Subject: ON THE PHENOMENON OF "FRIENDLY FASCISM" IN AMERICA : FROM THE
CENTER FOR THE ADVANCED STUDY OF AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS AND SOCIAL
MOVEMENTS, GRENOBLE, FRANCE.
16 June 2003
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
The movement toward a General Strike in France is slowly gathering steam.
No one can predict the outcome of this popular defense in the "economic
warfare" now being waged against the French nation.
To "Americanize" this society by creating artifical scarcities --like
limited access to educational facilities, to health care, to job security,
to welfare, to retirement, etc., etc.-- is perceived by the general
population as a real danger. The method of creating insecurities --of
privitizing fears and of individualizing "solutions" to private problems--
is just another way of implimenting the time-tested strategy of "Divide and
Rule". The fragmentation process started long ago in France, where in 1936
the Front Populaire won the famous "13 months pay for 12 months work"
demand, and EVERY employee in this nation was suddenly entitled to four
weeks paid vacation. Since then, temporary, part-time, low-paid employment
has invaded the nation and a good number of workers are living in this
servitude today. These employees, as a rule, don't join protests in large
numbers --their livelihood, in fact, depends on their "flexibility" --they
do what they have to do in order get their next job offer, which might
allow them to continue paying their rent, or at least part of it.
"Friendly Fascism" is a subject which has come up in recent communications
with our research center associates. Like any other phenomenon, it requires
an historical perspective before any significant understanding is derived.
We encourage our readers to look at the two articles which were forwarded
to us A. by Professor Richard Du Boff, on political transformations
occurring inside America since the election of George W. Bush, and B. by
Artist Joanna Learner, on the role of Christian Fundamentalists in
America's political culture.
As always, we invite readers to respond to these texts.
Professor of American Studies
Director of Reseach
Forwarded by Richard DuBoff, Professor of Economics, Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania.
The Nation, May 19, 2003
Inverted Totalitarianism. How the Bush regime is effecting the transformation
to a fascist-like state.
By SHELDON WOLIN
The war on Iraq has so monopolized public attention as to obscure the
regime change taking place in the Homeland. We may have invaded Iraq to
bring in democracy and bring down a totalitarian regime, but in the process
our own system may be moving closer to the latter and further weakening the
former. The change has been intimated by the sudden popularity of two
political terms rarely applied earlier to the American political system.
"Empire" and "superpower" both suggest that a new system of power,
concentrated and expansive, has come into existence and supplanted the old
terms. "Empire" and "superpower" accurately symbolize the projection of
American power abroad, but for that reason they obscure the internal
consequences. Consider how odd it would sound if we were to refer to "the
Constitution of the American Empire" or "superpower democracy." The reason
they ring false is that "constitution" signifies limitations on power,
while "democracy" commonly refers to the active involvement of citizens
with their government and the responsiveness of government to its citizens.
For their part, "empire" and "superpower" stand for the surpassing of
limits and the dwarfing of the citizenry.
The increasing power of the state and the declining power of institutions
intended to control it has been in the making for some time. The party
system is a notorious example. The Republicans have emerged as a unique
phenomenon in American history of a fervently doctrinal party, zealous,
ruthless, antidemocratic and boasting a near majority. As Republicans have
become more ideologically intolerant, the Democrats have shrugged off the
liberal label and their critical reform-minded constituencies to embrace
centrism and footnote the end of ideology. In ceasing to be a genuine
opposition party the Democrats have smoothed the road to power of a party
more than eager to use it to promote empire abroad and corporate power at
home. Bear in mind that a ruthless, ideologically driven party with a mass
base was a crucial element in all of the twentieth-century regimes seeking
Representative institutions no longer represent voters. Instead, they
been short-circuited, steadily corrupted by an institutionalized system of
bribery that renders them responsive to powerful interest groups whose
constituencies are the major corporations and wealthiest Americans. The
courts, in turn, when they are not increasingly handmaidens of corporate
power, are consistently deferential to the claims of national security.
Elections have become heavily subsidized non-events that typically attract
at best merely half of an electorate whose information about foreign and
domestic politics is filtered through corporate-dominated media. Citizens
are manipulated into a nervous state by the media's reports of rampant
crime and terrorist networks, by thinly veiled threats of the Attorney
General and by their own fears about unemployment. What is crucially
important here is not only the expansion of governmental power but the
inevitable discrediting of constitutional limitations and institutional
processes that discourages the citizenry and leaves them politically
No doubt these remarks will be dismissed by some as alarmist, but I
go further and name the emergent political system "inverted
totalitarianism." By inverted I mean that while the current system and its
operatives share with Nazism the aspiration toward unlimited power and
aggressive expansionism, their methods and actions seem upside down. For
example, in Weimar Germany, before the Nazis took power, the "streets" were
dominated by totalitarian-oriented gangs of toughs, and whatever there was
of democracy was confined to the government. In the United States, however,
it is the streets where democracy is most alive--while the real danger lies
with an increasingly unbridled government.
Or another example of the inversion: Under Nazi rule there was never any
doubt about "big business" being subordinated to the political regime. In
the United States, however, it has been apparent for decades that corporate
power has become so predominant in the political establishment,
particularly in the Republican Party, and so dominant in its influence over
policy, as to suggest a role inversion the exact opposite of the Nazis'. At
the same time, it is corporate power, as the representative of the dynamic
of capitalism and of the ever-expanding power made available by the
integration of science and technology with the structure of capitalism,
that produces the totalizing drive that, under the Nazis, was supplied by
ideological notions such as Lebensraum.
In rebuttal it will be said that there is no domestic equivalent to
Nazi regime of torture, concentration camps or other instruments of terror.
But we should remember that for the most part, Nazi terror was not applied
to the population generally; rather, the aim was to promote a certain type
of shadowy fear--rumors of torture--that would aid in managing and
manipulating the populace. Stated positively, the Nazis wanted a mobilized
society eager to support endless warfare, expansion and sacrifice for the
While the Nazi totalitarianism strove to give the masses a sense of
collective power and strength, Kraft durch Freude ("Strength through joy"),
inverted totalitarianism promotes a sense of weakness, of collective
futility. While the Nazis wanted a continuously mobilized society that
would not only support the regime without complaint and enthusiastically
vote "yes" at the periodic plebiscites, inverted totalitarianism wants a
politically demobilized society that hardly votes at all. Recall the
President's words immediately after the horrendous events of September 11:
"Unite, consume and fly," he told the anxious citizenry. Having assimilated
terrorism to a "war," he avoided doing what democratic leaders customarily
do during wartime: mobilize the citizenry, warn it of impending sacrifices
and exhort all citizens to join the "war effort." Instead, inverted
totalitarianism has its own means of promoting generalized fear; not only
by sudden "alerts" and periodic announcements about recently discovered
terrorist cells or the arrest of shadowy figures or the publicized
heavy-handed treatment of aliens and the Devil's Island that is Guantanamo
Bay or the sudden fascination with interrogation methods that employ or
border on torture, but by a pervasive atmosphere of fear abetted by a
corporate economy of ruthless downsizing, withdrawal or reduction of
pension and health benefits; a corporate political system that relentlessly
threatens to privatize Social Security and the modest health benefits
available, especially to the poor. With such instrumentalities for
promoting uncertainty and dependence, it is almost overkill for inverted
totalitarianism to employ a system of criminal justice that is punitive in
the extreme, relishes the death penalty and is consistently biased against
Thus the elements are in place: a weak legislative body, a legal system
that is both compliant and repressive, a party system in which one party,
whether in opposition or in the majority, is bent upon reconstituting the
existing system so as to permanently favor a ruling class of the wealthy,
the well-connected and the corporate, while leaving the poorer citizens
with a sense of helplessness and political despair, and, at the same time,
keeping the middle classes dangling between fear of unemployment and
expectations of fantastic rewards once the new economy recovers. That
scheme is abetted by a sycophantic and increasingly concentrated media; by
the integration of universities with their corporate benefactors; by a
propaganda machine institutionalized in well-funded think tanks and
conservative foundations; by the increasingly closer cooperation between
local police and national law enforcement agencies aimed at identifying
terrorists, suspicious aliens and domestic dissidents.
What is at stake, then, is nothing less than the attempted transformation
of a tolerably free society into a variant of the extreme regimes of the
past century. In that context, the national elections of 2004 represent a
crisis in its original meaning, a turning point. The question for citizens
is: Which way?
Sheldon Wolin is the author, most recently, of Alexis de Tocqueville: Man between Two Worlds (Princeton). He is professor emeritus of politics at Princeton University.
Forwarded by Joanna Learner, independent artist, Battle Creek, Michigan.
from AlterNet web site: < http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=16167 >
June 13, 2003
Guerrilla News Network
Meet 'The Family'
by Anthony Lappé
It sounded like a reality show on the PAX network: Six conservative
politicians living in a DC townhouse owned by a fundamentalist Christian
organization. What happens when you stop being polite and start finding
In April, the AP broke the story that six U.S. congressmen were paying
bargain rate of $600 a month each to live together in a swanky DC townhouse
owned by a secretive fundamentalist Christian group known as
the Fellowship or the Foundation. Many, understandably, were curious. Who is
this organization, and what is its agenda?
The group, the AP reported, is best known for holding the annual National
Prayer Breakfast at the White House, which offers scores of national and
international heavy hitters the opportunity to praise God in
close proximity to the President. In the article, the congressmen boarding
at the house denied owing any allegiance to the group, and several professed
ignorance of even the most basic facts about the
organization. Little else was reported about the group's history, motives or
There is a reason for that. The Fellowship is one of the most secretive,
most powerful, religious organizations in the country. Its connections reach
to the highest levels of the U.S. government
and include ties to the CIA and numerous current and past dictators around
Last month, Harper's magazine published a rather extraordinary article
Jeffrey Sharlet, editor of the irreverent web site killingthebuddha.com and
co-author of the upcoming "Killing the Buddha: A
Heretic's Bible" (Free Press). The piece chronicled Sharlet's three-week
semi-undercover stay at Ivanwald, the Fellowship's mansion:
Ivanwald, which sits at the end of Twenty-fourth Street North in Arlington,
Virginia, is known only to its residents and to the members and
friends of the organization that sponsors it, a group of believers who refer
to themselves as "the Family." The Family is, in its own words, an
"invisible" association, though its membership has always consisted mostly
of public men. Senators Don Nickles (R., Okla.), Charles Grassley (R.,
Iowa), Pete Domenici (R., N.Mex.), John Ensign (R., Nev.), James Inhofe
(R.,Okla.), Bill Nelson (D., Fla.), and Conrad Burns (R., Mont.) are
referred to as "members," as are Representatives Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), Frank
Wolf (R., Va.), Joseph Pitts (R., Pa.), Zach Wamp (R., Tenn.), and Bart
Stupak (D., Mich.).
Regular prayer groups have met in the Pentagon and at the Department
Defense, and the Family has
traditionally fostered strong ties with businessmen in the oil and aerospace
industries. The Family maintains a
closely guarded database of its associates, but it issues no cards and
collects no official dues. Members are
asked not to speak about the group or its activities. The organization has
operated under many guises, some active, some defunct: National Committee
for Christian Leadership, International Christian Leadership, the
National Leadership Council, Fellowship House, the Fellowship Foundation,
the National Fellowship Council, the International Foundation. These groups
are intended to draw attention away from the Family, and to prevent it from
becoming, in the words of one of the Family's leaders, "a target for
The Family's only publicized gathering is the National Prayer Breakfast,
which it established in 1953
and which, with congressional sponsorship, it continues to organize every
February in Washington, D.C. Each year 3,000 dignitaries, representing
scores of nations, pay $425 each to attend. Steadfastly ecumenical, too
bland most years to merit much press, the breakfast is regarded by the
Family as merely a tool in a larger purpose: to recruit the powerful
attendees into smaller, more frequent prayer meetings, where they can "meet
Jesus man to man."
If this all sounds like something out of a conspiracy theorist's wet
(or paranoid nightmare), you're right. Sharlet's account of his three weeks
of "man to man" interaction can only be described as disturbing
and downright bizarre. In fact, it was so creepy many accused him of making
the whole thing up.
So what did Sharlet find?
GNN: You went undercover into this house. Who were you posing as and
were you trying to find?
SHARLET: Actually, I was posing as myself. I write about religion. A
said go check it out, it's an interesting place. I went not knowing the
politics. Within a few days I began to see
things were not at all what I expected. This was connected to a pretty vast
political network. Still it was quite a pleasant place to live. These
people had a different approach than I did, but I was interested in
learning. As time went on I started hearing more and more disturbing talk.
That's when I started keeping my ears open. I didn't go in undercover,
suppose I left undercover. But I told them who I was, I never told a lie.
GNN: Some people have called your story a hoax.
SHARLET: I've got lots of letters from people saying this has got to
hoax, or please tell me it's a hoax or curiously from people who know a
little too much to be saying the things they were saying.
GNN: What are some this group's core ideas and what level of secrecy
SHARLET: The goal is an "invisible" world organization led by Christ
what they aspire to. They are very explicit about this if you look in their
documents, and I spent a lot of time researching in their archives.
Their goal is a worldwide invisible organization. That's their word, and
that's important because it sounds so crazy.
What they mean when they say "a world organization led by Christ" is
literally you just sit there and let Christ tell you what to do. More, often
than not that leads them to a sort of paternalistic benign fascism. There
are a lot of places that they've done good things, and that's important to
acknowledge. But that also means they might be involved with General Suharto
in Indonesia and if that means that God leads him to kill half a
million of his own citizens then, well, it would prideful to question God
GNN: Who are these guys, and how many are there?
SHARLET: The only estimate was made by Charles Colson, Nixon's chief
tricks guy who went on to become the
head of Prison Fellowship Ministries. Right before he went to prison the
founder [of the Fellowship] Doug Coe turned him on to Christ. Colson said
there are about 20,000 people involved in the U.S. But you aren't really
supposed to talk about it.
I always say to interviewers, "This is not a conspiracy." There's no
badge or anything. It's much looser. This is how the vast right-wing
conspiracy works, by being associates, friends.
GNN: But they speak of themselves as operating in terrorist-like cells.
SHARLET: Yes, they do. Inside your cell, you might know six or eight guys.
Let me give you a real quick history. In 1935, Abraham Vereide starts
the 1940s he has about a third of Congress attending a weekly prayer
meeting. In the mid-50s, he gets Eisenhower's support.
[According to a 2002 Los Angeles Times article, during the 1950's Vereide
played a major role in the U.S. government's anti-communist activities:
"Pentagon officials secretly met at the group's Washington
Fellowship House in 1955 to plan a worldwide anti-communism propaganda
campaign endorsed by the CIA, documents
from the Fellowship archives and the Eisenhower Presidential Library
show.Then known as International Christian Leadership, the goup financed a
film called 'Militant Liberty' that was used by the Pentagon abroad."
Showing Faith in Discretion, Lisa Getter, The Los Angeles Times, Sep 27, 2002]
It's sort of stabilized now. By the mid-60's, they sort of realized
didn't want too many people. Too many people dilute the organization.
One scene I saw was Congressman Todd Tiahrt, Republican from Kansas,
seemed as if he was interviewing to be
in the organization. He was very nervous. The leader of the organization was
asking him questions, sort of leaning back and testing him. I think he
wanted into this network, and he would fumble a little by
talking about abortion. They don't really care about abortion. They are
against it but they aren't really concerned about it.
GNN: What are their core issues then?
SHARLET: The core issue is capitalism and power. The core issue they
say, is love. There are a lot of different things love means. They will
always work with both sides of the issue. I saw some correspondence with
Chinese officials before Deng Xiao Ping was in power. They had some very
clandestine associations with senior Chinese officials, and were told Deng
was a guy they could do business with. So that was fine with them.
GNN: When you say 'do business,' was it all about actual business deals?
SHARLET: I wouldn't say it was all about business deals. But if you
to be praying with someone and you were done praying and said, "Hey, I have
some F-16s to sell..." They would deny there is any connection.
They are pretty careful about those kinds of things. They will never
"We are out here to help set you up in business." They will always help out
their friends. "Let me introduce you to someone. The Prime Minister of
Malaysia is coming."
GNN: It sounds to me like some sort of extended Skull and Bones, an
Network crafted onto a religious
SHARLET: The religious context is real. The Old Boys Network is about business. This is about more than business. This is about maintaining a certain kind of power, a certain view of how power should be distributed. The Episcopalian Old Boys Network was a lot more easygoing than this. This is a lot more militaristic. Really at its fundamental core, almost monarchist. We would be told time and time again, "Christ's kingdom is not a democracy" This is their model for leadership. They would often say, "Everything you need to know about government is right there in the cross -it's vertical not horizontal."
GNN: In that vein, reading your article I got the impression they are
praising guys like Adolph Hitler and Ghengis Khan – a lot. Is that a fair
assessment of your intention?
SHARLET: In fact, Harpers made me cut back on that suff. [They said] 'We know it's true, but this is already so much to absorb.' That's why I included that line at the end of the story. The leader of the group is having dinner with the younger members of that group and is talking about the bond, the covenant. And he says, "Can anyone think of someone who had a covenant?" And the answer, of course, and everyone knows it, is "Hitler."
This goes back to the 1960's, Vereide was instructing young men by having
them read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich – "Look at what those guys
did." But they will say, "We are not trying to kill Jews." What we
are talking about is imagine if you took the "Hitler Concept," and they'll
use that phrase, the Hitler Concept, to work for Christ, or the Mao Concept.
We're not right wingers, they'll say. You can use the Mao Concept.
GNN: Define what they mean by Hitler Concept.
SHARLET: A loyal leadership cadre, which is interesting because guys
Hitler and Stalin were famous for purging, but they seem to focus on a
couple of guys. "If two or three agree" is a phrase they use a lot. If you
can get together and focus you can accomplish anything. You don't need to
sway the electorate. You don't need to convert everyone to Christ. Everyone
doesn't have to believe in Christ, and that's where they differ from
other fundamentalists. Some fundamentalists really distrust them for that.
[They say] "We need to convert everyone, the high and the low." The Family
says, "No we don't need the high." All these guys Hitler, Lenin,
Pol Pot and Osama bin Laden is another guy they cite a lot, are guys who
understood the power of a political avant garde. That's what they mean by
the Hitler Concept. Also keeping your message simple, and repeating it again
and again because there is only one message and it is "Jesus Loves." You can
express lots of different things with that term.
I always try to play the devil's advocate. They are not the traditional
right wing bad guys. They have been able to do what they do for so long
because no one has been looking for this kind of thing.
A lot of this is already in the culture, take [the book] "Ghengis Khan
Business Secrets," for instance, the admiration authoritarian leaders.
GNN: Here's where I'm confused. To me they sound like Nietzsche. They
sound like Jesus Christ. They
sound like they are creating the Nietzschean superman above the moral
universe the rest of us slaves live in.
SHARLET: I don't think I mention Nietzsche in the article, do I?
GNN: I don't think so.
SHARLET: That's really perceptive of you. Many of them love Nietzsche.
think he's fascinating.
GNN: But he hated Christianity. He was the ultimate amoralist.
SHARLET: I know it's weird. There is one really wacky fundamentalist
that thinks Doug Coe could be the Anti-Christ. They're not sure yet, they
might need to shave his head and see if he has the mark of the beast.
They have gotten into trouble with a lot of evangelical groups. They
Yasser Arafat to the National Prayer Breakfast.They've boasted, and I don't
know if it's true, that they had special permission from the State
Department to bring anyone they wanted to the Cedars, that they'd brought
some Sudanese on the terrorist list to their mansion headquarters and they'd love to get Osama
bin Laden down there.
GNN: But where does Christ fit into all of this? This seems like a lot
Old Testament stuff, not the new [Testament], meek-shall-inherit-the-earth
SHARLET: That's an interesting point. For them, Jesus is just a regular
a buddy, a guide, the standard evangelical stuff, no sex. It's sort of a
weird hipster puritanical view. If you met them you wouldn't think they were
GNN: Actually, they sound like complete homophobes to me.
SHARLET: They definitely think homosexuality is a sin.
GNN: But they seem like they can't stand women.
SHARLET: They're just not that interested. It's a very gendered point
view. Jesus is everywhere. Jesus is right there with you on the basketball
But at the upper levels there is this weird emphasis on the Old Testament.
It's in the story, they talk about King David, who in some ways was a really
bad guy. They are really interested in the biblical concept
that whether you are good or bad it doesn't matter, what matters is whether
you are chosen. That's part of the Hitler Concept. It doesn't matter whether
Hitler was good or bad, Hitler was chosen for leadership. That was part of
God's plan. Nothing happens that isn't part of God's plan.
GNN: Let's cut to this house where these six congressmen are living
Street in DC. What is the connection, if any, to the Bush Administration?
The White House seems to have its own relationship to religion and people
who are influencing them on religious issues. Is there a relationship here?
SHARLET: Yes, though I will say it is not exclusively Democrat or
Republican. They say there are six guys at the C Street house, there were
eight when I was there. They say there is one for members of Parliament in
England, and I think there are similar ones in other capitals. The house is
constantly rotating. Steve Largent used to live there. John Elias Baldacci,
a conservative Democrat who is now the governor of Maine. As for the Bush
connection, there is Ashcroft. I discovered in their archives a correspondence between Ashcroft and Coe that began in 1981. Al Gore at one time referred to Doug Coe as his personal hero, which is easy to believe. Doug Coe is an incredibly charming man.
The Bushes have visited the Cedars many times, but all presidents have.
Sr. when he was Vice President was hosting dinners for Middle Eastern
ambassadors there. There are going to be people at all levels.
GNN: When you say someone "is a part of it" what does that mean? Are
or out, or is it a loose thing?
SHARLET: It's a loose thing. But there are levels of participation.
GNN: Are they codified like the Masons or something?
SHARLET: There is an inner core group that is codified in their documents,
called the Core. I don't know who is in it other than Doug Coe. The
documents I saw only went up to the late 80's with senators, congressmen,
and a lot of military men. Before he died, Senator Harold Huges was Core.
Former Senator Mark Hatfield used to be Core, and may still be. In the AP article, there is an Air Force officer
who I hadn't known about. Then there are associates, usually about 150
associates and they are the key individuals in their areas, and
then there are the people who are in a cell with an associate and they are
very close. And then there are close friends. Senator James Inhofe,
Republican from Oklahoma, is frequently, for instance, referred to
as a close friend. President Museveni of Uganda is a close friend. There is
no membership card. In all of their letters there is a paragraph that says
this is a private, confidential relationship and we don't talk about it
when they are recruiting a new person into the group.
GNN: Are there formal events and meetings, other than this national
SHARLET: There are literally thousands of governors', mayors', prayer
breakfasts around the country. Some of those probably launched forty, fifty
years ago and have long since lost their connection to the
mothership, as it were. But that's the idea. They're part of the movement.
The system is in place, that we should turn to God to make all our
decisions. Up until the 1970's, they had Core meetings around
the world, but that's as far as I saw in the documents.
GNN: So how scared are you of this group? Are they a force for fascism
some sort of cult-like group with big connections that comes and goes?
SHARLET: I think they are definitely a force for fascism. I think a
the way the world looks is a result of their work. They were instrumental in
getting U.S. government support for General Suharto, for the
generals' juntas in Brazil. Just take those two countries alone, they are
two of the biggest countries on Earth. Those countries might have been
progressive democracies a long time ago had it not been for U.S.
support for those regimes ...
GNN: But don't you think the CIA and the U.S. government's own agenda
lot to do with those decisions?
SHARLET: Yeah, but they made those connections.
GNN: What are the connections between the CIA and the Fellowship?
SHARLET: A lot of their key men in a country would be the intelligence
officers in the American embassy. Throughout their correspondence, that's
the kind of guy they would like to have involved. They always had a lot
of Army intelligence guys involved, Pentagon guys.
Doug Coe in the early 70's was touring the frontlines in Vietnam with
intelligence officers and South Vietnamese generals. That's the level of
connections they are talking about, like the Salvadoran general Carlos
Eugenios Vides Casanova [convicted by a Florida jury for the torture of
thousands] and Honduran general Gustavo Alvarez Martinez [a minister also
linked to the CIA and death squads]. They are the people who brought those
people in. They said you need to meet this person. That's how it works.
Their diplomacy can affect some good things, like the truce in Rwanda.
had a lot of connections with the South African [apartheid] regime, where
they were generally a moderate, even a progressive force. But it's kinda
hard to name a nasty regime around the world that doesn't have really
well-documented connections to them. Franco was a hold-out. So they started
winning over a bunch of ministers in the Franco regime and then they
went to Franco and said this is a good group, we can do business with them.
GNN: Why hasn't there been more mainstream press on this?
SHARLET: Lisa Getter of The Los Angeles Times, a Pulitzer prize winning
investigative reporter, did a piece on it, but there was no follow-up. I got
a little press out of it when my article came out. There is a big reason
there hasn't been a lot of press about it and that's the war. On the other
hand, and this isn't a conspiracy theory, if they can't see it then it's not there. I mean if you read that
your local congressman is sitting there saying Hitler is a leadership model, the local paper should at the very least call up and say, "Congressman Tiahrt do you believe Hitler is a good leadership model?" If he had said, "Noam Chomsky is a great philosopher" then there'd be an investigation in a minute.
Why they are not following up on it? I don't know. Partly because it's
crazy, and partly because there is this idea that religion and politics are
separate and religion is a personal thing. The media has always been pretty
dumb when it comes to religion. In the New Yorker profile of John Ashcroft
they talk about his weekly prayer breakfast, Steve Largent, [former
congressman from Washington] in The New York Times, same deal. I think they
interviewed him while he was living at the house. The reporter never asked,
"Hey, how did you get involved in this? Is this something that existed before you?" The
reporter sort of implied it was Largent's idea for the weekly prayer breakfasts.
It hasn't been that secret. The New Republic did an exposé in
the late 60's,
early 70's, and no one really followed up. Robert Scheer did a piece on it
in Playboy in the 1970's.
GNN: Any fallout from the members?
SHARLET: I've talked to several who swear we are still friends.
One guy did say, I'm paraphrasing, 'You're a traitor and you'll be dealt
with as a traitor.'
Anthony Lappé is Excutive Editor of GNN.tv. He has written for The New York Times, New York, Details, and Salon, among many others.
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research at CEIMSA
Center for the Advanced Study of American
Institutions and Social Movements
University of Grenoble-3