Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #798 Thrive on This! Counter-Culture Fascism in Cinema

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. (The flash dri­ve includes the anti-fas­cist books avail­able on this site.)

Lis­ten: MP3

Side 1  Side 2

Intro­duc­tion: This pro­gram fea­tures the work of Eric John­son, who has writ­ten an impor­tant, per­haps defin­i­tive, piece on the counter-cul­ture fas­cist pro­pa­gan­da film Thrive.

The advance of fas­cism fea­tures a bur­geon­ing array of media and orga­ni­za­tion­al phe­nom­e­na that direct peo­ple of more “pro­gres­sive”--even “hip” ori­en­ta­tion in the direc­tion of big­otry and right-wing total­i­tar­i­an­ism.

In par­tic­u­lar, anti-Semitism–denying that it is anti-Semitic–has become some­thing of the “fla­vor de jeur” for much of the so-called pro­gres­sive sec­tor. The cloud­ing of minds with mys­ti­cism has accel­er­at­ed this trend, par­tic­u­lar­ly among the young.

A recent issue of the San Jose Metro–a free week­ly paper in the South­ern Bay Area–featured Mr. John­son’s inci­sive analy­sis. This impor­tant arti­cle dis­sect­ed the fun­da­men­tals of Thrive.

The brain­child of Proc­tor & Gam­ble for­tune heir Fos­ter Gam­ble, the film fus­es New Age mys­ti­cism and cult “free-ener­gy” mythol­o­gy with Old Age anti-Semit­ic ide­ol­o­gy pin­ning the world’s trou­bles on the Roth­schilds and Jew­ish con­trol of the finan­cial indus­try. (Gam­ble him­self holds forth on var­i­ous sub­jects in the film itself.)

In addi­tion to Gam­ble him­self, “Thrive” presents the fas­cist ide­ol­o­gy of G. Edward Grif­fin, a promi­nent John Birch Soci­ety the­o­reti­cian. (The ori­gins of the John Birch Soci­ety are detailed in AFA #11.) In addi­tion to his doc­tri­naire racism, demo­niz­ing the likes of Mar­tin Luther King, Grif­fin tags the Fed­er­al Reserve Sys­tem as a man­i­fes­ta­tion of the “Zion­ist” finan­cial cabal.

The most out­landish of the fascisti whose “think­ing” is fea­tured in the film is David Icke. A for­mer soc­cer play­er, Icke has rein­vent­ed him­self as a polit­i­cal guru, dis­sem­i­nat­ing the view that the world’s pow­er struc­ture is con­trolled by “rep­til­ian shape-shifters” who pose as humans, eat young chil­dren and, some­how, are part and par­cel to the inter­na­tion­al finan­cial con­spir­a­cy advanced by Grif­fin, Gam­ble and com­pa­ny.

Anoth­er of the old-line fas­cists whose ide­ol­o­gy is con­tained in the film is Eustace Mullins, although his influ­ence is upon Gam­ble’s the­o­ret­i­cal out­look, rather than in “Thrive” itself. An unabashed admir­er of Adolf Hitler, Mullins is among the sem­i­nal fas­cist ide­o­logues to tab the Fed as an out­crop­ping of the “inter­na­tion­al Jew­ish bank­ing con­spir­a­cy.”

Not sur­pris­ing­ly Icke,  Mullins and Grif­fin have been extolled by the so-called “Truthers.” Both have also been fea­tured on the pro­gram of for­mer Fox pun­dit Glenn Beck.

Inter­est­ing­ly and sig­nif­i­cant­ly, the movie pro­mul­gates the anti-tax, right-lib­er­tar­i­an ide­ol­o­gy of the Tea Par­ty, the Koch Broth­ers and the Lud­wig von Mis­es Insti­tute. (Von Mis­es is Fos­ter Gam­ble’s ide­o­log­i­cal guru.)

In FTR #‘s 756, 758, 759, we not­ed the pro­found influ­ence of the Aus­tri­an School of eco­nom­ics on “The Paulis­tin­ian Lib­er­tar­i­an Orga­ni­za­tion,” Ron and Rand Paul, Edward Snow­den, the Tea Par­ty and “the shut­down fac­tion” of the GOP. In FTR #‘s 760, 764, 770, 785 we not­ed the pro­found influ­ence of the Aus­tri­an School on the devel­op­ment of Bit­coin.

In FTR #763, we not­ed the influ­ence of the Aus­tri­an School on Pierre Omid­yar, Glenn Green­wald’s finan­cial angel.

In addi­tion to the New Age mys­ti­cism, the film’s cache among “pro­gres­sives” is strength­ened by the inclu­sion of the likes of ra Deep­ak ChopraAmy Good­man and envi­ron­men­tal­ist (and Baskin & Rob­bins heir) John Rob­bins.

This, in com­bi­na­tion with the dumb­ing-down of Amer­i­ca, has fueled the pop­u­lar­i­ty of “Thrive.” Not sur­pris­ing­ly, the film has gar­nered a con­sid­er­able fol­low­ing among the “Occu­py” move­ment, accord­ing to author John­son.

“Thrive” appears to be among the most suc­cess­ful man­i­fes­ta­tions to date of counter-cul­ture fas­cism, adding some­thing of a bohemi­an fla­vor to the old adage that anti-Semi­tism is “the social­ism of fools.”

(Author Peter Lev­en­da, among oth­ers, has chron­i­cled the over­lap of alter­na­tive reli­gions such as Satanism with fas­cist and Nazi ele­ments in his book Unholy Alliance. The alter­na­tive reli­gious connection/New Age phe­nom­e­non is cen­tral to the suc­cess of works like “Thrive.”)

For more about counter-cul­ture fas­cism, see L‑1, as well as FTR #‘s 170, 172, 437.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Repu­di­a­tion of the film by many of its par­tic­i­pants, includ­ing John Rob­bins and Deep­ak Chopra; review of some of the key per­son­al­i­ties and fea­tures of the Aus­tri­an School of eco­nom­ics, embod­ied in the per­son of Lud­wig von Mis­es; review of the anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic the­o­ries of Friedrich von Hayek; review of the anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic phi­los­o­phy of Hans Her­mann-Hoppe; detailed review of the links of von Mis­es, et al to the milieu of Edward Snow­den; review and sup­ple­men­tal dis­cus­sion of the pos­si­ble role of Friedrich von Hayek as a Ger­man intel­li­gence oper­a­tive in World War II.

1. Eric John­son sets forth key aspects of the ide­ol­o­gy lurk­ing behind the touch-feely New Age aspects of the film, as well as details about the peo­ple ped­dling those view­points.

“The Dan­gers Behind the Cult Film ‘Thrive’ ” by Eric John­son; The San Jose Metro; 5/16/2012.

EXCERPT: Thrive, a two-hour doc­u­men­tary that has gone viral since its release on the web in Novem­ber, sells itself as an opti­mistic vision of a utopi­an future marked by “free ener­gy,” free­dom from oppres­sion and spir­i­tu­al awak­en­ing. But on its way to depict­ing a dream-world utopia, Thrive deliv­ers a dark and dis­hon­est ver­sion of the real world and espous­es a blend of para­noid con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and right-lib­er­tar­i­an pro­pa­gan­da.

The San­ta Cruz cou­ple who made the film, Fos­ter and Kim­ber­ly Carter Gam­ble, build their tale around an unde­ni­ably poet­ic idea: that there is a secret pat­tern to be found in nature, and that we can learn from it. . . .

. . . In the film’s sec­ond sec­tion, Gam­ble sets out to show exact­ly how and why the gov­ern­ment and its spon­sors are dup­ing us. This sec­tion prob­a­bly accounts for its bur­geon­ing online pop­u­lar­i­ty with the Occu­py move­ment and its sup­port­ers. (For the record, I count myself among that audi­ence seg­ment.)

Bring­ing in pro­gres­sive heroes such as Van­dana Shi­va and Paul Hawken to recount the more or less well-known crimes against human­i­ty per­pe­trat­ed by the likes of Mon­san­to and Exxon-Mobil, Thrive makes the famil­iar, and jus­ti­fi­able, case that huge cor­po­ra­tions have too much pow­er, are large­ly cor­rupt and pose a threat to soci­ety.

But then, once again, the film­mak­ers jump the tracks of ratio­nal­i­ty. This is where the film should go polit­i­cal, but instead it plays the con­spir­a­cy card. And not just any con­spir­a­cy, but the grand­dad­dy of them all: that a hand­ful of fam­i­lies con­trol the world and plan to enslave human­i­ty.

In his soft voice, the gray-haired, blue-eyed Fos­ter Gam­ble says, sad­ly: “As dif­fi­cult as it was for me, I have come to an inescapable and pro­found­ly dis­turb­ing con­clu­sion. I believe that an elite group of peo­ple and the cor­po­ra­tions they run have gained con­trol over not just our ener­gy, food sup­ply, edu­ca­tion and health care, but over vir­tu­al­ly every aspect of our lives.

“When I fol­lowed the mon­ey, I found it going up the lev­els of a pyra­mid.” (As the torus sym­bol dom­i­nates Thrive’s first sec­tion, the pyra­mid dom­i­nates the sec­ond.) And at the top of this alleged pyra­mid of evil: the Roth­schilds.

Not every­one watch­ing this film will know that this argu­ment has been around, and been dis­cred­it­ed, for decades. Appar­ent­ly, the desire to find some­one to blame for all the world’s prob­lems spans gen­er­a­tions. And the Roth­schilds make a pret­ty good tar­get.

Are the Roth­schilds very, very rich? Undoubt­ed­ly. Are the mem­bers of this fam­i­ly doing the work of Moth­er Tere­sa or the Dalai Lama? Most­ly not. Are they all-pow­er­ful pup­pet-mas­ters who secret­ly rule the world? Are they descend­ed from a race of snake-peo­ple? Do they eat chil­dren? Um ... no, no and no.

Are they Jew­ish? Well, yes. And it must be said: The argu­ment made in Thrive pre­cise­ly mir­rors an argu­ment that Joseph Goebbels made in his infa­mous Nazi pro­pa­gan­da film The Eter­nal Jew: that a hand­ful of bank­ing fam­i­lies, many of them Jew­ish, are run­ning the world and seek­ing glob­al dom­i­na­tion.

Fos­ter Gam­ble inoc­u­lates him­self against charges of anti-Semi­tism, stat­ing flat­ly: “This is not a Jew­ish agen­da. Let me be clear.” But while he scrubs out the open­ly anti-Semit­ic aspects of the dis­grace­ful idea, the rest of it haunts the film.

And, once again it must be said, when describ­ing sym­bol­ism used by his imag­ined Dark Lords of the Uni­verse, Gam­ble does not hes­i­tate to note that the Sign appears on the build­ing that hous­es the Israeli Supreme Court, which he erro­neous­ly claims “is fund­ed entire­ly by the Roth­schilds.”

To prove his eco­nom­ic the­o­ry, Gam­ble invites G. Edward Grif­fin, author of The Crea­ture from Jeck­yll Island, which recounts the cre­ation of the Fed­er­al Reserve Bank, a his­tor­i­cal moment which Grif­fin claims was orches­trat­ed by the “glob­al elite who want to con­trol the world and cre­ate a New World Order.”

One of sev­er­al vet­er­an con­spir­a­cy mon­gers who appear onscreen in Part Two of Thrive, Grif­fin is a long­time lead­ing mem­ber of the ultra-right wing John Birch Soci­ety, a fact not men­tioned in the film. For those who may have forgotten—the John Birchers prac­ti­cal­ly invent­ed the mod­ern con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry.

Found­ed in 1958 to car­ry on the work of the anti-Com­mu­nist cru­sad­er Sen. Joe McCarthy, the Soci­ety went on to bat­tle the Com­mu­nist con­spir­a­cy we now known as the Civ­il Rights move­ment, and its leader, whom many of them referred to as “Mar­tin Lucifer King.”

Then the Birchers focused their ener­gies on reveal­ing the exis­tence of a Satan­ic (lit­er­al­ly) group they called the Illuminati—a cadre of pow­er­ful fam­i­lies that secret­ly rule the world.

While Grif­fin may be the most far-right pun­dit to appear in Thrive, he is not the most far-out. That would be David Icke, although it would be impos­si­ble to know that from the inter­views that appear in Thrive.

Ick­e’s role in the film is to explain the eco­nom­ic the­o­ry behind a com­mon bank­ing prac­tice known as frac­tion­al reserve lend­ing. He does this in less than two min­utes, with the help of South Park–style ani­ma­tions, as though explain­ing the the­o­ry of rel­a­tiv­i­ty to an atten­tion-chal­lenged sec­ond-grad­er. And of course, he makes the prac­tice appear sin­is­ter.

For a more sym­pa­thet­ic por­tray­al of the prac­tice, see George Bai­ley’s bank-run speech in It’s a Won­der­ful Life: “You’re think­ing of this place all wrong, as if I had the mon­ey back in a safe. The mon­ey’s not here. Your mon­ey’s in Joe’s house, that’s right next to yours. And in the Kennedy house, and Mrs. Make­lin’s house, and a hun­dred oth­ers. You’re lend­ing them the mon­ey to build, and then they’re going to pay it back to you as best they can.” That’s frac­tion­al reserve lend­ing.

Point of fact: With­out frac­tion­al reserve lend­ing, almost nobody read­ing these words would ever be able to own a house. You would need to raise not only a down pay­ment but the entire val­ue of a home in order to pur­chase it. (Or be born with a for­tune, as was Fos­ter Gam­ble, whose grand­fa­ther found­ed Proc­ter and Gam­ble.)

At any rate, Ick­e’s brief expli­ca­tion car­ries the day for Gam­ble, who con­cludes that with this bank­ing ploy, “We inevitably become debt-slaves to a rul­ing finan­cial elite.”

Icke then goes on to explain, in a minute or two, how banks caused the cur­rent reces­sion pur­pose­ly, in a plot to get their hands on all of the nation’s real property—a devi­ous plot that has been “going on for cen­turies.” Again, as with many con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, there’s a pret­ty big grain of truth to that.

Accord­ing to the film’s web­site, this is David Ick­e’s area of exper­tise: “Icke reveals that a com­mon formula—‘problem-reaction-solution’—is used by the elite to manip­u­late the mass­es and pur­sue alter­na­tive agen­das.”

But a glance at Ick­e’s own web­site reveals that this is not his pri­ma­ry area of inquiry. Icke, it seems, is bring­ing the work of the John Birch Soci­ety into the New Age, fur­ther­ing its study into the Illu­mi­nati. Like the Birchers, he swears he is not an anti-Semi­te, yet his site is rife with attacks against the “Roth­schild-Zion­ists” who have, among oth­er things, sur­round­ed Pres­i­dent Oba­ma.

Ick­e’s inno­va­tion is that he tells the ancient con­spir­a­cy lie in the lan­guage of a self-help guru. “The Illu­mi­nati are not in my uni­verse, unless I allow them in,” he says. “And then, I give them pow­er. They’re fright­ened, fright­ened enti­ties.”

It’s telling that Icke uses the word “enti­ties,” because Icke believes the Illu­mi­nati, the peo­ple run­ning the world, are not peo­ple at all. David Icke, the man cham­pi­oned in Thrive for his insight to eco­nom­ics, spends most of his intel­lec­tu­al ener­gies show­ing that the world’s lead­ers, from Queen Eliz­a­beth to Bill and Hillary Clin­ton to Barack Oba­ma, are not human, but are mem­bers of “blood­lines” descend­ed from an inter­plan­e­tary cadre of evil, god­like human/snake hybrids he calls “Rep­til­ians.”

Two min­utes into a video on his site titled “Demon­ic Pos­sessed Rep­til­ian Rulers,” Icke explains how these crea­tures do their black mag­ic. Over images of George Bush, Bill Clin­ton and Barack Oba­ma mov­ing in super-spooky slo-mo, Icke says: “What [the Rep­til­ians] are doing in effect, through the secret soci­eties they’ve set up, is manip­u­lat­ing these bod­ies into pow­er. But in doing so, they put them­selves into pow­er, because they’re con­trol­ling the men­tal and emo­tion­al process­es of these vehi­cles.”

To put it anoth­er way: He isn’t one of those right-wing “Birthers” who believe Oba­ma’s an alien. He believes Oba­ma’s an alien.

In anoth­er video, “The Arrival of the Rep­til­ian Empire,” Icke explains that “out­side of vis­i­ble light, [the Rep­til­ians] feed off human ener­gy, off human emo­tions.” And in the three-dimen­sion­al world, they feed off peo­ple. Lit­er­al­ly. The video fea­tures an inter­view with a cohort named Alex Col­lier, who, in high dud­geon, says: “There were 31,712 chil­dren dis­ap­peared in the last 25 years in the Unit­ed States. These chil­dren were food.” . . . .

. . . He [envi­ron­men­tal­ist John Rob­bins] says that in pri­vate cor­re­spon­dence, he learned that his friend [Fos­ter Gam­ble] was being influ­enced by the ideas of Eustace Mullins, whom he calls “the most anti-Semit­ic pub­lic fig­ure in U.S. his­to­ry.”

Fos­ter Gam­ble did not respond to an email request for an inter­view, but there is cer­tain­ly evi­dence in Thrive that Mullins’ views influ­enced him. One of the cen­tral fea­tures of the film is the sup­posed rev­e­la­tion that the Fed­er­al Reserve Bank is a crim­i­nal enter­prise; Mullins is the man who gave birth to that the­o­ry, in his 1952 book, The Secret of the Fed­er­al Reserve.

The fol­low­ing year, Mullins pub­lished his most noto­ri­ous tract, “Adolf Hitler: An Appre­ci­a­tion,” which prais­es the fuhrer for his cru­sade against the “Jew­ish Inter­na­tion­al bankers” who were attempt­ing to take over the world. In sub­se­quent books, Mullins argued that the Holo­caust nev­er hap­pened and that the Jew­ish race is inher­ent­ly “par­a­sitic.” Incred­i­bly, Mullins also insist­ed until his death that he was not an anti-Semi­te. . . .

. . . . Most of the solu­tions Thrive puts for­ward will res­onate with its tar­get audi­ence of spir­i­tu­al­ly inclined pro­gres­sives: stay informed, shop local, eat organ­ic, avoid GMOs, etc. But not all. Giv­en the trou­bling com­plex­i­ties of part two, I was only slight­ly sur­prised to find that one of the val­ues of the future Thrive depicts is “lit­tle or no tax­es.”

No tax­es. Sounds good—but does that mean no pub­lic libraries? No state parks? No pub­lic trans­porta­tion? How about roads? Social Secu­ri­ty? Haven’t the Gam­bles seen what this kind of anti-tax rhetoric has got­ten us? Dou­bled tuitions at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, huge Rea­gan-era-style cuts in social ser­vices, decay­ing infra­struc­ture.

Near the film’s con­clu­sion, Gam­ble reveals the source of his anti-tax posi­tion, rev­er­ent­ly intro­duc­ing a man he cred­its with pro­vid­ing him with his Core Nav­i­ga­tion­al Insight for the future: Lud­wig von Mis­es. He does not men­tion that von Mis­es is the touch­stone of right-lib­er­tar­i­ans, so-called anar­cho-cap­i­tal­ists and rad­i­cal Repub­li­cans such as Michele Bach­mann, who quipped last year that she reads von Mis­es on the beach.

Gam­ble does lay out the core of von Mis­es’ phi­los­o­phy of “non-vio­la­tion, in which “nobody gets to vio­late you or” (ahem) “your prop­er­ty.” That phi­los­o­phy trans­lates into three rules: no invol­un­tary tax­a­tion; no invol­un­tary gov­er­nance; and no monop­oly of force.

In case any­one miss­es the point—that the state must with­er so that man can be free—Gamble shares von Mis­es’ opin­ion that like Com­mu­nism, fas­cism and social­ism, “democ­ra­cy wrong­ly assumes the rights of the col­lec­tive, or the group, over the rights of the indi­vid­ual.”. . . . .

. . . . .Last fall, the acclaimed envi­ron­men­tal­ist and nutri­tion guru John Rob­bins was invit­ed to the home of his friends Fos­ter and Kim­ber­ly Carter Gam­ble, near San­ta Cruz, to view the Gam­bles’ just-com­plet­ed film, Thrive. Rob­bins, who makes a brief appear­ance in the film, says he was “over­whelmed” by what he saw.

“There were parts I liked, but there were oth­er parts that I just detest­ed,” he recalls. “I did­n’t want to be rude—we were there with our families—so I just did­n’t say any­thing.”

Thrive, which was released online in Novem­ber, had its the­ater debut in March, and is now tour­ing the coun­try, is an uncan­ny hodge­podge of pseu­do-sci­ence, Utopi­an fan­ta­sy and veiled right-wing con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry. Strange­ly, it also includes onscreen inter­views with a num­ber of bona fide pro­gres­sives, envi­ron­men­tal­ists and spir­i­tu­al lead­ers.

In addi­tion to Rob­bins, author of the ground­break­ing Diet for a New Amer­i­ca in 1987, the film fea­tures con­ver­sa­tions with Deep­ak Chopra, the super­star self-help author; Paul Hawken, the green entre­pre­neur and envi­ron­men­tal econ­o­mist; Elis­a­bet Sah­touris, the evo­lu­tion­ary biol­o­gist and philoso­pher; Duane Elgin, the futur­ist and author of Vol­un­tary Sim­plic­i­ty; Van­dana Shi­va, the physi­cist and advo­cate for sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture; and for­mer astro­naut Edgar Mitchell.

In the months since the film’s release, Rob­bins says, he has been in com­mu­ni­ca­tion with all of these folks. He was­n’t sur­prised to find that many of them agreed with his assess­ment of the film.

While they might have hoped the film would just dis­ap­pear, Thrive has become some­thing of a web cult phenomenon—by some esti­mates it’s been seen by more than a mil­lion peo­ple. And now they have decid­ed to speak out.

Rob­bins, Chopra, Hawken, Sah­touris, Elgin, Shi­va and Mitchell recent­ly issued a state­ment say­ing that they have “grave dis­agree­ments with some of the film’s con­tent.” . . . .

2. Gam­ble’s ide­o­log­i­cal men­tor Lud­wig von Mis­es is one of the main the­o­reti­cians of the Aus­tri­an School, along with Friedrich von Hayek. Friedrich Hayek’s ide­o­log­i­cal dis­dain for the poor and democ­racy helped cre­ated the cur­rent far right dom­i­nated polit­i­cal dynam­ic across the West­ern world. in pro­foundly iron­ic ways:

“Bill Black: How Hayek Helped the Worst Get to the Top in Eco­nom­ics and as CEOsby Bill Black [post­ed by Yves Smith]; Naked Cap­i­tal­ism; 6/12/2014.

Bill Black is the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an asso­ciate pro­fes­sor of eco­nom­ics and law at the Uni­ver­sity of Mis­souri-Kansas City. Orig­i­nally pub­lished at New Eco­nomic Per­spec­tives

Lib­er­tar­i­ans are pro­foundly anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic. The folks at Cato that I debate make no bones about their dis­dain for and fear of democ­racy. Friedrich von Hayek is so pop­u­lar among lib­er­tar­i­ans because of his denial of the legit­i­macy of demo­c­ra­tic gov­ern­ment and his claims that it is inher­ently mon­strous and mur­der­ous to its own cit­i­zens. Here’s an exam­ple from a lib­er­tar­ian pro­fes­sor based in Mary­land.

[W]hen gov­ern­ment uses its legal monop­oly on coer­cion to con­fis­cate one person’s prop­erty and give it to anoth­er, it is engag­ing in what would nor­mally be called theft. Call­ing this immoral act “democ­racy,” “major­ity rule” or “pro­gres­sive tax­a­tion” does not make it moral. Under democ­racy, rulers con­fis­cate the income of pro­duc­tive mem­bers of soci­ety and redis­trib­ute it to var­i­ous sup­port­ers in order to keep them­selves in pow­er.

In order to finance a cam­paign, a politi­cian must promise to steal (i.e., tax) mon­ey from those who earned it and give it to oth­ers who have no legal or moral right to it. There are (very) few excep­tions, but politi­cians must also make promis­es that they know they can nev­er keep (i.e., lie). This is why so few moral peo­ple are elect­ed to polit­i­cal office. The most suc­cess­ful politi­cians are those who are the least hin­dered by strong moral prin­ci­ples. They have the least qualms about con­fis­cat­ing oth­er peo­ples’ prop­erty in order to main­tain their own pow­er, perks, and income. In his best­selling 1944 book, ‘The Road to Serf­dom,’ Nobel lau­re­ate econ­o­mist F.A. Hayek described this phe­nom­e­non in a chap­ter [10] enti­tled “Why the Worst Get on Top.”

But von Hayek’s cri­tique of demo­c­ra­tic gov­ern­ment has proven to be the most mon­strous blood libel of the post-World War II era – false­ly declar­ing that demo­c­ra­tic gov­ern­ment must end in tyran­ny and the mass mur­der of its own peo­ple.

The polit­i­cal sci­en­tist Her­man Fin­er … denounced [The Road to Serf­dom] as “the most sin­is­ter offen­sive against democ­racy to emerge from a demo­c­ra­tic coun­try for many years.”

The econ­o­mist Paul Samuel­son, in a rem­i­nis­cence of Hayek pub­lished last Decem­ber, was more dis­mis­sive still. “Where are their hor­ror camps?’ he asked, refer­ring to right-wing buga­boos like Swe­den, with its gen­er­ous wel­fare spend­ing. Almost 70 years after Hayek sound­ed his alarm, ‘hind­sight con­firms how inac­cu­rate its innu­endo about the future turned out to be.”

Why the Worst Get on Top – in Eco­nom­ics

Econ­o­mists claim that their work should be eval­u­ated based on pre­dic­tive suc­cess. Von Hayek was made a Nobel Lau­re­ate in 1974, three decades after his pre­dic­tion that demo­c­ra­tic states were head­ed to tyran­ny and mass mur­der of their own cit­i­zens. In those three decades of expe­ri­ence in the nations he focused on (West­ern Europe, the U.S., Cana­da, Aus­tralia, and New Zealand) – and the forty years since his award – this hap­pened in zero nations. He is bat­ting zero for 70 years in rough­ly 30 nations with, col­lec­tively, thou­sands of elec­tions. What he claimed was inevitable has nev­er occurred.

Wes­ley Mar­shall and I are writ­ing a book about why, dis­pro­por­tion­ately, eco­nom­ics bestows its top hon­ors on those who fail their own pur­ported test of suc­cess (pre­dic­tive abil­ity). This is the only field of aca­d­e­mic study in which this occurs. We are try­ing to answer von Hayek’s ques­tion, but it his own field – “why the worst get on top.” Why do the von Hayeks of the world, the very worst of econ­o­mists, “get on top?”

I recent­ly wrote a piece about the spec­tac­u­larly bad tim­ing of a lib­er­tar­ian who chose the 70th anniver­sary of D‑Day (a prod­uct of excep­tion­ally com­pe­tent gov­ern­ment plan­ning) to denounce demo­c­ra­tic gov­ern­ment as inca­pable of plan­ning and invari­ably lead­ing to tyran­ny and the mass exe­cu­tion of its own work­ers and CEOs. As “sup­port” for this claim the colum­nist pre­sented the car­toon ver­sion of The Road to Serf­dom that Gen­eral Motors spread via pam­phlet – this the day after Gen­eral Motor’s admis­sions about the qual­ity of its cars and the indif­fer­ence to the safe­ty of every­one on the roads by its senior man­agers and attor­neys.

Why von Hayek and Mil­ton Fried­man are the Patron Saints of Plu­toc­ra­cy

It is telling that lib­er­tar­i­ans’ eco­nomic hero, writ­ing what they claim was his sin­gle best chap­ter, “Why the Worst Get on Top,” invari­ably proved whol­ly and grotesque­ly incor­rect about the cer­tainty of tyran­ny and mass mur­der. Worse, since the time von Hayek wrote his chap­ter, the demo­c­ra­tic gov­ern­ments he demo­nized have ceased the worst abus­es against their own cit­i­zens, such as forced ster­il­iza­tions. The worst abus­es – mass tor­ture and mur­der – have been com­mit­ted by fas­cist regimes that von Hayek sup­ported such as Pinochet in Chile. When we ask why von Hayek receives a Nobel Prize and remains Glenn Beck’s hero we can­not explain the results based on facts and pre­dic­tive suc­cess (fail­ure). Instead, we must look out­side the realm of real­ity and enter into the realms that von Hayek glo­ri­fied – ide­ol­ogy and greed.

Von Hayek received his Nobel Prize because he was so will­ing to be so wrong about so many things. His blood libel about the demo­c­ra­tic gov­ern­ments of “the West” was use­ful to anoth­er group in which “the worst get on top” in far too many cas­es – “impe­r­ial” CEOs. Von Hayek legit­imizes that which can­not be legit­imized through real eco­nom­ics, real­ity, ethics, or log­ic – plu­toc­racy. Von Hayek and Mil­ton Fried­man are the patron saints of plu­toc­ra­cy.

Von Hayek’s Denun­ci­a­tion of Democ­racy Rests on His Dis­dain for the Poor

Von Hayek argues that there are three rea­sons why demo­c­ra­tic gov­ern­ment inher­ently leads to the ele­va­tion of the “worst” to the “top” – and by the “worst” he means mur­der­ous tyrants. Von Hayek begins Chap­ter 10 with the famous quo­ta­tion from Lord Acton: “Pow­er tends to cor­rupt, and absolute pow­er cor­rupts absolute­ly.” Demo­c­ra­tic gov­ern­ment, of course, is con­sciously designed to pre­vent the cre­ation of “absolute pow­er” by the state or pri­vate enti­ties. Von Hayek, there­fore, has to argue that a demo­c­ra­tic sys­tem of gov­ern­ment designed to pre­vent the cre­ation of absolute pow­er will invari­ably pro­duce absolute pow­er.


The third com­po­nent of the total­i­tar­ian troi­ka is the “most impor­tant neg­a­tive ele­ment.” These are the mur­der­ous big­ots moti­vated by “hatred of an ene­my … the envy of those bet­ter off.”

Von Hayek is Blight­ed by his Big­otry

What we are read­ing, of course, is the class hatred and big­otry com­mon to minor Aus­trian aris­to­crats like von Hayek who were born in the 19th cen­tury. (The “von” was removed from all Aus­trian fam­ily names by statute when he was a young adult.) The idea of demo­c­ra­tic rule by what he viewed as his infe­ri­ors appalled von Hayek. The fact that this kind of naked big­otry in this pas­sage that I have quot­ed at length is viewed by his lib­er­tar­ian devo­tees as von Hayek’s finest work reveals the depths of lib­er­tar­ian hate for and fear of demo­c­ra­tic gov­ern­ment.

Von Hayek’s Oth­er Pre­dic­tive Fail­ures

Under von Hayek’s the­o­ries, pro­gres­sive and social­ist can­di­dates should be the great ene­mies of pub­lic edu­ca­tion, for edu­ca­tion would dra­mat­i­cally reduce their core “une­d­u­cated” group. For the same rea­sons, they should avoid at all costs teach­ing stu­dents how to engage in crit­i­cal think­ing and should instead spread nationalism/patriotism memes (such as Amer­i­can “excep­tion­al­ism” and flag pins) and spread racist pro­pa­ganda attack­ing racial and eth­nic minori­ties. The oppo­site is true. They should oppose legal pro­tec­tions, e.g., against job and hous­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion. It is con­ser­v­a­tives and Euro­pean-style “lib­er­als” who fought against pub­lic ele­men­tary and sec­ondary edu­ca­tion and the land grant col­leges. It is con­ser­v­a­tives who wear flag pins and claim that any acknowl­edge­ment of U.S. mis­con­duct is unpa­tri­otic. It is U.S. con­ser­v­a­tives who to this day adopt vari­ants of the racist “South­ern strat­egy,” engage in state-spon­sored homo­pho­bia, and oppose anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion laws. Von Hayek pre­dicted that pro­gres­sives would deny sci­ence. The car­toon ver­sion of his book por­trays the gov­ern­ment as preach­ing that the earth is flat. The real­ity is that it is cor­po­rate CEOs who lead the anti-sci­ence cam­paigns such as glob­al cli­mate change denial.

If You Object to an Eco­nomic Sys­tem in Which “The Worst Get on Top” You are not “Envi­ous”

Von Hayek tips his hand and dog­mas when he uses the phrase “envy of those bet­ter off” and con­flates it with vir­u­lent racism. Von Hayek assumes away the real­ity that all too often in busi­ness “the worst get on top” by the foulest means. Oppos­ing their becom­ing “bet­ter off” through lead­ing “con­trol frauds” is not “envy” – it is jus­tice, and it is essen­tial to a well-func­tion­ing econ­omy, soci­ety, and poli­ty.

Von Hayek implic­itly assumes that cor­rupt CEOs will not con­trol and abuse any polit­i­cal sys­tem. Assume sole­ly for pur­pose of analy­sis that von Hayek were cor­rect that it dem­a­gogues can manip­u­late the three uneth­i­cal groups he iden­ti­fies and seize con­trol of gov­ern­ment. Under his own log­ic CEOs can use the seem­ing legit­i­macy, pow­er, and wealth of “their” cor­po­ra­tions to serve direct­ly as these dem­a­gogues or fund and con­trol proxy dem­a­gogues that will serve their inter­ests. They have vast­ly greater eco­nomic resources and they have the exper­tise that comes from adver­tis­ing to run pro­pa­ganda cam­paigns. They also had tremen­dous exper­tise in the era von Hayek was describ­ing in “divide and con­quer” strate­gies in the colonies that would be eas­ily trans­lated into efforts to split work­ers along eth­nic lines. The alliance of elite and poor whites in the U.S. South against the freed slaves is a clas­sic exam­ple of how such a coali­tion can pro­vide dom­i­nant polit­i­cal pow­er for rough­ly a cen­tury. Under von Hayek’s own assump­tions the “inevitable” result should be plu­toc­racy through crony cap­i­tal­ism with any­one who com­plains about the resul­tant inequal­ity denounced for being “envi­ous” of his moral and intel­lec­tual supe­ri­ors.

Why the Worst (CEOs) Get on Top: Account­ing Con­trol Fraud is a “Sure Thing”

I have explained this point enough times that I will sim­ply direct any new read­ers to the scores of arti­cles that explain why this is true. I also stress how impor­tant the “Gresham’s” dynam­ic is in explain­ing why such frauds can become epi­demic and why such epi­demics dri­ve our recur­rent, inten­si­fy­ing finan­cial crises. The least eth­i­cal CEOs “get on top” in such a world and they pro­duce plu­toc­racy, mas­sive inequal­ity, and crony cap­i­tal­ism. Von Hayek wants pro­gres­sives to declare uni­lat­eral polit­i­cal dis­ar­ma­ment while the most cor­rupt CEOs dom­i­nate our economies and our polit­i­cal sys­tems. Von Hayek’s blood libel about pro­gres­sive, demo­c­ra­tic gov­ern­ment is a clas­sic exam­ple of Frédéric Bastiat’s warn­ing:

When plun­der becomes a way of life for a group of men liv­ing togeth­er in soci­ety, they cre­ate for them­selves in the course of time a legal sys­tem that autho­rizes it and a moral code that glo­ri­fies it.

What a won­drous irony it is that three ultra-right­ists, Lord Acton, Bas­tiat and von Hayek, should com­bine so per­fectly to explain our cur­rent plight in which plun­der by elite CEOs has become “a way of life.” CEOs do not yet have “absolute” polit­i­cal pow­er, but their pow­er and cor­rup­tion is ris­ing steadi­ly and has become so great that they are able to “plun­der” with impuni­ty. That impuni­ty arose because von Hayek’s dis­ci­ples were able to use his anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic big­otry and failed eco­nomic dog­mas to “cre­ate for them­selves in the course of time a legal sys­tem that autho­rizes [plun­der] and a moral code that glo­ri­fies it.” Von Hayek was one the prin­ci­pal framers of that immoral moral code that glo­ri­fies plun­der by CEOs. Lib­er­tar­i­ans glo­rify von Hayek’s big­oted glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of elites as our moral supe­ri­ors who have a right to rule and plun­der our Nation. Tyler Cowen calls plu­toc­racy and per­va­sive plun­der a “hyper-mer­i­toc­ra­cy,” but it is a rule by the most uneth­i­cal for the most venal of pur­poses and it is the great­est ene­my of mer­it and jus­tice.

3. On a spec­u­la­tive note: Eddie the Friend­ly Spook’s eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal the­o­ries are fas­cist and fun­da­men­tal­ly opposed to Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt’s New Deal. His belief that we must get rid of Social Secu­ri­ty and bring back the gold stan­dard are prop­a­gat­ed by the Lud­wig von Mis­es Insti­tute, the ide­o­log­i­cal font of Snow­den’s polit­i­cal idol Ron Paul.

Arguably the most famous mem­ber of the Aus­tri­an School of Eco­nom­ics that spawned and dom­i­nates the Lud­wig von Mis­es Insti­tute is Friedrich von Hayek. An immi­grant from Aus­tria, von Hayek was osten­si­bly an “anti-Nazi.” In 1944, he pub­lished The Road to Serf­dom, a mud­dled ide­o­log­i­cal tract which attacks the New Deal of F.D.R. Begun well before the Canaris memo, von Hayek’s work has been a sta­ple of GOP/Underground Reich pro­pa­gan­da ever since its pub­li­ca­tion, as well as a foun­da­tion­al ele­ment of revi­sion­ist his­to­ry.

We present a doc­u­ment drawn up by the head of Ger­man mil­i­tary intel­li­gence (the Abwehr) in 1944. Abwehr chief Admi­ral Wil­helm Canaris notes that under­cov­er pro­pa­gan­da assets in the Unit­ed States should be uti­lized to gen­er­ate anti-Roo­sevelt sen­ti­ment and help his elec­toral defeat in the 1944 elec­tions. The Third Reich viewed the defeat of Roo­sevelt as con­sum­mate­ly impor­tant.

We  won­der if von Hayek–ostensibly one of the “anti-Nazis” cryp­ti­cal­ly referred to at the end of the doc­u­ment below, was one of the Third Reich’s under­cov­er pro­pa­gan­da and psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare assets among the Allies. The Road to Serf­dom was heav­i­ly pub­li­cized by The Read­ers Digest in the Unied States.

We are also of the con­sid­ered pro­fes­sion­al opin­ion that the Lud­wig von Mis­es Insti­tute is an impor­tant ele­ment of the Under­ground Reich.

 Ger­many Plots with the Krem­lin by T.H. Tetens; Hen­ry Schu­man & Sons [HC]; Copy­right 1953 by Hen­ry Schu­man, Inc.; pp. 233–235.

 “Direc­tive of the Ger­man High Com­mand on Polit­i­cal War­fare in the U.S.A.”

The fol­low­ing direc­tive was issued by the Chief of the Intel­li­gence Divi­sion of the Ger­man High Com­mand, Admi­ral Wal­ter Wil­helm Canaris, in 1944. The doc­u­ment lays bare the basic Ger­man strat­e­gy of scar­ing the U.S.A. with Bol­she­vism . . . .



March 15, 1944

At a meet­ing of the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the For­eign Office, the Secu­ri­ty Divi­sion, (“SD”) and the Depart­ment of Defense (“Abwehr”), the fol­low­ing res­o­lu­tions were adopt­ed for uni­fied action by all our agents in for­eign coun­tries:

Uti­lize to the fullest extent all avail­able pos­si­bil­i­ties in neu­tral and ene­my coun­tries, in order to sup­port our mil­i­tary efforts with polit­i­cal and pro­pa­gan­da cam­paigns.

  1. Our goal is to crush the enemy’s plan whose object is to destroy for­ev­er the Ger­man Reich mil­i­tar­i­ly, eco­nom­i­cal­ly, and cul­tur­al­ly.

The new reg­u­la­tions put into effect by the polit­i­cal lead­ers for the dis­so­lu­tion and dis­in­te­gra­tion of the ene­my bloc should be car­ried out more intense­ly. We must do our utmost to cre­ate a state of con­fu­sion and dis­trust among our ene­mies. Such a state of dis­uni­ty would enable us to sue for a quick sep­a­rate peace with either side. While it is true that the efforts made in that direc­tion have failed so far due to the implaca­ble hate pol­i­cy of Roo­sevelt and Churchill, it does not mean that some day, under dif­fer­ent con­di­tions, the unnat­ur­al front of our ene­mies could not be bro­ken. Roosevelt’s elec­toral defeat this year could have immea­sur­able polit­i­cal con­se­quences. . . .

. . . . Right now, the chances for a sep­a­rate peace with the West are a lit­tle bet­ter, espe­cial­ly if we suc­ceed, through our pro­pa­gan­da cam­paignand our “con­fi­den­tial” chan­nels, to con­vince the ene­my that Roosevelt’s pol­i­cy of “uncon­di­tion­al sur­ren­der” dri­ves the Ger­man peo­ple towards Com­mu­nism.

There is great fear in the U.S.A. of Bol­she­vism. The oppo­si­tion against Roosevelt’s alliance with Stal­in grows con­stant­ly. Our chances for suc­cess are good, if we suc­ceed to stir up influ­en­tial cir­cles against Roosevelt’s pol­i­cy. This can be done through clever pieces of infor­ma­tion, or by ref­er­ences to unsus­pi­cious neu­tral eccle­si­as­ti­cal con­tact men.

We have at our com­mand in the Unit­ed States effi­cient con­tacts, which have been care­ful­ly kept up even dur­ing the war. The cam­paign of hatred stirred up by Roo­sevelt and the Jews against every­thing Ger­man has tem­porar­i­ly silenced the pro-Ger­man bloc in the U.S.A. How­ev­er, there is every hope that this sit­u­a­tion will be com­plete­ly changed with­in a few months. If the Repub­li­cans suc­ceed in defeat­ing Roo­sevelt in the com­ing pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, it would great­ly influ­ence the Amer­i­can con­duct of war towards us.

The KO-lead­ers abroad and their staffs have innu­mer­able oppor­tu­ni­ties of con­stant­ly refer­ring to Roosevelt’s hate pol­i­cy. They must use in this cam­paign all the exist­ing con­tacts and they should try to open up new chan­nels. We must point to the dan­ger that Ger­many may be forced to coop­er­ate with Rus­sia. The great­est cau­tion has to be observed in all talks and nego­ti­a­tions by those who, as “anti-Nazis,” main­tain con­tact with the ene­my. When ful­fill­ing mis­sions, they have to com­ply strict­ly with instruc­tions. [That would include the “anti-Nazi” von Hayek–D.E.]

(Sgd.) Canaris

4. Accord­ing to a biog­ra­phy of Hayek (Friedrich Hayek: A Biog­ra­phy; Alan O. Eben­stein; 2003, p. 128.) Hayek hur­ried to fin­ish the book ear­ly in order to get it pub­lished by the the win­ter of 1943:

Friedrich Hayek: A Biog­ra­phy by Alan O. Eben­stein; 2003, p. 128.


The Road to Serf­dom was received pos­i­tively when it was pub­lished in Britain in March 1944. The war was not yet over, but it was now a ques­tion of when, not if, Nazi Ger­many would be defeat­ed. Hayek gave his impres­sion of the book’s recep­tion in Eng­land when he said lat­er that he could “feel only grat­i­fi­a­tion” at the suc­cess The Road to Serf­dom had in Great Brit­ian. This, while “very dif­fer­ent in kind” than in the Unit­ed States, was “quan­ti­ta­tively no smaller...On the whole, the book was tak­en in the spir­it in which it was writ­ten, and its argu­ment was seri­ously con­sid­ered by those to whom it was main­ly addressed.” He became famous in Britain as a result of the work. The Road to Serf­dom was reviewed in lead­ing papers, jour­nals, and mag­a­zines. The ini­tial print run of 2,000 copies sold out with­in days. Accord­ing to British intel­lec­tual his­to­rian Richard Cock­ett, Hayek’s pub­lisher, Rout­ledge, ordered an imme­di­ate reprint of 1,000 copies, and in the “fol­low­ing two years they were to be engaged in a los­ing race to sat­isfy the huge pub­lic demand for the book.” Because of the wartime paper rationing, Rout­ledge could not print as many copies as it wished. The sum­mer fol­low­ing the work’s release, Hayek com­plain­ingly referred to is as “the unob­tain­able book.”

There is a small ques­tion of his exact inten­tions for the book — what sort of impact he intend­ed. He wrote to Rout­ledge on May 30, 1943, that he had com­pleted a “semi-pop­u­lar” work, and per­haps even more sig­nif­i­cantly wrote on August 9, 1943, “I have made a spe­cial effort to get it ready rather ear­lier than I expect­ed as I believe that there are many signs that the time is becom­ing rather favourable for the recep­tion of the book of this kind and I am espe­cially anx­ious not to miss the oppor­tune moment. I believe you will find it worth­while mak­ing an effort to get it out before the win­ter”. Much of this was, how­ever, mere­ly the pro­mo­tion that any author engages in with his pub­lisher. In an April 1945 speech, Hayek men­tioned that he did not expect more than a few hun­dred peo­ple to read the book.

5. It’s pret­ty clear that Hayek both want­ed to make an impact and real­ly did make that impact. Almost imme­di­ately–with the help of “lead­ing papers, jour­nals, and mag­a­zines”, at least in the UK.

For the US elec­tions in 1944, the tim­ing and of the expo­sure of The Road to Serf­dom was pret­ty sig­nif­i­cant. The UK edi­tion was pub­lished in March of 1944. In the US it wasn’t as read­ily accept­ed in the media, but after get­ting reject­ed by a sev­eral pub­lish­ers the book was pub­lished by the Uni­ver­sity of Chica­go in Sep­tem­ber 1944, with a glow­ing review by lib­er­tar­ian jour­nal­ist Hen­ry Hazlitt on the front page of the Book Review Sec­tion in the New York Times (Sep­tem­ber 24,1944). It was sim­i­lar to the review Hazlitt gave to Hayek’s men­tor, Lud­wig von Mis­es six years ear­lier in 1938:

Remem­ber­ing Hen­ry Hazlitt

Mis­es Dai­ly: Fri­day, July 27, 2007 by Bet­tina Bien Greaves

Hen­ry Hazlitt was one of a very spe­cial breed, an eco­nomic jour­nal­ist who not only report­ed on eco­nomic and polit­i­cal events in clear and under­stand­able lan­guage, but also made con­tri­bu­tions to eco­nom­ics.

When I arrived at the Foun­da­tion for Eco­nomic Edu­ca­tion (FEE) in 1951, I was just a neo­phyte in the free­dom phi­los­o­phy. Hazlitt was a trustee, author of the best­selling Eco­nom­ics in One Les­son, and for sev­eral years an edi­tor of the fort­nightly free-mar­ket-ori­ent­ed news-com­men­tary mag­a­zine, The Free­man, pre­de­ces­sor of FEE’s The Free­man: Ideas on Lib­er­ty.

But he was easy to approach; his man­ner was pleas­ant, not aloof or over­bear­ing. He was of aver­age height. His fea­tures were reg­u­lar, and he wore a mus­tache. He dressed appro­pri­ately for a jour­nal­ist work­ing in mid­town Man­hat­tan in his day — in suit and tie. He was mod­est, always thought­ful of oth­ers, and one of the kind­est and most gra­cious men I have known. His friends called him Har­ry, and in time I too came to call him Har­ry. I was proud to have him as a friend.


Hazlitt lived an active life as a news­pa­per­man. He belonged to sev­eral lit­er­ary soci­eties, attend­ed their lun­cheons, and met the lead­ing authors and intel­lec­tu­als of his day. He admired, he once said “almost idol­ized,” H.L. Menck­en, whom he briefly suc­ceeded as edi­tor of The Amer­i­can Mer­cury. Hazlitt fre­quently debat­ed promi­nent politi­cians on the radio: Vice Pres­i­dent Hen­ry Wal­lace, Sec­re­tary of State Dean Ache­son, and US Sen­a­tors Paul Dou­glas and Hubert H. Humphrey. He came to know prac­ti­cally all the con­ser­v­a­tives and lib­er­tar­i­ans of his day, not only Mis­es and Ander­son, but also, among oth­ers, FEE founder Leonard E. Read, Isabel Pater­son, Rose Wilder Lane, John Cham­ber­lain, William F. Buck­ley Jr., Lawrence Fer­tig, Sylvester Petro, F.A. Hayek, and Ayn Rand.

In 1938 Hazlitt reviewed for the New York Times the Eng­lish trans­la­tion of Mises’s Social­ism, describ­ing the book as “the most dev­as­tat­ing analy­sis of social­ism yet penned.” Mis­es was then in Switzer­land, but the two men cor­re­sponded briefly. Then in 1940 Hazlitt received a tele­phone call from Mis­es, new­ly arrived in New York. Hazlitt was dumb­founded: “It was as if John Stu­art Mill had risen from the dead!”

Mis­es, a refugee from war-torn Europe, had been forced to leave his home in Vien­na, Aus­tria, a com­fort­able posi­tion in Gene­va, Switzer­land, and the aca­d­e­mic world of Europe where he was well known. He and Hazlitt soon became the best of friends, and “Lu,” short for Lud­wig, found a spe­cial place in Hazlitt’s heart and mind.

Hazlitt’s Help­ing Hand

When Mis­es phoned Hazlitt, Mis­es was try­ing to start a new life in the Unit­ed States. Hazlitt was always will­ing to help his friends. Through con­tacts in the State Depart­ment, he helped Mrs. Mises’s daugh­ter to escape Nazi-occu­pied Paris (this was before the Japan­ese attack on Pearl Har­bor, when the Unit­ed States was not yet at war). He asked his friend Ben­jamin Ander­son, who had asso­ciates at Har­vard Uni­ver­sity, to help Mis­es find a teach­ing posi­tion. Har­vard wasn’t inter­ested. Hazlitt arranged a din­ner for Mis­es with Alvin John­son, direc­tor of the New School for Social Research, where many Euro­pean vic­tims of Nazism had received posi­tions. But when John­son told Hazlitt that Mis­es was “too extreme,” Hazlitt real­ized that John­son only hired social­ists.

By Hazlitt’s arrange­ment, Mis­es wrote sev­eral edi­to­ri­als for the New York Times. The Rock­e­feller Foun­da­tion gave Mis­es a grant for sev­eral years, enabling him to write Omnipo­tent Gov­ern­ment and Bureau­cracy. Mis­es soon obtained a posi­tion as vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor with the New York Uni­ver­sity Grad­u­ate School of Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion. Then Hazlitt brought him to FEE, and Leonard Read hired him as eco­nomic advis­er.

In the 1950s Mises’s NYU grad­u­ate sem­i­nar in eco­nomic the­ory was held in Gal­latin House diag­o­nally across Wash­ing­ton Square from the apart­ment where Hazlitt lived with his wife, Frances. Hazlitt felt sor­ry for Mis­es hav­ing to speak every Thurs­day evening to a small group of stu­dents who were tired after work­ing all day at their reg­u­lar jobs. So to buck Mis­es up, Hazlitt began attend­ing the sem­i­nar. The top­ics var­ied from year to year — epis­te­mol­ogy, his­tory, Marx­ism, cap­i­tal­ism, monop­oly, inter­ven­tion­ism, mon­e­tary the­ory, and social­ism. Mis­es fre­quently cit­ed his­tor­i­cal illus­tra­tions and amus­ing exam­ples.

“Inter­est­ingly,” Hazlitt said lat­er, “what I found was, no mat­ter how many times I would go, no mat­ter how often I heard in effect the same lec­tures, there would always be some sen­tence, some inci­den­tal phrase or illus­tra­tion that threw more light on the subject.“[2] On one occa­sion, laugh­ter broke out. Mis­es: “The Sovi­ets cen­sor bad books.” And then proud­ly with a twin­kle in his eye: “My books!“[3]

Hazlitt con­sid­ered him­self espe­cially lucky in count­ing Mis­es and his fel­low not­ed Aus­trian econ­o­mist F.A. Hayek (1899–1992) among his friends. Hazlitt had, of course, known both for many years through their writ­ings, but it was only after he reviewed their books that they met and became friends. When F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serf­dom came out in 1944, Hazlitt reviewed it for the Times, call­ing it “one of the most impor­tant books of our gen­er­a­tion.” The book became a best­seller. Hazlitt’s review attract­ed Hayek’s atten­tion, and in 1947 he invit­ed Hazlitt to attend the impor­tant first meet­ing of the free-mar­ket-ori­ent­ed soci­ety he was orga­niz­ing, lat­er inter­na­tion­ally known as the Mont Pelerin Soci­ety.



4 comments for “FTR #798 Thrive on This! Counter-Culture Fascism in Cinema”

  1. Thank you Dave Emory. I have post­ed sev­er­al of your shows on my You Tube page. Im a lib­er­al con­spir­a­cy real­ist. I make orig­i­nal con­spir­a­cy videos as well. I have been chewed up and spit out by Alex Jones ‚Grif­fith ‚Von Mis­es, The JBS, Icke, Ven­tu­ra, Mark Illu­mi­nati Dice, and so many more of these fake for prof­it patri­ots. I am wag­ing war against fas­cism in the truther new age move­ments. Thanks for the bul­lets. U are Impor­tant!!!

    Posted by jason roggasch | June 22, 2014, 7:57 pm
  2. Are you obsessed with fiat mon­ey and the Fed­er­al Reserve as the root of all evil? And do you live in Ger­many? Are your Mon­day’s rel­a­tive­ly free? If so, this is the move­ment for you: WeAreChange:

    WeAreChange.org: Euro­pean Anti-Fed Move­ment like “merg­er between OWS and Tea Par­ty”; “What about Your City?”
    By: meta­mars Sat­ur­day July 26, 2014 4:13 am

    The anti-Fed, anti-main­stream media, and anti-NAT0-wars Move­ment* that began in Berlin, had a big, cen­tral­ized demon­stra­tion on July 19, that drew over 5,000 par­tic­i­pants from all over Ger­many (and doubt­less some oth­er coun­tries). They nor­mal­ly meet in over 123 dif­fer­ent cities, on Mon­days, in pub­lic areas.

    Luke Rud­kows­ki addressed this gath­er­ing, in Berlin is Inspir­ing the Next Rev­o­lu­tion!.

    In Berlin Woke Up, Now What About Your City?, Rud­kows­ki inter­views Berlin­ers about the themes.

    Some US cit­i­zens have start­ed try­ing to make the move­ment grow in the US, name­ly in NYC and San­ta Mon­i­ca. I’ll guess that the rea­son I haven’t heard any reports (except for Rudkowski’s men­tion) is that they’re still in the embry­on­ic stage.

    At least, I like to think that’s the rea­son. Like Rud­kows­ki, I won­der “What about your city?”


    Yep, every Mon­day, pub­lic anti-Fed­er­al Reserve pub­lic gath­er­ings have start­ed, although the ral­ly dis­cussed above that Rud­kows­ki spoke at was a spe­cial week­end edi­tion. You may have heard about Luke Rud­kows­ki if you’re an ardent anti-New World Order activist focused on free­ing human­i­ty from the shack­les of cen­tral bank­ing. If you haven’t heard of him you can check him out in the 2009 doc­u­men­tary New World Order about the activ­i­ties of folks like Rud­kows­ki, Jack McLamb, and Alex Jones. Or you can watch Rud­kows­ki at the Berlin WeAreChange ral­ly here. Giv­en the size of these ral­lies, and the fact that this move­ment anti-Fed­er­alk Reserve mov­ment is appar­ent­ly oper­at­ing in cities across Ger­many, it’s hard not to be impressed with Rud­kowski’s orga­ni­za­tion­al skills.

    But accord­ing to this post­ing pro­mot­ing the move­ment at zerohedge.com, the main orga­niz­er for the Berlin ral­ly was­n’t Rud­kows­ki. If was a fel­low named Lars Maehrholz. Check out the Rud­kowski’s inter­view of Maer­holz where they dis­cuss Maer­holz’s per­se­cu­tion in the media after he crit­i­cized the Fed, Maer­holz’s calls for a glob­al move­ment to end the Fed­er­al Reserve, Maer­holz’s oppo­si­tion to the neo-Nazis in the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment, and how Maer­holz is total­ly not a Nazi or any­thing like that:

    Zero Hedge
    Ger­many’s “End The Fed” Protest Orga­niz­er Gets Car Fire-Bombed
    Sub­mit­ted by Tyler Dur­den on 06/26/2014 19:33 ‑0400

    Any­one say­ing “the Fedeal Reserve Act is bad” in Ger­many is, accord­ing to Lars Maehrholz, looked upon by the main­stream as being a Nazi. The orga­niz­er of the wide­spread “End The Fed” ral­lies that we dis­cussed pre­vi­ous­ly, explained that he is not only under attack by the main stream media and polit­i­cal sys­tem in Ger­many but also phys­i­cal threats that result­ed in a car he was in get­ting fire bombed by an anony­mous perp.

    As WeAreChange reports,

    Lars received threats that this would hap­pen online and now his friends car that he was in, was set on fire.

    The police say that the car caught on fire by itself and are not inves­ti­gat­ing the case. Luck­i­ly Lars and his friend were not in the car when it was set on fire.

    In this video Luke Rud­kows­ki talks to Lars Maehrholz a sky­div­er that became the main orga­niz­er of the mas­sive Mon­day peace vig­ils in Berlin.

    The Mon­day peace vig­il is an autonomous ful­ly inde­pen­dent move­ment that gained mas­sive pop­u­lar­i­ty in Berlin that is against the U.S Fed­er­al Reserve.
    [see inter­view]

    Final­ly, if you want to learn more about Lars Maer­holz and the Mon­day “Vig­ils for Peace” , here’s a Google trans­la­tion of a Ger­man lan­guage arti­cle in Vice about Maer­holz and the move­ment he’s try­ing to start. While the trans­la­tion is some­what unclear at points, it seems pret­ty clear that if you take Maere­holz at his word that he isn’t a Nazi, he sure likes orga­niz­ing with them:

    Con­fused Ger­many
    Mon­day demon­stra­tion ini­tia­tor Lars Mährholz con­ceals his right past

    by Ste­fan Lauer May 21 2014

    Yes­ter­day I was for the fourth time on the Mon­day demon­stra­tion in front of the Bran­den­burg Gate. This time a lot worse attend­ed than in past times, there were (and I know I’m repeat­ing myself) the usu­al mish­mash of short­ened cri­tique of cap­i­tal­ism, eso­ter­i­cal­ly tinged and con­spir­a­cy non­sense. As so often was the only bright spot Antifa, which was, how­ev­er, togeth­er with USA and Israel flags sent off this time after a scuf­fle.

    Even if the peace demon­stra­tors moved and espe­cial­ly com­men­ta­tors see it dif­fer­ent­ly, so it is so that a crit­i­cism of the peace demo and to the orga­niz­ers no crit­i­cism of one (albeit dif­fuse) is desire for peace. Peace is great. But when the call after­wards with anti-Semit­ic and nation­al­ist is gar­nished tones, this is the first prob­lem and sec­ond, it sug­gests a world view of the orga­niz­ers, not just mak­ing a slen­der foot.

    Last week it was about exact­ly these peo­ple: Ken Jeb­sen, Jür­gen Elsäss­er (of which one is now sup­pos­ed­ly offi­cial­ly dis­tanc­ing , which does not pre­vent him next week to speak at the vig­il in Erfurt) and Andreas Popp (whose Plan B on the­o­ries of Nazi and Nazi econ­o­mist Got­tfried Fed­er first hour back, the dif­fer­ent Jew­ish-and-cre­at­ing-so-Ger­man cap­i­tal between raf­fen­d­em-so).

    But let’s talk it out on the offi­cial head of the Demos, Lars Mährholz. By his own tes­ti­mo­ny he not­ed ear­li­er this year that polit­i­cal­ly things are going wrong in Ger­many, has start­ed think­ing about it, and decid­ed final­ly to call the vig­il or demon­stra­tion Mon­day to life. On March 12, he posts a pho­to of the demo appli­ca­tion on Face­book and the rest is his­to­ry appar­ent­ly. There are now a vig­il, accord­ing to him, in over 60 Ger­man cities. Espe­cial­ly in Berlin, he tried to stage it, to dis­tance them­selves from extrem­ism, and are the easy but inat­ten­tive total­ly cute emcee, announc­ing speak­ers and has remained unre­spon­sive and on the floor.

    But sur­prise, peace friends! Lars Mährholz is not near­ly as nice, “apo­lit­i­cal” and naive in deal­ing with the media, as it presents itself. The 34-year-old was 2001–2007 Mem­ber and Observers of the “Asso­ci­a­tion of Young Jour­nal­ists” (vj), which was found­ed by Torsten Witt. Witt died in 2010 , but dur­ing his life­time was a col­or­ful fig­ure in the right-wing nation­al­ist milieu. He went through sev­er­al par­ties and set­tled there on always in each right wing. Is of par­tic­u­lar inter­est to its mem­ber­ship in the Nation­al Lib­er­al wing of the FDP of 88–97. The Berlin Nation­al Lib­er­als had planned to take over the entire FDP and rebuild it to a Ger­man FPÖ. This inter­nal coup was not suc­cess­ful and Witt joined the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Free Cit­i­zens. 1999 Witt takes togeth­er with Horst Mahler (then attor­ney for the NPD, now in jail for Holo­caust denial and incite­ment of the peo­ple) in demon­stra­tions against dual cit­i­zen­ship and orga­nizes inter­est­ing­ly Mon­day demon­stra­tions. How­ev­er, not for peace, but against the planned Holo­caust memo­r­i­al.

    Final­ly in 2004 he want­ed with his vj is the Ger­man Asso­ci­a­tion of Jour­nal­ists Bran­den­burg take over by the DJV col­lect­ed in the more right-wing mem­bers of the vj (includ­ing Mährholz) entered and prompt him to vice-chair­man elect­ed . Mem­bers of DJV called him a right-wing extrem­ists, while he lament­ed. On 07.12.2004, the Munich High­er Region­al Court decreed the fol­low­ing on the sub­ject, among oth­er things: “Inci­den­tal­ly, the Defen­dant not be pro­hib­it­ed the appli­cant (Torsten Witt) gen­er­al­ly refer to as ‘right-wing extrem­ists’. [...] Has not dis­put­ed (Witt) [...] had con­tacts with groups that [...] be clas­si­fied as clear­ly right-wing or right-wing or were [...] “.

    Of course you can now not con­clude direct­ly on the polit­i­cal views of Lars Mährholz, how­ev­er, is char­ac­ter­ized here but a rather dif­fer­ent pic­ture than the more or less apo­lit­i­cal hip­pie but just want to do some­thing for peace. If you look at his Face­book and his web­site is all right a bit unpleas­ant.

    Since the cul­ture peri­od report , which was sent Mon­day evening, his friends list on Face­book is no longer avail­able. As his pro­file but is set so that only “friends” can post on his wall, is also quick­ly clear who so every­thing hangs out in this list. Lit­er­al­ly two clicks away from post­ing a Lars’ friends, for exam­ple, a swasti­ka graph­ics and text on the “Jew­ish high finance” . Anoth­er “like” a Nazi band . Or some­one posts an image on the (again) Jew­ish world ruler will be revealed.

    Very sim­i­lar is found then also on the per­son­al web­site of Lars Mährholz. The “mys­tery” to 9/11 are again brought out , and reviewed the man­ner in which Ger­man actu­al­ly state­less are to Mährholz up in a row with the Ger­man Reich called. The def­i­n­i­tion also for every Mon­day held “State­less” demo by Rüdi­ger Klasen, a for­mer NPDler, place on the Mon­day demon­stra­tors so great val­ue, you can put in ques­tion by such sto­ries well.


    The more things change the more they stay the same.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 26, 2014, 6:46 pm
  3. http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2014/10/13/longtime-neo-nazi-matthias-matt-koehl-dies/

    Long­time Neo-Nazi Matthias “Matt” Koehl Dies
    By Hate­watch Staff on Octo­ber 13, 2014 — 5:29 pm, Post­ed in Neo-Nazi, White Suprema­cist
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    Matthias “Matt” Koehl, 79, a long­time neo-Nazi who worked along­side George Lin­coln Rock­well in the Amer­i­can Nazi Par­ty (ANP), has died, the neo-Nazi site New Order is report­ing. Koehl, accord­ing to the brief state­ment, died in his sleep some­time between Octo­ber 9 and 10.

    Koehl’s activism began some­time in the 1950s, when he joined the Nation­al Renais­sance Par­ty (a neo-fas­cist group), the Unit­ed White Par­ty and the Nation­al States Rights Par­ty (NSRP), before he even­tu­al­ly joined the Amer­i­can Nazi Par­ty in 1960.

    It was there, in the NSRP, that Koehl met George Lin­coln Rock­well. The pair worked on the cam­paign of seg­re­ga­tion­ist and anti-Semit­ic can­di­date for Alaba­ma gov­er­nor John Crom­melin. In 1963, Koehl relo­cat­ed to the nation­al office in Vir­ginia, where he worked as the party’s nation­al sec­re­tary.

    Rock­well renamed the ANP the Nation­al Social­ist White People’s Par­ty (NSWPP) pri­or to his assas­si­na­tion in 1967, at which point Koehl was the rank­ing offi­cer of the group. He became the com­man­der, a post he retained for over a decade, and he worked at “re-brand­ing” the NSWPP by stop­ping the group’s neg­a­tive attacks against racial minori­ties. Instead, he tried to focus on the “pos­i­tive” aspects of Nation­al Social­ism and the glo­ries of an all-white race.

    The NSWPP expe­ri­enced ide­o­log­i­cal divi­sions in the 1970s and split, with one fac­tion form­ing the Nation­al Social­ist Par­ty of Amer­i­ca. Oth­ers fol­lowed William Pierce to form the Nation­al Alliance.

    Koehl, mean­while, con­tin­ued with the NSWPP and renamed the group “New Order” in 1983, which reflect­ed his beliefs in eso­teric Nazism (Nazi mys­ti­cism) and an influ­ence by the writ­ings of Sav­it­ri Devi Mukher­ji, the pseu­do­nym for Greek-French writer Max­imi­ani Por­tas, an advo­cate for deep ecol­o­gy, ani­mal rights, and Nazism.

    Koehl began to sug­gest that Nation­al Social­ism was more a reli­gious move­ment than a polit­i­cal one, and he espoused the belief that Hitler had been sent by some divine prov­i­dence to save the white race from deca­dence and extinc­tion caused by mis­ce­gena­tion.

    Koehl dis­persed New Order to Wis­con­sin and Michi­gan in the mid-1980s because of mem­ber­ship decline, trou­ble with the IRS and the high cost of liv­ing in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. The group still main­tains a web­site and a post office box in Mil­wau­kee.
    17 Com­ments

    Posted by Tiffany Sunderson | October 14, 2014, 1:13 pm
  4. “He said his group will make a point not to dis­crim­i­nate against any­one due to race, reli­gion or sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion, the Tri­bune report­ed. The focus, Abarr said, will instead be on stop­ping agents of the “New World Order” attempt­ing to bring on a tyran­ni­cal glob­al gov­ern­ment.” Meet Mon­tana’s newest KKK off­shoot:

    TPM Livewire
    This White Suprema­cist Says He Is Try­ing To Form An ‘All-Inclu­sive’ KKK
    By Bren­dan James
    Pub­lished Novem­ber 6, 2014, 11:33 AM EST

    A Mon­tana man says he is look­ing to take the “white” out of white suprema­cy by form­ing a new, sup­pos­ed­ly all-inclu­sive chap­ter of the Ku Klux Klan.

    John Abarr, a long­time mem­ber of var­i­ous white pow­er orga­ni­za­tions includ­ing the KKK, has dubbed his spin­off group “the Rocky Moun­tain Knights,” the Great Falls Tribue report­ed report­ed on Mon­day.

    In a move almost iden­ti­cal to a famous “Mr. Show” sketch, Abarr said he is look­ing to rebrand the KKK as a hate-free, pure­ly “fra­ter­nal” orga­ni­za­tion.

    “White suprema­cy is the old Klan,” he told the Tri­bune. “This is the new Klan.”

    He said his group will make a point not to dis­crim­i­nate against any­one due to race, reli­gion or sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion, the Tri­bune report­ed. The focus, Abarr said, will instead be on stop­ping agents of the “New World Order” attempt­ing to bring on a tyran­ni­cal glob­al gov­ern­ment.

    Per­haps unsur­pris­ing­ly, his attempt at a found­ing hate-free hate group has raised eye­brows, both among civ­il rights groups and the old-school Klan, accord­ing to the Tri­bune.

    A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the NAACP, which held a meet­ing with Abarr last year, said he believes Abarr is try­ing to change but insist­ed the recruiter should drop any trace of the KKK label.


    Awww...a non-racist KKK focused on fight­ing the ‘New World Order’. Imag­ine that.

    In oth­er news...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 6, 2014, 10:45 am

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