The Great American Swindle
Posted on: January 24, 2011
By Tom Gow
Also see The Great American Swindle as a downloadable PDF with graphics.
Part I — The Problem
The Great Myth: “In our enlightened democracy, electing a president every four years is the primary opportunity Americans have to ensure the best possible direction for our nation.”
The “Great Myth” is insidious because it is so appealing, and yet, as we shall see, the consequences of its general acceptance are deadly.
A Seductive Appeal
The great myth appeals to the natural human desire for a quick fix and for a leader on a white horse to come forward to solve all our problems. It’s so easy just to vote every four years for a presidential candidate, and then — voila — we can, supposedly, all enjoy the blessings of democracy.
Americans have long feasted on the fruits of a culture of freedom. But rarely are they told that they have any further obligation toward maintaining that culture than to watch the nightly news and trek regularly to the polls.
It would undoubtedly surprise many to learn that the Founding Fathers never intended for the public to choose a president directly. And certainly not for the public to choose a president based on what could be learned about candidates from partisan political campaigns. Sadly, few Americans today have any acquaintance with the wisdom of the Founders on choosing a president, the logic behind the Electoral College, or even the College’s existence.
Similarly, most Americans fail to recognize the very real opportunity that the Constitution gives them to exercise control over the federal government through the House of Representatives. Although that opportunity has always existed, the American people presently lack the understanding to make effective use of that powerful mechanism for restoring good government. (For more discussion of the intent of the Founders, please read “Not Perfect, But Excellent” by Don Fotheringham.)
The Great Myth is not a new development. Samuel Pettengill, a statesman who served in Congress during most of the 1930s, expressed his dismay over the misdirection of Americans in his 1940 book Smoke-Screen:
“At the present time the attention of the nation is largely and somewhat hysterically centered upon the question of who will be nominated and elected president of the UnitedStates…. But the nomination and election of a president is not going to pay the national debt. It is not automatically going to cure unemployment…. It is not going to balance the budget….
“Any man who is president of the United States by virtue of his commanding position may greatly aid in these matters, but he cannot accomplish them. If legislation is wise there is a good chance it will be wisely administered, but if the legislation is bad, even the best administration cannot cure the evil.
“With a strong Congress an ambitious president can do little harm, and with a weak Congress a strong president can do little good.”
Rigged for Lose-Lose
Today, the situation is far worse than what Pettengill described. For, unknown to most Americans, a Conspiracy has long since consolidated its effective control over the process by which a president is elected, and all of the serious contenders are now securely in its grip. Americans get the same internationalist policies regardless of which of the front-runners is elected. The reason there is not “a dime’s worth of difference” between the candidates is because both the national Democratic Party and the national Republican Party are beholden to the same power elite, which also uses its control of the mass media to make or break presidential candidates. With this evolution, the Great Myth has become the Great American Swindle.
Revelations from the “inside” bolster the overwhelming evidence of the Conspiracy’s control. The late Admiral Chester Ward was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations [CFR] for almost two decades. In 1975, he co-authored a book critical of the CFR in which he stated that the organization’s overall goal is to bring about the “submergence of U.S. sovereignty and national independence into an all-powerful, one-world government.” He further stated that the “CFR, as such, does not write the platforms of both political parties or select their respective presidential candidates, or control U.S. defense and foreign policies. But CFR members, as individuals, acting in concert with other individual CFR members, do.”
Another inside source is the published writings of Establishment historian Carroll Quigley, Bill Clinton’s mentor at Georgetown University. For two years in the early 1960s, Professor Quigley was allowed to examine the secret papers of what he called an international Anglofile network and what we call the Conspiracy. In his 1966 Tragedy and Hope, Quigley offered some frank thoughts about political parties:
“The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy.”
When the electorate grows weary of one of the Establishment parties, wrote Professor Quigley, “it should be able to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which … will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.” Quigley’s “admonition” pretty much describes the grip the insiders of this Conspiracy have today over the leadership of the two parties at the national level and particularly over presidential elections. That grip will not be broken through purely political action.
Nor do third party candidates for president in any way threaten the Conspiracy’s effective control of the presidency. But they do generally serve to misdirect attention and resources away from serious solutions, while helping to reinforce the Great Myth that presidential elections are where the action is. And these candidacies encourage many frustrated Americans to be satisfied with spitting in the wind.
Anyone who is really serious minded and understands the looming danger the Conspiracy poses to our freedoms should think twice before supporting and promoting such misleading third-party non-solutions. The Conspirators will certainly sleep soundly if they know their potential opposition is focused on mounting a meaningless, unnoticed protest vote.
Just consider for a moment what it would take for a third party to grow to sufficient size and influence to win a national election in the face of the Conspiracy’s dominant influence in the media and still stay true to principle. Recognize, too, that any political party, because of its structure is easily infiltrated, tied up with controversy, and split into factions. As a third party grew in size, there would be mounting pressures to compromise to become popular, and the third party would soon look little different from the other two —because the underlying problem had not been addressed.
The bottom line is that third party presidential efforts completely put the cart before the horse. Before the office of president can be put in good hands, the Conspiracy must be exposed, its grip on the major media broken, and the public generally enlightened regarding proper principles of government.
Without these changes, any candidate fortunate enough to become president would be impotent to stand up to the Conspiracy’s influence and set a proper course for our nation. At this point in the battle, electing a man on a white horse who will rescue America is the stuff of movies and comic books.
Why Perpetuate the Illusion
Although the quadrennial presidential contest is now a sham, the Conspiracy has a great interest in maintaining the illusion that something substantial is being decided demanding the attention and involvement of every American. And it certainly wants as many citizens as possible to join a cheering section for one of its candidates and get caught up in the frenzy of its staged wrestling match. The illusion that the good guys can win this “important” contest provides the Conspiracy with multiple benefits:
So the Conspiracy has an interest in promoting exciting presidential contests. Now, let’s examine a few of the principal tactics for creating that excitement and reinforcing the illusion of genuineness.
Any good promoter knows that conflict helps to build an audience.The promoters of the presidential election wrestling match are very effective at creating drama, so that even many of the most informed conservatives can’t resist getting caught up in the apparent contest.
One often used tactic is to create a heavy — a monster — counterbalanced by a “good guy.” In his 1972 reelection campaign, Richard Nixon faced “liberal, left-winger” George McGovern. McGovern provided the ideal foil to get Nixon reelected. The media images of both candidates were so cast that McGovern had no serious chance of being elected.
Yet conservative voters, bombarded with McGovern’s leftist credentials and his clear support from the anti-war, beatnik, peacenik, hippy movement, greatly feared the prospect of McGovern in the White House. With this threat in mind, few conservatives would tolerate any criticism of Nixon. The common retort was: You don’t want McGovern to get elected do you?
Does Nixon vs. McGovern sound like shades of George W. Bush vs. John Kerry in 2004? Now, imagine how passionately conservatives will support the Republican presidential candidate should “Hillary Clinton” get the democratic nod in 2008. They will argue vehemently that “we just have to stop Hillary.” And the Insiders will laugh all the way to the bank.
One way to ascertain that a candidate is acceptable to the Insiders is to see how that candidate is treated by the media. A”liberal” candidate acceptable to the Insiders will be insulated against devastating criticism. An example was Bill Clinton. By the time Clinton got the Democratic nod in 1992, he had plenty of skeletons in his closet. A hostile media could easily have dethroned Clinton’s ambitions.
By contrast, a phony conservative with Insider backing will be criticized by the media, but in such a way (e.g., from an obvious liberal perspective) that he is endeared to those with conservative instincts. That’s generally how Ronald Reagan was treated by the Establishment press, as was Newt Gingrich.
Contrast that with the vitriolic campaign launched against Barry Goldwater in 1964. It became really tough to support Goldwater after all that was said about him by the press. We should keep in mind that if any candidate for president seriously threatens the Establishment, the Establishment media will effectively ridicule and discredit the candidate as a threat to world order or national prosperity, as outside serious civilized debate, or as carrying embarrassing baggage. Or the Insiders can reuse the clever tactic they employed to keep Robert Taft from getting the Republican nomination in 1952. The line went that Taft was good but not electable — “I like Taft, but he can’t win.”
Another companion illusion, greatly fostered by the Establishment media, is the notion that a president is actually the leader in his administration. Perpetuating this illusion is necessary so that the American people will continue to believe that they are the actual decision makers in the process. If Americans thought that the presidential candidates they were voting for were mere front men and that the real leadership decisions were made elsewhere, then the glamour of the contest would disappear.
With few exceptions in recent history, the leadership and authority of the president is pure fiction. Many presidents, such as George W. Bush, exercise very little authority and generally have their cabinets selected for them. Their primary role is to provide a useful, confident image for the cameras. The real working decisions are made by cabinet officials and other “advisors” loyal to the Insiders and their goals.
Such was certainly the case with the “Great Communicator,” Ronald Wilson Reagan. President Reagan undoubtedly wielded little authority and provided little leadership in “his” administrations. Yet here is how the Establishment’s Time memorialized him in 1998: “Ronald Reagan knew, going in, the sentence he wanted [to be remembered by], and he got it. He guided the American victory in the cold war. Under his leadership, a conflict that had absorbed a half-century of Western blood was ended — and the good guys won.” Unfortunately, it is beyond the scope of this article to correct the many fictions in Time’s assessment.
Another ruse to involve citizens in backing a presidential candidate is the hoopla over the prospect that a conservative president will be able to influence the direction of the Supreme Court through appointment of replacement judges. The unfortunate reality is that many of the worst Supreme Court decisions were supported by appointees of so-called conservative presidents.
Even the image of a qualitative difference in “conservative” judicial appointees has not prevented the Supreme Court from “rewriting” the Constitution.
Betrayal of “Conservatives”
Conservatives readily fall victim to the Great American Swindle, since, as a group, they are busy with their careers and particularly prone to wishful thinking. And they are constantly betrayed by popular conservative media hosts who reinforce many of the fictions discussed here.
The Conspiracy persistently seeks to channel conservative opinion because conservatives represent a powerful bloc of resistance to be overcome. That is why the Conspiracy often casts one of its politicians as a conservative.
Not that the Insiders necessarily prefer that their “conservative” always win. Both the Conspiracy’s agenda and the effectiveness of the Great American Swindle benefit from hard-fought battles where the party “leadership” sometimes changes and from allowing the American people occasionally to, as Quigley advocated, “throw the rascals out.” Moreover, there are undoubtedly many tradeoffs to what each respective party candidate could accomplish for the Conspiracy as president.
But if the outcome really mattered to the Conspiracy, the race would not even be close. For otherwise informed activists to think that they can positively influence the outcome of a national presidential
contest is absurd. The votes of even a hundred thousand activists spread across the nation would have miniscule impact at the polls. Yet the year-round work of these same individuals, if directed at building organization, can make a very significant difference in Congress and in the nation.
Part II — The Solution
Although individual representatives, to be sure, do not enjoy the prestige and power of a president, collectively the House of Representatives is arguably the most powerful branch of government. Moreover, the Founders certainly intended that the House would be accountable to the people. To assure that connection, they provided for relatively frequent (every two years) direct election of representatives from relatively small districts.
Today, all three branches (judicial, executive, and legislative) of the federal government have been corrupted by the same Conspiracy, thus undermining constitutional checks and balances. Of the three, the executive and judicial branches are the most solidly under the Conspiracy’s control.
It is the House that provides the greatest natural opportunity to break the Conspiracy’s grip on the federal government. Few members of Congress are firmly in that grip — there are just too many representatives, and the territories too small, for the local politics to be dominated effectively by a heavily centralized Conspiracy. Yet almost all congressmen are quickly, even while candidates, hobbled to the influence of party, which at the national level is solidly controlled by the Conspiracy.
Fortunately, the principal motivator for most congressmen has been, and still is, reelection. Parties hold sway over congressmen primarily to the extent that candidates and incumbents view maintaining the support of the party leadership as the easiest, if not the essential, path to their successful election and reelection.
But the party’s heavy corruption of legislator independence can be overcome. All that is needed is to inform and organize an influential segment of a representative’s constituents.
Those voters who imagine they can, as individuals, reason with their nice congressman to get him to vote properly are greatly deceiving themselves. Real influence with almost all congressmen on significant, closely contested issues requires clout — the clout to influence their voting constituents.
How much clout? Enough so that the incumbent congressman begins to suspect that he won’t be reelected, term after term, if he ignores that clout.
Illusion of Quick Gains
Americans generally don’t understand what they are up against, and that is why they are easily persuaded to waste their time and resources in wheel-spinning activities.
Although supporting political candidates is as American as apple pie, such efforts rarely make much of a difference because of the enormous pressures operating on every representative when he gets to Washington. Unfortunately, experience proves that just sneaking a “good guy” in the door in Congress for a quick “electoral gain” does little good. The new representative, if he survives a few years, almost always turns out to be a disappointment.
Partisan political action directed properly at the House of Representatives — the people’s House — is surprisingly ineffective if a representative’s constituents are not first informed, organized, and activated. Even the best representatives will rationalize “going along to get along” with their corrupted party leadership if their constituents fail to provide them with regular wake-up calls. Admiral Ward explained what an individual constituent must often overcome to win the support of
his representative: “Once the ruling members of the CFR have decided that the U.S. government should adopt a particular policy, the very substantial research facilities of CFR are put to work to develop arguments, intellectual and emotional, to support the new policy, and to confound and discredit, intellectually and politically, any opposition.” No representative wants to appear foolish opposing a policy that appears to have no credible opposition.
Unfortunately, few well intentioned rookie representatives are able to see through the charade of partisan politics. They don’t understand that Quigley’s admonition (both parties pursuing the same internationalist objectives) reflects reality, and so even the idealists among them will invariably rationalize bowing to party pressures.
The reality, however, is that when the party with the more “conservative” image (the Republican Party)
dominates, the Conspiracy advances in areas where it can posture its programs as conservative. And when the Democrats are in charge, they sell their programs for centralizing power in Washington as needed social reforms.
The opposition Republicans invariably throw their fights against the Conspiracy’s “Democrat” agenda by mounting ineffective, pragmatic opposition rather than challenging the underlying premises. The campaign for socialized medicine provides a prime example — the dispute between the parties has degenerated into an argument over which form of government control of medicine is most able to address the crises manufactured by prior legislation, the leftists, and the media. A switch in party domination just substitutes one flavor of socialism for another.
The Action Not in “Political Action”
Former Congressman Lawrence P. McDonald was a rare political leader indeed, because he argued that building an educational base must precede real political gains. Larry enjoyed that base in Georgia’s 7th district. As a result, he was able to maintain a hard-line position in Congress and still get re-elected despite a hostile local press and the infusion of Establishment money to fund opposition candidates from both major parties.
As Larry’s popularity grew among conservatives, he was often contacted for advice by would-be imitators in other parts of the country who had visions of quickly getting elected to Congress and taking on the Establishment. Invariably, Larry would counsel them that conservative political victories were difficult and temporary without the grass-roots education that a strong, well informed activist organization would provide. We would go even further to argue that with such a strong organization providing issue leadership and education locally, political change will materialize naturally — representatives cannot long remain out of step with an informed constituency.
Even so, a strong educational base will not necessarily be reflected in change via the ballot box. Many representatives are very astute at determining which way the political winds are blowing and then quickly adapting to any change in direction. That’s to be expected. Though not admirable, such opportunism is certainly tolerable — if we are doing our job to create the right political weather.
Although it’s nice to have some true statesmen elected to Congress, good government can be obtained and must be obtained by pressuring a majority of incumbents to vote properly. The greatest value of changing a few seats at election time is not in purging the House of genuine socialists but in gaining theattention of the political pragmatists in office by reminding them who is in charge — the voters, not their party leadership.
To overcome collectivist pressures, particularly pressure from a representative’s own party, the bulk of informed constituent pressure must be applied between elections.
Yet Americans are being sold a totally false idea that the ballot box is the exclusive means by which we can affect how we are governed. Today, it is not even the primary one!
Elections themselves have much too little impact on what our elected representatives think they are accountable for (such as upholding the Constitution) or what they believe they can get away with. Consider the following analogy:
An employer hires several employees because they talk a good line during the job interview. Then he turns them loose without any training or clear explanation of what is expected of them.
Two years go by and the busy employer has paid little attention to what his employees were actually doing or whose agenda was driving them. His principal source of information on their performance has been a newspaper controlled by his competition and dedicated to his destruction. And occasionally, he would also get thank-you notes from his employees, who would invariably reassure him that they were doing a great job on his behalf.
Much later, to his dismay, he discovers that these employees haven’t lived up to his expectations — they have created new problems or failed to solve old ones and haven’t added sufficient value to his business. So he fires the lot and starts over.
The flaws in that approach are obvious, yet that’s how many people view the election of their representatives. It is an open invitation to get swindled, and the only surprise should be accountable performance. The more sensible management approach, of course, is for the businessman who pays the salaries to also call the tune to which his employees march. But that means he must give regular direction (signal approval or correction) based on reliable information.
With respect to government, Americans today are generally misinformed, without their realizing it, by the information sources upon which they rely. Unless that is changed, any real course correction through improved constituent supervision or revolt at the ballot box becomes impossible.
And Deeper Still!
The Conspiracy’s plans for revolution will not be stopped by targeting the federal government alone, because its strategy for revolution has accorded with the insight of Italian Communist theoretician Antonio Gramsci.
Gramsci argued that in a Western civilized society real revolution cannot succeed merely by capturing the reins of government. Instead, Gramsci and his followers insisted that all institutions including the schools, the churches, and the media had to be altered, as well as the values of the people, before radical
changes in the direction and authority of government could be sustained.
Accordingly, the Conspiracy has worked to undermine morality, dumb down the public regarding the principles of freedom, eradicate the middle class, alter the culture through massive immigration, and condition Americans to depend on government for the necessities of life. So even though there is a great opportunity for informed, organized Americans to influence Congress, particularly the House, influencing Congress can be only one part of a successful strategy to preserve freedom.
Organized influence is also needed to prevail on the American people to overcome the entire Gramscian agenda — to recognize the orchestrated duplicity, champion proper values, and recapture our institutions. Providing this influence in our communities is a major reason why a nationwide Americanist membership organization is essential. Veteran followers of the great patriot Robert Welch will certainly be familiar with the circles of (direct and indirect) influence concept and the influence projected for a thousand active members in a congressional district.
Active, informed members necessarily have influence in many arenas. Thank goodness. For we cannot be successful in preserving freedom if our institutions and the environment surrounding the American people remain in the hands of the enemy. An activist minority will not even be able to hold Congress on track without the support of the public and our other institutions.
The Right Idea
In the early 1950s, Mr. Welch gave up on purely political action and especially on political leadership as the answer to America’s problems. He then spent several years searching for the answer — a membership organization under strong leadership. Three years after founding that organization, Mr. Welch explained in its November 1961 Bulletin how public support for needed measures would have to be developed:
“Putting the whole matter as simply as possible, the truth can be stated by political leaders, and the public
exhorted by them to accept and follow that truth. But for the truth to be made convincing, to enough
key people with enough influence, against all of the deliberate obfuscation practiced so long by the enemy, a far more thorough job of education and exposition must be carried out than the politicians can even initiate. It is a massive undertaking for any group, or for hundreds of patriotic groups all together, but it simply must be done outside of the field of direct political action. [Emphasis added.]”
In founding and leading a membership organization precisely for that purpose, Robert Welch never said, “Send me money and I’ll hire the staff to solve the problem for you.” Instead he saw freedom’s defenders as underdogs facing an arduous, uphill struggle. He argued that, as in any serious war, responsibility could not be delegated. Meeting the challenge would demand the attention and involvement of all who could be reached in pursuit of an appropriately realistic plan.
We will only be successful, maintained Mr. Welch, if we work together to organize and enlist many other “pullers at the oars” under sound leadership. If we do that, then and only then, are we on the road to victory.