The Hidden Messages of the Power Elite’s Cultural Apparatus

photo by Jeanne Lemlin

By Edward J. Curtin, Jr.

To be crucified is to suffer and die slowly and agonizingly.  It was a common form of execution in the ancient world.  It is generally associated with Rome’s killing of Jesus and carries profound symbolic spiritual meaning for Christians.  In its figurative sense, it refers to many types of suffering and death inflicted on the weak by the strong, such as the ongoing genocidal slaughter of Palestinians by the Israel government.

Twenty or so years ago when the wearing of crosses by all types of people was the cultural rage, a woman I know said she was thinking of getting one.  When I asked her why, since she was Jewish, she said it was because she thought they were beautiful.  She seemed oblivious to the fact that to Christians they were gruesome but revelatory spiritual symbols, the equivalent of the electric chair or a noose, but linked to the Easter Resurrection and the non-violent triumph over death that is at the core of Christianity.

Her focus on beauty forcibly struck me that secular culture had triumphed in its establishment of an anti-creed creed wherein the pursuit of a sense of well-being and aesthetic tranquility had trumped traditional belief, while it used all faiths in its pursuit of a self-centered nihilism through a faux-spirituality linked to a precious aesthetic of beauty.

Philip Rieff noticed this in the mid-1960s when he wrote in The Triumph of the Therapeutic:

To raise the question of nihilism, as sociologists since Auguste Comte have done, demonstrates a major change in tone: the note of apprehension has gone out of the asking. We believe that we know something our predecessors did not: that we can live freely at last, enjoying all our senses – except the sense of the past – as unremembering, honest, and friendly barbarians all, in a technological Eden. . . . this culture, which once imagined itself inside a church, feels trapped in something like a zoo of separate cages. Modern men are like Rilke’s panther, forever looking out of one cage into another.

While today those cages would better be described as cells – as in cell phones – Rieff’s point was prescient in the extreme, echoing in its way Max Weber’s 1905 prophecy in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism of the coming “iron cage.”

It would be understandable if you assumed the photograph of the crucifix that precedes my words was taken in a church since its foregrounding before the apse of the Medieval Spanish church of San Martin at Fuentidueña makes it seem so.  It was not, except if you realize that museums have become the modern churches, where people flock to revere art for art’s sake and perhaps to find some consolation they have lost at a deeper level.

Museums that have been built and maintained by the very rich to serve as their own churches to the glory of mammon and their own self-deluded immortalization.

Mammon that has been built on the backs of the poor and working class, just as these edifices have.

Beneath all high cultural institutions such as museums and arts venues like The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center in New York, etc., lies the expropriated labor and land of the lower classes, the same classes whose sweat and blood was exploited throughout capital’s historical transmutations from commercial to industrial to financial to create the immense wealth of the super-rich.

There is a reason the nineteenth-century America industrialists such as Vanderbilt, Mellon, Carnegie, Rockefeller, et al. were called “The Robber Barons.”  They were crooks.  They are still with us, of course, aided and abetted by today’s latest billionaire class.  They build and finance the aforementioned cultural institutions as well as own and operate the major institutions of mass communication and entertainment, such as newspapers, television networks, telecommunication corporations, film studios, etc. – the entertainment industrial complex.  In this direct communication capacity, they control the mediation of “reality” to the general population.  They serve the interests of what the great crusading sociologist C. Wright Mills called the power elite in and out of government, of which they are an interlocking part, and through which they move smoothly in a game of revolving chairs.  They operate the great Spectacle for the general population while moving the levers of power backstage.

When he died, Mills was working on a massive book exploring what he provisionally titled The Cultural Apparatus.  He defined this complex as follows:

The cultural apparatus is composed of all the organizations and milieux in which artistic, intellectual, and scientific work goes on and of the means by which such work is made available . . . it contains an elaborate set of institutions: of schools and theaters, newspapers and census bureaus,  studios, laboratories, museums, little magazines and radio networks. . . Inside this network, standing between men and events, the images, meanings, and slogans that define the worlds in which [we] live are organized and compared, maintained and revised, lost and cherished, hidden, debunked, celebrated.  Taken as a whole the cultural apparatus is the lens of mankind through which men see; the medium by which they report and interpret what they see.

Columbia University, where he taught and is today in the news headlines for its police crackdown on student dissent for their pro-Palestinian protest, is one of those elite cultural institutions, a place Mills was never comfortable at and whose colleagues looked at him askance for his critique of the power elite’s warfare state.

Columbia, with its racist history as it saw its elite status threatened by the growth of the neighboring black community in Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s, and Columbia’s further expansion into these neighborhoods since.

Columbia, like all elite cultural institutions, born in its own mind sui generis and raised to the heights in purity and innocence, but whose foundation is rotten with dirty money.

Yet, as Terry Eagleton recently wrote in the London Review of Books, “This is not the way culture generally likes to see itself. Like the Oedipal child, it tends to disavow its lowly parentage and fantasise that it sprang from its own loins, self-generating and self-fashioning.”  Like Columbia and all the elite universities of “higher learning” –  Harvard, Oxford, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, etc. – that serve as legitimating tools for the power elite and their mendaciousness, the museums and other well-known arts institutions exert an enormous influence, not only over culture in the high cultural sense, but over the transformation of society as a whole, often in ways that go unnoticed.  Eagleton again:

There’s an irony here, since few things bind art so closely to its material context as its claim to stand free of that context. This is because the work of art as autonomous and self-determining, an idea born sometime in the late 18th century, is the model of a version of the human subject that has been rapidly gaining ground in actual life. Men and women are now seen as authors of themselves . . .

The photo of the crucifix and the apse that precedes my words was recently taken in The Cloisters in upper Manhattan, New York City, where the ghosts of dead religious beliefs prowl about the rooms.  It is meant to present a “chapel-like gallery.”  The Cloisters is a museum owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is now known as The Met Cloisters.  It, and the beautiful 67 acre Fort Tryon Park upon which it sits, was created and financed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. who, according to The Met’s website was fascinated with the past.  “The expert artistry of medieval art as well as its innate spirituality strongly appealed to this philanthropist and collector,” we are told.

Spirituality from the Middle Ages, I will amend, that when it had been transported to the museum was devoid of its living context and could be presented as a gift from a Robber Baron family to the people of NYC who needed to be uplifted by the noblesse oblige kindness of the Rockefellers.  Dead spirits devoid of living inner religiousness who smuggle secret messages to a public hungry for meaning.

Like my friend who considered getting a cross, Rockefeller no doubt found the crucifix and apse that frames it quite beautiful and spiritually uplifting, but not the living spirituality of the criminal Jesus whose message about wealth never informed the Rockefellers’ ruthless exploitation of others on their rise to power.

In years long past, when I first visited The Cloisters, being a native Bronx New Yorker, it was known simply as The Cloisters, even though The Met owned it since its inception in the 1930s.  Before I visited it as a young man, I had the impression it had some religious significance, as the name cloister suggests (early 13c., cloystre, “a monastery or convent, a place of religious retirement or seclusion”).

But I was wrong; it is a museum, a beautiful museum build with stones from European monasteries, churches, and convents transported long ago across the Atlantic and reconstructed on the heights above the Hudson River.  It is filled with medieval art collected by Rockefeller, George Gray Barnard, and other wealthy art collectors.  For those so disposed to wondering what royalty prayed for in medieval days – was it to slaughter as many Muslims as possible in the Crusades? – one can view the tiny prayer book once owned by the Queen of France – and imagine.  Such imagining might cause one to realize how little things have changed and how little things mean a lot.  The trick is to notice them.

Political power needs cultural power to operate effectively.  The elites can’t just slam people around and expect no response.  They need to worm their ideological messages into the public consciousness in pleasing ways.  Writing of Edmund Burke, Eagleton says, “Instead, he recognises that culture in the anthropological sense is the place where power has to bed itself down if it is to be effective. If the political doesn’t find a home in the cultural, its sovereignty won’t take hold.”

Thus, for an example from Hollywood and the pop-cultural realm, we might notice how many movies and TV shows were secretly co-written by the Pentagon.

Another name for this is propaganda

Cultural messaging is where the power elite need to seduce regular people that power is being exercised for their own good and everyone is in bed together.  Soft power.  Nice power.  Power that is disguised as beneficial for all.  Beautiful power.  “Spiritual” power.

As I said, Fort Tryon Park (designed by the Olmsted brothers, sons of the designer of Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted) and The Cloisters are spectacularly beautiful.  Walking through the park on a sunny spring day to reach the museum on its northern end – the flowers and cherry blossom trees dazzling and the Hudson River glistening below – one is overwhelmed by the beauty and grateful to its human gift giver – John D. Rockefeller, Jr.  It takes a little mental stretching to grasp the paradox or the delusional dream of such thankfulness.  But it cuts to the heart of the power of the cultural complex and the ways it works to soften the ruthlessness of its ultra-rich capitalistic controllers.

First they rob you, then they gift you with a walk in the park.

And when you step inside their institutions, you are provided with opportunities to think within controlled parameters, while also getting a whiff of the theatrical nature of your experience.  The whiff is as important as the thinking, for it is a reminder to keep your mouth shut and you too will flourish.  The fraudulence of the cultural entertainment-educational complex can dawn on some who have been invited into the inner sanctums of power and prestige, as it has done presently for many college students (and some faculty) whose consciences do not allow them to sit still while Palestinians are slaughtered.  But if you dare to act upon your sense of being taken for a ride, watch out!   You will be banned from the pleasures that are offered for your acquiescence, as these students are now finding out.

They have rejected that part of the learning experience that George Orwell called Crimestop:

. . . [it] means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought.  It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.

Sometimes real thinking and conscience win the day, for the power of the elite’s cultural institutions is not omnipotent.  Everyone is not for sale, even those invited into the banquet.  Teach people to think and meditate on history and they just might think outside the cage of your expectations.

While the genocide of the Palestinians is transparent for everyone to see, the leaders of these elite universities, unlike the rebellious students, turn a blind eye to the obvious.  They follow the script they were handed when they accepted their prestigious positions of power, living up to Julian Benda’s famous appellation – The Treason of the Intellectuals.

But “beautiful” power becomes the iron fist when the plebes get too uppity and actually take seriously their studies and rebel as human beings with consciences.  This is the flip side to the hidden messages of the elite cultural institutions.

This two-sided process of hidden and obvious messages operates also in the media complex (see this).   While the so-called liberal and conservative media – all stenographers for the intelligence agencies – pour forth the most blatant propaganda about Palestine, Israel, Russia and Ukraine, etc. that is so conspicuous that it is comedic if it weren’t so dangerous, the self-depicted cognoscenti also ingest subtler messages, often from the alternative media and from people they consider dissidents.  They are like little seeds slipped in as if no one will notice; they work their magic nearly unconsciously.  Few notice them, for they are often imperceptible.  But they have their effects and are cumulative and are far more powerful over time than blatant statements that will turn people off, especially those who think propaganda doesn’t work on them.  This is the power of successful propaganda, whether purposeful  or not.  It particularly works well on “intellectual” and highly-schooled people.

Some people think that if you see more than is apparent when visiting sites such as The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park, you are incapable of enjoying the beauty of these “gifts.”  This is not true.  They are not mutually exclusive.  The great African-American scholar W. E. B. DuBois coined a term double-consciousness which I think can be used in this context to describe some people’s experience, not just that of African-Americans.  They see at least two truths simultaneously.  Their unreconciled double-consciousness prevents them from single vision when visiting the power elite’s beautiful creations.  William Blake’s words – “May God us keep from single vision and Newton’s sleep! – inform their perspective.

On the same trip to The Cloisters, my wife and I walked extensively through Central Park, surely one of the most beautiful parks in the world.  It was spectacularly aflame with Cherry Blossom trees and people from all over the world enjoying its pleasures, as did we. I, however, when entering and exiting this paradise, couldn’t help thinking that this park was caged in by the massive apartment complexes of the super-rich elite class, as if to say to the park’s visitors: you can visit but not stay.  We oversee your pleasures.

Max Weber said it well a century ago:

No one knows who will live in this cage in the future, or at the end of this tremendous development entirely new prophets will arise, or there will be a great rebirth of old ideas and ideals, or, if neither, mechanized petrification, embellished with a sort of convulsive self-importance. For of the last stage of this cultural development, it might be said: “Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved.”


25 thoughts on “The Hidden Messages of the Power Elite’s Cultural Apparatus”

  1. Moral Turpitude & No Mas! ‘Soft Power’ Campus; aka UMASS Chancellor orders 132 arrested in Amherst

    [A man without a plan: fails to enunciate any any context to what he purports to be talking about. . .in charge of a major public university. Pathetic is too weak a word to describe this. . . .
    From: Chancellor Javier Reyes
    Sent: Wednesday, May 8, 2024 7:51:43 PM
    Subject: A Message from the Chancellor
    May 8, 2024
    Chancellor Javier Reyes

    Dear Campus Community,

    As Chancellor, ensuring the safety and well-being of our students and other members of our campus community is one of my most important duties. A safe and respectful learning environment is foundational to enabling free expression and the exchange of ideas – including through peaceful demonstrations. Guided by these values, I made the difficult decision last night to ask the University of Massachusetts Police Department to clear the site of an unauthorized fortified encampment that had been erected on the South Lawn of the Student Union.

    Last night, and into the early hours of this morning, the University of Massachusetts Police Department, assisted by Massachusetts State Police and other agencies, arrested 132 people. Of those 132, approximately 70 are UMass Amherst students and 6 are UMass Amherst faculty.

    Over the course of today, I have met with students, faculty, staff, as well as campus stakeholder groups. In these meetings, we discussed the events of last night and the previous encampment, along with processes and policies related to student discipline. Reflecting on the viewpoints I heard, I ask that SGA and GSS convene a special meeting where my leadership team and I can engage in dialogue and answer questions about this challenging episode.

    I also had a very constructive meeting with the Faculty Senate Rules Committee today at which we agreed to call a special meeting of the Faculty Senate next week to discuss the events of last night.

    Again, I know how challenging these events have been for everyone. Safety, wellbeing, and a sense of belonging are paramount for our community’s ability to thrive, and I recognize that there is work to do as we restore trust with those who feel harmed by the university’s actions.

    I have also asked my colleagues on the Community, Democracy and Dialogue (CDD) initiative to help chart a course forward through these contentious issues. My greatest hope is to continue dialogue, even – and especially – with those who disagree with or question the university’s stances and actions.

    Chancellor Javier Reyes


  2. Dear friends, I am trying to build a new movement with the most progressive and revolutionary and low-income sectors of the nation (maybe it is too utopian), but maybe it can evolve into an alternative political option in the near future with the main objective of saving the United States of America Republic of George Washington, it will be called “The Patriotic Board of Salvation” or “The Patriotic Council of Salvation”:

    The Patriotic Board of Salvation

    In the face of a broken and destroyed United States of America, we need to recover the ability to see and interpret the American reality from a nationalist, independent and sovereign perspective, but without abandoning the passport of universal citizens. We need to get rid of colonial visions, including those of critical thought but still trapped in Eurocentric magnifying glasses and canons, making it, for this reason, impossible to accept, since it does not appear in the manual, or was not said by any Western authority, that the American people can and have the right to forge a second Patriotic Board, and a second independence. but this time an independence from the European Oligarchs, (the 1% ruling class), from foreing capitalist imperialist investors, and from the zionist oligarchic state of Israel, to build the foundations of a future Workers-Republic of free and associated workers and producers to satisfy with the result of their work the needs democratically planned by the whole of society.

    In addition, we are convinced that after the constitutional violation carried out by The Democratic Party and The Republican Party by violating the democratic bases of the people’s rule of law, it remains that of all the options, this one, of organizing a Patriotic Board of Salvation, is the most economical in effort and sacrifice that the American people can forge to recover their dignity and freedom. Life tells us that history is spiraling anew. And that the real engine that moves history in United States has been, and will continue to be, the struggle for power between the slave-owning oligarchs, today metamorphosed into exploiting capitalists, and on the other hand, yesterday the slaves, today the impoverished working class of the nation .

    Let’s ponder, on the one hand, the thickest aspects of the dangerous and insecure world situation that come to enhance the possibility of the emergence of a Patriotic Board in United States as a in United States as a response to the hegemonic crisis that the Republic is experiencing. Indeed, there can be no serious analysis, made with dialectical logic, that ignores the fact that the political crisis of the US Imperialist system of domination, today administered by The Democratic Party and The Republican party, is connected, with its particular sinuosities, to the crisis of the capitalist world system led by U.S. Oligarchic and European Oligarchic classes

    And what stands out most prominently today in international relations is a military escalation, which leads to the assumption, based on what the historical record demonstrates, that the imperial system of capital, which has the United States as its hegemon, is developing in seeking, once again, to resolve its structural crisis by way of another world conflagration. We return to the term imperialism understood as an articulated global system, since it seems to us that it is a more precise and adequate definition to describe the current international scenario of plundering of resources from the periphery, armed confrontation with any manifestation of popular revolutions and rivalries between the powers for the primacy and distribution of the world’s resources. And in this context, it can be observed that we are facing the failure of the North American arms model of production in a multipolar context in which there are other actors disputing supremacy and some located at the antipodes of NATO, for example, China and Russia.

    The structural shortcomings that U.S. imperialist Oligarchic class suffers today cannot be overcome with its international military actions committed through NATO. The long depression that the capitalist economy is going through, despite the immense amount of money they have spent to save the system, has not stopped their crisis, but rather aggravated it. All this must be analyzed with a multifocal gaze, because this is a crisis that is leaking everywhere, a cracking of the entire civilization, it is a multi-headed hydra that devours itself. According to these appraisals, it can be said that we are in the presence of a new chronic crisis of capitalism in its global financial monopoly stage, of very severe periodic turbulences that always fertilise the ground for revolutionary popular movements to emerge with alternative proposals.

    Let us now slide the focus of the analysis to the other side of the coin, to evaluate the United States domestic local scenario, and it does not take long for a burning soup to appear before our eyes where the antagonistic contradictions that gravitate over the general American society and that have ended up eroding the political hegemony of Democrats and Republicans are cooked, which also contributes to facilitating the paving for a possible approach of a Patriotic Board with the main objective of saving The Republic as a desired mechanism because of the need for the American working class and their families to overcome this disaster to which they are subjected.

    In this sense, it is understandable that when the betrayal of the original US Founders revolution and the consequent abandonment of the US constitution and Bill of Rightswere consummated, replacing it with a program of neoliberal adjustments, to openly favor the accumulation of wealth of the businessmen organized in the union of the exploiters, multinational corporations, an accelerated impoverishment and dismantling of the constitutional rights of the American people ensued. All the social conquests that had been achieved were destroyed. Consequently, this social and economic destruction is automatically leading to the destruction of the political support of The Republican Party and The Democratic Party.

    If we review the factors that have been present in the electoral show on a case-by-case basis, we will realize that they are briefcase parties, which for the most part do not have an organized and rooted militancy in the communities, still has the state under control. The others are only serving as “democratic backdrops” of an authoritarian and unconstitutional government,

    The only recourse they have to use is to violate the political rights of the American people to prevent the participation of an option that emerges from 90% of the US population people, because there is a new majority.

    It is at that moment that the Patriotic Board of Salvation could appear as a political space for the articulation of the different nationalist, patriotic and revolutionary social forces that feel that The Republicans and Democrats hurts them, and that wish to contribute to the construction of a decent and dignified Republic.

    In this sense, the mission of this Patriotic Board is to establish an agenda to decouple the American economy from neoliberalism and the dictates of the global financial system, and it can be achieved. An agenda that exercises an independent and sovereign policy that aims to recover sufficient levels of equality so that the American people can live with dignity and tranquility. In this line of thought, we propose that the Patriotic Board develop five main lines of action: 1) recovery of the Auto industry, 2) promotion of agro-industrial development, 3) modernization of rural life and the peasant family economy, 4) recovery of the public health system, and 5) development of the public education system.

    In short, the American people are living in two crises at the same time, one that is unfolding at the global level, the general crisis of the imperial capital, the other, local, that bites and spreads throughout the whole United States as a result of the hegemonic collapse of the bi-party dictatorship as a subaltern engravation of capitalism. However, the good news is that in crises alternatives are forged and the people of George Washington have one that they wield every time they perceive a new opportunity to free themselves, the opportunity is now to call for the organization of a Patriotic Board to build a second Republic but this time a Republic for the workers.



    1. Good morning Knoxville Christian-Marxist….do I understand you want to march in place in quick sand with new titles, slogans, words ? Bear with me here since I can be very direct ! It most likely will work very nicely since we are so conditioned to accept any damn thing.
      I think we need to think differently beyond simply an unfamiliar vocabulary. Try considering small, self-sufficient communities that need no rulers or leaders. Think WE….we are in this together EQUALLY. Equally we will make decisions. If someone speaks too much; no matter what they say, be suspicious and bring this attempt to control, manipulate to this persons attention. Silence until someone wants to speak and that person must not speak volumes, only what they truly feel. Relax the brain and save it for real thoughts that emanate from the heart and naval areas. Creating hierarchies under new names and titles simply will not work! We are spinning our mental wheels due to fear. Fear of the unknown will enable what we need to transcend. Understanding is necessary. Walking, riding bicycles, plenty of time to look around, observe our environment, conversations with fellow walkers, feeling, another source of creativity…, what other forms of self sufficiency might be required. Do we need monetary systems, shoemakers? Are we just dreaming. When we discover who we really are, and that is difficult since we have been indoctrinated before we leave the womb, we might think and act more intelligently, with more useful, harmless discoveries. Or we can simply wear different clothes and continue our degeneration. ‘Small is Beautiful’ he wrote?? Well, someone should consider this, though not copy word for word, action for action. Feel, Think ! Of course this usually followed with, ‘well, what about this or that?’ How do you, blah? Where will the…? You have to have….! Repeating what we have learned from the great deciders and indoctrinators will be of no help to anyone ! Follow no one. Walk hand in hand with your fellow beings !

      1. Thanks a lot for your support, indeed, there will be big changes in the near future like the song “The Times are changing” by Bob Dylan. Sorry for my short reply because i am cooking right now. I wish i was rich so i could hire employees to do my domestic chores. Thanks again and remember Jesus Christ, George Washington, Marx, Trotsky, Lenin, JFK, Martin Luther King, Eugene Debs, are alive !!

      2. You are totally right, by the way i love walking, there is a book about how philosophers used to love walking to increase motivation and creativity (Philosophy of Walking). And you are right, a socialist welfare state is not a solution either, it will be the same opppression as a capitalist neoliberal state. Both socialist states and Republican representative liberal democracies are almost, are practically the same type of oppression.

        The root, the beginning of my revolutionary journey began with the existence of the internet, IRC politics chat rooms, internet articles, the lyrics of the song “Subdivisions” by Rush (which is a song about how humans are so enslaved by the real controllers of the world, the ruling elites (maybe they are the anunnaki extraterrestrials), that even if people think that they are free, even if they are libertarians, communists, rich, poor, business owners, congress members, rich wealthy millionaires like Trump etc. Humans are really slaves, controlled slaves and the future is already pre-decided. Another music group that opened my mind and introduced me to the great masters of suspicion (Nietzsche, Marx and Freud) was The Doors, because Jim Morrison was an avid book-reader of those thinkers. And then with 9-11 I became a conspiracy theory fan, a fan of Alex Jones, Rense, etc. And with the rise of Hugo Chavez to power, who in one way or the othe resurrected the word “socialism” and made it mainstream. And lately by studying the origins of the state in many of Nietzsche’s works (Zarathustra, Genealogy of Morals, and how socialist states have been really capitalist states (USSR, Cuba, North Korea, etc), and how even socialist states become evil and corrupt. How Nicolas Maduro betrayed the revolutionary intentions of Hugo Chavez. All the betrayals and corruption of marxist leninist states and trotskists parties. Have helped me evolve into an anti-state leftist, (an anarchist). I think really that a world anarchism, (a world without states, without money, without borders and without many other coercive anti-freedom things that we have today) will be the liberation of mankind. But that requires a sort of spiritual cultural, mental, altruist evolution and revolution. Because right now mankind is still in a barbarian egocentric state of mind

        Here is a writing from The Anarchist Library Website about how socialist experiments have betrayed the masses.

        “Socialism, the Socialists, the whole Socialistic philosophy, have fooled us as probably this world was never fooled before. Instead of teaching us to rely on ourselves, and insist individually and collectively on equality of opportunity and a square deal, they have told us that governments are our friends; that we must strengthen them; that we must load them with power; that we must make them run our railroads and our telegraphs; that we must give them the ownership of this and the management of that; that we must work for them in ever larger numbers; that we must look to them for the overthrow of all those special privileges which clothe the few in purple and the multitude in rags. Never was there a more cruel lie. Never were the people lured by fine words and subtle theories more fatally to their own destruction.

        It is government that parcels out among the few our priceless heritage, the earth, and defends, with all its military and legal forces, the privilege so granted. It is government that creates the millionaire, and it is government that throws into jail the helpless pauper it has created if he dares to take a crust of bread. It is government that creates and maintains the army of monopolists that ride us and the swarm of official leeches that suck our blood. Every new official is another stone added to that government fortress behind which monopoly and special privilege rest secure, while from it issues a devastating fire on those who question the parasite’s right to gorge himself. It is government that orders the peaceful German worker to shoot down the peaceful French worker, with whom he has only interests in common; interests diametrically opposed to those of the heartless few who set the machinery of war in motion.”

        Here is the link of where that thought about socialism came from:

        PS: By the way governments, celebrities and people in power are so corrupt, that i have an an american-venezuelan friend who lives in Venezuela, he is an an anarchist libertarian, ultra-leftist anti-Maduro, pro-Chavez activist who is very smart, his name is Oscar Heck, he writes articles in he told me that Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro donated 500,000 dollar to Trump’s campaign, I tell you this in order to support what you said (which is true) that replacing a capitalist government with a socialist government in the USA will not really be a solution to all the human problems that the USA currently has. Both capitalism and socialism are really almost the same thing in terms of psychologic, economic, and spiritual oppression


  3. Profound insight of the human condition of the elites, but an inherent flaw that probably nearly every, if not all, human being carries.
    Also, the criticism you make of elite funded institutions can be equally applied to religious organisations as well … Nearly all churches were “built on the backs of the poor and working class” !

    1. Thanks Frankie Mac…..there’s a church on every street corner in this region…..where is the humanity, the integrity, the morals and ethics ? Another money grabbing business that fear prevents truth of the matter ! And their was only one man ? Should we believe this history ? Why aren’t more churches speaking out concerning the attempt to exterminate a people, ghouls making profits from cities being destroy, people losing limbs and lives, pictures of a mother and young child both shot down because some psycho-bum enjoys target practice using living humans. Where are the ‘nice people’ the church people. Yes Frankie, many people live on the lives of other humans. Parasites wearing ugly neckties and suits made of ugly fabrics. And this insanity has been going on for centuries ! When will it stop ?

  4. The Max Weber quote at the end is so incredibly prescient, Ed:

    “… or, if neither, mechanized petrification, embellished with a sort of convulsive self-importance.”

    Can anyone doubt this is where a sizable part of the people are? Dependent on devices we don’t understand, fearful, morally regressed, but always catered to in our culture of Me and “my truth.”

    And I appreciate the earlier comment on the multiple levels of narrative building and propaganda applied to limit and control the populace. Indeed, I too have noticed the subtle ways conversation is limited and seemingly moral (antiwar and anti empire seemingly) create such limited choices and possibilities and narratives of “mistakes were made” … the evil banalities of modern civilization.

  5. Being primarily social animals, and living in societies of imperfect individuals, winners and losers (predators and prey) have always been a feature of our collective organizations. The more perceptive and eloquent among us have ruminated about the situation for millennia. Our current iteration of civilization appears to be reaching an existential crisis point, approaching Weber’s terminal “nullity” with no hope of a healthy reconstruction. So far as we know, that would seem to be a repeating cycle over the churning course of history, with the differences being in the details. Our home planet, with its core of molten iron, may be the ultimate cage, housing a species that is still searching for its raison d’etre. Inside it, we try to give life meaning, as long as it lasts. The future, as they say, belongs to the young. But even that has always been so.

  6. Edward and friends, i told my sisters thru whatsapp to go to the Amazon link and buy your book Maybe that book can motivate them to support leftist socialism ideology.

    I have 3 sisters, they belong to a middle class normal family, they are married in Tennessee, which is a very traditional state. I am the only one who is very radical, revolutionary and I question every thing (even how corporations like Mcdonalds are selling smaller Big Macs to people as compared to the Big Macs of the 1980s and 1990s). I think i am like Dr. Paul Craig Roberts who has an article about how the vehicles, the cars of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s were a lot better than today’s vehicles

    One of the main reasons of why i try to motivate people toward politics, philosophy etc. is because I think that in this world we cannot be apathetic to this reality, people should be warriors, tragic heroes, active nihilists, destroyers of every thing that is evil and wrong, and supporters of every thing that is good. After all that is the main message of real christianity.


    1. That is not the message of “real” Christianity.

      Christ redeemed mankind by his sacrifice. He was the Incarnation and completely sinless, yet he was hunted and murdered. He also told us that if the world hated him, it would hate those who follow him. All men are sinners, and most refuse to follow him.

  7. The Eclipse of Reason

    RFKjr’s embrace of Rabbi Shmuley [and by extension his MISCHIEVOUS progeny] put in relief this presidential candidate’s — and the political party he recently chose against seeking presidency under that banner — as True Blue Democrat, viz. their historical role against blacks in our country.

    And, Kennedy’s resorting to hard power, more specifically, endorsing forms of actual coercion [perhaps believing no one of ‘importance’ would notice?]

    Not that many years ago I watched the great comedian Dave Chapelle disparage Candace Owens. He resorted to one of his tactics, which was to refer to how rotten is her pussy, and went on and on.

    Owens recently made the observation: what would people think of black gangs such as bloods and crips denouncing those critical of their mayhem as racist?

    She said this in context of Jewish gangs, i.e., Zionist-led Israel and her many many, like-minded criminal conspirators — that constantly [for decades]: accuse criticism of Zionist crimes as anti-semitic — saying the consequences of remaining silent, and being coerced against saying anything calling out their mayhem must be recognized for what this is. [Shmuley and his progeny attack her a lot.] She referenced mafia-like tactics.

    The bottom line in our country is that anyone who gains any measure of influence, who uses their influence to critique Disaster Capitalism and what this brings, e.g., fascism, zionism, genocides, etc. . . that each and every last one of those will be warned, spied on, sanctioned, vilified, destroyed socially, economically, and if that doesn’t stop them, murdered.

    This actual, concrete dynamic, this real, hard, power, is what underpins, and thus perpetuates ongoing Eclipse of Reason, & various and sundry other social and psychological and emotional degradation. This cold hard Power.

    Arrest and jailing thousands of students across campuses this spring is not soft power. That, despite our colleges and universities having been infiltrated for decades by government [and likely ‘free-lance’] spooks of all manner and form, of which Marcuse and Barrington Moore, Jr epitomize [both sociologists, by the way] — it is an indicator of just how much we have gone from being the most organized Police State in the world to a police state completely run amok.

    Talcott Parsons, well-know for structural/functionalism — leaving out agency — was a target of C Wright Mills, at least an intellectual target.

    What would a Parsonian critique of Horkeimer’s critique in Eclipse of Reason essay look like?

    Malcolm X had the Democrat Kennedy Clan in mind when he warned about that party, saying essentially Republicans are wolves [and can’t get to the next rape fast enough]; Democrats: wolves in sheep clothing. Never mind for the moment RFKjr’s dad, the AG, ordered spying on MLK — hard power at its worst.

    When RKKjr announced in Boston a year ago, I had the reasonable expectation he would try to build [rebuild] the Massachusetts Democrat Party, and perhaps strategize to elect people to the state house and congress who felt dis-empowered via criminal covid response, bi-partisan at national and state levels. And that his coat tails could actually make a dent.

    And had RFKjr vociferously denounced our government’s participation and direction of the Genocide on Palestine, and went onto college campuses saying so last year — imagine if that had happened.

    Malcolm told the world what it takes to be a Democrat, nationally and in Massachusetts.

    Struggle to survive here, for more than 80% of us, is very very hard — thus it is extremely very very hard to find time to study, learn, reflect; study, learn, reflect. . . thus our collective eclipse of reason is the new normal.

    Pitirim Sorokin alludes to this phenomena, in an essay half a century or more ago, when he says it seems to be only those who live a practically ascetic, largely hermetic, and most likely in constant poverty existence, develop sensibilities, to go on, in aforementioned endeavor, dialectic of study, learn, reflect. . . .Anyway, that’s Sorokin’s theoritcal prescription to stay sane — and avoid insanity, alienation psychologically, social anomie, nihilism and worse.

    At one time sociology was seen as a bulwark against this eclipse of reason plague taking over. . .and there is some irony, I suppose, in the fact that great Russian scholars and intellectuals [who emigrated here] actually founded Sociology department at Harvard early last century. Sorokin was Harvard’s first department chairman.

    In Massachusetts, from 2015-2022, daily deaths average ~170/day.

    There are spikes during influenza season, roughly December through February peak-time; in warmer months, late spring to early fall: less deaths.

    In April 2020 and in May 2020, daily deaths doubled: & so many elderly people died, in this 60-day span — so many perished that the average age of death, along with the median age of death, actually spiked up, as well, during this two-month period [of medical infamy in a state largely basing its economy on medical and medical related functions].

    Following December 2020 deployment of mRNA shots, Massachusetts deaths during it’s influenza seasons soared, at levels never seen according to all death records in the state since 2015.

    What happened in Massachusetts, circa April 2020 & May 2020?

    And why have three most recent, consecutive influenza seasons, been the worst, by far, in terms of deaths?

    We actually don’t know why — officially, at any rate — why so many more elderly people with morbidities died in Massachusetts, in hospitals, at nursing homes, in their homes, etc. April & May 2020.

    There is no peer-reviewed study that even asks the question how much of these deaths could have been due to medical doctor and medical industry abuse and neglect and failure to treat.

    Social segregation is a form of torture; this was one of the government’s “Counter Measures,” by the way.

    People barred from visiting their loved ones in hospital, in nursing homes, children segregated from each other & via evidence-free school lock downs. Something teachers and teachers unions and administrators and their unions, and parents sitting on school boards: all went along with. Don’t say these things didn’t happen. Yet the refrain is always: we love our children! Tell this to Ripley’s Believe it or Not.

    Amherst, among the very few school districts in the country that mandated mRNA shots for students; this, approved by the town’s municipal health director and board of health.

    A 16-year old Amherst student and athlete, in Sept. 2022, running a cross-country meet, collapsed; and, died a few days later, in hospital.

    The student’s mother, a medical doctor, and a professor in public health at a leading university, [a school, as with nearly all colleges and universities here in this state] that imposed mandate to get the mRNA shots. Otherwise barred from college and employment.

    This MD posted on a blog that her child died “and we don’t know why.”


    This medical doctor outright lied to the public? pretending not to know why her child died.

    MDs go to school for many years, including to learn and to name a very important thing, naming the cause of death; but not so with this MD?

    How many liars and charlatans and worse occupy chairs in teaching hospitals, medical centers, private practice and universities and colleges? Is this ‘soft power’?

    Fragmented consciousness, ignorance, greed and lust to maintain some social status rank among our collective enemies in this search for truths viz. corona-911 operation, prior operations, current operations, and, so on and so forth.

    Thank you for this essay.

    1. So in other words, the USA needs a second war of independence but this time from England, but from Israel. Because it seems to me that the USA is a colony of Israel, a puppet state controlled by Israel

    2. I used to support Robert Kennedy Junior, but not anymore. But i don’t understand what the hell happened to him that he has been supporting Israel, instead of supporting Palestine who are the ones who really need help

    3. I have read in the internet many articles claiming that the high-carbohydrates diet supported by the US government food pyramid is killing people of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, leukemia, etc. This country needs a total change of political system and also in the way people eat

  8. Hi Edward and friends, another great philosophical work of art, another mind-opening article. Indeed. And you know Edward, I really think that there are many kinds of suffering and pain. There are negative suffering and pains, like the pain and suffering caused by the ruling classes against the ruled classes. And there are positive suffering and pains, that are part of reality and that in modern capitalism consumerist hedonist society most people try to evade. Like for instance the suffering and pain of taking risks, of being a revolutionary warrior, of being a revolutionary anti-capitalist activist, the pain and suffering caused by seeking knowledge (reading books, philosophy texts, politics books etc) the pain and suffering caused by exercising and low calorie healthy diets as opposed to the high calories fattening foods promoted by the ruling capitalist classes. The pain and suffering of trying to live a spiritual healthy life away from all the immoralities promoted by the capitalist system (like porn, drugs, sex, pleasures, adultery, etc. And most people in America and in other bourgeoise consumerist societies actually try to evade the positive pain and suffering that would lead to a better world. This is why Nietzsche who said that humans if they want to evolve into better humans must accept the poisitive pain and suffering in order to be inserted in this reality as tragic heroes, of hating and crushing every thing that is evil negative and supporting and creating new values (positive nihilism).

    Since 9-11-2001 and since I read an article written by the conspiracy theorist Michael Rivero “Fake Terror: The road toward dictatorship and war”, my life has changed from a normal hedonist consumerist american, toward a more stoic, and painful life. Because 9-11 opened my mind, and taught me that this world is not what it seems to be to most people. I have been even studying the ideology of anarchism, because anarchists like Emma Goldman, Kropotkin, Bakunin, Proudhom are right in that governments, along with all their ruling wealthy classes, presidents, judges, police military forces etc. are really basically mafia cartels. In fact the state was really created by band of criminals and thieves thousands of years ago. Most people are not aware of that fact. Most humans still trust the state, laws, morality, religion, etc, not realizing that laws, morality, religion, states, etc. have been created by wealthy elites in order to steal the wealth of this world


  9. (“First they rob you, then they gift you with a walk in the park.” )

    And then they tell you the “robbery” never happened. Or that it wasn’t “really” a robbery. Or, perhaps they explain that it is “our fault” we were robbed. Always ending with the eventual slight-of-hand bit of mis-direction – “enjoy your walk.”*

    *Cue one of NPR’s always “tasteful” snippets of jazz or classical music – because properly utilized – “culture” – always helps the propaganda go down.

    A wonderful piece Ed. Thank you.

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