Most Americans are not aware that a right-wing conspiracy began in the 1950s as a reaction and retaliatory response to the huge and widespread popularity and success of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’ New Deal. For while the New Deal was actually great for the average people, the middle class, the working poor and the poor, the greediest of the wealthiest few always hated it (as they still do).
Unbeknownst to most Americans, that right-wing conspiracy has succeeded. That is why this article discusses the roots of the conspiracy and how and why it grew, and it names some of organizations and foundations that are conspirators. For while they claim to be "religious patriots" they actually fight against real Democracy. They much prefer to fulfill their self-serving Plutocratic goals -- which they have indeed fulfilled, making the U.S. the Oligarchy and Plutocracy that it is now.
Not all of the conspiring organizations will be discussed here, but among them are The Federalist Society, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), The Heritage Foundation, the Libertarian Cato Institute, the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, Citizens for a Sound Economy, the Free Congress Foundation, The American Action Network (AAN), the American Action Forum (AAF), the Free Congress Foundation, and the Hoover Institution, among others, most of which claim to be “non-partisan” organizations but are clearly dominated by right-wing Libertarians, Republicans and Tea Party members.
Those organizations will be discussed in this article. But first it should be noted that if you examine who the founders of those organizations were, you will find the name Koch listed as a founder or co-founder of many of them. That is not surprising, since the father of David and Charles Koch was Fred Koch, one of the founders of the radical extreme right-wing John Birch Society (JBS) in 1958.
However, some time after William F. Buckley, a leading Conservative authority, dismissed the JBS as a far right fringe extremist radical group, Fred Koch changed his stripes and became one of the first Libertarians (likely having been influenced by the Libertarianism of people like Friedrich Hayek). Thus Fred Koch was one of the very rich corporate instigators of the right-wing conspiracy when it began in the 1950s, and when it was adapted out of political expediency in the 1960s.
Fred Koch indoctrinated his sons (David and Charles) very well in profiteering corporate propaganda against government regulations and taxes, and also in tactics that help benefit the rich to the detriment of workers, government and public services. And David Koch and Charles Koch have used such propaganda and tactics very vigorously since the 1980s when they rose to political prominence on the coattails of Ronald Reagan (the Libertarian who ran as a charming Republican).
Ironically, in the 1980 presidential election, David Koch ran on the Libertarian Party ticket, while Ronald Reagan ran as a Republican. But as it has turned out, their agendas were the same.
The 1979 Libertarian Party national convention nominated David Koch for Vice President, so in 1980 David Koch ran on the Libertarian agenda, which, as it has turned out, has been the basic agenda not only of Reaganism, but of the Federalist Society/Koch/ALEC/Cato Institute/Heritage Foundation/right-wing conspiracy machine ever since.
Here are just a few excerpts of the Libertarian Party platform in 1980, which are remarkably like the Reaganite agenda and the agenda of all right-wing Republicans, Libertarians and Tea Party members currently and for the last 36 years:
1980 Libertarian Platform:
* “We urge the repeal of federal campaign finance laws, and the immediate abolition of the despotic Federal Election Commission.” (Outcome: Citizens' United and McCutcheon rulings by a right-wing dominated Supreme Court have enabled the rich to influence and bribe politicians and try to buy elections.)
* “We favor the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.” (Outcome: Right-wing extremist Libertarians and Republicans are continually trying to abolish or “privatize” them for profit.)
* “We oppose any compulsory insurance or tax-supported plan to provide health services, including those which finance abortion services.” (Outcome: Republicans and Corporate Democrats alike refuse to even consider Universal Health Care, bowing to the health insurance industry and health care industry which both continue to raise premiums, copays, charges and fees.)
* “We favor the deregulation of the medical insurance industry.” (Outcome: Health care insurance companies can raise premiums and copays, costing patients more and more.)
* “We favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system. Pending that repeal, participation in Social Security should be made voluntary.” (Outcome: Republicans and Libertarians are working hard to bring about such a repeal and ruling, and they have made significant progress toward that goal, getting sold-out Corporate Democrats to join in the effort.)
* “We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes.” (Outcome: Many corporations and multi-national corporations pay no taxes whatsoever, and even receive millions of dollars in government subsidies.)
* “We support the eventual repeal of all taxation.” (Outcome: Republicans and Libertarians have been working on that goal with significant success, which is why the wealthiest 10 percent of the population do not pay anywhere near their fair share of taxes even as they now hold and control most of the nation’s wealth.).
* “All criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately.” (Outcome: No judicial action has been taken against corporations or the ultra-rich, but average citizens continue to be penalized.)
* “We support repeal of all law which impede the ability of any person to find employment, such as minimum wage laws.” (Outcome: The minimum wage workers across the country are not paid a fair or sufficient living wage, but are instead kept under the federal poverty level.)
* “We advocate the complete separation of education and State. ... Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended.” (Outcome: The continual increase in privatized for-profit schools, without any accountability measures, along with propaganda-filled curriculum and text books that push right-wing views and omit many of the most important historical facts and truths that all citizens should know.)
* “We support the repeal of all taxes on the income or property of private schools ...” (Outcome: to reduce government revenue and allow profit-making schools to avoid paying taxes.)
* “We support the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency.” (Outcome: The EPA has suffered from a continuing and growing lack of funding, to the terrible detriment of our environment and our health.)
* “We advocate the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration.” (Outcome: An increasing lack of regulation, research, investigation and oversight of the food and drug industries, which has already caused much harm to many people.)
* “We oppose all government welfare, relief projects, and ‘aid to the poor’ programs.” (Outcome: President Reagan’s sharp budget cuts in Medicaid, food stamps, and other programs that were badly needed by large numbers of low-income families. Reagan ended the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, cut Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), reduced spending for Housing and Urban Development which drastically reduced affordable housing. Then there was the harmful but so-called “Welfare Reform Act” of 1996, and many other initiatives and laws in favor of the rich and to the detriment of the poor and the working poor.)
* “We call for the privatization of the inland waterways, and of the distribution system that brings water to industry, agriculture and households.” (Outcome: The growing amount of privatized for profit sources of water, and the selling off of water supplies to the bottled water industry.)
* “We support the repeal of all state usury laws.” (Outcome: Republicans and Libertarians in the federal and state legislatures continue to try to prevent any limits on the amount of interest charged by banks, lending institutions and companies on borrowed money, at tremendous cost to those victimized.)
Further Impact of Conspirators and Their Organizations
Now to get back to the organizations of the right-wing conspirators, they are merely part of the vast right-wing conspiracy which has been extremely successful, especially since 1981.
In fact, their success is what is largely responsible for the fact that:1) An incredibly wealthy few now hold 95 percent of America's wealth; 2) The middle class has shrunk and keeps shrinking;3) The working poor population keeps increasing; and4) The number of Americans suffering from poverty, hunger and homelessness keeps increasing.
Now, of course, the conspirators responsible for that would plead innocence, and they would parrot The Reaganite “Gospel of Prosperity” that claims that the rich are blessed by God, and the poor are entirely to blame for their problems because they are simply “lazy” and not “self-reliant,” as Ronald Reagan so heartlessly and dishonestly (but charmingly) declared. But the truth as it is revealed in the article on Poverty: America’s Greatest Shame exposes the forces of greed and self-interest who unfairly blame their victims to justify themselves.
The conspirators would also reject the term "conspiracy," because in their mind they are loyal American patriots, and most of them thump their bible as they wave the flag. And they would also claim that the “conspiracy” label has been overused in recent decades, usually in the numerous "conspiracy theories" that have been and still are floating around. But this article is in fact about a very real and harmful conspiracy that has been amazingly successful in fulfilling the goals of the conspirators.
Of course, those who are behind the conspiracy would deny it since part of the popular definition of the word associates a conspiracy with illegal acts. However, according to the legal definition of Conspiracy it can be: "some act which is lawful in itself, but becomes unlawful when done by the concerted action of the conspirators..."
That is the key definition, because the conspirators found a way to "legalize" their foul play. Furthermore, a conspiracy is also defined as concerted acts that are "harmful and even treacherous." Therefore, this article discusses a right-wing conspiracy that has definitely been harmful and treacherous (albeit "legal" for the most part), and it has been and is a concerted action of conspirators.
However, they were able to get away with it because they were rather secretive and very careful to be "legal" in their actions so as not to be seen or recognized as conspirators. And, in certain crucial instances, they got the legislative and judicial branches of the government to "legalize" their strategy and plan -- especially since the early 1980s.
There were many examples of that in Ronald Reagan's initiatives, policies, rulings and enacted legislation that favored the rich to the detriment of everyone and everything else. And another example of that was the 1999 Republican repeal of the Glass-Steagall law that had been signed by President Roosevelt in 1933, which among other things established crucial banking regulations and separated commercial and investment banking. Its repeal in 1999 enabled a lot of corruption and was part of the cause of the terrible financial crises from which most of us still suffer.
Other more recent examples were the “Citizens United” v. FEC (Federal Elections Commission) and McCutcheon v. FEC Supreme Court case rulings that enabled Multi-Billionaires to invest as much money as they want to try to influence the political process (buying political TV ads, funding political organizations, PACs and their political candidates, and bribing legislators in office). Another example is how they've enabled predatory lenders to get away with becoming what we used to call "loan sharks." Those are just a few examples among many showing how they have “legalized” what used to be illegal. And that's the kind of skullduggery that has had a terrible impact on most Americans but has been very lucrative for the richest few.
See, the reason they've succeeded is that they've been at it for more than one generation. The right-wing conspiracy was initiated, driven and funded by a group of greedy, self-important, self-righteous Multi-Billionaires. And, since they've not been exposed by the mainstream commercial media, they've gotten away with their conspiracy for a very long time.
Most Americans don't know that because the worst and most deceptive of the conspirators have been very careful to keep behind the scenes and not be seen influencing legislators and Justices of the Supreme Court. They have been so successful at that -- especially during the last three decades -- that they now influence (if not control) most politicians on both sides of the political isle. And that is why the Billionaires and Multi-Billionaires who are in on the conspiracy now practically rule America.
That is not to say, however, that all Billionaires are in on the conspiracy, because many are not. Some are very good people who do good and beneficial things with their money. Some are in fact embarrassed by their incredibly huge fortunes they've been enabled to amass, and they give much of it away. But, of the 492 Billionaires in the U.S. now, many have become corrupted by their wealth, and they feel that their wealth entitles them to rule.
That is why we all need to be reminded of some very important words:
“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men. Therefore the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity and happiness require.” -- John Adams, 1776
"The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism -- ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power." — President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Message to Congress on Curbing Corporate Monopolies, April 29, 1938
Politicians on both sides of the partisan political isle need to be reminded of that, because they have enabled the wealthiest few to rule America by Oligarchy and Plutocracy.
More and more Americans have gradually become politically aware of this situation. In fact, some time ago many Americans realized that both Republicans and Democrats served the interests of the wealthiest few above all, and so most voters simply vote for the presidential candidate who they thought was "the lesser of two evils."
However, most Americans do not know how this pervasive conspiracy favoring, enabling and entitling the wealthiest few crept up on us and has been so successful that it has completely taken over America, regardless of which party controls Congress and regardless of who is in the White House. After all, as has been shown since 2009, even with a Democrat in the White House, the giant corporations, banks and financial institutions operate as usual and are more profitable and exploitative than ever before, while the vast majority of us become increasingly less secure financially.
There has been virtually no progress in correcting or improving this situation because the majority of those who control the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government are in on the conspiracy in one way or another, and there are very few politicians who do not go along with the political and economic status quo and go along to get along.
That is why, despite the fact that the government should be of, by and for the people, ensure justice for all, and promote the general welfare, government is instead of, by and for the wealthiest few, and it ensures that they keep getting richer regardless of how the consequences of that negatively impact the majority of people in the nation, its infrastructure and environment, and even the world.
It was not this way when the progressive Democratic ideals of President Roosevelt's New Deal saved the country and ultimately made it and its middle class great. But the seeds of change were planted by a conspiracy that began in the 1950s by very wealthy right-wing extremists that were dead set on destroying the great legacy of Roosevelt's New Deal.
Those extremists, much like right-wing extremists today, labeled Roosevelt's New Deal as "socialist tyranny," despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans loved Roosevelt and were very grateful for the New Deal.
In fact, it was because the great majority of Americans loved Roosevelt that right-wing extremists pretended that their agenda was about something else. They knew it would not be popular to speak against Roosevelt or his New Deal, because he was so loved by most Americans. Therefore, the agenda of the right-wing extremism of the John Birch Society, and also of "McCarthyism," was to start the second "red scare" and accuse liberal progressives of being "socialists" and "communists" -- simply because they were advocates for social justice and spoke up for the working poor, the elderly, the disabled, and the poor.
If that sounds familiar, it's because that is exactly what right-wing extremists like the Tea Party have been doing increasingly since 2009, falsely accusing progressives of being "socialists" and "communists." That was the tactic used by the John Birch Society, the McCarthyites and other extreme right-wing Republicans, especially in the 1950s but also many times ever since and even recently and currently by right-wing Republicans, Libertarians and "Tea Party" zealots, especially since President Obama was elected.
By the way, regarding the John Birch Society (JBS), most Americans now know little of nothing about it. But it's interesting to note evidence from a JBS insider who has helped to confirm that the Libertarian Party and today's Tea Party are both just a repackaging of the John Birch Society.
The insider is Claire Connor, a 68 year old daughter of an early national John Birch Society operative who also sat on its executive council in the 1950s and '60s. Ms. Connor’s book is Wrapped in the Flag: A Personal History of America's Radical Right. (There has since been an article in The Nation titled Growing Up in the John Birch Society, but the article isn't as revealing as the book.)
Among many other things the book reveals that Fred Koch was one of the JBS founders, and Fred was the father of Charles Koch and David Koch, two of the most powerful and infamous Billionaires in America today who fund and support extreme right-wing campaigns and causes.
What is also revealing is that many of the book's reviews were written by recovering adults who as children were raised within the JBS culture, and they too clearly state and warn us that both the Libertarian Party and the Tea Party closely resemble the John Birch Society teachings that were imposed on them as children by their parents.
Those who have researched the JBS and its impact during the last 60 years have learned that in the late 1960s and early 1970s very wealthy John Birch Society (JBS) leaders went to “Plan B” because the name John Birch had become synonymous with ultra-right extremism. Their Plan B first became the Libertarian Party, and then, during the second term of the Bush Regime and especially after Barack Obama became president, they used the name “Tea Party,” obviously to make it seem as if they were patriots staging a righteous rebellion against a "tyrannical socialist" government. Same old tactics. But this time there was a new twist and new tactics as well.
Most Americans don't know it, but the driving force behind the Libertarian Party and the Tea Party is Multi-Billionaire Charles Koch, and most of the Tea Party protests and demonstrations between 2009 and 2012 were a funded and orchestrated by Koch, operating through the the Koch brothers' organization called the "Americans for Prosperity Foundation,” which they had founded in 2005.
Recognizing that most Americans saw that the Bush administration had created a disaster, the Koch Brothers prepared for the election of a progressive Democrat. Having more than $100 Billion between them to work with, they had been working hard behind the scenes since 2005 to create a network of right-wing politicians and political operatives, and the Tea Party demonstrations we saw were the result. For it was not a “grass roots” movement, but one that was carefully concocted and incited by misleading, deceptive, right-wing corporate propaganda. (See The Tea Party: Christian Patriots? Or Billionaires' Right Arm?)
However, the Tea Party is just one aspect of the Koch's political action, which is widespread and wide reaching, including such purportedly "non-partisan" organizations as the Libertarian Cato Institute, The Heritage Foundation, "Citizens for a Sound Economy," and the "Americans for Prosperity Foundation.”
It is all part of a concerted and vast right-wing conspiracy that had expediently adopted modern aspects and tactics, and one of the motivating ideologies was the old Hamiltonian idea that was somewhat expressed by the McCarthyites but later emphasized by the Reaganites. That ideology was and still is that the wealthiest few in the “upper” class who profess to be patriotic Christians deserve to rule in a "Christian Meritocracy," and that lower classes and the poor simply deserve their lot because are "lazy and lacked faith," as Ronald Reagan claimed so many times.
That idea, as is discussed thoroughly in other articles (like Poverty: America's Greatest Shame and Ronald Reagan's Real Legacy), is essentially based on a couple of sentences from the New Testament of the Christian Bible. And even though those sentences are taken out of context and misinterpreted, they have been used by many of the rich to justify themselves and the right-wing partisan politicians in America who do their bidding.
Granted, it is true, as the saying goes, that "God helps those who help themselves." However, it is not true that Jesus said that the rich deserve more and the poor deserve less. In fact, he said the poor are blessed and the souls of the rich are in jeopardy. And the Founders of the United States of America said that government should "promote the general welfare" in order to ensure domestic tranquility and justice for all.
But, in spite of the truth, wealthy Reaganites have been enabled by Reaganism to proudly claim they are both "patriotic and religious." That’s why the Christian Dominionist movement led by the “Christian Right” that rose to political power with Ronald Reagan has been an integral part of the right-wing conspiracy.
Ronald Reagan would have never been able to establish the Reaganite “Gospel of Prosperity” without the help and support of the leaders of the Christian Right, like Southern televangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. They enabled Reagan to appear as if he was being Christian by claiming that the rich are blessed and the poor deserve to be poor. But that not only ignored the Founders of America in their intention for government to promote the general welfare. It actually turned Christianity up-side-down.
However, that issue need not be discussed in this article, because it has been thoroughly discussed in other articles such as Why the “Religious Right” Is Wrong, About Christianity, Poverty: America’s Greatest Shame, and Ronald Reagan’s Real Legacy.
Here it should be said that there is nothing wrong with being rich, and being wealthy is great -- if that wealth is earned fairly by producing something that is for the benefit of humanity. Therefore, the problem is not wealth. The problem is greed, corruption and selfishness, which have become rampant. And the amazing irony is that some of the greediest and most selfish people actually believe they are patriotic and religious, and many of them think they are doing the "right" thing.
However, greed and selfishness are wrong. And those who are greedy and motivated by self-interest to the detriment of others unwittingly perpetuate the same false doctrines that have made "Christian" emperors, monarchs and aristocrats extremely rich at the expense of the vast majority since the fourth century.
Even though the vast right-wing conspiracy actually started many centuries ago, here we are talking about the one that began in the 1950s. And it is particularly significant because it mainly targeted the regulations, reforms and New Deal programs (like Social Security) established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s -- programs that were actually Christian in intent and scope.
Of course, the right-wing forces have have targeted other, related programs and organization as well, which is why, for example, they have fought hard to get rid of organized labor unions and tried to destroy all efforts at collective bargaining. You see, many wealthy industrialists and corporate executives believed and still believe that workers should be grateful to their superiors who "gave" them jobs, and be content with their wages as determined by the company. That is the aristocratic mind set of the wealthy who think they are entitled to rule.
But the conspiracy was comprehensive and wide reaching. Therefore, some other related goals were to eliminate government regulation of banks and corporations, cut or eliminate government human services, and try to destroy the idea that government should "promote the general welfare" (even though, again, that is what America's Founders intended).
In spite of the fact that it was Roosevelt's New Deal and labor unions that saved America from the Great Depression and made America and its middle class great, those who began the right-wing conspiracy saw those things as being against the interests of the “greatest” Americans -- that is, rich Americans who believed their great wealth made them great.
Consequently, in the 1950s, mostly due to the slanderous activities of Senators Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon, along with their "red-baiting" Hollywood cohort Ronald Reagan, they succeeded in silencing and even destroying the lives of many progressives and New Deal Democrats.
In the 1960s, though, most Americans realized the evils of McCarthyism, along with many other related evils. Thus it was difficult for the greediest of the richest Americans to carry out their agenda in the 1960s, since there was a very active “New Left” hard at work trying to establish worker’s rights, civil rights, women’s rights, peace, and justice.
However, by 1979, the greediest of the giant corporations and the wealthiest few found their champion – Ronald Reagan – and because executives at General Electric corporation had groomed him well as a very charming television pitch man and political activist, and because they had planned very effective organizations to execute their agenda, Reaganism has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.
Most Americans have never heard of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, but it is the most financially powerful and influential corporate-funded political force in America. And ALEC, like The Federalist Society – two of the largest and most influential right-wing organizations in America – were founded by Reaganites.
Such organizations grew from the same roots nourished and cultivated in the 1980s by Reaganism, and, again, those roots grew from the seeds planted originally in the 1950s by the John Birch Society, which spawned Libertarianism and McCarthyism. (Sorry to be redundant, but that point should be emphasized.)
One of the main founders of ALEC was Paul Weyrich, who gained prominence in the early 1980s as a Reaganite on the “Religious Right.” Weyrich was a Fundamentalist Christian Dominionist who believed that only well-to-do Christians deserved to rule and govern --- which is thinking on the lines of the banker Alexander Hamilton's idea of a "Christian Meritocracy," the idea to which Ronald Reagan also subscribed even though it is not actually a Christian idea but one established by hypocrites who serve Mammon and only claim to serve God.
Weyrich was a vehement partisan political activist. He also co-founded the “Heritage Foundation” (along with Charles Koch) and the “Free Congress Foundation,” both of which are right-wing conservative think tanks that are not only closely aligned with ALEC, but with many other right-wing organizations like the Libertarian Cato Institute, the Hoover Institution, the Federalist Society, and others with similar right-wing ideological agendas.
Ronald Reagan enthusiastically endorsed ALEC, and most of its members are Reaganites. But members of ALEC would like us to believe it is a “nonpartisan public-private partnership,” and that is what its members like to think it is. However, the truth is that it is actually a national consortium of state and federal politicians and powerful corporations that support them, and it has built a vast network of corporate lobbying and right-wing political action groups, all of which aim to increase corporate profits at public expense without public knowledge.
The great investigative journalist Bill Moyers and Company has produced a very informative documentary on The United States of ALEC, as well as a June 21, 2013 followup, expansion and update of that great video story. It reveals numerous further examples of corporate influence on state legislation and lawmakers. It exposes ALEC’s huge corporate agenda that favors the wealthiest few and their corporations to our detriment, and reveals the emerging public concern and protest against ALEC’s agenda, and the expanding internal tactics ALEC is using to further hide its actions and intentions from the public rather than address public concerns.
Thank God for Bill Moyers and Company, because they are good Christians, moderate progressives and true and honest investigative journalists providing much need information. For the public needs to know that the ALEC network wants to operate without the public knowing about it, because it operates mainly to influence and even create legislation in state governments all over the country.
ALEC creates hundreds of boilerplate pieces of legislation that are proposed, and often enacted, that are designed to dilute collective bargaining rights, make it more difficult for poor and low income Americans to vote, limit corporate liability for harm caused to consumers, and decrease corporate regulations. And it’s all done without public knowledge of who’s behind it.
That is undemocratic. It smacks of greed-driven conspiracy behind closed doors, and of influence peddling and bribery of legislators. It is simply wrong. People should know where their laws originate, and why. And Americans elected legislators to legislate. Our legislators are not supposed to be paid stooges and puppets who introduce and pass bills of legislation that actually came from a national corporate-funded and corporate driven organization that wrote, voted on and approved the bills because they stand to profit by their passage. That is not fair or democratic, and it is not acceptable.
The problem is that most Americans don’t even know about ALEC, just as they don’t know about many other clandestine right-wing organizations that subvert democracy, equity and justice.
For example, most Americans don’t know about the right-wing American Action Network (ANN), which has paid for much of the slanderous, misleading and often false attack ads on television against Democrats in all the elections that have taken place since the right-wing dominated U.S. Supreme Court enabled the ultra wealthy and their corporations to spend more money than ever influencing elections. That suited ANN’s board perfectly, because like ALEC, ANN is run by right-wing Republican politicians and Millionaire and Billionaire businessmen, corporate executives, industrialists and financiers who believe their wealth entitles them to rule.
They’ve been able to do that since January 2010 when in deciding the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, the right-wing dominated U. S. Supreme Court ruled (in a 5 to 4 decision) that the 2002 the McCain–Feingold Campaign Reform Act was unconstitutional and that wealthy people and corporations could spend as much money as they wanted on political campaigns and political ads on television. That’s why Republicans won the House in the 2010 election, and it's why since 2010 we’ve been barraged by attack ads, most of which have been bought by right-wing groups like ANN and the billionaire Koch brothers’ “Citizens for a Sound Economy” and the "Americans for Prosperity Foundation.”
After the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court case was ruled in favor of the wealthy, The American Action Network (AAN) was quickly formed in 2010 by Fred Malek and Norm Coleman, and it is associated with its sister organization, the American Action Forum (AAF), run by former Congressional Budget Office director Doug Holtz-Eakin. AAN officials also run the Congressional Leadership Fund Super PAC (Political Action Committee), which was formed in 2011 and is dedicated to maintaining a House Republican majority. Speaker of the House John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, representative Pete Sessions from Texas, Fred Malek, Norm Coleman, Brian Walsh and former representative Tom Reynolds are all heavily involved.
The forces behind right-wing organizations like ALEC, ANN and the Koch's Citizens for a Sound Economy and Americans for Prosperity Foundation have virtually won their war against the New Deal, the middle class, the working poor, labor organizers, and labor unions. And, consequently, money rules in America more than ever before.
Furthermore, while they have taken over the political and legislative systems, The Federalist Society has effectively ensured that the judicial system serves their interests as well.
Why have they been able to get away with this?
The answer is simple. Average working Americans do not have the financial resources or the time to organize in such ways, but the super rich do. And most politicians in Washington, D.C. enjoy the support and favors of the super rich, and are obliged to please them.
Not many Americans know about The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, but they should because it is actually one of the most powerful parts of the power base of the right-wing neo-conservative movement in America. And it too was established, not coincidentally, shortly after Ronald Reagan and the Reaganite Neo-Conservatives and the “Religious Right” rose to political power in 1981.
The Federalist Society is an organization with membership that includes politicians, attorneys, judges and law school faculty members and students of like mind regarding the legal system. They claim to be experts on the U.S. Constitution, and they claim that “the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be.”
That assertion is problematic, though, because the judiciary is supposed to interpret the Constitution and the law, and lawyers and judges can and do differ in their interpretations. The divided U.S. Supreme Court is an example of that, and it is not by coincidence that four right-wing justices on the Court (Scalia, Roberts, Thomas and Alito) are Federalist Society members who believe they “know what the law is.”
That has led to many abuses of power, and there is a growing number of examples of that. One significant example involves the National Security Agency (NSA), which has come under fire for its overzealous spying and wire tapping. That has become a problem because the eleven member Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, was created by Congress in 1978 as a check against federal government wire tapping abuses. And, unfortunately, the FISA law stipulates that the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court has the exclusive power to appoint all FISA court members. Thus, over time and because of right-wing Republican chief justices and certain changes in legislation, the FISA court has become merely a rubber stamp for the NSA at the expense of American civil liberties and freedoms.
That is one of many reasons why the judiciary should be non-partisan, impartial, objective and fair, which is why “Justice” is often symbolized by a blindfolded woman with the scales of justice in her hand. But, contrary to that principle and ideal, the Federalist Society has made their assertions specifically to counter more impartial progressive interpretations of the Constitution, and they assume that their point of view is “right” and that progressive points of view merely reflect unrealistic, wishful thinking about what the law “should be.”
What that demonstrates is sheer arrogance on the part of right-wing Federalist Society members.
Now, it shouldn’t be surprising that the modern Federalist Society takes its name from The Federalist, a late 18th Century publication of Alexander Hamilton, who was a banker, the first Secretary of the Treasury, a major writer of “The Federalists Papers,” and essentially the leader of the early Federalist Party.
Hamilton’s writings submitted a right-wing interpretation of the U.S. Constitution that has been cited ever since by Republicans. But, the Federalist Papers are in part bi-partisan, because one of the two other Founders who wrote some of them, James Madison, was a moderate progressive. And even though Madison agreed with Hamilton on some things, we should realize the deep ideological differences in their thinking and opinions on crucial matters.
James Madison was a not only a moderate progressive. He was very liberal in some ways. In fact, Madison was an ally and protege of Thomas Jefferson, perhaps the most progressive Founding Father. Jefferson had been sharply opposed by Alexander Hamilton since they were in the cabinet of the first President, George Washington. Jefferson was the first Secretary of State and Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury, and their conflict and rivalry was well known. In fact, because Thomas Jefferson was very much against Hamilton’s right-wing beliefs, Jefferson and Madison formed the Democratic Republican Party to counter Hamilton’s Federalist Party.
John Jay was the third author of some of the Federalist Papers. He was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and he and Alexander Hamilton were both what we would call right-wing conservatives. And they were not much different from their modern counterparts.
Basically, to reiterate, Hamilton believed that the U.S. should be a “Christian Meritocracy,” and that if a person was a rich Christian they deserved to rule. And John Jay said: “Providence has given our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
You see, that's where Libertarians and Tea Party politicians get that idea.
However, they conveniently ignore the fact that such an idea violates Article 6 of the Constitution, as well as the First Amendment, but that didn't bother Jay. Furthermore, John Jay also said that: “The people who own the country ought to govern it.”
Sounds familiar today, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, while that sounds great to Reaganites today who would like to believe they are “Patriotic Christians,” Hamilton’s and Jay’s interpretation and definition of the Constitution in that regard was in violation of the most essential teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, in violation of the intent of most of the Founding Fathers, and in violation of both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution.
In the first place, even the Federalist John Adams wrote: “Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men. Therefore the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity and happiness require.”
Secondly, Article 6 of the Constitution states that there must be no religious test or requirement for office), and the First Amendment states there shall be no law concerning the establishment of religion. And that was clarified very clearly by Thomas Jefferson, who wrote that the freedom of religion clause in the Constitution was to “build a wall of separation between church and state.”
Most of the other Founders and Framers of the Constitution agreed with Jefferson about that (and much later during the 1940s the U.S. Supreme Court officially agreed). And most of the other Founders agreed with Jefferson that the Hamiltonian Federalists were "Royalists" akin to those of the British Empire, because they advocated and supported theocratic, aristocratic rule of "Christian Nobility."
The fact is that Jeffersonian ideals and principles of democracy, religious freedom and pluralism were the ideals America was actually built upon and around.
And that, in fact, is why later Republican President Abraham Lincoln said: "The principles of Jefferson are the axioms of a free society."
Unfortunately for us, Reaganite Republicans and Libertarians disagree. Since 1982 many Reaganites on the “Religious Right” have taken the Hamiltonian Federalist view. And that has been disastrous because the modern Federalist Society has increasingly over the last 30 years been using the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government to rig the political economic judicial system so that it serves the interests of the wealthiest few. For after all, in addition to certain U.S. Supreme Court members, many members of Congress, state legislatures and state and federal judiciaries are members of the Federalist Society.
Many of them are Christian Dominionists on the “Religious Right,” which selects isolated words, phrases and statements from the Bible to justify their hypocritical, prideful boasting, bigotry and theocratic political crusade for worldly power. And the Federalist Society selects isolated words, phrases and statements of certain Founders and Framers of the Constitution to justify their "conservative" right-wing ideology and agenda.
However, they simply ignore the full context, the spirit of the law and essential facts, and they misunderstand the testimony, messages, proposals and declarations that were intended for the benefit of all of us – not just the wealthiest few.
Their Laissez Faire right-wing political ideology wrongly assumes that the wealthiest few and their large banks, businesses, corporations and insurance companies will operate honestly, ethically and fairly. But, the truth is that, given free rein, they usually do not actually earn their income honestly and fairly. Furthermore, private charitable organizations cannot possibly provide all the help that is needed.
This truth has been painfully evident many times, especially between 1920 and 1931, and increasingly again during the last 30 years. It has been proven that it is simply not true that if you legislate to enable the rich get richer, what’s good for them will be good for everyone. That has always been a false, misleading claim, just as it has been since 1980 when Ronald Reagan began to gain power by making that claim.
That’s why the rich have gotten so much richer, the middle class has shrunk, the working poor population has grown, and poverty, hunger and homelessness increased.
Even though the mainstream commercial media in America would appear oblivious to it, some people in America realize what has happened and is happening in this regard. Some are even calling it the rise of a "Neo-Confederacy," or a "New Dixie Movement."
It was revived in the 1970s with a defiant Southern reaction to the widespread criticism of racism and apartheid in the South. That criticism was perhaps best summed up in the great protest song, Southern Man, sung by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in 1971. And perhaps the best known defiant reaction to the criticism was a song called Sweet Home Alabama, sung by a Southern rock band in response, as they proudly and defiantly displayed the Confederate flag.
The "Southern Pride" movement grew from that, and for more than three decades it has developed and expanded into a widespread right-wing "conservative" movement that is anti-government and even anti-Democracy, as you will see in this article. But for now, let's look at what others are saying about it.
Here is now the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) defines Neo-Confederacy:
“The term neo-Confederacy is used to describe twentieth and twenty-first century revivals of pro-Confederate sentiment in the United States. Strongly nativist and advocating measures to end immigration, neo-Confederacy claims to pursue Christianity and heritage and other supposedly fundamental values that modern Americans are seen to have abandoned.
“Neo-Confederacy also incorporates advocacy of traditional gender roles, is hostile towards democracy, strongly opposes homosexuality, and exhibits an understanding of race that favors segregation and suggests white supremacy. In many cases, neo-Confederates are openly secessionist.
“Neo-Confederacy has applied to groups including the United Daughters of the Confederacy of the 1920s and those resisting racial integration in the 1950s and 1960s. In its most recent iteration, Neo-Confederacy is used by both proponents and critics to describe a belief system that has emerged since the early-1980s in publications like Southern Partisan, Chronicles, and Southern Mercury, and in organizations including the League of the South, the Council of Conservative Citizens and the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Overall, it is a reactionary conservative ideology that has made inroads into the Republican Party from the political right, and overlaps with the views of white nationalists and other more radical extremist groups.”
In Neo-Confederacy: A Critical Introduction, edited by Euan Hague, Heidi Beirich, and Edward H. Sebesta, the following is expressed:
“An interdisciplinary team examines the mainstreaming of the New Dixie movement, whose calls range from full secession to the racist exaltation of ‘Celtic’ Americans and whose advocates can be found far north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
“A century and a half after the conclusion of the Civil War, the legacy of the Confederate States of America continues to influence national politics in profound ways. Drawing on magazines such as Southern Partisan and publications from the secessionist organization League of the South, as well as DixieNet and additional newsletters and web sites, Neo-Confederacy probes the veneer of this movement to reveal goals far more extensive than a mere celebration of ancestry.
“Incorporating groundbreaking essays on the Neo-Confederacy movement, this eye-opening work encompasses such topics as literature and music; the ethnic and cultural claims of white, Anglo-Celtic southerners; gender and sexuality; the origins and development of the movement and its tenets; and ultimately its nationalization into a far-reaching factor in reactionary conservative politics. The first book-length study of this powerful sociological phenomenon, Neo-Confederacy raises crucial questions about the mainstreaming of an ideology that, founded on notions of white supremacy, has made curiously strong inroads throughout the realms of sexist, homophobic, anti-immigrant, and often ‘orthodox’ Christian populations that would otherwise have no affiliation with the regionality or heritage traditionally associated with Confederate history.”
Leading Neo-Confederate organizations like the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) and the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) claim, when speaking in public, that their activities are about Southern heritage and are purely historical in nature, and they deny that they have a long term agenda designed to further the bigoted and partisan political cause of the Neo-Confederacy.
There are, however, more blatantly racist Neo-Confederate groups like The Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), which is modern version of the old White Citizens Councils that were formed in the 1950s to battle school integration programs and perpetuate racial segregation and apartheid. In fact, it was the CCC that influenced the white supremacist and avowed Neo-Confederate terrorist Dylann Roof, who committed the mass murder of black people in the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, 2015.
It should also be noted that the following verbal battle over the flying of the old Confederate flag on state capital grounds was very telling, because while Neo-Confederates who insisted that the Confederate flag was flown to honor the Southern veterans of the Civil War, the truth is that the display of the Confederate flag on state capital grounds began in the 1950s as a reaction to the Civil Rights movement and school integration. It was displayed deliberately as a bigoted, racist gesture and symbol.
However, perhaps the most ominous thing is that the leaders of the Neo-Confederacy are usually rather sneaky about their real agenda. In fact, they use tactics that are deceptive, designed to create a distorted, slanted view of history to mislead people about the intent of America’s Founders.
One of the earlier example of that was when right-wing televangelist Pat Robertson claimed the America's Founders did not intend to establish separation of church and state. Even though facts, history and Article 6 and the First Amendment of the Constitution prove Robertson wrong, he insisted that the idea was a "lie of the Left."
Another example is Texas televangelist David Barton, a “Christian” Dominionist and a darling of the Tea Party, and he operates bus tours of government buildings in Washington, D.C. During his tours he distorts and puts a misleading right-wing spin on his narrative to create a revisionist history and give a false impression.
Another example is a leading Neo-Confederate, Thomas Woods, who wrote a book titled The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, and it was a bestseller because many gullible Americans do no know real history and are believing in the concocted, deceptive version that is being sold by Neo-Confederates because their goal is to mold mainstream consciousness to fit in with the right-wing extremist conservative movement.
So, America needs to awaken to what's been going on, because those and many other examples are indicators that the Neo-Confederate movement is part of the much wider conspiracy.
(Continued in Part 2,), which discusses the Great Depression, Roosevelt's New Deal, Reaganism, the Bush years, The Project for a New American Century (PNAC), Libertarianism, and "Groundswell.")