This is the interview I just did with authors, Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald, who have written a definitive 4-part article on the origins and the history of the Neocon movement. The influence of the Neoconservatives has been catastrophic to the American government – and to much of the world, yet as they point out, it never seems to end. The authors describe it as an elitist cult; a rabid ideology which doesn’t rely on facts to justify itself.
Senator J. William Fulbright identified the Neocons’ irrational system for making endless war in Vietnam 45 years ago, in a New Yorker article titled Reflections in Thrall to Fear: “Cold War psychology is the totally illogical transfer of the burden of proof from those who make charges to those who question them”, leading to “The ultimate illogic: war is the course of prudence and sobriety until the case for peace is proved under impossible rules of evidence [or never] – or until the enemy surrenders. Rational men cannot deal with each other on this basis…But these were not rational men and their need to further their irrational quest only increased with the loss of the Vietnam War.”
This same ideology drove the failed War in Iraq – and now, they’re at it again, with their foolhardy saber-rattling towards Russia.
The birth of the Neocon movement grew out of what had previously been known within the Eastern Establishment as “Team B”, in which official policies were tested by “competitive analysis”. The first Team B was created by George H. W. Bush, while he was Director of the CIA. This brought together very unlikely bedfellows, such as the ex-Trotskyite, James Burnham and Right Wing business interests, both of whom lobbied heavily for big military budgets, advanced weapons systems and aggressive action to confront Soviet Communism.
This Team B/Neocon doomsday cult managed to weather the defeat of the Vietnam War and their non-fact-based analyses continue to maintain a stranglehold on US policy.
James Burnham’s nihilist, elitist vision was criticized by George Orwell in his 1946 essay, Second Thoughts on James Burnham, in which he wrote, “What Burnham is mainly concerned to show [in the latter’s book, The Machiavellians] is that a democratic society has never existed and, so far as we can see, never will exist. Society is of its nature oligarchical, and the power of the oligarchy always rests upon force and fraud… Power can sometimes be won and maintained without violence, but never without fraud.” In fact, George Orwell’s classic book, 1984 was based on Burnham’s vision of the coming totalitarian state, which he described as “A new kind of society, neither Capitalist nor Socialist, and probably based upon slavery.”
There are many well-known godfathers of the Neoconservative agenda of “Endless War”, the guiding principle of America’s foreign policymakers today but Gould and Fitzgerald identify James Burnham as by far its most important figure, although he is little-known today.
Burnham was born in Chicago, the son of an English immigrant father. He attended Princeton University and later Oxford University’s Balliol College. He briefly became a close advisor to Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky, from whom he learned the tactics and strategies of infiltration, political subversion and dirty tricks. Gould and Fitzgerald note that the Right Wing Neocon cult of “Endless War” is ironically rooted in Trotsky’s permanent “Communist Revolution” and they describe how James Burnham helped to turn this into the permanent battle plan for a global Anglo-American empire. They write, “All that was needed to complete Burnham’s dialectic was a permanent enemy and that would require a sophisticated psychological campaign to keep the hatred of Russia alive for generations.”
In 1941, Burnham renounced his allegiance to Trotsky and Marxist idealism and he moved towards a cruel realism, with his belief in the inevitable failure of democracy and the rise of the oligarch. During the following years, he wrote several books and memos, predicting the rise of a technocratic elite. By 1947, Burnham’s transformation from Communist radical to New World Order American Conservative was complete, landing him smack into the loving arms of America’s Right Wing defense establishment during and after World War II.
In my own writings, I’ve noted that the use of the word “Freedom” by the US Government, whether it be “Freedom Fries”, “Operation Iraqi Freedom” or “They hate us for our freedom,” has completely mangled the significance of this F-word, certainly from a Constitutional perspective. Gould and Fitzgerald trace the bastardization of this word to James Burnham:
“Burnham’s Freedom only applied to those intellectuals (the Machiavellians) willing to tell people the hard truth about the unpopular political realities they faced. These were the realities that would usher in a brave new world of the managerial class who would set about denying Americans the very Democracy they thought they already owned. As Orwell observed about Burnham’s Machiavellian beliefs, in his 1946 Second Thoughts, ‘Power can sometimes be won or maintained without violence, but never without fraud, because it is necessary to use the masses.’”
With the CIA’s 1950 founding of the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF), Gould and Fitzgerald write, “By its own admission, the CIA’s strategy of promoting the non-Communist Left would become the theoretical foundation of the Agency’s political operations against Communism over the next two decades.”
Today, it appears that this strategy has been a smashing success, where we see the so-called Left in the US playing the role of fulminating, pro-Establishment Statists, a behavior formerly relegated to the Right. Never, in my wildest dreams would I have imagined the “tolerant Left” behaving like an army of Phyllis Schlaflys!
Prior to the catastrophe that was the Vietnam War, the Right was the establishment. The factual defeat of the ideals which drove this war was instrumental to the rise of the 1960s Counterculture movement, which was an even bigger disaster for the Neocons than losing the war. The Counterculture needed to be co-opted by any means necessary and I believe this has been successfully achieved.
Gould and Fitzgerald write that, “CIA’s control over the non-Communist Left and the West’s ‘free’ intellectuals [enabled] the CIA to secretly disenfranchise Europeans and Americans from their own political culture in such a way they would never really know it.”
Gould and Fitzgerald cite historian Christopher Lasch, who wrote in 1969 of the CIA’s co-optation of the American Left: “The modern state… is an engine of propaganda, alternately manufacturing crises and claiming to be the only instrument that can effectively deal with them. This propaganda, in order to be successful, demands the cooperation of writers, teachers, and artists, not as paid propagandists or state-censored time-servers but as ‘free’ intellectuals capable of policing their own jurisdictions and of enforcing acceptable standards of responsibility within the various intellectual professions.”
We see this very much today, in the Late Night comedy of Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah and SNL, the staff writers of which are largely hand-picked from the Harvard Lampoon, where young comedians are trained in a particular brand of comedy that deftly implants a fascist philosophy of extreme elitism and which fuses the ideals of the old Trotskyist left together with those of the right-wing Anglo-American elite, aka the Deep State.
The product of this fusion is called “Neoconservatism” – or its sneaky twin, “Neoliberalism”. The overt mission of this ideology is to roll back Russian influence everywhere. The covert mission is to reassert British cultural dominance over the Anglo-American Empire, maintained through propaganda. Traditionally, comedy has been used as a form of social and political criticism. Today, it cows the hapless consumer into submission to the hegemony.
Gould and Fitzgerald then inform us about the secret Information Research Department of the British and Commonwealth Foreign Office known as the IRD, which was funded by the CIA and served as a covert anti-Communist propaganda unit from 1946 until 1977. Gould and Fitzgerald cite Paul Lashmar and James Oliver, authors of Britain’s Secret Propaganda War, which describes how the IRD spread ceaseless disinformational propaganda (a mixture of lies and distorted facts) among top-ranking journalists working for major news agencies, including Reuters and the BBC and all other available channels. This was but one of many similar initiatives launched by the CIA’s Psychological Strategy Board, including Project Mockingbird and the abovementioned Congress for Cultural Freedom.
The mind is the ultimate battlefield. In my next talk with Gould and Fitzgerald, we will go into how the Deep State has designs on our dream life, in such figures as Robert Moss, a former assassin who now gives New Age workshops on “Active Dreaming.” (Incidentally, the New Age Movement was a CIA subproject of MK Ultra mind control programs). The soon-to-be-released 5G network will enable Virtual Reality, as predicted by Gould and Fitzgerald’s book, ‘The Voice: An Encrypted Monologue’, which takes the reader through the process of reclaiming one’s own narrative from the “noize” of unrelenting psychological warfare that saturates our environment.