MAVERICK "INSIDER" HISTORIANS


And they came to Balaam, and said to him, Thus saith Balak the son of Zippor; Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me. For I will promote thee unto very gmat honour; and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me: come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people. And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more (Numbers 22:16-18).


Balaam was a prophet. He was not a man of God, but he was a spokesman for God. He later was executed at Moses' command (Numbers 31:7-8) for the treachery which he had shown to Israel (Numbers 31:16). But in this earlier incident, he refused to prophecy falsely against the Israelites. Balak the king sought his counsel and his curse against Israel, but Balaam refused to co-operate.1

What was true of this "court" prophet is sometimes (though rarely) true of modern court historians. Despite the overwhelming unity of professional opinion against conspiracy theories (and theorists), from time to time a certified scholar breaks loose and publishes a book which demonstrates the power and influence of conspiracies in history. It is never clear what motivates a man to make such a break with conventional behavior. It could be professional pride. It could be anger at some perceived slight. It could be the desire to tell an interesting story that hasn't been told before. It could even be that the tale-teller doesn't initially perceive the damage he is doing to those who have successfully sought power. But for one reason or another, he blows the whistle.


Carroll Quigley

Such a book is Prof. Carroll Quigley's monumental (and unfootnoted) Tragedy and Hope (Macmillan, 1966). The authors of None Dare Call It Conspiracy relied heavily on it. Macmillan decided not to reprint it after 1968, even though its sales were accelerating. But this is normal; book publishers often cease publishing fat, expensive books that cost a fortune to typeset, just as these books begin to sell well. As mid-1950's T.V. comic George Goebel used to say, "Suuuure they do."

Don Bell, a conservative newsletter publisher, came across a copy of the book in 1966 and alerted his readers to its importance. Word began to spread. Macmillan then killed it. Quigley's earlier manuscript, later titled The Anglo-American Establishment, was written in the late 1940's. It was not published until 1981. It is devoted to the British connections; it barely mentions the American establishment. Tragedy and Hope for years has been available only in a so-called "pirate" edition.

Quigley, who died in 1977, was professor of history at Georgetown University's prestigious School of Foreign Service, and was rightly regarded (especially by Quigley) as the most brilliant faculty member in the department. He taught President Clinton history, which Clinton mentioned in his 1992 acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. But be it noted: Quigley did not publish any of his findings about the conspiracy until very late in his career, and only because members had turned files over to him (he later claimed). In fact, he published only one minor, obscure, and totally harmless book prior to Tragedy and Hope.2 Was he brilliant? Unquestionably. Judicious? Unquestionably. He built his early career in terms of the first principle announced in Proverbs 12:23: "A prudent man concealeth knowledge."

Tragedy and Hope is not all juicy conspiratorial material. Most of it is straight diplomatic, political, and economic history. All of it is brilliant. His insights on such otherwise ignored (and crucially important) topics as Japanese military history and its relation to family dynasties is fascinating. But it did not gain its notoriety or its sales because of these non-conspiratorial insights.

Why did Macmillan publish it? If they were unwilling to reprint the book after it was published, why publish it in the first place? It is quite possible that it got by a team of editors by mistake. After all, probably 98% of the book looks conventional. It has no footnotes, so it looks like a textbook, and few textbooks ever reveal anything unconventional. Furthermore, the Preface looks positively naive. He predicted the dwindling of the Cold War after 1962, and proclaimed "the growing parallelism of the Soviet Union and the United States; and the growing emphasis in all parts of the world on problems of living standards, of social maladjustments, and of mental health, replacing the previous emphasis on armaments, nuclear tensions, and heavy industrialization." This was standard liberal pabulum in 1965. In fact, it was substandard pabulum; in 1965 the Vietnam war was escalating. The head of Macmillan could not read every book manuscript in advance, especially one so huge that it becomes a 1300-page book. This one probably slipped through the cracks. (This was my conclusion before I spoke with Gary Allen and Cleon Skousen, who concluded the same thing.)

These mistakes do happen. For example, Otto Scott, a profound but unfortunately little-known conservative journalist-author (the man who coined the phrase, "the silent majority"), had his sensational book on John Brown published by Times Books, a subsidiary of the New York Times. The Secret Six reveals the details of the conspiracy of Unitarian ministers behind the murderous John Brown in the 1850's.3 The Secret Six hit the book stores in 1980. Then, according to Scott, the company lost any interest in promoting it. (This is putting Scott's version as mildly as I can.) He bought back the publishing rights and all of the remaining copies later that year.

A similar case, according to legal scholar Henry Manne [MANee], happened to him when a pro-free-market book of his got into print, and it subsequently outraged a senior official in the publishing company, who told Manne face to face that he intended to kill it. That book, too, created a minor sensation, but in the economics profession and scholarly legal circles. This was not the intention of the publisher, although it had been Manne's intention.

Tragedy and Hope was published two years before the conservatives began getting excited about it. It initially set no sales records. Don Bell (of Don Bell Reports) stumbled upon that single copy in 1966 and featured it in one of his newsletters, but not many people paid any attention. Word began to get out by 1968. It began to be quoted by Gary Allen in American Opinion, the John Birch Society magazine, beginning in early 1969. Then Cleon Skousen published The Naked Capitalist in 1970. This book was basically a compilation of excerpts of Quigley's book. By 1985, it had sold over a million copies; the first half million came by 1973. None Dare came out in 1972.

Sales of Tragedy and Hope began to take off in 1968, but supplies of the book ran out, and Macmillan declined to reprint it. They also destroyed the plates, according to author Quigley. I know one man who paid $150 for a used copy, so tight was supply, before a "pirate" edition appeared around 1975. (The publishers agreed to pay a royalty to Quigley, so it is more of an "unsuppressed book" than a true pirate edition.) Here is Prof. Quigley's account of what he alleged was the suppression of Tragedy and Hope:

The original edition published by Macmillan in 1966 sold about 8800 copies and sales were picking up in 1968 when they "ran out of stock," as they told me (but in 1974, when I went after them with a lawyer, they told me that they had destroyed the plates in 1968). They lied to me for six years, telling me that they would re-print when they got 2000 orders, which could never happen because they told anyone who asked that it was out of print and would not be reprinted. They denied this until I sent them xerox copies of such replies to libraries, at which they told me it was a clerk's error. In other words they lied to me but prevented me from regaining the publication rights by doing so (on OP [out of print] rights revert to holder of copyright, but on OS [out of stock] they do not.) . . . Powerful influences in this country want me, or at least my work, suppressed.4

Several years before Quigley wrote this letter, Larry Abraham and Gary Allen appeared on a radio talk show where the interviewer had scheduled Quigley to debate with them over the phone. Quigley immediately denied that he had written the sensational material that Abraham and Allen had attributed to him. As soon as Abraham read one of the denied passages over the air, reading directly from Quigley's book, Quigley hung up. Elapsed time: less than two minutes. So much for extended scholarly debate.

It seems clear in retrospect that Quigley never expected the book to become the source of ammunition for the conservatives, nor did Macmillan. I doubt that Quigley knew what he was getting into when he began the project in the mid-1940's, when he started doing the research. That Macmillan refused to reprint it indicates outside pressure. The book was a mistake from the perspective of those exposed. Whatever their motives for allowing him access to documentary material (which he claimed that they had),5 they later changed their minds about the wisdom of this. Or perhaps they never expected him to write a book using their materials. After all, he had never published anything controversial before, and it was late in his academic career.

In the late 1970's, Gary Allen received an unsigned letter. The envelope was postmarked "Washington, D.C." I have seen it and the envelope. The sender said that he had been a friend of Quigley's, and that at the end of his life, Quigley had concluded that the people he had dealt with in the book were not really public benefactors, as he had believed when he wrote it. According to the anonymous writer, Quigley had come to think of them in the same way that Allen did, and that Quigley had been very fearful of reprisals toward the end of his life. I believe the letter-writer.


James Billington

Quigley's scholarship was matched by James Billington's account of revolutionary movements in the period 1789 through 1917. Billington's Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith (Basic Books, 1980) is nothing short of a masterpiece. It is one of those exceedingly rare books which is simultaneously seminal and seemingly definitive — not just a path-breaker, but a four-lane highway. It is a standing testimony to the failure of all previous, certified, Establishment scholars to take seriously the role of conspiracies in European history. Furthermore, while Quigley almost never provided footnotes (though there are a lot of them in Anglo-American Establishment), Billington buries the reader in footnotes, in more languages than any of us cares to learn, and from more obscure books and scholarly journals than any of us cares to know about. The silence from the historical profession has been deafening. (The same silence also greeted volumes two and three of Antony Sutton's previously mentioned three-volume bombshell, Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development.) What they cannot answer, professional historians prefer to ignore.

Billington focuses on the revolutionary underground: secret societies, pornographers, occultists, and revolutionary journalists, who established the basic philosophy and organizational structure of the twentieth century's bloody revolutionary groups. What he shows is that the "rational" socialists and revolutionaries of the "left" were from the beginning deeply mixed up in such things as occultism, irrationalism, and pornography. He exposes the dark side of "progressive" revolutionary forces.

He does not discuss events after 1917, nor does he provide much material that would link today's Establishment manipulators (or their spiritual forebears) to revolutionary movements. What he does do, however, is to demonstrate that twentieth-century Marxism and socialism were born in dubious circumstances. Without support from the occult underground and what income and influence the founders derived from service as popular journalists, there would have been no "inevitable victory of the proletariat," no "vanguard of the revolution."

Billington had previously been a Harvard and Princeton history professor, and is a C.F.R. member. Today, he is the Librarian of Congress. By all standards, he is one of the highest-level academic "insiders." They still remember Quigley, whose book discussed the Establishment groups that have financed such revolutionary groups, and that have used and misused portions of this revolutionary ideology to further their own ends. Billington did not write a Quigley-type book, but it turned out to be a spectacular account of the organizational roots of modern revolutionism.

What is still needed is a comprehensively researched fusion of these two approaches which demonstrates the existence of a continuing alliance of the revolutionary underground and the Establishment. With footnotes. Or as Allen and Abraham wrote in None Dare, pressure from below combined with pressure from above, "a dictatorship of the elite disguised as a dictatorship of the proletariat."

This is not to say that Billington was unaware of this alliance. He does not pursue the topic, but his book begins with the most important of all these alliances historically, the alliance between alienated segments of the French nobility (especially the King's cousin, Philip of Orléans) and the perverts of the Parisian underground. Philip gave them legal and geographical sanctuary and a forum for their ideas in the gigantic garden spot in central Paris, which he controlled, the Palais-Royal. As Billington remarks, "Nowhere — the literal meaning of Utopia — first became someplace in the Palais-Royal" (p. 25). He makes it clear that the Parisian mob was the tool of this alliance, not an independent force in the coming of the French Revolution. The French Revolution and the Russian Revolution were not the product of impersonal forces of history. They were the product of long years of conscious conspiratorial organization and planning. This is not your standard textbook account.


The Hole in the Ship

There is a familiar progression in the responses of those who are faced with the growing popularity of some heretofore objectionable idea. It goes something like this:

Stage one: "It isn't true."
Stage two: "It's true, but it's irrelevant."
Stage three: "We knew all about it years ago."

Step by step, younger scholars are breaking new ground, and those who once controlled access to the documentary records, and who sat on the editorial committees of the major publishing houses, are dying or retiring. The standard interpretations are beginning to change. For example, in discussing the entry of the United States into World War II, younger historians no longer say, "It isn't true" when the evidence of F.D.R.'s manipulating the nation into war is presented. We are at stage two, "It isn't relevant." In short, he needed to do it, and it was morally proper. When this story gets into the textbooks, as it eventually will, those who categorically denied it will all be dead, and younger men will say, "We always knew that."

What the conservatives have been reading since 1970 in their "unprofessional" little books and magazines is now being considered by scholars as possible explanations. Their language is less inflammatory, and their footnotes are different, but very bright men are coming to similar conclusions about "the way the world works." This development is what the conspirators have to reckon with today. If ever they are perceived as the losers, the historians will show them as little mercy as they have shown Hitler, another loser. Relativism-pragmatism has its risks. These risks are increasing daily.

And when you consider that millions of young people have been pulled out of the public schools and are being assigned textbooks that are not state-approved, you get some idea of the threat to the present system. Lose control of the next generation's educational materials, and a conspiracy is in deep trouble. They need legitimacy, and a lot of younger people are being prepared to revoke that legitimacy. The findings of the maverick historians serve as acids in the ship-of-state's hull.

Footnotes:

1 Gary North, Sanctions and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on Numbers (Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1996), ch. 13: "The Office of Court Prophet."

2 The Evolution of Civilizations: An Introduction to Historical Analysis (Indianapolis, Indiana: Liberty Press, [1961] 1979). Ironically, it is published by a libertarian publishing house which is neither conservative nor modern liberal.

3 R.J. Rushdoony had written about the Secret Six in 1965, but few people have ever read his chapter on "The Religion of Humanity" in his low-selling little classic, The Nature of the American System, which was published by a small religious publishing firm, the Craig Press.

4 Letter to Peter Sutherland, December 9, 1975; reprinted in Conspiracy Digest (Summer 1976), and reprinted again in American Opinion (April 1983), p. 29.

5 Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time (New York: Macmillan, 1966), p. 950.

 

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