Part I – Cuéntame: Stories of Collectivism & Conservativism

By: Jennifer Lawson-Zepeda

In the mid 1800s, the United States (and many other countries) implemented an educational model for the children of all American families, except for the most powerful and elite in our country. This educational system is directly responsible for the ability of the corporate elite to implement so many controls over us today.

Reforming Education

This model taught a strict education in ethics, duty, discipline and obedience.  It is a system of education funded by taxation of America’s citizens and run by our government.

It was approved by Horace Mann — a man who wanted to turn America’s unruly children into good little obedient, Republican citizens.

In this new model of education, children of most common American families were taught to work as teams to solve problems, rather than think individually.

They were taught a collectivist form of thinking.

They attended primary grades up through a high school level.

They were expected to then work for the affluent.

They had virtually no access to secondary education.

In this model, schools imposed an official language; even if it didn’t address teaching the children of ethnic groups who also lived in the country.

This educational system was set up to instill social obedience in a country’s citizens through indoctrination. Every individual had to become convinced, in the core of his being, that the elite, the kings, the leaders of a society were just; that their decisions were always right; and to create the need for obedience of these political leaders.  And attendance became compulsory. (Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prussian_education_system)

Horace Mann

Children from elite and powerful families were not included in this model as they were expected to attend preparatory private schools.  There, a much different model of education was taught.

They were taught the basics of policy making.

They were taught an individualist type of thinking

They were taught Latin, so they could interpret legal documents.

It was a system of educating the American children to follow orders without questioning authority, while children from upper classes took advantage of education that that turned out knowledgeable citizens.  It has produced a horrific form of self defeating collectivism in the U.S. and it is called the Prussian Educational System.

It was one of the Republican’s premier collectivist programs that has lasted all the way through to today.

Collectivism

So, what is this thing called collectivism that we hear so many conservatives talking about today?

And how does it apply to today’s American politics?

I like Wikipedia’s definition of collectivism.  It fits:

 

Collectivism is any philosophic, political, religious, economic, or social outlook that emphasizes the interdependence of all, or some group of, human beings.

Collectivism is a basic cultural element that exists as the reverse of individualism in human nature (in the same way culture exists as the reverse of low context culture).

Collectivism stresses the priority of group goals over individual goals and the importance of cohesion within social groups (such as an “in-group”, in what specific context it is defined).

Collectivists usually focus on community, society, or nation.

So why would conservatives of today suddenly be so offended by collectivism?

The Objectivists Arrive

Once upon a time, a Russian immigrant came to America.

She had fled Russia because her family life had been destroyed by the rise of the Bolshevik party under the leader, Vladimir. Her father’s pharmacy had been confiscated by the Bolshevik regime and the family fled and eventually she ended up immigrating to a country she felt would be a safe place for her…the U.S.A.

Like many new immigrants, she brought her emotional baggage from her family’s horrible experience to her new country.  And like many distraught immigrants who have suffered persecution, she was determined to change the country she came to that offered her freedom and liberty.

In spite of the fact the U.S. had done well without Ayn Rand for years.

As much as I support immigration and immigrants, I will be the first to admit that many come here with an agenda to change our country; and it seems Ms. Rand was in that category.

This anger over communism infused itself so firmly into Ayn Rand’s personality that, like many immigrants who escape oppressive regimes, she felt inspired to fix the country she had fled, to and ensure she never experienced such oppression again.

And this meant rallying for certain controls that would be inflicted upon the rest of us; so that situations like hers would never arise in the U.S.

She began writing novels with characters that shed collectivist thought.

They pulled-themselves-up-by-the-bootstraps to become rugged individuals.

They adopted what was known as a ‘strong work ethic.’

They shrugged off every form of dependence upon social programs.

They were ‘objective’ thinkers convinced that the purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness.

Her characters were as bold and brazen as the Marlboro man.

They inspired a new group of Americans who were seeking solutions to their fear of Communism — mostly wealthy business owners, corporate leaders and desperate military leaders.  People who were scratching their heads over what to do about those damned, nervy leftists in Central America — like President Jacobo Arbenz.  And places like Guatemala that didn’t cater to these power hungry desires of corporate entities dying to control the entire Americas.

So, Ayn Rand joined a world-wide organization formed by top business leaders, called the John Birch Society and met a man named Robert Welch who shared her new ‘objectivist’ ideas.  In fact, their slogan became:

“Less Government, More Responsibility, and – With God’s Help – a Better World.”

But this ‘better world’ soon revealed that not everyone was included in the ideas of social responsibility.

The JBS advocated the abolition of income tax, and the repeal of civil rights legislation, which it saw as Communist in inspiration.

For this reason, its opponents characterized it as a white citizens’ society dedicated to preventing minorities from gaining political power.  However the John Birch Society was very powerful and members included prominent residents of California including the Knott family.

In their early days, Birchers shared a common ideology and some overlapping membership with Fred Schwarz and his California-based Christian Anti-communism Crusade. (Source:  http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=John_Birch_Society)

In fact, the wealthy businessman and founder of candies such as:

 

Sugar Daddies (a name likely that gave him a kick when one considers that most sugar daddies are wealthy men who support women young enough to be their daughters in exchange for sexual favors)

Sugar Babies

Junior Mints

Pom Poms

Created a retired wealthy man in 1956 that feared communism almost as much as Ms. Rand did.

Welch saw “collectivism” as the main threat to western civilization, and liberals as secret communist traitors who provide the cover for the gradual process of collectivism, with the ultimate goal of replacing the nations of western civilization with one-world socialist government. “There are many stages of welfarism, socialism, and collectivism in general,” he wrote, “but communism is the ultimate state of them all, and they all lead inevitably in that direction.”  (Source:  http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=John_Birch_Society)

Apparently, he didn’t see the collectivist movement of the implementation of a Prussian Educational system as a threat.

His right-winged mentors had long since implemented that to control individual thought in schools; or remove any semblance of education that taught one to set policy or rethink business legislation.

Within the John Birch Society, a platform for today’s conservative thought and neo-Republicanism, they worked hard to implement these new ideas of rugged individualism.

Even if the ideas of individualism meant submitting to a false idea that if a person drove them self by a strong work ethic, they would ultimately succeed in life.

What they didn’t tell Americans is something that the most powerful people already knew…that the more you work, the more enslaved you become because you become dependent upon the money of others.

You see, even at that time bankers and the elite and upper classes already knew that a person must use their money to work for them, so they don’t have to.

So, this notion that a strong work ethic would pull a person up by their bootstraps was a bit of a fallacy that kept many of our nation’s elite amused.  However, it kept the common man fed and housed and submissive through a Prussian educational system that taught a pride in nationalism.

 

And this became the foundation of propaganda dished to average Americans through the John Birch Society as it spread across white America; to support a hatred of anything they labeled communist, including minorities and immigrants to this nation once founded by immigrants.

And label they did!  From blacklisting good citizens who disagreed with their views to even forming special covert operations to murder anyone who had the nerve and defiance to think for themselves.

So much for rugged individualism, eh?  So much for objectivism???

However, this didn’t stop Birchers from annoying most Americans with their need to try to take over the world to control it.  For instance:

In 1960, Welch advised JBS members to “join your local PTA [Parent Teachers Association] at the beginning of the school year, get your conservative friends to do likewise, and go to work to take it over.”  (Source:  http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=John_Birch_Society)

Their mission was to affect all policy making, thereby killing the growth of communism.

 

John Birch Society Billboard in Arizona

In this effort, many JBS members considered members of the CFR or Council on Foreign Relations – a tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and affairs as a conspiracy group funded by the Rockefeller family.  They felt the same way about the United Nations.

You see, in the beginning, the conspiracy theorists were anti-communists…even though most neo conservatives don’t seem to know this.  As a matter of fact, many Republicans even felt the John Birch Society was so off the top in right winged nuttery that they turned their noses up at this organization, later.

So, it’s amusing that people like Vice Presidential candidate, Paul Ryan embrace it today.  Maybe he wasn’t with the in crowd back then, due to his youth.

Ayn Rand and Robert Welch weren’t about to share a very disturbing secret.

In October 1965, William F. Buckley, Jr.denounced Robert Welch in his magazine National Review as promoting conspiracy theories far removed from common sense, and for working with racists like University of Illinois Classics Professor Revilo P. Oliver — a man who assisted William Luther Pierce in forming the National Alliance, a white supremacist organization, a significant portion of whose supporters and members would re-form under the name National Vanguard. (Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_W._Welch_Jr.)

The problem was that while putting dishy little books out there as manuals for good, clean, white, non-communist living, like:

None Dare Call it Treason

A Texan Looks at Lyndon

National_Reveiew

Dan Smoot Report.

Blue Book

These were and still are the required reading for all JBS members.

The JBS was viewed by mainstream journalists and politicians as an extremist, wing-nut organization of conspiracy theorists. Much of its early conspiracism reflects an ultraconservative business nationalist critique of business internationalists networked through groups such as the Council

In 1962 Dan Smoot‘s The Invisible Government added several other policy groups besides the Council on Foreign Relations, to the list of conspirators, including the Committee for Economic Development, the Advertising, the Atlantic Council (formerly the Atlantic Union Committee), the Business Advisory Council, and the Trilateral Commission.

Smoot had worked at FBI headquarters in Washington, DC before leaving to establish his anticommunist newsletter — the Dan Smoot Report. Smoot’s concluding chapter, he wrote, ‘Somewhere at the top of the pyramid in the invisible government are a few sinister people who know exactly what they are doing: They want America to become part of a worldwide socialist dictatorship, under the control of the Kremlin.'”

Birchers elaborated on an earlier Illuminati Freemason conspiracy theory, imagining “an unbroken ideologically-driven conspiracy linking the Illuminati, the French Revolution, the rise of Marxism and Communism, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the United Nations” (Source:  http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=John_Birch_Society)

Sometime around 1964, the JBS had reached a reputation that embarrassed even the staunchest supporters of right wing radicalism.

In October 1964, the Idaho Statesman newspaper expressed concern about what it called an “ominous” increase in JBS-led “ultra right” radio and television broadcasts, which it said then numbered 7,000 weekly and cost an estimated $10 million annually. “By virtue of saturation tactics used, radical, reactionary propaganda is producing an impact even on large numbers of people who, themselves, are in no sense extremists or sympathetic to extremists views,” declared a Statesman editorial. “When day after day they hear distortions of fact and sinister charges against persons or groups, often emanating from organizations with conspicuously respectable sounding names, it is no wonder that the result is: Confusion on some important public issues; stimulation of latent prejudices; creation of suspicion, fear and mistrust in relation not only to their representatives in government, but even in relation to their neighbors.”

The Statesman article went on to charge “that there are many local communities in which the tactics of the extremists have made life miserable for good citizens … through spying, nocturnal phone calls, economic and social pressures, stoning, even bombings, and other tactics alien to the American way of working out political decisions. … An unchecked increase in this kind of propaganda is degrading the American political dialogue to such a point as to damage our self-respect at home and our reputation for public responsibility abroad. These radicalreactionary positions are undermining American Democracy.” (Source:  http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=John_Birch_Society)

Sometime after that, the John Birch Society fell into a crevice out of shame.  Members quickly denounced any attachment to the organization.

In a further article, I will discuss the phoenix rising effect of the John Birch Society and how it snuck back into influencing public opinion and people like Paul Ryan.

For more from Jennifer Lawson-Zepeda visit her blog @ http://lawsonzepeda.blogspot.com/