My husband recently said to me after a party, “You’re like my pet hyena. When I take you out I really should ask people, ‘How close do you want to get?'” When I repeated this to a few friends, they were shocked at how well I took it. I, on the other hand, was shocked that they were shocked – it’s just too apropos to take offense at! I actually go out of my way sometimes to up the intensity with people I meet just to see how far apart we are. If I say something “deep” and the audience catches right on, I start from there, otherwise I proceed with caution. Here was my opening line that evening…
“I just read something in a biography of Barack Obama that really shocked me. The author claims that there’s a difference between Democrats and Republicans!” By the looks I was getting, I read the message loud and clear: back up, slow down.
So I explained that it seems pretty clear to me that American foreign policy, for example, doesn’t change from party to party – we either control the places we want to control or we create chaos so no one else can have them. Is it not proof enough that Obama won a Peace Prize for the anti-war b/s he fed us then proceeded to bomb 7 different countries, including Libya, on which he unilaterally authorized 770 bombs dropped?
Yet this author, Webster Griffin Tarpley, claims that the Neo-Cons (Bush, Cheney, Perle, Rumsfeld, etc.), represented by the Republicans, want all the big powers to sit at the same table as long as “we” (read “they”) are at the head. (This has been dubbed the Wolfowitz Doctrine.) Tarpley contrasts this with what he calls the Trilateral Crowd, represented by the Democrats and most greatly influenced by Zbigniew Brzezinski, who want not only total domination but also to knock China and especially Russia down a rung. The funny thing about Tarpley’s claim, though, is that he wrote the book in 2008 before Obama even got elected. That’s well before Obama violated the Wolfowitz Doctrine and created hot conflict in Syria and escalation in Ukraine – both confrontations one step closer to Russia than the neo-cons had dared. Add to that the facts that Democratic President Bill Clinton absorbed all Warsaw Pact countries into NATO in direct violation of Republican President George HW Bush’s assurance to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev; Democrat Clinton was responsible for the Kosovo aggression; and, with the help of his buddy Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Clinton also delivered Russia into the hands of oligarchs, fostering cronyism over laissez-faire entrepreneurship, besmirching the image of capitalism in the eyes of former Soviet countries and effectively denying them its rewards forever. Reflecting on all this, I had to admit, Tarpley might be on to something.
My small audience didn’t find this “conspiracy theory stuff” very compelling, with one speaking for all, that “Obama is just shockingly incompetent – no one is pulling the strings.” I had to counter with the question, “So Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and George Soros, who paid big bucks to get this guy in office, are just sitting there with their fingers crossed hoping he gets it right? And when he doesn’t, they just sit by while it crashes and burns?” That’s the kind of investment strategy that makes guys billions these days? I don’t think so.
All that said, however, I’m not taking Tarpley’s view to the bank. Some claim he is a disinformation agent whose job it is to mislead those seeking to understand the true nature and structure of power in the world today. I don’t know if this is true or not. Tarpley cut his teeth under Lyndon LaRouche and his early stuff is worth listening to simply for historical information. I do have my doubts about his analysis, however, in no small part because he says Ron Paul is controlled opposition, which is a claim that discomfited me, so I looked into it and evaluated it, and ultimately rejected it. Tarpley might be sincere and he might not, I don’t know, but the value of the things I got from his book is independent of whether or not he is a disinformation agent, so while I did not regale my fellow party-goers with the rest of the gems I gleaned from the book, I present them here for you.
The first takeaway from the book was what I explained above–in sum, Tarpley’s view is that, although there is a western power elite that works to control the world’s resources and people, there is some infighting at the top with different strategies and tactics. I’m not sure I believe this is true, but it would explain why Obama is so aggressive in antagonizing Russia and perhaps also China while the neocons took a less direct approach. Another explanation might be that the power elite is organized and patient with a long-term plan that contains several phases. Perhaps Obama is responsible for the “start World War III phase” – that seems to fit current events too!
The second take-away was the basic philosophy Tarpley and LaRouche hold that led me to a much deeper understanding of my own. Their position, like mine, is that Marx was a psy-op…he was set up by the bankers to create an “alternative” to capitalism that concentrated all the power at the top and made it just as easy to access by the power elite as monarchy, cronyism, etc. Tarpley and LaRouche’s position takes a hard left away from mine at that point, however, in that they are what I’ll call “Platonist Collectivists.” They believe Plato’s conception of political morality is correct, where society is the central unit of humanity and all should serve to optimize that body. This contrasts with what I’ll call “Aristotelian Individualism,” which is the morality many of us take for granted – individual rights and liberties inviolable by the political unit. But please don’t take my interpretation of any of this as textbook – I had to piece it together from Tarpley and LaRouche’s writings and even got down from my shelf the fantastic summary work by William Durant, The Story of Philosophy. The first hundred pages of Durant clarified for me the distinctions between Plato and Aristotle that seemed to be the heart of the LaRouche philosophy. I think this exercise is essential because it is important to question basic assumptions, especially morality in the context of civil society, and apparently that analysis starts with the Greeks. So there’s some food for thought.
The third take-away was Tarpley’s discussion of race. He absolutely hates prominent black leaders of today because he claims that they are deliberately misleading lower class blacks into thinking the dominant social problem they face is racial when in fact it is class. Normally I go running and screaming from anything based on “class” as being Marxist, but in actuality, class is a state construct as explained in Nock and as admitted in The Report from Iron Mountain. Class does not exist without laws that treat different groups of people differently (for example, progressive taxation prevents earners from accumulating capital). Of course Tarpley is claiming wealth redistribution is the answer to class problems and my claim is that because the state itself is the source of class distinctions, do away with the state or at least minimize it and issues of race and class would become insignificant. My conclusion here, like my philosophy in general, is the opposite of Tarpley’s.
Finally, the fourth take-away has nothing to do with ideology, philosophy or theory, it was just a litany of what appears to be solid evidence of Obama and his Chicago crowd’s corruption. Tarpley starts by outlining Obama’s power-elite connections from his mother who worked for Tim Geithner’s father at the Ford Foundation (which Tarpley claims is a front for cronyistic transnational corporate domination of inner cities and developing countries), to his step-father’s work as liaison between Big Oil and a post-(US-)coup Indonesia, to his birth father’s family’s African connections and their roles as facilitators for the powers-that-be. Obama’s personal corruption in the Rezko affair is brought out, as well as a surprisingly believable account of Larry Sinclair’s charges that he fellated Obama while the then-Illinois State Senator smoked crack. Really, I’m not making this up!
The book is a bit of a task to get through (except for the Sinclair part–that’s pretty juicy!), but it’s not incoherent, implausible or poorly referenced as some reviews have suggested. If you’re interested in some of the smoking guns that might reveal Obama’s true nature, his past, his vulnerabilities and his direction, this is a good resource. The fact that it’s a criticism from someone far, far to the left of Obama makes it refreshing as well, even prescient when one considers it was published in 2008, before Obama betrayed the anti-war left among other factions. If you want to know more about deep history in general from this author (an erudite if perhaps co-opted conspiracy theorist), you might prefer to watch this long but gripping video of a decades-old seminar Tarpley and LaRouche hosted.
Since I read this book and wrote this review, I came upon a statement I wouldn’t have thought twice about before I read Tarpley, but once I started thinking in terms of Plato vs Aristotle as the basic struggle between collectivism and individualism, I couldn’t believe I had missed it before. Apparently, this interpretation is so fundamental, it was the mission statement for a mid-20th century line of books called The Americanist Library, out of which I recently selected From Major Jordan’s Diaries about American betrayal to the Soviets. Here is one of the three line items in the mission statement for this library:
The Americanist Library seeks to make readily available, in a uniform and inexpensive format, a growing series of great books that define many battle lines in the long war between freedom and slavery. The first fully recorded engagement in that war was between the constructive forces of Athenian individualism and the destructive forces of Spartan collectivism. Those prototypes find their recurrent spiritual reincarnation today in the bitter contemporary struggle between the Americanist and the communist systems.
Perhaps this will help me decipher this Lord Acton quote that has long intrigued me: “Save for the wild force of Nature, nothing moves in this world that is not Greek in its origin.” Lacking a classical education myself, I’m just groping around to understand this, but I always had a hunch Lord Acton wouldn’t have said it if he didn’t have a good reason for it.
On another note, here are two passages from the Tarpley book that I think are worth sharing.
The first seems to explain something self-evident, but in my mind even the seemingly self-evident is worth tracing to its roots, especially when it touches on a topic such as race, as this one does, which is so sensitive we rarely question our underlying assumptions. Those underlying assumptions are often the very assumptions that need to be questioned the most, in my opinion. For this reason, in thinking about immigration, “multi-culturalism” and race, I had to ask myself if there was anything inherently different about different peoples that might predetermine their cultural influence on our society. I concluded that the only thing that mattered in this regard is if an individual could appreciate the concepts of liberty and justice that are the foundation of the American system. Here is how I looked at it: If I took a new born baby from anywhere on earth, could I make a libertarian out of him? I concluded there was no place on earth where it would be simply impossible for me to transplant a baby to America and instill in him libertarian values. Tarpley’s quote below answers my same question in a much more erudite fashion but with the same result.
In this passage, Tarpley catalogues that Obama’s Reverend Wright is a racist–not an anti-white racist, but an anti-black racist who claims that black children “learn differently” from white children, among other things. (See page 283-7 for the full discussion. FYI, you can get the book dirt cheap at abe books.)
When Wright says the right brain is intuitive, he means irrational. When he says the left brain is logical, he is attacking reason. Not content with destroying the unity of world history by carving it up into a multitude of hermetically sealed cultures in the manner of Oswald Spengler, modern foundation-funded “race science” also attempts to demolish the unity of human reason. In reality, human reason is the single invariant factor which can be observed at work in every society from the emergence of humans down to the present day. It is a true universal, necessary and present in every individual. It is present in Plato and in Confucius, in the Egypt of Akhnaton and in the Baghdad of Haroun al Rashid, and it is neither eastern nor western, neither northern nor southern, neither black nor white. It is present from Thales to Doctor George Washington Carver. It belongs to no race, and has no color.
The second, I’m not certain about. I would feel a sort of relief if it were true, but I always thought we were responsible for our governments. On the other hand, Tarpley makes some good points–very good points–to the contrary though. What do you think? (It’s a whole section on page 395.)
THE BANKRUPTCY OF COLLECTIVE GUILT
St. Thomas Aquinas was on the right track when he declared that no guilt can attach to any person for the actions of others not under his or her control. After 1945, it became fashionable in some quarters to argue that there was a German collective guilt for the crimes of the Hitler regime–meaning that the German housewife or factory worker was somehow just as responsible for the Nazi crimes as bankers like Schacht and Thyssen, or politicians like von Papen. It is necessary vigorously to reject any notion of German collective guilt (sippenhaftung or kollektivschuld) for National Socialism. People are responsible for their own actions and not for the actions of others. The theory of German collective guilt is a deliberate mystification, first of all because it places helpless little people on the same level of responsibility with powerful individuals who could have and should have influenced the course of events in another way. German collective guilt also masks the responsibility of important foreigners. Americans like Prescott Bush and John Foster Dulles were important backers of Hitler’s seizure of power in January 1933. The most active support for Hitler came from Lady Astor and their [sic] Cliveden Set, where we find Lord Brand, Lord Lothian, Lord Halifax, and Sir Neville Chamberlain. Another key British backer of Hitler was Lord Montague Norman, the governor of the Bank of England, who made possible the financial stabilization of the Nazi regime during its first months in power. Henry Deterding, the boss of Royal Dutch Shell, was another prominent backer of National Socialism. German collective guilt is therefore a cover story for the main culprits.
By the same token, we must formally and categorically reject any idea of the collective guilt of the American people. The crimes of the Bush regime, for example, are the crimes of the Bush regime. They are the crimes of individuals who actually carried them out, and not the American people as a whole, who actually voted twice to defeat Bush, but were overruled by a very effective vote fraud machine, with the help of the same controlled corporate media who are swooning for Barky [i.e., Barack Obama] today. The American people who are alive today are not responsible for slavery, or other crimes and abuses of the nineteenth century. The slave system was maintained by a three-cornered corporation among southern planter oligarchs, New York City bankers and cotton brokers, and City of London interests. This is who was responsible for slavery, and not some poverty-stricken southern sharecropper or northern “mudsill,” as they used to be called. Individuals have free will, and they are responsible for what they do and do not do, but they are not responsible for the actions of others, and certainly not for actions carried out long before they were born. Anyone who attempts to impose a theory of collective guilt on the American people is fabricating a big lie, very likely with the goal of provoking some irrational backlash of ill-considered reaction, quite possibly in the form of some subsequent phase of fascism. Those who preach collective guilt are, in short, provocateurs.