cj#619> re: America & NWO (AR thread)

1996-12-07

Richard Moore

Dear cj,

        I must admit I was bit surprised when Joe Shea so kindly agreed to
publish "America & The NWO" (cj#591) in American Reporter (AR 430).  (It
will be appearing shortly in New Dawn magazine as well.)

        He must have attributed considerable weight to the article, because
he felt a need to take immediate measures to counter-balance its editorial
impact.  He opened the issue with his own editorial devoted to my article,
pointed out where a rebuttal could be found (in letters of the same issue),
and noted that he largely agreed with the rebuttal.

        The rebuttal (by one Charles Gregory) is a classic bit of sophist
hatchet work -- smug, witty, fact-dropping, illogical.  Nicely designed as
a damage-control pill, especially effective if taken "immediately after"
(even better if "before").  Reminded me of the clever, dismissive reviews
of "JFK" that cloned one another (somehow) across the pages of American
newspapers.  Receipt of such attention, perhaps, may be a sincerer form of
flattery.

        Nonetheless, my spirits were a bit down, seeing my brilliant
analysis (:>) being besmirched on-launch by such an obfuscative, underhand
attack (by Gregory, not Shea -- Joe's a gentleman and a colleague).  But it
was all worth it to see the (genuinely) brilliant rejoinder from Mr. John
Barkdull of Lubbock, Texas.

        The thread follows...

-rkm


________________________________________________________________
Date: Fri, 29 Nov 1996
From: Joe Shea <•••@••.•••>
Subject: The American Reporter, No. 430
~--<snip>--~
                        *       *       *
                            _________
                            EDITORIAL

+
Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
Bradenton, Fla.
11/29/96
moore
264/$2.64

                    ILLUMINATING THE MAINSTREAM
                           by Joe Shea
                 American Reporter Editor-in-Chief

        The essay in today's paper by Richard Moore is an example of the
kind of work that almost never appears in U.S. mainstream publications,
and that is why we have it here.
        While we do consider our work to be part of mainstream journalism,
we recognize at the same time that we have an obligation to present
alternative points of view to our readers around the world, particularly
when they are both striking and original.
        Charles Gregory, an occasional correspondent based in London,
generally reflects our own feelings in his answer to Richard's essay; for
me, it has little relationship to the reality I know, both as a lifelong
student of government and an interested observer of American politics.
        It bothers me that there is probably no other mainstream
publication in the United States willing to publish the same essay; what
standard, then, can our media say it is hewing to when we refuse to let
unpopular and critical beliefs languish in obscurity?
        For us, it is just one short step from the elite manipulators
Richard envisions to the legendary Illuminati, who are a favorite bugaboo
of conspiracy theorists.  But if Richard's essay can't be published
anywhere else, and all we get is the prevailing American view of its role
in the world and its democratic traditions, who can say he's wrong?
        In a nation whose press is supposed to be free, it remains a
truism that the "free press" belongs to those who own one.  Thank God,
then, that no one owns the Internet, and that the 200-plus journalists who
contribute to The American Reporter are defenders of a true free press.

                               -30-

~--<snip>--~

                        *       *       *
                         _______________
                         AMERICAN ESSAYS

AMERICAN ESSAYS:  AMERICA & THE NEW WORLD ORDER
+
Richard K. Moore
American Reporter Correspondent
Wexford, Ireland
11/22/96
essay
5749/$57.49

          A RADICAL CRITIQUE OF THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
                       by Richard K. Moore
                 American Reporter Correspondent

~--<snip>--~
                        *       *       *

AMERICAN ESSAYS:  ANSWER TO MOORE
+
Charles Gregory
American Reporter Correspondent
London, England
11/29/96
answer
1104/$11.04

    MOORE'S VIEWS NOT A RADICAL CRITIQUE, BUT ALTERNATIVE HISTORY
                        by Charles Gregory
                 American Reporter Correspondent

        LONDON -- Reading Richard Moore's article, "America and the New
World Order"  was something like hitting my funny bone.  It was
inconsequential, but I couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry.
        The article combines the discredited sensibilities of communistic
theories of government with the inane paranoia of American militia
movements.  An amazing combination, that, but in the end, not worth the
effort to wade through the rhetoric.
        Moore's piece, a wide-ranging view of how America has conned both
itself and the world ever since the American Revolution, has the benefit
of "pick-and-choose" history.  Moore has his thesis, then picks bits of
historical fact to make them fit.  He avoids all the inconvenient
complexity of counter-argument by simply ignoring facts that don't fit.
Finding counter-arguments isn't difficult, but neither is it worth another
twenty pages of work.  Here, I'll note just a few.
        Starting with the idea that "capitalism" is bad, therefore
anything capitalists do is bad, Moore proves -- evidently to his own
satisfaction -- that America was set up as a fraud.  Showing a
breathtaking lack of historical awareness, he tries to demonstrate that
the American Founding Fathers were actually anti-democratic.  Moore's
weakness here is one he displays throughout his screed:  today's measuring
sticks don't do a good job of analyzing what went on in earlier times.
        I don't think it comes as a major surprise that the founders of
America did not grant the vote to all Americans.  Property ownership was a
condition for voting.  It says so, right there in the Constitution.
        "Undemocratic?" By today's lights, definitely.  Historically,
though?  Not quite.  The founders made it clear that only those with a
vested interest in the commonweal should be allowed to vote.  That
sensibility did change over time.  It wasn't until the 20th Century, for
example, that Black Americans and women were given the right to vote.
White American males, regardless of economic status, gained the right to
vote some seventy-or-so years earlier.
        The U.S. Constitution was not "drafted in secret." It was drafted
by a select committee of the Constitutional Convention.  While it was not
necessarily open to the public, most committee meetings aren't now.  Most
assuredly, that was not the common practice in the late 18th Century.
        The result of that committee's work, though, was open to the
public.  It was ratified by the individual states, as were the first 10
Amendments and all succeeding Amendments.  Contrary to Mr. Moore's
all-informed opinion, there was no "popular outrage" at the omission, from
the Constitution, of the original Bill of Rights (i.e., the first 10
Amendments).  Those Amendments were raised by the committee itself,
comprised as it was of patrician members.
        Mr. Moore has a serious problem with "elites," though he doesn't
actually define them.  He implies that they are educated and monied, but
beyond that, not much.  Except that they control not only the U.S. -- and
have done so from the start -- but also the entire developed world.  Nice
work if you can get it, I suppose.
        Mr. Moore also seems to have slight grasp of the history of war.
He confuses the entry of the United States into the World Wars, for
example, with the actual start of those wars.  While most in Europe
complained -- and still complain -- that the U.S. entered rather late in
both World War I and World War II, Mr. Moore claims that the U.S.,
oh-so-subtly, actually started them.
        He has zero understanding of American history and how much it took
to get Congress to actually declare war.  The sinking of the Lusitania did
not start World War I: the war was well in progress by that time.  But the
sinking did much to bring the U.S. into it.
        By the time of Pearl Harbor, World War II had been raging in
Europe for three years.  The AJP Taylor school of World War II causality
(that it was all set up by the "elites,"  both east and west) has been
dismissed over the past 20 years for good reason:  it doesn't fit the
facts.  Nor does it fit the American ethos to support a fantasy that the
U.S. citizenry would permit the death of tens of thousands of its children
just to support political and economic elites.
        Moore gravely slanders the millions of immigrants to the United
States over the past two hundred years.  Rather than dupes, as he would
have it, these people came to the U.S. because of the promise it held for
them, individually.  Rather than a "cover story," the promise of America
was that people coming to it would have more opportunity -- economic,
social, religious -- than they had in the countries they were leaving.
        Whether it was Eastern European Jews deciding that pogroms were a
part of their "national identities" that they'd willingly give up for a
different shuffle of the cards in the U.S., or Irish immigrants who
decided that food on the table was better than starving to death in the
Emerald Isle, immigrants have been exercising personal choice for a long
time.
        I do not claim that the "melting pot" of America has worked for
everyone.  Clearly, as seen in the case of African Americans in
particular, the entire population of the U.S. did not meld into one.
There are other groups who have not yet fit in.  But there are many others
who have managed the transition.  Nor do I claim that the transition is
painless.
        I'm descended from 19th Century immigrants from both Ireland and
French-speaking Canada.  Great grandparents and grandparents on both sides
faced discrimination, in housing, employment, salary, access to education.
But they did manage to make the dream work so that their descendants, many
of them, at least, can now count themselves among Moore's "elites." They
have good jobs, good educations, many are even in politics and elected to
high offices.
        Finally, Moore's greatest weakness is a manifest belief in the
overwhelming power of government.  He must have extremely little
experience in government if he thinks that any government would be able to
keep secret the "fact" that it suckered its population into a war that
killed significant proportions of that population.  Even the examples he
chooses refute his arguments.
        The "Gulf of Tonkin" incident may indeed have been an exaggeration
of the facts.  But it did not remain a secret very long, else Moore
wouldn't be able to discuss it now.  Were any government able to sustain
the power that Moore suggests, there'd be no argument, debate or
discussion of political issues today.  Mr. Moore, rather than being able
to put fantasy to paper, would be off in some gulag, were he lucky.
        A little bit of learning, we're told, is a dangerous thing.  Mr.
Moore certainly has very little learning.  But it's so little that it's
not much danger.

                                -30-

     (Charles Gregory, an American, works and writes in London.)

                        *       *       *
________________________________________________________________
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 1996
From: Joe Shea <•••@••.•••>
Subject: The American Reporter, No. 434
                        *       *       *

                      _____________________
                      LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

+
        I must convey considerable disappointment at Charles Gregory's
response to Richard Moore (AR, NO. 433).  Gregory apparently believes that
attitude can substitute for analysis.  While Moore's characterizations
occasionally exceeded the due caution of the careful historian, the main
thrust of his argument -- that capitalist class relations drive US foreign
and domestic policy -- is hardly a new thesis.  Moore simply summarized
arguments made in a wide variety of places by a large number of authors.
        As for Gregory's critique, it rests largely on his own "pick and
choose" history.  Certainly, instances of U.S. benevolence abroad can be
found.  Certainly, the unintended growth of the voting franchise and civil
liberties indicates that the potential for expanding human freedom existed
in the original Constitutional design, despite explicit exclusions of
Native Americans and slaves from the Consitution's protections.
Nonetheless, Gregory would have to be willfully blind to asssert that the
economic interests of the slave-owners and landholders who wrote the
Constitution had nothing to do with its provisions, or that economic
interests have not played a major part in US foreign policy.  (If Gregory
seeks establishment history on the latter, he can consult Walter LaFeber's
The American Age.)
        So what is Gregory's point?  Evidently, it is that the celebratory
version of American history contains more truth than the critical
perspective Moore advocates.  Otherwise, why bother to respond to Moore?
Unfortunately, Gergory does not provide a sustained argument for any
alternative to Moore, only his own bemused dismissal of whatever falls
outside the common mythology.
        Rather than forward any larger pattern to oppose to Moore's, he
simply picks and chooses specific points of Moore's argument to refute.
Lack of space is no excuse, for he wasted many words conveying to us his
attitude, devoid of fact or logic.
        Gregory is also apparently lacking in knowledge of the literature
he dismisses so offhandedly.  Gregory writes the following:
        "Noam Chomsky is a brilliant philosopher of language, but his
abilities as a historian or social critic are limited: his theories simply
don't fit the facts.  Similarly, William Greider is a great journalist,
but a historian, he's not.  Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the
United States" has the depth of a stone skipping across the water; if the
title weren't a hint to the bias of the author, then the fact that every
aspect of history is skewed in the telling might have provided a clue.
Michael Parenti is unknown to me, but I will check out one of his books."
        On the first, Gregory is simply ignorant of Chomsky's views.
Chomsky would never claim to have a "theory" of society or history.
(Chomsky's position on "theory" has been well articulated on LBBS.)
Rather, Chomsky relies on a few fairly simple generalizations, such as
that those with power and wealth will use it to forward their own
interests, "truisms"(Chomsky's word) that do not amount to a theory.
Thus, it is not possible to assess whether Chomsky's "theory" fits the
facts.
        To the contrary, what Chomsky does is assemble a vast quantity of
facts, as reading any of this books on US foreign policy readily reveals.
Is Gregory saying the facts don't fit the facts?  Or that the facts
Chomsky highlights don't fit Gregory's theory?  On the second and third,
Gregory's remarks are symptomatic of his entire approach: say something
dismissive and move on.
        Gregory's analysis thus has the depth of a skipping stone.  On the
last, Gregory simply admits his paucity of knowledge regarding the work he
finds wanting.  The American Reporter is remiss in publishing an
individual who does not even know Michael Parenti's name to comment on the
body of work of which he is a leading, if controversial, figure.
        In short, whatever the shortcomings in Moore's rapid review of the
left critique of American democracy and foreign policy, they are
overmatched by those in Gregory's response.  This is an important debate,
and I hope that AR's readers join it, but I hope at the same time that the
level of dialogue rises considerably.

John Barkdull
Lubbock, Texas
via Internet
________________________________________________________________


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    Posted by Richard K. Moore  -  •••@••.•••  -  Wexford, Ireland
     Cyberlib:  www | ftp --> ftp://ftp.iol.ie/users/rkmoore/cyberlib
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