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1/17/03

THE VAST RIGHT WING CONSPIRACY

By Sheldon Drobny

The pundits mocked Hillary Clinton unmercifully for saying in early 1998, after the Monica Lewinsky scandal first broke, “The great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president.”[1] 

Her accusation was not quite true.

It was actually a relatively small right wing group that tried to destroy her husband.  Ms. Clinton’s statement was understandable, though, when you consider the power of the group, well documented by David Brock in Blinded By The Right.  As the old joke goes, you’re not paranoid if everyone really is against you.

There is not a vast right wing conspiracy, at least not one organized with any sort of chain of command—like the Republican Party, for example.  The real story is that there are a number of powerful right wing organizations in this country that significantly influence government policy, and these organizations will stop at nothing to advance their agenda.  It was easy to criticize Hillary when she said that there was one big organization out to get her husband.  But her general warning about the right wing having vast power is something that we must spotlight, because that power is largely invisible to the average American.

The right wing organizations that have significantly affected American policy are too numerous to mention.  They are aligned with large corporations and people of wealth and power.  Current examples are: GE and its former chairman Jack Welch; News Corporation and its head Rupert Murdoch; and that loveable old curmudgeon, Richard Melon Scaife.  As a group, they push various right wing agendas and have a major influence on government policy.  Collectively, but not individually, they essentially dictate what the government does—and all for their own individual benefit.  Sometimes they work in tandem, but most of the time they each work to advance their particular favorite elitist protectionist policy.  Money from their corporations donated to politicians is one of their seemingly benign activities.  Collectively, the process is quasi-fascist.

Fascism in modern terms has the following characteristics:

·        The state has the ultimate authority over production and distribution without (as in socialism) actually owning the means of production and distribution.

·        Control is generally accomplished through cartelization, the creating of industry-wide councils in which the representatives of the most powerful firms set policy in conjunction with representatives of government.

Some economists have renamed fascism corporatism[2], which really describes the inter-relationship we see today between business and government.  Although the U.S. is a democratic republic, the economic power structure is corporatism.  And that is—or should be—a very disquieting thought.  The recent corporate accounting scandals, though they involved billions of dollars, are minor compared to the continuing corruption associated with government contracts, especially contracts for military expenditures.  The real scandal of waste and corruption rests in what Eisenhower called the military industrial complex.

Nazi Germany's military industrial complex allowed it to rearm and start a second world war.  Much of the support for Germany’s rearmament came from American and international businesses, a scandal that has never been completely made public.  Very few Americans know that Prescott Bush, our president's grandfather, supplied Nazi Germany with such assistance.  He did not stop until President Roosevelt, in 1942, froze some of his assets under the Trading With The Enemies Act.[3]  The information is documented, but is not known by most Americans because, as in any successful fascist regime, the press is prevented from publishing it.

The news media are controlled by the same corporations that participate in the great partnership between government and business.  Should it not worthy of note in a presidential campaign that the wealth and power of one of the candidates was built in part by treacherous acts of one of the family’s founders?  Knowing it might have made some people who intended to vote for George W. Bush reluctant to do so.

War benefits the armaments and oil industries.  The corporate masters and their current spokesman, George W. Bush, promote a dangerous policy of pre-emptive warfare.  They use exactly the same excuses Hitler used to sell to the public his maniacal desire to conquer Europe.  The real power for Hitler came from his corporate backers, who willingly supplied him the tools to execute his plan, their reward being profit.

We can never know the inner thoughts or motives of those businessmen who profited from Hitler's aggressive military policy.  The ones who were rational must have known Hitler was an extremist.  Nevertheless, they were willing to ignore a dangerous and self-destructive policy for a shortsighted profit incentive.  Among the results were the deaths of nearly 40 million people and the destruction of Germany.  A similarly short-sighted profit incentive by today's war entrepreneurs may lead us into a holocaust far greater than the one caused by Nazi Germany.

Hillary Clinton was right when she suggested that the real story is about the vast power of the right wing.  And though she was wrong to describe it as a conspiracy, which normally has an organized hierarchy, uncontrolled corporate greed and the partnership of members of government with their corporate masters do naturally lead to results similar to those suffered in Germany.. 

Corporatism is a form of social Darwinism, and it must be dealt with forcefully if our republic, and humanity, is to survive.

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[1] Hillary at the Helm, Jan M. Faust, ABC News, January 30, 1998

[2] “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.” —Benito Mussolini (cited by Lewis Lapham in Harper's, January 2002)

[3] Who Is George W. Bush?, Toby Rogers and Nick Mamatas, Albion Monitor, January 30, 2000

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Sheldon Drobny is co-founder of Air America Radio, providing talk radio for the majority of Americans.

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