Class Warfare in 2012. Ho, Ho, Ho
by Gary North: Means-Testing
Your Social Security Payments
are filled with stories claiming that the Obama vs. Romney race
is all about class warfare. I have my doubts. Here is why.
and Frederick Engels, in their then-anonymous tract, The
Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), began chapter 1
with these words: "The history of all hitherto existing society
is the history of class struggles."
be hard-pressed to find any theory of history more wrong-headed
than this one.
To prove their
case, they should have defined "class." They never did. In the unpublished
third volume of Das
Kapital, Marx wrote this: "The first question to he answered
is this: What constitutes a class?" I see. The first
question. This appears in Chapter 52. Three paragraphs later, the
manuscript broke off.
This was written
around 1865. He died in 1883. He never wrote another book. It appeared
in 1895. Engels edited it. It would have helped if Marx had told
us what a class is. In The Manifesto, he followed sentence
one with this:
and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and
journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant
opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden,
now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary
reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the
I see. And
what of these conflicts: racial, religious, linguistic, tribal,
and geographical? Nothing to them, Marx said. Illusions. They are
nothing more than conflicts over the social superstructure. The
mode of production: that is what counts. Always. Just find out the
answer to this: Who owns the tools of production? Then you will
be able to know who the players are in world history.
was the wave of the future, according to Marx? The conflict between
the proletarians and the capitalists. The proletarian revolution
will overthrow the rule of capitalists forever, he said.
is the factory laborer. What percentage of the American work force
is involved in manufacturing? About 10%. It
was 30% in 1950. About 83% were involved in services in 2007.
Karl. Thanks for playing. Thanks for all those slogans: "class struggle,"
"revolutions are the locomotives of history," "the mode of production,"
and "cash nexus." Great stuff! Any proletarian in the West can search
for them on Google. He will not be disappointed.
December 31, 1991, the day the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
disbanded and abolished the Soviet Union, Communists and Marxists
were taken seriously by Western scholars as legitimate participants
in academic discussion. On New Years Day, 1992, the entire academic
world dropped Marxism into the ash can of history, to use the convenient
phrase of Trotsky/Bernstein. What a difference a day makes. Eggheads
respect power. When the Commies lost power, the eggheads abandoned
Vladimir. Thanks for playing. Thanks for causing 100 million deaths
as a direct result of Marx's theory of history. Thanks also for
Hitler. Without you, Hitler would have been an unemployed former
Google for "Obama, Romney, and "class warfare." I
got over 1,000,000 hits.
old slogans live on long after they have ceased to be relevant.
That's what gives us columnists fodder for our digital cannons.
liked this from The Daily Beast, better known as the
dying beast. It is what remains of Newsweek. We are told
that Republicans have long played the class warfare card.
Nixon seethed with class anger. "What starts the process really
are laughs and slights and snubs when you are a kid," he confided
to a friend. "Sometimes it's because you're poor or Irish or Jewish
or Catholic or ugly or simply that you are skinny. But if you are
reasonably intelligent and if your anger is deep enough and strong
enough, you learn that you can change those attitudes by excellence,
personal gut performance, while those who have everything are sitting
on their fat butts."
again. Where is the class anger? He was talking about opportunity
and personal performance. He was talking about an economic system
that let a lower-middle-class boy like Nixon earn a B.A. degree
from the elitist private school Whittier College and a law degree
from Duke University. It's about those on the bottom as kids being
able to climb to the top. Its about social resentment, not class
warfare. It's the kid who was pushed around getting even.
probably motivated Nixon to get even with his many enemies until
they finally got him. The same resentment motivated Lyndon Johnson.
How he hated Bobby Kennedy and his Harvard cohorts! He did not hate
Republicans with anything like this hatred. The Republicans could
not beat him in 1964. Goldwater and he were both rich. He did not
despise Goldwater. His hatred of Bobby was social envy, not class
warfare. Bobby went to Harvard. Johnson went to Southwest Texas
State Teachers' College.
there are the more recent examples. In 1988, George H.W. Bush accused
Michael Dukakis of having learned his views in "Harvard Yard's boutique,"
a bastion of "liberalism and elitism."
Let me add
a single word. This word will help us to understand the nature of
class warfare in American presidential politics.
there are the more recent examples. In 1988, George H.W. Bush, Yale,
accused Michael Dukakis of having learned his views in "Harvard
Yard's boutique," a bastion of "liberalism and elitism."
Here, my friends,
is a serious rivalry: Harvard vs. Yale. It goes back over 300 years.
Think of the election of 1912: Teddy Roosevelt (Harvard, Porcellian
Club) vs. William Howard Taft (Yale, Skull & Bones) vs. Woodrow
Wilson (Johns Hopkins). Wilson was the outsider. Princeton came
Here was the
"deep proletarian issue" of Wilson's career. He had resigned as
president of Princeton College after he lost a crucial battle
the first loss in his academic career and the last until the debate
over the League of Nations. He had tried to abolish the eating clubs
(elitist) and replace them with common dining halls. He never forgave
the elitists. He quit to run for governor of New Jersey in 1910.
Yes, I see!
A man of the people! The proletarians' representative!
inter-campus rivalry in recent years. There was a breather in 1992:
Bush (Yale) vs. Clinton (Yale Law School). Then came 2000. It heated
up again: Gore (Harvard) vs. Bush, Jr. (Yale). But this was not
a full-scale confrontation. Bush also went to Harvard Business School.
Then, the nation got another breather. It was John Kerry, Yale (Skull
& Bones) vs. Bush, Yale (Skull & Bones). In 2008, an outsider entered
the fray: McCain (Annapolis). He battled Obama (Harvard Law). Today,
Yale is on the outs. It's Harvard Law vs. Harvard Law, plus Harvard
MBA (Romney earned both in one shot).
J.D., vs. Dr. Romney, J.D., MBA. Class warfare. Yes. I read it in
The Daily Beast.
the world, unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains."
ENDLESS BATTLE: CFR TEAM A VS. CFR TEAM B
Back in 1976,
an insightful author named Susan Huck wrote an article for American
Opinion, the monthly magazine of the John Birch Society. She
was commenting on the supposedly titanic presidential struggle between
Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. She described it as a battle between
CFR Team A and CFR Team B. I have used that designation ever since.
This is one of the most profound insights into 20th-century American
politics that anyone has ever written. I can think of no textbook,
no sophisticated statistical study, that comes closer to what is
really involved every four years, when the Republican Party and
the Democratic Party battle for control of the White House.
the statement by Carter's right-hand man, Hamilton Jordan (pronounced
after the inauguration, you find a Cy Vance as secretary of state
and Zbigniew Brzezinski as head of national security, then I would
say we failed. And I'd quit.'"
We find this
statement quoted over and over. It was a classic statement, and
it was made even more classic by the fact that it happened, and
Jordan did not quit. It was almost a perfect forecast of what was
about to happen, and he did not see the irony after it happened
of what had just happened. He had called it perfectly, and he said
it would be a complete betrayal of what they had been involved in,
and when the betrayal was complete, he did not quit.
He was unbelievably
naïve. He believed all the rhetoric of Carter's populism. He
did not understand what it meant when Carter was brought into the
Trilateral Commission by David Rockefeller in the first year it
began, 1973. That was three years before the election. Carter was
the hand-picked man of David Rockefeller, and Jordan was simply
a convenient technician hired by Carter to get him elected.
A major Establishment
book on the control of American foreign-policy by the Council on
Foreign Relations, The
Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (1986), was
written by Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas. Isaacson graduated from
Harvard in 1974. In 1996, Isaacson became senior editor of Time
magazine. He became chairman and CEO of CNN in 2001, and then president
and CEO of the Aspen Institute in 2003. An insider? You had better
believe it. He is the author of the best-selling biography of Steve
Jobs. Thomas ever since 1991 has been the assistant managing editor
at Newsweek. He formerly worked for Time. He teaches
journalism at Princeton. An insider? You had better believe it.
Let me show
you how these two shrugged off Jordan's statement a decade later.
fact that Carter hired both men and the Jordan did not quit
was held out of the time as evidence that the Eastern Establishment
was alive, well, and still indispensable. But in fact the selection
of Brzezinski and Vance showed precisely the opposite. Brzezinski
and Vance were only superficially similar. True, they were both
members of the Trilateral Commission, David Rockefeller's elite
international meeting group, and regulars at the Council on Foreign
Relations. But, in fact, they couldn't have been more different
This is the
heart, mind, and soul of the magnificent deception that has been
going on in the United States ever since the election of 1932. The
textbooks never tell you that, before he was elected Governor of
New York in 1928, Franklin Roosevelt had worked on projects with
Herbert Hoover. They knew each other personally. Yet if you look
at the major biographies of Roosevelt, this period of his life,
when he was a corporate bond salesman for Wall Street, is conveniently
been only two major presidential elections since 1932 that did not
conform to this Punch and Judy arrangement. One was in 1964, when
Goldwater was able to get the Republican nomination, and the Eastern
Republican Establishment literally walked out of the convention,
and then spent the rest of the summer torpedoing Goldwater's campaign.
The other exception, which was only a partial exception, was Reagan's
election in 1980. His new Chief of Staff was James Baker III. Baker,
then as now, was one of the chief advisors to George H. W. Bush.
The Reagan administration was run by Bush's men, with only a few
exceptions, for all eight years. Then Bush replaced him.
people, decade after decade, generation after generation, are persuaded
that presidential elections are fought over fundamental differences
regarding the way the world works and the way the world ought to
work. Yet every newly inaugurated President brings in his senior
advisers, most of whom are men recruited by the Council on Foreign
Relations, and some have been trained in the Trilateral Commission.
This never gets any attention by the media, because the media at
the top are run by members of the Council on Foreign Relations and
the Trilateral Commission.
Republican conservative is aware of none of this. He perhaps has
heard a hint or two about it, but he has never spent any time reading
the literature that has been produced by conservatives regarding
this arrangement ever since the publication of Dan Smoot's book
in 1960, The
Invisible Government. The importance of the Skull and Bones
connection goes back to the mid-nineteenth century. How is it that
an organization that only takes 15 members a year has elected three
Presidents, and would have elected a fourth in 2004 if John Kerry
I find it
very difficult to believe class warfare in United States had its
incarnation in the election of 2004. Somehow, the thought of the
proletarian masses going to the barricades after the defeat of John
Kerry by George W. Bush is a difficult image for me to picture.
First of all, there are no proletarian masses. Second, I don't think
anybody in Skull and Bones represents them. I don't think anybody
at the Harvard Law School represents them.
What I do
believe is that there are factions within the American political
establishment, just as there are within any establishment. I think
they sort out over such issues as Saudi Arabian oil versus the foreign
policy of the state of Israel. I think this division has been going
on since at least 1948. The big banks and big oil are in cahoots
together, because that is where the money is. But the question of
the sovereignty of the state of Israel is nevertheless an important
foreign-policy question, and so there is a constant trade-off between
the special interests of the two factions.
certainly conflict between Republicans and Democrats. Each side
wants to get its share of the booty after each election. But the
nation is almost evenly divided, as never before in its history.
We have a situation in which the Democrats won the presidency for
two terms under Clinton, and the Republicans won the presidency
for two terms under George W. Bush. This has never happened before
in American history. No two-term President has ever been followed
by another two-term President of the rival political party. If Obama
wins, he will be a two-term President of a rival political party
following the previous two-term President. The voters seem is divided
as Team A and Team B of the Council on Foreign Relations.
At the margin,
one group or the other gets some benefits. One group or the other
gets to preside over a giant federal bureaucracy in which virtually
all of the employees are protected by Civil Service legislation,
so no President has the power firing more than a few hundred of
No one is
talking about the unfunded liabilities of the United States government,
which are now in the range of $222 trillion. Nobody is talking about
closing Guantanamo Bay prison, even though Obama promised that he
would when he ran back in 2008. Nobody is talking about an immediate
withdrawal of troops out of Afghanistan.
where is the great debate? It isn't about Medicare, Social Security,
Afghanistan, the war on terror, Federal Reserve policy, a Federal
Reserve audit, immigration, tax policy, or even the extension of
the Bush tax cuts. Where exactly is the great ideological battlefield
on which class warfare is being conducted?
a time when people ought to face reality. I realize that, for the
vast majority of Americans, such a time has not yet arrived. It
arrived for me no later than 1968.
I voted for
Richard Nixon in 1968 for only one reason: to get even with the
mainstream media for their defense of Soviet spy Alger Hiss, and
their tarring and feathering of Nixon as late as 1962 for being
the politician, more than any other, who got Hiss convicted of perjury
for his lying denial of having committed espionage for the Soviet
Union. I figured revenge is a legitimate political motivation, so
I voted for Nixon. That was the last time I voted for either CFR
Team A or CFR Team B.
North [send him mail]
is the author of Mises
on Money. Visit http://www.garynorth.com.
He is also the author of a free 31-volume series, An
Economic Commentary on the Bible.
2012 Gary North
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