By Bernie Quigley - for The Free Market News Network 1/20/07
It is interesting that the neocons, who have nurtured such twisted and dark policy initiatives as we have recently seen took as their original guiding moral light Arthur Koestler, a key figure in the European Popular Front, who later rejected Communism. The Popular Front was made up of Communists and sympathizers in called fellow travelers, who sought to insinuate influence throughout France and during and after the Russian Revolution. Much as writers like Charles Krauthammer do today in The Washington Post and a variety of others on the pages of the LA Times and now, even to the embarrassment of William F. Buckley, Jr., at The National Review. The “soft” side of propaganda today seems entirely inspired by the agitational propaganda strategies used in by operatives like Koestler.
He may be forgotten now or known only for his writings on depth psychology as it was pioneered by Wolfgang Pauli and C.G. Jung, but in the 1950s, Koestler was one of the most important men of his times. In the Williamsburg section of, where savage divisions erupted among Stalinists, socialists and anti-communists, Koestler was a hero. He courageously turned his back on the God that Failed, and their strategies and propaganda methods, when many of his colleagues did not.
Koestler wrote two books on interrogation and torture. In Darkness at Noon he asked how a man like himself could be seduced into the Personality Cult of Stalin and a movement that advocated and practiced torture, as the Stalinists did with such proficiency. Koestler, who bears an astonishing resemblance to Paul Wolfowitz, at one time suggested names in France andwhich were sent up to Stalin for torture and execution. Later, he offered a different point of view from the torture advocates of today, referring to them as “the scum of the earth” in a second book on torture.
There is nothing wrong with being a Fellow Traveler on an issue. Indeed, it is good citizenship. But what brings the movement to power is the fact that the country is too frightened, timid or stupid to respond. The mainstream allows itself to be intimidated: The Popular Front relies for its effect on the poor citizenship and weakness on the part of everybody else not part of its group.
We saw it working twice this week. First when ThePost took out an ad calling Wesley Clark and anti-Semite because he said in a passing conversation to Ariana Huffington that “ money people” were pushing war with . The Post declared that this associated money with Jews and was thus anti-Semite. The mainstream press shuffled and submitted, tugging on its forelock, and the story echoed cross the wires. I was reminded of an another news article years back about a black man who said black people didn’t like gardening because it reminded them of slavery (working the land, get it?). An article like this in a healthy citizenship would normally provoke choked laughter, but this was reprinted in the major newspapers.
Wesley Clark opposes the invasion of, which Israeli strategists have since publicly proposed Israel do by itself. Clark , whose father was a Jew, refused to capitulate. He responded: "I will not tolerate anti-Semitic conspiracy webs to permeate the honest debate Americans must have about how best to confront ."
But it is the willingness to submit by others in the press and in politics which brings a kind of moral cowardice that seeps the life force from the country. It is this weakness of character which forms a Congress which appeases and accommodates neocon agenda, advances egregious torture strategies unknown since the Enlightenment and repeals habeas corpus.
The tool of the Popular Front and its fellow travelers was called agitational propaganda; it was the use of language and the media to deceive, confuse and disturb the moral base of the middle class. Key to this strategy was finding an individual who represented the culture at large as a paragon of virtue, and slandering that individual. Apparently in Stalin’s day people had come to believe anything. Today again, perhaps: Go to The Washington Post and read Deborah Lipstadt’s essay, “Jimmy Carter’s Jewish Problem.”
Lipstadt presents President Carter, a Noble Peace Prize laureate, as an anti-Semite, comparing him with David Duke. The essence of her argument is that when Carter writes about the situation in Palestine and thein his recent book, “ Palestine : Peace, not Apartheid” he doesn’t take the Holocaust fully into consideration (although, she concedes, “nitpickers” might say that the Holocaust did no happen in the region.)
This is the kind of thing one might expect from the Chinese Communist Party which learned its strategies from the likes of Arthur Koestler and his colleague Michael Borodin – indeed it is quite similar to the Chinese government’s consistent attacks on the Dalai Lama: His Holiness never considers the Rape of Nanking, the Japanese invasion and China’s inherent sensitivity and discomfort with neighbors of any kind.
Koestler wrote that fascism came tobecause the Europeans allowed themselves to be intentionally deceived by both fascists and communists. We are seeing it again in a propaganda storm against our most honorable and courageous people.