost.

What is a cult?

Cults usually grow in a climate of political, economic or ecological instabilities in which the existing social order has been compromised. A cult is a spiritual, psychological or political institution which is hyper-critical of the existing spiritual, psychological and political institutions and wishes to overthrow them while often aspiring to create “heaven on earth”. Because cults are usually new and have not had years to socialize people the way organized religions have, they have to work quickly and use extreme measures to draw and hold people. Because a religious leader of a particular denomination is part of a large bureaucracy, that leader can be relatively dull while maintaining the following of his parishioners. But a cult cannot afford that.

Cults usually have at their head a charismatic leader with a grand philosophy who gives dramatic right and wrong answers to complex but deteriorating social situations. The leaders usually have lieutenants, ideologically committed members who have very good social psychological skills to keep the membership in line. Cults lack a democratic structure and the membership is kept passive and happy during the initial stages while being slowly terrified as membership continues into the later stages of the cult.

Characteristics of cults include:

  • Emerging out of a political, economic or ecological crisis;
  • Recruitment of young adults between 17 and 24 of middle-class and upper middle-class origins who are likely to be undergoing some developmental crisis in their personal lives;
  • An authoritarian, charismatic leader;
  • A revolutionary, dualistic ideology;
  • Possessing a social-psychological array of tools for luring in new members and sustaining their commitment;
  • A lack of mechanisms for critical feedback from the membership;
  • A small group of lieutenants to isolate and keep atomized the membership through spying so that no coherent opposition can form;
  • The development of rituals, myths and celebrations that allow the group to mark time;
  • Demonization of outside groups that are competition with the cult;
  • Rigid, terrorized boundaries that make it extremely difficult to leave.

STAGES OF CULTS

In their book, The Guru Papers, Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad identify two stages of cults: the proselytizing stage and the apocalyptic paranoia stage.

In the proselytizing ascendant stage, the guru sees the possibility of realizing his ambitions. The group is touted as being at the cutting edge of new knowledge. Outsiders are welcomed although they are treated with a kind of benign superiority. In the ascendant phase, the guru rewards the enthusiasm of his followers and grants them positions which have opened up within the hierarchy. The tone of the community is celebratory. The guru is accessible to the public and is charming and playful. In terms of the recruitment this is the “honeymoon phase”. The focus is to expand the organization and the emphasis is on the present.

The apocalyptic, paranoiac, decadent phase is when the numbers of recruits have leveled off and explanations need to be found. The public is now seen as too stupid and blind to acknowledge the merits of the cult. In the declining stage the message becomes pessimistic, with a doomsday “I told you so” tone. Outsiders cease to be welcomed in a spirit of satisfying curiosity. Rather they are seen as enemies out to destroy the organization. Part of the descendent phase also involves the guru making more grandiose claims while promising to invoke occult power. The membership begins to have doubts.

Some find the courage to leave despite threats of violence, law suits, character destruction and loss of employment. Others hang on for fear of the costs of leaving. In the descendent phase recruits are expected to give far more than they receive in the way of time, energy and money. They are expected to work long hours recruiting, selling products and fundraising.  Because the organization is not growing, like most organizations this leads to squabbling for a diminishing set of resources. All too often the cult ends in scandal or tragedy.

PRE-CULT SOCIALIZATION

As we all know, when individuals are socialized within the first seventeen years of life, they are socialized by their families, their schools (including teachers and students), the various forms of media (tv, internet media), their religion, the state (propaganda to join the military) and their friends as well as by sports and music celebrities. All these forces are unified in presenting capitalism in a favorable light, but in other ways these socializing forces don’t agree. Broadly speaking, families, religion and the state appeal to the conservative forces of order and patriotism. Schools, mass media and entertainment celebrities are more liberal. As I said earlier, the diversity between these socializing influences allows the individual to develop thinking skills of comparing and contrasting which develops critical thinking.

But beginning in the teenage years, (and maybe even sooner) the individual begins to question these sources of influence. As early as ten or eleven, children are very aware that their parents are full of contradictions and are hardly infallible. By high school, some have developed Piaget’s formal operational thinking which helps them to critically evaluate religious claims about God and the afterlife. While in high school they may resent military recruiters in their schools. The problem with sports and music celebrities is that while they while they are held up as models, there is no feedback or dialogue which allows the individual to grow. By high school, one’s face-to-face friends may more likely to be the most solid socializing influence they have.

By the time the adolescent reaches seventeen, they have arrived at a developmental crisis. Do they continue on to college? Do they try to find full-time work? Do they join the military? Do they get married? It is here that cults might make their first appeal. Why now? Because developmentally, teenagers and young adults are in a fork in the roads of their lives. Additionally, the old forms of socialization have lost their stability and the teenager may be ripe for a new socialization process or a new group membership. If the individual decides to go to college, throughout the college years including graduation, they are suspectable to cult propaganda.

SOCIALIZATION INTO CULTS

The UC campus in Berkeley California stretches from south to north going from Bancroft Way at the south side to Hearst Ave. on the north side. There is a major walkway that begins at College and Bancroft and goes all the way to Hearst, cutting through the center of the campus. On both sides of the walkway there are tables with people stationed at them, inviting students to join clubs. Some of those clubs are front groups for cults. In addition, there are public bulletin boards advertising everything from movies, to offers for housing roommates, to free meditation classes.

The members of cults that are stationed at these tables are attractive, neatly dressed and extroverted. They are good social psychologists who can pick out a student that might be mildly depressed, lost or disorganized. These “hawkers” will call out to them, ask how they are doing and ask them if they’d like to hear a free talk and eat pizza afterwards. Once the person has come to the table, the hawkers will seize on anything the person says and respond in a very sympathetic way. They listen very carefully and keep the focus on the recruit. They are so engaging that they make an impression. Before the person leaves the table, they will be handed a flyer which appeals to nebulous conflicts like these:

  • Is it hard to make friends here at school?
  • Is college life harder than you thought it would be?
  • Is your romantic relationship lacking the things that you want?
  • If you have a job does it lack meaning?
  • Are you troubled about the state of the world, but feel powerless to do anything about it?

Then comes the pitch. “Come hear a talk by a celebrated expert in the field of psychology, religion or sociology on how to deal with all these problems in a meaningful way. Small group discussion afterward and free pizza. All are welcome.”

If the person attends the talk, there might be 50 people in the room, all of whom the recruit doesn’t know. What the recruit also doesn’t know is that 40 of those people are already in the cult. When any new people come into the room, the recruiters make sure they surround each new recruit and sit on either side of them and in back of them if possible. They engage the newbie, ask them questions about themselves before the talk even starts, and they make sure they compliment the newbie on their intelligence and insight. The leader giving the speech is usually an attractive, articulate, charming man with a sense of humor and a flair for the dramatic.

Once the leader makes their speech, the recruiters turn, and ask the newbie what they thought of the speech. They guide the newbie over to the table where there is pizza. The recruiters may hand them over to a new batch of recruiters who continue the discussion over pizza. Before the evening ends the recruits are told the time and place of the next meeting. Very causally they are asked for their email address “so we can keep you posted on up-and-coming events”.

At this point the recruit might feel like they just had an extraordinary date. They feel charged up and eroticized by some of the recruiters and might feel that they want to return to see one or more of the recruiters again. By comparison, these evenings are much more powerful than the times spent with family, friends and certainly religious services. After a couple of weeks the newbie returns again and the same thing happens. Now, the newbie is going to these talks three out of every four Sunday evenings. Their roommates, family and friends might inquire about where they have been. The newbie is not sure how to describe it. They might say this a “psychology group”. Both friends and family are not impressed and ask more probing questions. The newbie starts to feel defensive and stops talking about it, but continues to attend. This experience dovetails with a talk the leader gives the following Sunday on the nature of crisis.

The leader discusses how crisis involves the prospect of transformation and in that transformation, you meet new people while you have to let go of people that might be holding you back. This gently suggests that the newbie’s friends and family might not understand the nature of social change that the cult is part of and they are not among the enlightened ones (unlike the people in the cult). They also make a prediction that in the future they can expect their friends, families, church or state might not appreciate this cult and that is the price to pay for group enlightenment. But in the long-run, they may come to understand.

MECHANISMS OF CONTROL

Ascendant phase

The first, ascendant proselytizing phase of the cult is characterized by the following rewards. First – in terms of beliefs, a promise of the transformation of the world along with simplistic answers to complex questions. The cult then gives a sense of mission and purpose along with a sense of superiority over the ignorant and unenlightened masses. In terms of behavior, there is massive positive reinforcement which includes “love-bombing”: a great deal of attention to the recruit and their problems, along with an immediate, intense connection with many people. There is a promise (and deliverance in some cases) of erotic adventures. A regular dose of altered states of consciousness is achieved through chanting, hypnotic techniques of dissociation, group dancing, vertigo and hyperventilation. Along with this, a new identity is given which is often accomplished through changes in clothing or hair. At the climax in her recruitment just before she joined the DWP, author and sociologist Janja Lalich says: “Eleanor, leaned over, her face almost touching mine, she looked me in the eyes and said, ‘isn’t this what you’ve been waiting for?’ That’s all it took. I asked for the application”.

Descendent phase

Geographical isolation and physical deterioration

For the most part cults begin in cities, but in some cases, for various reasons (cheap land, control of members) they move to more rural areas as in the case of Jim Jones and Rajneesh. Especially if they are isolated in a rural area, they may be cut off from alternative forms of media. At this point with or without the move, in the descendent phase, the honeymoon is over for cult members. They are expected to work long hours in various phases of organization and as a result, become sleep deprived. In the DWP militants signed into a log book for keeping track of time, as if they were punching in their time cards in a factory. The organization does not provide for medical or dental insurance and their body begins to feel the wear-and-tear. Cult members who are older and have established incomes are pressured to contribute financially on a regular basis.

Atomizing the individual

Within the organization, the lieutenants work especially hard to keep people atomized so members cannot compare notes or consider their problems in any kind of collective way. In fact, the Democratic Workers party had a rule called “no gossiping”. But what they really meant was no comparing notes between members. Notice how comparing notes, a natural thing that is done in groups, was demonized by associating it with something bad.

Controlling vocabulary

The cult member’s vocabulary is controlled by the leadership and any kind of criticism is pathologized with certain labels. For example, in the DWP, “bourgeois individualism,” “careerism”, “grandstanding”, “factionalism” and “liberal” were used as “curse words” to shut down articulation of problems. In spiritual circles “unenlightened” or “materialism” might serve similar purposes.

Attacking the self:

True confessions

There are a number of ways one’s identity can be broken down. One of the ways the DWP used that was a requirement to write one’s personal history from a class point of view. Then they would write all the privileges they gained as a result of their class location. Finally, the recruit would have to present this in front of the whole group, exposing weaknesses to all.

Criticism and self-criticism

Once the true confessions are in place the cult member is treated to endless rounds of criticism and self-criticism. Once individual vocabulary is controlled and they have confessed their past privileges it is relatively easy for members to monitor each other by pointing out how current mistakes might be connected to their “middle-class” past.

Internalization of the party voice

When neither the leader or their fellow members were available the individual was controlled by their internalized “party voice”. When by themselves and in need of making a decision, they were to ask themselves “what would your older member say?”

At this point, they are in so deeply that they have burned their bridges with their families, friends, workers and no longer have a perspective of what’s happening to them. At the same time, it begins to dawn on them that maybe they should consider getting out.

WHY DO PEOPLE STAY AND REMAIN COMPLICIT IN THEIR OWN OPPRESSION?

At this point, the reader might say what is wrong with these cult members? These were once hypercritical people who questioned everything? Where is that spirit now? Why don’t they just run away? There are at least nine very good reasons why people stay.

Attachment to the new belief

Cult members have worked very hard to desocialize themselves from previous beliefs. They have worked hard to acquire and internalize new beliefs and the prospect of having to give them up with no belief system to call their own is extremely painful.

Cognitive dissonance

Research has shown that once people commit to something publicly, through actions, speaking or writing about it, they are much more likely to stay with their commitment. Without understanding this, to an outsider, cult members’ behavior seems crazy. What cult members are doing is unconsciously changing their beliefs to justify the increasingly irrational behavior of the leader during the cult’s descendent phase. They don’t see their beliefs as having changed because there is no one in the community to point that out, including many people who don’t want to see it because they are in the same boat.

Entrapment

Just as in personal romances, once you put time, effort and resources into a relationship, you acquire a stake in it and are reluctant to give it up. Buying furniture together, a house, pooling finances, having children all become obstacles to throwing in the towel even if you are unhappy. So too in cults, the members have put in long hours of work, they have seen some success, they probably contributed financially, and they just don’t want to come up empty-handed. In addition, cult members then face the start-up costs of investing in a whole other institution and life. The thinking goes – “maybe it is better to wait it out. After all, things may change for the better.”

Peer pressure

Contrary to what most people think, peer pressure is far more powerful than even the commands of authority figures. Soldiers have reported having endured horrible times, not because they were obedient to the authorities, but out of loyalty to their comrades. Members of cults have gone through ordeals that might not be as intense as the ordeals soldiers go through in eight weeks of boot-camp, but the ordeal lasts much longer. In both cases feelings of extreme loyalty are produced in soldiers and cult members. They don’t want to let their comrades down.

In addition, because cults count doctors, lawyers, social workers with advanced degrees among their numbers their presence makes it more difficult to leave for the less professional cult member to leave. In order to do that those on the lower rungs of the hierarchy would have to consider that these highly trained professionals have been duped themselves. How could they all be wrong?

Exhaustion from overwork allows little time for self-reflection or objectivity

In the descendent phase of cults, rank-and-file members are working fourteen-hour days, sometimes more. After several weeks and months of sleep deprivation, medical and dental negligence, internal group meetings and public displays of solidarity for public consumption, cult members are exhausted.  There no vacations, no hobbies, no musical concerts nor ball games.  Who has the time to reflect on where you have been and where you are going?

Burned bridges separate the member from their past

When you join the military, you come back to a civilian life that is intact when your four years are up. If you join a convent and then realize after a few years later it is not for you, your family and friends are still there. Because cults are extremist groups, it became necessary to cut off family, friends, workmates and church in order to become a member. For a departing cult member, there is anger, confusion, hurt, revenge and shunning waiting for them on the outside. The prospect of making amends is daunting. In addition, you cannot so easily recover who you once were. You may always be a stranger to your former groups. Even so basic a thing as changing your name back or growing your hair out takes a great deal of courage. The prospect of having no friends on the outside is enough to keep you in.

Being ridiculed and called names by cult members is very painful

If you consider wanting to leave and state your reasons to others, you may receive a vicious reaction because you might be bringing up the self-doubts of other members they would rather not face. You can expect to be called a spy, traitor, materialist, bourgeois or less evolved. These are the very words used to denounce those outside the cult. Now you are one of the enemies, an infiltrator. You’ve watched this happen to others who tried to leave and now it is happening to you.

Fear for your life

The wealthier cults such as scientology or the Moonies play hardball. They will threaten you with lawsuits, loss of employment, character assassination and death. Members of the DWP “goon squads” would break into the homes of former members, beat them up put them on a plane with a one-way ticket and no money. Margaret Sanger, in her book Cults in Our Midst depicts some of the things done to her. They stuffed her mailbox with a dead rat every week while she was testifying in court against a cult. Rats were put in the ducts of her house, so she was treated to a house full of screaming rats upon returning home.  She needed an armed guard to be taken to and from the courthouse. She was kept on the witness stand for 12 ½ days by cult lawyers cross-examining her. Her office was broken into and files stolen. Her school lectures were disrupted regularly.

Guilt and embarrassment over having participated in the group to begin with

A cult member begins to have inklings that some of the things their cult did were pretty horrible and that they were complicit in it. it takes time to understand and be compassionate with yourself as to how you could be so naïve as to have joined and why you stayed. If you stay in the cult your complicity in what was enacted can be put off or rationalized.

CHARACTERISTICS OF PSYCHOPATHOLOGICAL LEADERS

There is a reason why I have held off describing to you the pathological characteristics of the leaders of cults. The reason is because of what I alluded to in my article Revolutionary Group Dynamics. In evaluating negative experiences in groups, people have a tendency to a) blame the leaders, or b) pathologize the intelligence or mental health of the followers. What I wanted to do here is draw attention to why the majority of cult members put up with the abuse, stayed in the cult and were complicit in what the cults did without thinking their intelligence or sanity has been insulted. My point is that these members would have been complicit regardless of the psychological health of the leaders. Now that we have gone through the reason why most members were complicit, we can turn to the leaders.

In their book Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships, Janja Lalich and Madeline Tobias claim that most cult leaders can be diagnosed as sociopaths, narcissists or borderline personalities. Here are fifteen of their characteristics:

Glibness and superficial charm

Cult leaders are captivating storytellers and exude self-confidence.

Conning and maneuvering

Cult leaders are good at psychological maneuvering and do this almost as second nature, and maybe even unconsciously. The leader divides the world into suckers, sinners and himself. He is very perceptive and good at sizing people up. Cult leaders have an innate ability to attract followers who have the skills and contacts that the leaders lack.

Grandiose sense of self

He enjoys tremendous feelings of entitlement. He must always be the center of attention and cannot tolerate yielding the spotlight.

Pathological lying

Sociopaths lie coolly and easily. It is almost impossible for them to be consistently truthful. Leaders tend to create a complex belief system often about their own powers and abilities which they themselves get caught up in believing. They are rarely original thinkers and are more likely to be plagiarists and seldom credit the true originators of their ideas. They are talented at passing lie detector tests.

Lack of remorse, shame or guilt

They do not have friends. They have accomplices and victims and accomplices frequently end up as victims. For sociopaths, the ends always justify the means. In fact, they might not even separate ends and means in their own minds.

Shallow emotions

While sociopaths may display outbursts of emotions, these are more often than not responses calculated to obtain a certain advantage. They rarely reveal a range of emotions or a depth of emotions over time. The cult leader can witness or order acts of utter brutality without experiencing a shred of emotion. They are callous and lack empathy.

Incapacity for love

Love requires revealing strengths and weaknesses and it means trusting another person over time. The sociopath does not have the attention span, the depth or the capacity to self-reflect on any of this.

Sensation Seeking

Temperamentally, the sociopath is drawn to dangerous, thrill seeking behavior. He takes foolish risks and expects others to do the same. Robberies and shoot-outs with the authorities are par for the course (Jim Jones, David Koresh).

Impulsivity and lack of behavioral control

The cult leader has temper tantrums and fits of rage which the lieutenants are in charge of stage-managing. This behavior is a well-kept secret. If leaked, the behavior of the leader is collectively rationalized away by the followers as the work of his enemies.

Early behavior problems with juvenile delinquency

As teenagers, sociopaths frequently have a history of behavioral problems and run-ins with juvenile authorities. They often get by academically, taking advantage of other students or even teachers. They often have a history or theft, arson, and cruelty to others.

Scapegoating

They rarely accept blame for their failures or mistakes. Scapegoating is common. The blaming may follow a ritualized procedure such as a trial, gestalt “hot seat denunciations”, or in the case of leftist cults, criticism and self-criticism.

Promiscuous sexual behavior and infidelity.

Multiple relationships and marriages, rape and sexual acting out are common. At the same time, they are stringent about the sexual behavior of followers, insisting on celibacy.

Erratic work history of fits and starts

The sociopathic cult leader tends to move around a lot, making countless efforts at starting over as they seek out fertile new ground to exploit. One day they may be a rock musician, the next a messiah; one day a door-to-door salesman the next the founder of a self-rejuvenation program.

A materialistic lifestyle

The leaders of cults often present their movement as opposed to the decadence, shallowness and preoccupation with commodities of the dominant order. But in practice, these leaders often justify having these same luxuries for themselves. The leaders of cults often have many cars, houses, boats, planes, properties while they thunder against their followers who have the least in the way of material comforts.

Criminal or entrepreneurial versatility

Cult leaders change their image and that of the group as needed to avoid prosecution and litigation. They resurface later with a new name and a new front group, as Werner Erhard has done.

AFTERMATH FOR CULT MEMBERS

People who manage to make their way out of cults are a mess and are badly in need of social support. Deprograming, exit counseling and strategic interaction approach are three ways to help ex-cult members get on their feet.  According to Lalich and Tobias, there are five areas that are badly in need of attention.

  • Practical, everyday living
  • Emotional volatility
  • Cognitive inefficiencies
  • Lack of social networks and being socio-culturally out of touch
  • Theoretical instability

Practical, everyday living

Shell-shocked ex-cult members have lost their sense of how to manage everyday life. For example, people have to find work, while having to explain large gaps in their employment history which could span five to ten years or more. The work they did under the banner of the cult cannot be used as a reference. This would involve making up fake organizations to cover up their involvement, while claiming the skills they learned in the cult. Emotionally, the last thing ex-cult members need is more deception. If they are lucky enough to find a job, they have to learn to manage their money and set up a budget. If the ex-cult member is older this may mean relearning old skills. In the case of a young cult member this may involve learning new skills from scratch.

Something as simple as finding an apartment to live in can be overwhelming for someone who hasn’t done this in years. The rise in the cost of monthly rents over the last 15-20 years will come as a great shock. As mentioned earlier, cults typically do not provide medical and dental care. Since cult leaders rarely pay attention to such mundane things, the ex-cult member may badly need a physical check-up, blood tests and dental work at the same time they are trying to investigate a medical and dental plan while probably knowing nothing about how to proceed.  While cults often fetishize eating particular kinds of food (being vegetarian), the diet of cult members is often not well-balanced, especially during the later stages of cult work when the cult member is asked to work long hours. In addition, the times members eat is likely to be erratic because of the flurry of activity that is always going on. Lastly, matters of daily routines may be hard to set up as cults have their members constantly on the run and doing new things. DWP members were often asked to stop a project on a dime, and then throw themselves into a new one. Having a regular time and place to take walks, visit friends, and listen to music after dinner have to be established.

Emotional volatility

Ex-cult members may suffer from PTSD, insomnia, and frequent bouts of dissociation, including an inability to concentrate because of triggers or flashbacks. They are likely to feel depressed after a loss of group support and may feel a loss of self-confidence because their support systems are suddenly gone. There is real fear of cult retribution whether they have reason to be concerned or not. They also may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of taking legal action over child custody or conservatorship. It is no accident that members of cults lose their sense of humor. Humor tends to reveal the relativity of situations. It adds a comparative perspective that is dangerous in cults that want everyone to think in an absolute rather than a relative manor. Cults tend to be dead serious, and humor relieves that and gives members a break which is not to be encouraged.

Cognitive inefficiencies

While a great deal of critical thinking in relation to society is common among cult members when they first join, critical thinking is not rewarded or is tightly structured once inside the cult. Weighing the pros and cons of occupations, schools, choice of partner is not something that is practiced in cults. This results in ex-cult members being either indecisive when they get out or making rash decisions. Because they may have difficulty concentrating, they may not be able to think analytically about the causes or consequences of things. They may suffer from memory loss or they may have to overcome false memories they may have been propagandized to believe when inside the cult.

Often times, cults disrupt education and cult members are not likely to continue their education once inside the cult. Spiritual cults may tell the member they have a “natural way of knowing” which will not do much for them in searching for work or in being an active political person. A major challenge they must undertake is detoxifying their vocabulary from cult either-or thinking. As Orwell pointed out, if you control a person’s vocabulary you control their thinking. So, the ex-cult member needs to expand their vocabulary to re-introduce neutral language, use ambiguous terminology and to use metaphors. One of the major problems in cult thinking is taking everything literally.

Lack of social networks and being socio-culturally out of touch

One of the best things exit counseling or the strategic interaction approach can do is give ex-cult members an immediate support system, no questions asked. It is rare that an ex-cult member who has burned bridges with their families is going to have the welcome mat rolled out when they come knocking. It takes time to process hurt feelings, anger and confusion. These connections could take months to restore or even years, depending how long they have been away. The ex-cult member’s friends may have moved away, gotten married become sick and may be in no position to resume a relationship even if they wanted to.

Making new friends is extremely difficult. How do you account for being in a cult for eight years? Why would someone want to be friends with someone with such an intense background? Are ex-cult members dangerous people? In addition, ex-cult members have a mistrust of others as a result of being in a cult. They may be paranoid and afraid they are being watched by others, the “fishbowl effect”. Since cults usually blur boundaries between work and free time, friendship and sex, the ex-cult members are likely to have enmeshed boundaries when they try to make new friends.

Theoretical instability

Lastly, cults inspire people by claiming they are building a new world, and cult members have roles in that transformation. Compared to that, ex-cult members are likely to feel they have chosen an unenlightened, boring life. It is easy to understand why ex-cult members who have not had exit counseling might jump into a new cult.

Whether the ex-cult member has been involved in a spiritual, psychological or political cult, the ex-member needs to find a new grounding within that field. If a member has been in a spiritual cult of transcendental meditation does this mean they must give up Hindu or Buddhist religion completely? Can you practice these religions in a non-cult like way? If you have been in a psychological cult based on the work of social psychologist Harry Stack Sullivan, does that mean you no longer can study his work? Lastly if you have been in Leninist political cult, does that mean you have to renounce Lenin completely? Probably the answer to these questions depends on how badly you’ve been burned. The worse you’ve been burned the more extreme your reaction will be. If you haven’t been burned too badly, you might be able to be more dialectical and not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

CONCLUSION

Cults arose in Yankeedom beginning in the 1970s and I’ve covered their continuance into the late 1990s under conditions of ecological, economic and political decline. Cults find their audience among educated, idealistic middle-class and upper-middle class people who are rightfully hypercritical of the existing order and who are attracted to a vision of a radical transformation based on greater equality, justice, peace and love. They do not know they are members of a cult until they are at least partially integrated into the organization and then they are caught between the world they once knew and the world they hope to create. They are initially lured into the organization through the implementation of sophisticated social-psychological techniques and they then become complicit in the cult’s reproduction of these techniques over time if they remain. If members leave, they face a great number of the psychological problems as I’ve described in the last section. Fortunately, there are now well-organized institutions that are specifically designed to help ex-cult members reintegrate back into the existing order.

  • First published in Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism.
  • The post Political and Spiritual Cults: From Rapture to Complicity to Aftermath in the Shadow of 20th Century Yankeedom first appeared on Dissident Voice.