Think Tanks and The Right

GatekeepersThe Ron Paul Phenomenon is Not Dead! Part 4 of 4

Perhaps someday someone without an ideological ax to grind will take it upon themselves to draw up a “right gate keepers” chart similar to the left gate keeper chart now available through internet archives.1 In the meantime and because it is so central to understanding the larger and more far reaching implications of the Ron Paul Phenomenon, we can connect some dots ourselves.

We start with William Volcker, considered to be the true “father” of classical liberalism, libertarianism and modern conservatism. In 1932, the ultra-wealthy Volcker created the William Volcker Fund as a charitable foundation whose mission it was to subsidize the promotion and dissemination of “free market” economics ideas.

Establishing a pattern that would later become the hallmark of similar foundations, the Volcker Fund “started to spin-off organizations by the boatload, each intended, not just to serve specific purposes but to give the appearance of many ‘independent’ efforts spawned by a ‘mass’ appeal.”2 Among the first of these spin-offs were complimentary institutions including the Earhart Foundation and the Reim Foundation as well as think tanks such as the Intercollegiate Society of Individualists (ISI), later renamed Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and the Foundation for Economic Education or FEE.

The Foundation for Economic Education or FEE was established in 1946. Dubbed the grand daddy of all Libertarian think tanks, it produced The Freeman, which became the founding journal of Libertarianism.

In 1947 FEE initiated the Mont Pelerin Society meetings from which would be spawned some 500 additional “free market” foundations and organizations in nearly 80 countries. Some of these foundations in turn led to the creation of umbrella foundations that were global in scope and reach. One such foundation which came out of the early Mont Pelerin meetings was the Institute of Economic Affairs based in London and created in 1955. The Institute of Economic Affairs led to the creation of the global Atlas Economic Research Foundation, which in turn created a network of over 50 think tanks in 30 countries.

According to its website, “The Atlas Economic Research Foundation serves as a catalyst and connector to link free-market organizations and individuals to the ideas, people and resources they need to promote a free society.” On the “Sound Money Resources Page” of the website you will find Mises Institute luminaries Murray Rothbard, and many others. On the main page is a link to “The Atlas Shrugged” project, promoting Ayn Rand’s “influential novel Atlas Shrugged”.

As it happens, the lofty-sounding goals of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation dovetail nicely with public-private partnerships – that is to say privatization of public resources – advanced by the United Nation’s Committee on Economic Cooperation and Integration (CECI)3 as well as many governments around the world, including the United States.4 According to UNECE (parent of CECI), one of its main areas of expertise involves “global economic cooperation and integration”.

UNECE’s “expertise” in turn fully supports the Atlas Economic Research Foundation’s “Campaign for Free Trade” which is designed “to combat harmful economic nationalism”. Whether coincidentally or otherwise, it is the type of synergy created through the complimentary goals of these seemingly disparate groups, institutions and agencies which is fast propelling the entire globe toward the new economic/police state.5

The Atlas Economic Research Foundation was just one of a myriad of descendants of the Mont Pelerin Society, whose first meeting was held at an out-of-the-way posh resort in Switzerland in 1947. There were a total of thirty-nine participants at that meeting. Ten of the thirty-nine were American – giving the United States a noticeable presence in Switzerland. The Volcker Fund paid the way for all ten American participants, including Frederick von Hayek who served as meeting coordinator. Milton Friedman and Ludwig von Mises were also among those ten American participants.

FEE was the conduit through which the Volcker Fund provided its largess. According to an undated “Welcome letter” written by former FEE staff member and board member Gary North, FEE has been replaced by the Mises Institute. Thus says North, while FEE had been blessed “with piles of money” among other things, the Mises Institute itself was blessed with the name Mises, a popular website, an even more popular feeder website (LewRockwell.com), multiple mailing lists, a facility located in an affordable area attractive to young scholars, and more.6

A second think tank, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute or ISI was created through the Volker Fund in 1953 to combat what would eventually be called “political correctness” and “‘left-bias” in colleges and universities. Today, ISI consists of 50,000 college students and faculty and the organization sponsors dozens of programs representing the entire spectrum of Libertarian causes through generous subsidies.

Yet another think tank, The Institute for Humane Studies was created in 1961 by Floyd “Baldy” Harper, after he had served as a star recruiter for the Volcker Fund. The IHS identified and subsidized thousands of students friendly to the new Libertarian doctrine, and it also spawned dozens of similar organizations throughout the world. It was the strategic successor to the Volcker Fund.

After the Volcker Fund closed, subsidies for the IHS shifted to The Scaife Foundation, Koch Family Foundations, The Bradley Foundation, and the Carthage Foundation. The Volcker fund itself was replaced with the short-lived Center for American Studies. Ten years later, the remainder of Volcker Fund money, some $7 million, went to the Hoover Institute.

Early Volcker protégées included Frederick von Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard among others. The following excerpt from author Eustace Mullins provides a 1984 snapshot of the Volcker-inspired “free market” movement:

The present star of the Hoover Institution is Milton Friedman, who is credited with bringing economic disaster to Chile, Israel, the United States, and other countries in which his ‘monetarist’ theories have been introduced. Friedman’s ‘monetarism’ is the same old bankers’ swindle of endless creation of more interest bearing debt money, requiring ever increasing taxes merely to meet the interest payments…

Friedman came to the Hoover in 1977 as senior research fellow, simultaneously accepting a post as economic consultant to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. He and his consort, Murray Rothbard, dominate a closely interlocked network of ‘hard money, ‘conservative’ groups, which includes the Heritage Foundation, Mont Pelerin Society, Cato Institute, Ludwig von Mises Institute, and American Enterprise Institute … Their mentor is the late Ludwig von Mises …

Their economic principles stemmed from the ‘Viennese School’ founded by Karl Menger and Eugen von Bauwerk … At that time, Vienna was dominated by the House of Rothschild, which had controlled the national debt of Austria since the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Austria’s Tyrol silver mines were owned by the Rothschilds, as were her railways.”7

In the United States, Friedman, von Mises and Hayek, together with dozens of other early Volcker Fund recruits, shared in common the fact that all had their teaching positions and various forms of financial, publishing and public relations assistance arranged for them by Volcker Fund associates.

For example, “in 1950, the Fund arranged for Hayek to secure a position at the University of Chicago…. When the University only granted an unpaid position, the Fund arranged for the Earhart Foundation to pay him a salary.” The Fund also made arrangements for the republication of Hayek’s book Road to Serfdom by the University of Chicago (which itself provides a recurring and important connection to the gatekeepers). These arrangements for republication were undertaken despite the fact that the book had been almost universally rejected by the Economics establishment. A year later the Fund arranged for the book’s serialization in Reader’s Digest.2

Book sales for Hayek, Friedman and other Volcker protégées were given massive levels of financial and promotional support through the National Book Foundation, which was among the first “front organizations” of the Volcker Fund. Importantly and although “the Foundation’s affiliation to the Volker Fund was not hidden, it was circumspect enough to suggest, even to most ‘Libertarians’, that it was independent…. [But] As the Volcker efforts geared up, the Foundation began to distribute millions of books [to college libraries and through other channels] from dozens of authors, all coming from the Fund’s stables. Many educational ‘incentives’ were initiated such as ‘teach a course on Hayek, get 10 (or 100) textbooks for free.’”2

Similar to Hayek, “the Fund and its progeny identified Friedman early on, shepherded his career at the University of Chicago, subsidized him through a paid lecture series …, paid his way to Mont Pelerin, arranged for the serialization of his book by Reader’s Digest, and bought a significant number of the books that Friedman was so proud of ‘selling.’”2

A slight deviation in the pattern occurred with von Mises, who actually had taught at the University of Vienna — but again in an unpaid position. In point of fact the University had turned von Mises down on four separate occasions for a paid position.

After von Mises emigrated to the United States in 1940, associates of the Volcker Fund obtained an unpaid visiting professorship for him in 1945 at New York University. Further arrangements allowed for von Mises’ salary to be paid by Volcker Fund associates for a total of 25 years. “This was typical of the Fund’s ‘bait and switch’ tactic for developing resumes. In the United States, von Mises was the ‘famed economics professor from the University of Vienna.’ In Europe, he would become the ‘famous American economist from New York University.’”2

Murray Rothbard never held a Volcker-arranged teaching position. Instead, from 1951 through to 1962 when the Volcker Fund was dissolved, Rothbard served as a consultant to the Fund. He would later call this the best job he ever had.

A large portion of his work “consisted of reading and evaluating books, journal articles, and other materials. On the basis of written reports by Rothbard and another reader — Rose Wilder Lane — the VF’s directors would decide whether to undertake massive distribution of particular works to public libraries…. The VF also asked Rothbard to submit reports on particular questions, such as how to rank sundry economists in terms of friendliness to the free market, [and so on — all of which] shed ‘much light’ on how the Fund decided which ‘scholars’ to promote, and which to attack.”2

Over the many decades since William Volcker was first inspired to subsidize the promotion of “free market” principles, there has been “[t]ens, perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars, hundreds of millions of books, hundreds of journals, dozens of universities, tens of thousands of people and thousands of professorships, and so on in a network touching virtually everyone in the ‘Western Democracies’ — all of it centrally planned, all of it subsidized, none of it capable of existing by itself in the commercial marketplace or in the ‘marketplace of ideas’ and all of it failing dozens of times until hooked into the river of cash produced by the simple subsidies of the rich designed to derail the ‘free’ evolution of ideas …”2

In contrast to “free market” think tanks which spread their ideology through countless independent-appearing spin-offs, we have the findings of the Reece Committee whose final report to Congress was made in 1954. Essentially, what this committee discovered was that the foundations they had studied, including the Ford, Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations, were occupying themselves with financing liberal political groups, civil rights groups, and political extremist groups. The committee further found that these foundations, along with a number of others, were in effect supporting revolutionary activities throughout the world.

One avenue through which this support was achieved was through the cross-financing of organizations that were concerned with internationalism, including the Institute of Pacific Relations, the Royal Institute of International Affairs and the Council on Foreign Relations. Thus, as the Committee reported: “Substantial evidence indicates there is more than a mere close working together among some foundations operating in the international field. There is here, as in the general realm of social sciences, a close interlock.”

We might want to ask how all of this might be playing out in the current “war of ideas.” As it happens, the increasingly heated debate over immigration provides one example. For some insight, we can look to one of the largest coordinated marches in history which occurred on April 10, 2006. One journalist vividly describes this event and then cogently relates its occurrence to money flowing from tax exempt foundations:

In the streets of Dallas, Texas, a human tidal wave surged through the streets. The immense crowd carrying the Mexican flag … [was] estimated to be at least 100,000 strong, with other estimates running as high as 500,000 …

The scene was the same in countless cities around the country. One of the largest … was held, predictably, in Los Angeles. There at least 500,000 people poured into the streets. Of them, 25,000 were students released from Los Angeles public schools in order to take part in the demonstration …

… The demonstrations … were organized by a number of radical groups, with one of the primary sponsors being LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) …

But the demonstrations were large enough, and widespread enough, that they were more than the work of just one special-interest pressure group…. The size of the April 10 demonstrations, and their national coordination, hints at the existence of a massive organizational structure pulling the strings behind the scenes. The lifeblood of such an infrastructure is money, and lots of it …

In fact, it turns out that the radical Hispanic groups that orchestrated the marches are not the grass-roots groups they seem to be. Instead, they are funded, and in some cases were created, by money flowing from pedigreed “establishment” sources, primarily the large tax-exempt charitable foundations, like the Ford Foundation and others.”8

While it is true that the above article was written for a publication of the John Birch Society — itself a beneficiary of “right gate keeper” largess — this fact alone does not diminish the importance of the points made. This is particularly true in light of what has been discussed in Part III of this series.

It is important to note however, that the article emphasizes the impact of “left gate keepers” without informing us as to how the right gate keepers might be contributing to the “created conflict.” And yet, however repugnant and foreign it may seem to the unsuspecting critic, the fact is that each and every one of us alive today has been held captive to — and in a very real sense become victims of — the largely phony “war of ideas”. This war has in reality been orchestrated with astonishing success and almost endless financial support by the “winning organizations” of both left and right gatekeepers, for the express purpose of advancing those interests, not the interests of you and me.

The net result has been mass marketing — and indoctrination — of corporate-sponsored history, science, economics, medicine, diet and nutrition, law, politics and more, all brought to you by “the money trusts.” It is through our educational and other formal institutions that gatekeeper spin has managed to obtain a significant degree of credibility and legitimacy in this phony war of ideas.

But in the end, it is you and I who not only allow it to continue but who help sustain and nurture it as well. The ONLY way to break free of this trap is to clearly identify and focus on the underlying causes of what John Perkins and others have alluded to as “created conflict.”

The escalating conflict over illegal immigration is a case in point. It is wholly a man-made conflict stemming primarily from the economic havoc wreaked upon Central and South America by NAFTA, as well as the TRIPS agreement and the Agreement on Agriculture which were delivered to the WTO to enforce in 1995. These portions of what might be called the economic matrix have been added on top of the phony War on Drugs which has allowed the U.S. Government to rain down lethal chemicals on peasants living in foreign countries, in what is at best a misguided attempt to eradicate coca crops.

As usual, ordinary American workers along with peasants and small farmers bear the brunt of BOTH the so-called “free” trade agreements set up to benefit the investment classes9 and the phony war on drugs which serves to fuel the economic engines of the industrial north.10) So untenable has the situation become for South and Latin American peasants that they are willing to literally risk life and limb to come to the U.S. in an increasingly desperate search for a way to sustain themselves and their families. The massive influx of immigrants in turn creates a pronounced drain on local resources and living wage jobs — and serves to inflame passions on all sides.

Tensions between illegal immigrants and residents in the American Southwest — particularly in Arizona and Texas — have become sufficiently severe that many ordinary citizens have taken it upon themselves to take the law into their own hands, even in some cases going to the extreme of organizing armed patrols to protect their lives and property. Meanwhile human rights groups work feverishly to provide water and other vital, life-saving support to those secreting their way across the border. Ironically and alarmingly, a growing portion of these illegals includes a dangerous criminal element.

Within the context of this particular battle, as in all similar “created conflicts,” rarely is it ever mentioned that the root of the problem can be found within the fabric of the economic matrix itself. Any real resolution will require addressing this economic matrix in all its segments – beginning with a sovereign, debt “free,” Constitutional money system.5

Whether Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell and associates understand the extent or exact manner in which the “right” gatekeepers affects them or their politics — or indeed is a factor to be reckoned with — is open to question, and in the larger sense beside the point. After all, they, like the rest of us, have been shaped by the phony “war of ideas” created and paid for by both right and left gatekeepers.

The important thing is what you and I choose to do about it.

  • Read Part 1, 2, and 3.
    1. Left Gatekeepers.com. []
    2. Mr. Anonymous and the Not-So-Spontaneous Birth of the Libertarian Movement” by anaxarcos, December 22, 2008. Scoop Independent News. [] [] [] [] [] [] []
    3. United Nations Committee on Economic Cooperation and Integration for Europe. []
    4. The National Council for Public Private Partnerships. []
    5. The Encroaching Economic/Police State” slide presentation by Geraldine Perry. [] []
    6. Gary North “Welcome Letter,” undated. []
    7. The World Order by Eustace Mullins. 1984. []
    8. Sponsoring the revolution: illegal immigrants are pawns in a game aimed at fomenting revolution and funded by the nation’s major tax-exempt foundations” by Dennis Behreandt. The New American, February 19, 2007. []
    9. Whose Trade Organization? by Lori Wallach, etal. New Press, 2004, 2nd edition; Stolen Harvest by Vandana Shiva. South End Press, 2000. []
    10. American Drug War: The Last White Hope.” 2007 documentary, available online. Beyond Bogota by Garry Leech. Beacon Press, 2009. Whiteout by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair. Verso, 1999. []
    Geraldine Perry is the co-author of The Two Faces of Money and author of Climate Change, Land Use and Monetary Policy: The New Trifecta. Read other articles by Geraldine, or visit Geraldine's website.

    5 comments on this article so far ...

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    1. Charles Iliya Krempeaux said on July 18th, 2009 at 10:19am #

      This sounds like at an attempt at Ad Hominem against libertarians (or libertarian thought). I.e., (you claim) they’re associated with the “right gate keepers”, and the “right gate keepers” are bad, therefore they are bad.

      If you have issue with some part of libertarian philosophy, then why not argue against it in a cogent manner?

    2. spinnikerca said on July 18th, 2009 at 10:45am #

      Well, this is interesting, and I will research some of the points that make a difference to me. However, whatever shaped Ron Paul, what he is calling for is the exact debt free Constitutional monetary system you seem to want, as well as ‘free trade’ that is not globally, but individually controlled, and protection of our sovereignity.

      I guess what I am saying is that even if you are right about the people who helped shape him, he seems to be going in the right direction now.

    3. storey said on July 18th, 2009 at 12:46pm #

      I am an admirer of Dr. Paul and his efforts in the economic field re: the Federal Reserve truth movement.

      When he picks up the gauntlet in the intelligence field of the 911 truth movement, acknowledging even one of the many glaring inconsistencies, e.g. the collapse of WTC Bldg. 7, he will be acknowledged as a true patriot.

      If he does so, I suggest he have Jesse Ventura and a team of ex-Seals by his side, to protect him from danger.

    4. storey said on July 18th, 2009 at 8:35pm #

      Didn’t see my earlier comment up about Paul and 911.

      This was a test.

      Methinks this may be gatekeeper territory.

      The word will spread, I guarantee it.

    5. Sean O'Neil said on July 21st, 2009 at 1:59pm #

      to Charles Krempeaux —

      If you bother to read ALL FOUR PARTS to this essay you will see the criticisms of libertarian thinking, but the point of the 4-part essay clearly is not criticising libertarian theory — instead, it is about assessing what Ron Paul’s cult means for any form of movement away from the 2-party monopoly on faux-democracy here in America.

      This is clear from a reading of the 4-part essay.

      Why are you distorting the essay? Is it because you’re dishonest? Is it because you’re too dim-witted to understand the author’s clear writing?