My readings lately have taken me back to the immediate postwar era, when CIA was just underway and one of its first goals was to train and contain the American intellectual class. It wasn’t hard – intellectuals are normally driven by an aversion or ordinary people, and are easily bought with money and a taste of power.
The task at hand was censorship, but done in such a way that it would not be called that. It was shaking hands with the velvet glove.
CIA, merely a formalization of the structure that existed prior to that time, had its hands in everything, but most interesting was its support for journals like The New Yorker, New Republic, The Nation, and in Britain, Encounter (which curiously went out of business when the Soviet Union collapsed). While it would be easy for us to see that National Review was a CIA-inspired operation (William F. Buckley himself an admitted agent who worked under the tutelage of E. Howard Hunt in Mexico City) … The Nation too?
Professor Quigley wrote about right-wing control of left-wing journals in Tragedy and Hope:
More than fifty years ago [written in 1965] the [JP] Morgan firm decided to infiltrate the Left-wing political movements in the United States. This was relatively easy to do, since these groups were starved for funds and eager for a voice to reach the people. Wall Street supplied both. The purpose was not to destroy, dominate, or take over but was really threefold: (1) to keep informed about the thinking of Left-wing or liberal groups (2) to provide them with a mouthpiece so that they could “blow off steam,” and (3) to have final veto on their publicity and possibly on their actions, if they ever went “radical.” (p938)
The ruse behind Quigley’s work is that he was a dog who got off the leash, who wrote too much. That is so unlikely as to be absurd. Nonetheless, his words, even though a classic “limited hangout,” are worth consideration. Most of our journals of opinion are under state (“CIA,” Wall Street” – same difference) control, so that opinions in this country are under full-spectrum dominance.
Years ago I was acquainted with a TV news personality in Billings, Montana, and still remember being offended at how he pigeonholed me – once he found that I was not a right-winger, was in fact a leftist, he assumed that I read and got my opinions from The Nation. I hadn’t subscribed or read it in years, finding it a preacher to the choir. I did not know then that it was a mere gate-keeping operation.
The same is true of every other outlet for news and opinion in this country – no matter your taste or political outlook or propensity to read or merely absorb opinions off TV, they’ve got us covered. If you get your news from Rolling Stone Magazine and the Daily Show, they’ve got you covered. If you think you’re a cut above in intelligence and do a steady stream of NPR and PBS, ditto. If you’ve left the mainstream and are doing Democracy Now! and Z Magazine, ditto. No matter your level of curiosity or intelligence, CIA set out in the early fifties to make sure your tastes would be satisfied and your thoughts controlled.
We witnessed Handel’s Messiah performed yesterday in sing-along fashion by the Colorado Symphony and Chorus. The voices were strong, and the concert hall overflowed with delightful and powerful sounds. As I looked around at the incredible array of talent, from violinists to trumpeters to tenors to the guy whose only job is to occasionally bang the kettle drum, I could not help but be in deep awe at the talent that exists in people from all walks of life.
And I also marveled too that every one of them, so remarkably skilled and gifted, is also brainwashed. It is part of being an American, part of full-spectrum dominance.
I see it too in the blogs, where each person writing imagines he or she is writing original thoughts in a free environment. Not hardly, no sir, not any of that is going on. You’re getting it here at this blog, and a few others, and I’m not too sure about the others.