How Things Got This Crazy: The Republican Long-Term Strategy Gone Wrong

lewis powellIt is time once again to revisit the Lewis Powell Memo, the founding document of the GOP’s 45 year old strategy to save capitalism.  We think you will be shocked and horrified by what this memorandum contains, as we were.  But by reading the Powell Memo, you will be able to see the purposefulness in their actions that have led us to this moment in history. What appears to the untrained eye as chaos, stupidity, and insanity on their part, is actually the plan. Here’s how it went down back in 1971.

Terrified of the country’s growing liberalism in the late sixties, conservatives were deathly afraid that the free enterprise system was at risk.  The Powell Memo was a confidential communication to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, putting forth what would become the Republicans’ long-term strategy for gaining and retaining power over the next 50 years.  It specifically named media – television, radio, newspapers; college campuses, the courts, advertising and “a more aggressive attitude” as the major tenets of the strategy.

The Lewis Powell Memo (aka The Powell Manifesto) written in 1971, before he became a Supreme Court Justice and went on to write a 1978 decision that effectively invented a First Amendment “right” for corporations to influence ballot questions.

“On August 23, 1971, Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr., an attorney from Richmond, Virginia, drafted a confidential memorandum for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that describes a strategy for the corporate takeover of the dominant public institutions of American society.”

The manifesto is divided into the following sections:

  • The Campus
  • Television
  • Other Media (radio/newspapers)
  • Books, Paperbacks And Pamphlets
  • Paid Advertisements
  • The Neglected Political Arena
  • Neglected Opportunity In The Courts
  • Neglected Stockholder Power
  • A More Aggressive Attitude
  • Quality Control Is Essential
  • Relaltionship To Freedom

You won’t regret taking the time to read it in its entirety.  Below we’ve posted (again) one of the scariest portions where you can see that everything they are doing now, stemmed directly from this memo.  It will be clear after you read it WHY they want to defund public education, WHY they have de-legitimized science and the arts, WHY they use the corporate media to promote their ideas, WHY they adopted Christianity and religion as their own.

Confidential Memorandum:
Attack of American Free Enterprise System
DATE: August 23, 1971
TO: Mr. Eugene B. Sydnor, Jr., Chairman, Education Committee, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
FROM: Lewis F. Powell, Jr.

This memorandum is submitted at your request as a basis for the discussion on August 24 with Mr. Booth (executive vice president) and others at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The purpose is to identify the problem, and suggest possible avenues of action for further consideration.

Dimensions of the Attack

No thoughtful person can question that the American economic system is under broad attack.1 This varies in scope, intensity, in the techniques employed, and in the level of visibility.

There always have been some who opposed the American system, and preferred socialism or some form of statism (communism or fascism). Also, there always have been critics of the system, whose criticism has been wholesome and constructive so long as the objective was to improve rather than to subvert or destroy.

But what now concerns us is quite new in the history of America. We are not dealing with sporadic or isolated attacks from a relatively few extremists or even from the minority socialist cadre. Rather, the assault on the enterprise system is broadly based and consistently pursued. It is gaining momentum and converts.

Sources of the Attack
The sources are varied and diffused. They include, not unexpectedly, the Communists, New Leftists and other revolutionaries who would destroy the entire system, both political and economic. These extremists of the left are far more numerous, better financed, and increasingly are more welcomed and encouraged by other elements of society, than ever before in our history. But they remain a small minority, and are not yet the principal cause for concern.

The most disquieting voices joining the chorus of criticism come from perfectly respectable elements of society: from the college campus, the pulpit, the media, the intellectual and literary journals, the arts and sciences, and from politicians. In most of these groups the movement against the system is participated in only by minorities. Yet, these often are the most articulate, the most vocal, the most prolific in their writing and speaking.

Moreover, much of the media-for varying motives and in varying degrees-either voluntarily accords unique publicity to these “attackers,” or at least allows them to exploit the media for their purposes. This is especially true of television, which now plays such a predominant role in shaping the thinking, attitudes and emotions of our people.

One of the bewildering paradoxes of our time is the extent to which the enterprise system tolerates, if not participates in, its own destruction.

The campuses from which much of the criticism emanates are supported by (i) tax funds generated largely from American business, and (ii) contributions from capital funds controlled or generated by American business. The boards of trustees of our universities overwhelmingly are composed of men and women who are leaders in the system.

Most of the media, including the national TV systems, are owned and theoretically controlled by corporations which depend upon profits, and the enterprise system to survive.

You might ask, who are these lefty communist attackers they were so afraid of?  Here’s one:”

Perhaps the single most effective antagonist of American business is Ralph Nader, who — thanks largely to the media — has become a legend in his own time and an idol of millions of Americans. A recent article in Fortune speaks of Nader as follows:
“The passion that rules in him — and he is a passionate man — is aimed at smashing utterly the target of his hatred, which is corporate power. He thinks, and says quite bluntly, that a great many corporate executives belong in prison — for defrauding the consumer with shoddy merchandise, poisoning the food supply with chemical additives, and willfully manufacturing unsafe products that will maim or kill the buyer. He emphasizes that he is not talking just about ‘fly-by-night hucksters’ but the top management of blue chip business.”

Yes, it is a long memorandum. But to understand how we got to this level of crazy, it is a must read. Click here to read the Powell Manifesto in its entirety.

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