State of Mankind

A New Way Of Thinking

XI. Political Evolution


Political Evolution


“There is no other possibility than either the order governed by the impersonal discipline of the market or that directed by the will of a few individuals; and those who are out to destroy the first are wittingly or unwittingly helping to create the second”               -F. A. Hayek (The Road To Serfdom, Page 208)

                Carroll Quigley has a strong focus on politics in Tragedy and Hope.  Within this focus, he often refers to three necessities for Democracy to exist.  These are worth review and consideration:

                “…These three bases are (1) that men are relatively equal in factual power; (2) that men have relatively equal access to the information needed to make a government’s decisions; and (3) that men have a psychological readiness to accept majority rule in return for those civil rights which will allow any minority to work to build itself up to become a majority.

                “Just as weapons development has destroyed the first of these bases, so secrecy, security considerations, and the growing complexity of the issues have served to undermine the second of these.  The third, which was always the weakest of the three, is still in the stage of relative vitality and relative acceptability that it had in the nineteenth century, but is in much greater danger from the threat of outside forces, notably the changes in the other two bases, plus the greater danger today from external war or from domestic economic breakdown” (Page 865).

                For a quick sum-up, Quigley observes that equal power is necessary for Democracy.  If the people have clubs, but the King has muskets, tyranny will result over the long term.  The King will have no reservation to pushing his agenda on the people.  As the people are able to get muskets to fight against the King’s army, democracy will result, as the King will need the will of the people on his side.  Quigley suggests that a professional army with complex, expensive weapons makes the governments unafraid of the will of the people, and tyranny will result, over time.  The next base is information.  Quigley makes the case that without access to information, the people really can’t run the government anyway.  The final base is that the minority is willing to accept the rule of the majority without civil war.  This usually comes from the civil rights (such as free speech) to allow the minority to try and convince the majority.   Quigley’s observations would show that Democracy is now in decline.  What does he have to say about it, and how does he feel about this?

                “At the present time, there seems to be little reason to doubt that the specialist weapons of today will continue to dominate the military picture into the foreseeable future.  If so, there is little reason to doubt that authoritarian rather than democratic political regimes will dominate the world into the same foreseeable future.  To be sure, traditions and other factors may keep democratic systems, or at least democratic forms, in many areas, such as the United States or England.  To us, brought up as we were on a democratic ideology, this may seem very tragic, but a number of perhaps redeeming features in this situation may well be considered.

                “For one, our society, Western Civilization, is almost fifteen hundred years old, and was democratic in political action for less than two hundred of these years (or even half of that, in strict truth [he seems to consider Democracy already gone in 1965]).  A period that is not democratic in its political structure is not necessarily bad, and may well be one in which people can live a rich and full social or intellectual life whose value may be even more significant than a democratic political or military structure.  Of equal significance is the fact that a period with a professionalized army may well be, as it was in the eighteenth century, a period of limited warfare seeking limited political aims, if for no other reason than that professionalized forces are less willing to kill and be killed for remote and total objectives” (Page 1,200-1,201).

                By reducing Democracy we can overcome large scale war.  Once again, Skousen adds some perspective on this:

                “…Nevertheless, here was this American capitalist (and former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board) telling a large meeting (where the reviewer [Skousen] was present) that the United States should immediately undertake extensive trade with Red China.  Said he, “We never fight the people we trade with.”  I thought to myself, “Well, we certainly had to fight Japan in spite of all the oil and scrap iron we sold her just before World War II.”  It did not seem possible that this famous international banker would have forgotten such an elementary lesson so quickly” (The Naked Capitalist, Pages 2-3).

                Why else might we want to move away from Democracy?

                “These remarks bring us close to one of the major problems in American culture today.  We need a culture that will produce people eager to do things, but we need even more a culture that will make it possible to decide what to do.  This is the old division of means and goals.  Decisions about goals require values, meaning, context, perspective.  THEY CAN BE SET, EVEN TENTATIVELY AND APPROXIMATELY, ONLY BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE SOME INKLING OF THE WHOLE PICTURE.  The middle-class culture of our past ignored the whole picture and destroyed our ability to see it by its emphasis on specialization” (Page 1,274, emphasis mine).

                We need rulers to set our goals, people who can see the whole picture, not the self-serving middle class.  Quigley again:

                “Above all, we must bring meaning back into human experience.  This, like establishing an achieving outlook, can be done by going backward in our Western tradition to the period before we had any bourgeois outlook.  For our society had both meaning and purpose long before it had any middle class.  Indeed, these are intrinsic elements in our society.  In fact, the middle-class outlook obtained its meaning and purpose from the society where it grew up; it did not give meaning and purpose to the society.  And Capitalism, along with the middle-class outlook, became meaningless and purposeless when it so absorbed men’s time and energies that men lost touch with the meaning and purpose of the society in which capitalism was a brief and partial aspect. …” (Page 1,276)

                “The events of the following thirty years, from 1914 to 1945, showed the real nature of the preceding generation, its ignorance, complacency, and false values.  Two terrible wars sandwiching a world economic depression revealed man’s real inability to control his life by the nineteenth century’s techniques of laissez faire, materialism, competition, selfishness, nationalism, violence, and imperialism.  These characteristics of late nineteenth-century life culminated in World War II in which more than 50 million persons, 23 million of them in uniform, the rest civilians, were killed, most of them by horrible deaths.

               “The hope of the twentieth century rests on its recognition that war and depression are man-made, and needless.  They can be avoided in the future by turning from the nineteenth-century characteristics just mentioned and going back to other characteristics that our Western Society has always regarded as virtues:  generosity, compassion, cooperation, rationality, and foresight, and finding an increased role in human life for love, spirituality, charity, and self-discipline. …” (Page 1,310-1,311)

               So the move from Democracy and personal freedom of the 19th century, according to Quigley, is because we have proven that we can’t handle it.  We weren’t generous or compassionate or charitable on our own, so now we will be regulated into better people.  Let’s look at another perspective on this, this time from Hayek (The Road To Serfdom):

“…It is, however, more than doubtful whether a fifty years’ approach toward collectivism has raised our moral standards, or whether the change has not rather been in the opposite direction. …”  (Page 216)

               “What our generation is in danger of forgetting is not only that morals are of necessity a phenomenon of individual conduct but also that they can exist only in the sphere in which the individual is free to decide for himself and is called upon voluntarily to sacrifice personal advantage to the observance of a moral rule.  Outside the sphere of individual responsibility there is neither goodness nor badness, neither opportunity for moral merit nor the chance of proving one’s conviction by sacrificing one’s desires to what one thinks right.  Only where we ourselves are responsible for our own interests and are free to sacrifice them has our decision moral value.  We are neither entitled to be unselfish at someone else’s expense nor is there any merit in being unselfish if we have no choice” (Page 216).

               “If we are to build a better world, we must have the courage to make a new start—even if that means some reculer pour mieux sauter [backup a little before renewing one’s attack].  It is not those who believe in inevitable tendencies who show this courage, not those who preach a “New Order” which is no more than a projection of the tendencies of the last forty years, and who can think of nothing better than to imitate Hitler.  It is, indeed, those who cry loudest for the New Order who are most completely under the sway of the ideas which have created this war and most of the evils from which we suffer:  The young are right if they have little confidence in the ideas which rule most of their elders.  But they are mistaken or misled when they believe that these are still the liberal ideas of the nineteenth century, which, in fact, the younger generation hardly knows.  Though we neither can wish nor possess the power to go back to the reality of the nineteenth century, we have the opportunity to realize its ideals—and they were not mean.  We have little right to feel in this respect superior to our grandfathers; and we should never forget that it is we, the twentieth century, and not they, who have made a mess of things.  If they had not yet fully learned what was necessary to create the world they wanted, the experience we have since gained ought to have equipped us better for the task.  If in the first attempt to create a world of free men we have failed, we must try again.  The guiding principle that a policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy remains as true today as it was in the nineteenth century” (Pages 237-238).

               So we have come full circle back to the debate between the Progressive ideas (collective based) of Quigley and the Libertarian (individual based) views of Hayek.  Quigley argues that individual freedom was the cause of the World Wars and economic problems, where Hayek makes the case that our moving away from such freedoms caused these horrors.  What ideas have our leaders embraced and why?  Understanding this may help us understand why our political paradigm is so far away from this debate.  We’ll look at some of our past political leaders, as described by Quigley and Skousen.  A good starting point is after World War II with Truman.  A huge national debate at this time was whether the United States should involve itself with conflicts around the world or if it should return to the neutral policies of the past.  From Quigley:

Harry Truman

“These neo-isolationist policies had no relationship to reality, but they exerted great pressure on the last two years of the Truman Administration, driving it toward an increasingly unrealistic course. …

               “On the whole, the neo-isolationist discontent was a revolt of the ignorant against the informed or educated, of the nineteenth century against the insoluble problems of the twentieth, of the Midwest of Tom Sawyer against the cosmopolitan East of J. P. Morgan and Company, of old Siwash against Harvard, of the Chigaco Tribune against the Washington Post or The New York Times, of simple absolutes against complex relativisms, of immediate final solutions against long-range partial alleviations, of frontier activism against European thought, a rejection, out of hand, of all the complexities of life which had arisen since 1915 in favor of a nostalgic return to the simplicities of 1905, and above all a desire to get back to the inexpensive, thoughtless, and irresponsible international security of 1880” (Pages 979-980).

               These packed words tell us quite a bit about who wanted what, how politicians are controlled and where Quigley stands.  First, the Bankers/Roundtable groups (J. P. Morgan, N. Y. Times, Washington Post) wanted the U. S. to assume the international leader/police role.  The ‘neo-isolationists’ who are later called the ‘radical right’ or the ‘middle-class’ preferred to focus on the U. S. and reduce the international role.  Quigley’s wording tells us exactly where he stands.  The people are ignorant, the ruling class is informed, Tom Sawyer versus J. P. Morgan, etc.

               The interesting note comes from our modern history.  Truman followed the path of the ‘Rulers’ as much as public opinion allowed.  We ended up in wars in Korea and later Vietnam with these policies, as well as financing a huge military from World War II, even at this date.  Korea is today a huge ‘hotspot’ in the world which threatens to take us into nuclear war today.  Vietnam largely discredited the idea of interventionist, partial warfare all over the world, but we find ourselves back in the same quagmire in Iraq and Afghanistan today.  Without suggesting that the ‘neo-isolationists’ had all the answers or were always right back then, it must be stated that Quigley was too quick to call them ignorant.  Perhaps the elitists could have used a few more ‘simple absolutes’ instead of complex relativisms and our foreign policy today may have been much better off.  At least this point is still worthy of debate.

               Eisenhower followed Truman.  Quigley also had a rundown on him:

               “The weakening of this middle-class ideology was a chief cause of the panic of the middle classes, and especially of the petty bourgeoisie, in the Eisenhower era.  The general himself was repelled by the Radical Right, whose impetus had been a chief element (but far from the most important element) in his election, although the lower-middle-class groups had preferred Senator Taft as their leader.  Eisenhower, however, had been preferred by the Eastern Establishment of old Wall Street, Ivy League, semi-aristocratic Anglophiles whose real strength rested in their control of eastern financial endowments, operating from foundations, academic halls, and other tax-exempt refuges.

               “As we have said, this Eastern Establishment was really above parties and was much more concerned with policies than with party victories.  They had been the dominant element in both parties since 1900 and practiced the political techniques of William C. Whitney and J. P. Morgan.  They were, as we have said, Anglophile, cosmopolitan, Ivy League, internationalist, astonishingly liberal [20th century meaning], patrons of the arts, and relatively humanitarian.  All these things made them anathema to the lower-middle-class and petty-bourgeois groups, chiefly in small towns and in the Middle West, who supplied the votes in Republican electoral victories, but found it so difficult to control nominations (especially in presidential elections) because the big money necessary for nominating in a Republican National Convention was allied to Wall Street and to the Eastern Establishment. …” (Pages 1,244-1,245).

Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy

               Next, Quigley on Kennedy:

               “Kennedy, despite his Irish Catholicism, was an Establishment figure.  This did not arise from his semi-aristocratic attitudes or his Harvard connections (which were always tenuous, since Irish Catholicism is not yet completely acceptable at Harvard).  These helped, but John Kennedy’s introduction to the Establishment arose from his support of Britain, in opposition to his father, in the critical days at the American Embassy in London in 1938-1940.  His acceptance into the English Establishment opened its American branch as well.  The former was indicated by a number of events, such as sister Kathleen’s marriage to the Marquis of Hartington and the shifting of Caroline’s nursery school from the White House to the British Embassy after her father’s assassination. …Another indication of this connection was the large number of Oxford-trained men appointed to office by President Kennedy” (Page 1,245).

               This brings us up to the Lyndon Johnson/Barry Goldwater election in 1964.  From Quigley:

“… What has been happening has been a disintegration of the middle class and a corresponding increase in significance by the petty bourgeoisie at the same time that the economic influence of the older Wall Street financial groups has been weakening and been challenged by new wealth springing up outside the eastern cities, notably in the Southwest and Far West.  These new sources of wealth have been based very largely on government action and government spending but have, none the less, adopted a petty-bourgeois outlook rather than the semi-aristocratic outlook that pervades the Eastern Establishment.  This new wealth, based on petroleum, natural gas, ruthless exploitation of national resources, the aviation industry, military bases in the South and West, and finally on space with all its attendant activities, has centered in Texas and southern California…

“…By the 1964 election, the major political issue in the country was the financial struggle behind the scenes between the old wealth, civilized and cultured in foundations, and the new wealth, virile and uninformed, arising from the flowing profits of government-dependent corporations in the Southwest and West.

               “At issue here was the whole future face of America, for the older wealth stood for values and aims close to the Western traditions of diversity, tolerance, human rights and values, freedom, and the rest of it, while the newer wealth stood for the narrow and fear-racked aims of petty-bourgeois insecurity and egocentricity.  The nominal issues between them, such as that between internationalism and unilateral isolationism (which its supporters preferred to rename “nationalism”), were less fundamental than they seemed, for the real issue was the control of the Federal government’s tremendous power to influence the future of America by spending of government funds. …

               “The outcome of this struggle, which still goes on, is one in which civilized people can afford to be optimistic.  For the newer wealth is unbelievable ignorant and misinformed.  In their growing concern to control political nominations, they ignored the even greater need to win elections” (Pages 1,245-1,247).

Lyndon Johnson, Barry Goldwater

               It is time for a quick analysis.  After all Quigley has taught us about the Round Table groups, and the International Bankers, or the Eastern Establishment, he has made it very clear who he feels is smart enough to be our rulers, and who his enemies are.  He also, clearly, cannot understand the thinking of these people—the middle and lower middle class or ‘petty bourgeois’, the regular American who would rather worry about the U. S. than ‘internationalism’, the small business man, and the new ‘big businesses’ which had the same outlook at the ‘petty bourgeois’.  Forgetting that he is trying to be a neutral historian, he quickly gives them labels—‘ignorant’, ‘misinformed’, he even infers that they are uncivilized.  The larger companies he makes illegitimate because they exploit natural resources or receive government funding.  While people even today debate his point on the larger businesses, it is possible to dispel some myths that he teaches about the middle-class by looking at their candidate (according to Quigley) in the 1964 election, Barry Goldwater.  From Quigley:

               “The capture of the Republican National Party by the extremist elements of the Republican Congressional Party in 1964, and their effort to elect Barry Goldwater to the Presidency with the petty-bourgeois extremists alone, was only a temporary aberration on the American political scene, and arose from the fact that President Johnson had preempted all the issues (which are, as we have said, now acceptable to the overwhelming majority) and had occupied the whole broad center of the American political spectrum, so that it was hardly worth-while for the Republicans to run a real contestant against him in the same area.  Thus Goldwater was able to take control of the Republican National Party by default.

               “The virulence behind the Goldwater campaign, however, had nothing to do with default or lack of intensity.  Quite the contrary.  His most ardent supporters were of the extremist petty-bourgeois mentality driven to near hysteria by the disintegration of the middle classes and the steady rise in prominence of everything they considered anathema:  Catholics, Negroes, immigrants, intellectuals, aristocrats (and near aristocrats), scientists, and educated men generally, people from big cities or from the East, cosmopolitans and internationalists and, above all, liberals who accept diversity as a virtue” (Page 1,248).

               A short fact finding mission enlightens us to the fact that Barry Goldwater was far from against diversity.  On the contrary, he was the closest presidential candidate this country has had to a 19th century Liberal or true Libertarian.  He didn’t believe in government handouts to specific groups, but marched in gay-rights protests in the 1960’s when that wasn’t popular.  However, Quigley’s description is important to understand because it sets the bias for how people such as Goldwater are viewed, even today, by the press and the Eastern Establishment.  Now for a look at Goldwater from Skousen:

               “The political climate of 1964 was such that a capable conservative candidate had an excellent chance of winning, and the Establishment knew it.  Money and manpower was thrown into the primaries and individual state organizations to try to stop Goldwater before he ever got to San Francisco but the Goldwater bandwagon continued rolling along.  The next step was to try to stop him at San Francisco.

               “The Establishment forces at the Republican National Convention were represented by the Rockefeller-Scranton contingents.  They used every political weapon in their well-furbished arsenal to embarrass or discredit Goldwater.  To veteran political observers it was amazing how strong the locked-in Goldwater delegates stood up under the pressure.  Goldwater was nominated.

               “The Establishment then turned to its own locked-in sources of power.  The media (press, radio and TV) were turned on Goldwater with a blazing vengeance.  In retrospect it was an amazing demonstration of what a controlled press can do in a free republic.  The tactic was to divert the attention of the people away from the real issues and use whatever circumstances became available to FRIGHTEN the American people away from Goldwater.

               “In Stephen Shadegg’s book, ‘What Happened to Goldwater?’ (New York: Holt Rinehart and Winston, 1965) there is a valuable summary of the factors which determined the ultimate outcome of the Goldwater campaign.  Shedegg points out that it was impossible for Goldwater to be heard on the issues when the press, the magazines, the radio and TV were all pounding out a subtle (and sometimes blatant) message of “Extremist”, “Racist”, “Atomic-bomber”, “Trigger Happy”, “Warmonger”, “Psychologically unfit”, and “He will scrap social security”” (Pages 100-101).

               Skousen continues:

               “A few months after the election, Huntley-Brinkley came out with an astonishing report.  They said that if the election had been run strictly on the issues, Goldwater would have won!  The program was narrated by Brinkley and he referred to a political survey in which it had been discovered that a good majority of the people agreed with Goldwater in principle, but had been “influenced” into voting against him because of specific fears that he would do away with social security or get us involved in an atomic war.  (In other words, the FRIGHT propaganda had robbed the people of their legitimate choice.)

               “As this reviewer [Skousen] watched this Huntley-Brinkley Special Report, it was difficult to understand why these dedicated employees of the power-complex media would admit how popular Goldwater had been and how he would have won the election if their propaganda efforts had not been so effective.  However, Brinkley explained toward the end of the program why it was important for the “liberal, progressive” element of the country to appreciate that even though they had won the election, they had not changed the “conservative mood” at the grass roots.  He said President Johnson would therefore have an uphill pull to get many of his “progressive” bills passed through Congress (just as the Democratic Congress had initially bucked President Kennedy’s socialist legislation) unless all the liberal-progressive element firmly united to overcome the conservative, grass-roots resistance. …” (Pages 102-103)

               Now, we’ll look at Johnson.  Quigley wrote his book when Johnson was first elected, so it has no historical content.  He praised Johnson lavishly while scorning those who opposed Johnson’s agenda.   Skousen’s take on Johnson is:

               “Ironically, however, the new President was harnessed to a team which intended to exploit him to the hilt and then abandon him before the next election.  For three solid years the powers behind the scenes pushed the President into policies and programs which were bound to be resisted and resented by the majority of the American People and were therefore political dynamite.  The most serious time-bomb which they planted on LBJ was getting him to follow a commitment of peace-at-any-price and a soft-on-Communism policy.  This allowed the global planners to escalate the Vietnam front into a full-scale war and have the President fight it on such an unrealistic, no-win basis that it became the primary factor in making Lyndon Johnson a one-term president” (Page 103).

               Not mentioned by Skousen, but of historical importance was Johnson’s ‘War on Poverty’.  Johnson increased the welfare state to give welfare money to many different groups, but it had some unintended consequences.  What most had hoped would be a way to help unwed mothers, turned out to promote promiscuity and discourage marriage financially.  A quick look at the numbers:  In 1960, 5.3% of children were born out of wedlock, today that number is 40% (without the increased abortion rate, today’s number would be even higher).  Before the ‘Great Society’, 25% of African American babies grew up without a father.  Today that number is 72%.  By providing the financial means for people to avoid the consequences of their actions, it could be argued that Johnson’s ‘Great Society’ and the following welfare programs have helped to destroy the greatest anti-poverty program ever—the family.

               Finally, a quick look at Richard Nixon, from Skousen:

               “Every citizen who voted for Richard Nixon, including this reviewer [Skousen], hoped that to some degree, at least, the new President would resist the collectivist Left and start the country back in the direction of common sense and the Constitution.  On some fronts this has been done, but on many other fronts (in fact, on the most sensitive and decisive ones) the collectivist process has continued at an accelerated speed.  Never has the bureaucratic staff at the White House been so large.  Never have so many billions been requested for Federal subsidies to the states (with Federal control following closely on the heels of Federal money).  These policies and programs are precisely what the obscure bosses behind the CFR have been urging for years.  Another of their pet projects has been the recognition of Red China.  There is already a definite softening by the Nixon Administration in that direction.

               “These facts are mentioned simply to alert the reader to the fact that Dr. Quigley may be entirely correct in his charge that the CFR and the Global Establishment have gained such a hold on the elective process in the United States that no matter which political party goes into power, the winner is beholden to those powers to a significant degree” (Page 56).

Richard Nixon

               The review of Presidencies will end here, not because the story runs dry, but because it simply repeats itself into the present.  There is enough content here to understand the modern political battles.  We are conditioned to look at Republican versus Democrat and zero in on their differences, while ignoring the things they hold in common.  I believe we need to look closely at what is agreed upon, especially by Presidential candidates and find out the sources funding these ideas.  For example:  Both John McCain and Barack Obama in 2008 had Cap-and-Trade schemes to introduce.  Both received money from George Soros.  Both supported the Wall Street bailouts and the takeover of GM and Chrysler.  On the surface, we heard reports of doom if these things weren’t done.  Beneath the surface, fear is used to make sure the sheep go where they are supposed to.  Fear is the opposite of freedom.

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