The Tragedy of Forgotten Wisdom


21/09/2012 by Don Quijones

They must find it difficult… those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than truth as the authority.” John Milton

New York Times columnist Roger Cohen recently wrote that conspiracy theories are “the ultimate refuge of the powerless. If you cannot control your life, it must be that some greater force controls the world”.

While Cohen was writing specifically about what he sees as the Arab world’s descent into conspiracism, his use of the word “powerless” could equally apply to the rapidly declining West, where growing numbers of people are becoming disenfranchised, both politically and economically.

Also, like so many of his fellow establishment journalists who dismiss dissenting voices as the ravings of “conspiracists,” Cohen ignores an essential fact of human enterprise: that when the interests of a group of powerful people converge, a conspiracy will likely emerge.

Don’t take my word for it. Just ask Adam Smith, the founding father of modern capitalism, who once wrote: “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices”.

Scandals such as the Enron debacle, Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme, NSA wire-tapping and the manipulation of the 500 trillion-dollar libor market are ample proof that conspiracies are alive and well in the 21st century.

That is not to deny, in any way, “Heinlein’s Razor”, which cautions against “attributing to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity” – after all, incompetence, like corruption, is a ubiquitous part of human enterprise. Rather, it is to expose the lunacy of those who unhesitatingly reject – despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary – the possibility that conspiracies might ever be hatched in the highest circles of government, business and finance.

Warnings From the Past

Throughout modern history, influential political, business and intellectual figures – people who paced the corridors of power and saw first hand how government, finance and big business function – have warned of the threat posed by conspiracies. They include U.S. presidents, British prime ministers, industrial magnates, newspaper editors and even central bankers – hardly the sort of people you’d describe as “powerless.”

The aim of this post is to shine light on some of their warnings, most of which have been ignored and gone unheeded by successive generations.

The result is that despite having better access to more information than ever before in history, people today find it hard to sift the fundamental truths of how power actually works from the myriad lies and distortions packaged and sold to us by today’s mainstream press – a press which, as Alexander Cockburn writes in the American Conservative, has grown “touchingly credulous, ever inclined to trust the official version, at least until irrefutable evidence – say, the failure to discover a single WMD in Iraq – compels them finally to a darker view”.

Distrust of the media, while deservedly on the rise, is hardly a new thing. The 19th-century U.S. writer and humourist Mark Twain was clearly unimpressed with the press of his day when he wrote: “If you don’t read a newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read a newspaper, you are misinformed”.

Some Forgotten Truths

Below are ten quotes from esteemed historical figures from both sides of the Atlantic – people whose lives and deeds feature front and center in today’s history books but whose most valuable cautionary insights have been left to gather dust in the black holes of our collective conscious.

Also included is a brief clip of one of John F. Kennedy’s most important – but little known – speeches, delivered just months prior to his assassination.

What all these people have in common, apart from their rightful place in history, are the warnings they gave of the perils posed to our freedoms and prosperity by a powerful group of financiers, industrialists and central bankers working in the shadows of government.

Through their control of national and international monetary policy, as well as the levers of government, business and media, these groups of powerful men (and occasionally women) have sought to usurp all power from the sovereign citizenry – just as happens to be playing out before our eyes across much of Europe.

1. “All the perplexities, confusions, and distresses in America arise, not from defects in the Constitution or confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, as much as from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation.” – John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States

2. “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless.” – Abraham Lincoln, from a November 21, 1864 letter to Colonel William F. Elkins

3. “Banking was conceived in iniquity and born in sin. Bankers own the Earth. Take it away from them but leave them the power to create money, and, with the flick of a pen, they will create enough money to buy it back again. Take this great power away from them and all great fortunes like mine will disappear and they ought to disappear, for then this would be a better and happier world to live in. But, if you want to continue to be the slave of the bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let the bankers continue to create money and control credit.” – attributed to Sir Josiah Stamp, governor of the Bank of England during 1930s

4. “For a long time I felt that FDR had developed many thoughts and ideas that were his own to benefit this country, the United States. But he didn’t. Most of his thoughts were carefully manufactured for him in advance by the Council on Foreign Relations One World Money Group. The United Nations is but a long range, international banking apparatus clearly set up for financial and economic profit by a small group of powerful One-World revolutionaries, hungry for profit and power. The One-World government leaders and their ever close bankers have now acquired full control of the money and credit machinery of the U.S. via the creation of the privately owned Federal Reserve Bank.” – Curtis Dall, Son-in-Law of F.D.R., 1936

5. “I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by it’s system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the world… no longer a government of free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men.” – Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of the United States and the man responsible for passing the Federal Reserve Act of 1913

6. The one aim of these financiers is world control by the creation of inextinguishable debts.” (sound familiar?) Henry Ford, American industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company

7. “The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes.” – Benjamin Disraeli, First Prime Minister of Britain

8. “The bold effort the Second National Bank of the U.S. had made to control government and the distress it has wantonly produced are but premonitions of the fate that awaits the American people should they be deluded into a perpetuation of this institution or the establishment of another like it.” – Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, warning of the threat posed by the Federal Reserve Bank’s predecessor, the Second National Bank of the U.S.

9. “The business of the journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, so what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. They pull the strings and we dance.” – John Swinton, former New York Times Chief of Staff

10. If the American people allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” – Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States.

(Most of the quotations contained in this post can be found here, a superlative collection of quotations on banking, money, freedom and liberty).


3 thoughts on “The Tragedy of Forgotten Wisdom

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