CHAPTER I: The Battle Between You and the Power Structure
Life in late 20th century America is characterized by an intense struggle between the vast majority of the people and a small elite which I shall call the power structure. This elite does not produce wealth. It employs a combination of force and fraud to take the wealth which we produce. It differs from the common criminal not in the morality of its methods but in the fact that its great power allows it to thus act without fear of the police. In fact, it is more likely to employ the police on its side and make resistance to its acts of theft illegal. The established sources of information in our society practice a continual policy of distortion to defend this power structure and to convince the majority that its exploitation is legitimate (or necessary, or not occurring, or something different from what it seems). When distortion does not work, these respected institutions (e.g., Harvard University, The New York Times1) slide easily into outright lies so that the power structure can continue to live off the wealth which we produce.
Americans (and all other peoples) have always fought a battle with their power structure. Some Americans have won2 giving us our heritage of freedom, and some Americans have lost3 compromising that heritage and weakening the status of their children. But in recent times that battle has intensified, and matters of life and death are decided, not in some Star Wars setting, far, far away, but here and now with our lives in the balance.
On August 15, 1971, the power structure won a major victory over the people, a victory which threatens to abolish our freedom and sharply reduce our standard of living. On that date a class of bankers acquired the unrestricted ability to create money -- literally out of nothing. When this has happened in other countries at other times of history, the people of those countries suffered4 a generation of horror almost beyond belief.
But on February 12, 1982, the people won an opportunity to escape from the power of the elite. And America will now be divided into two parts, those who are free and those who are exploited.
In medieval times, when the people of Europe were kept in serfdom by their power structure, some individuals refused to submit. They ran away from their masters and escaped to the towns, where they became known as townspeople, or bourgeoise (from the French word bourge, meaning town). Thus the people of medieval Europe came to be divided into two classes -- bourgeoise and serf -- those who were free and those who were under the thumb of the power structure. Those same conditions obtain in America today.
To explain to you the significance of February 12, 1982, and tell you how you can escape from the power structure is the purpose of this book.
- The problem with Harvard University or The New York Times or any established institution is as follows. In general, the institution will be founded by genuinely good people who have values to offer. And it will continue for some time on the policies set up by its founder(s). Thus it will acquire a well-deserved reputation. But so long as the reputation is conceived to apply to an institution and not to individual human beings, that is, to apply to a slot (such as Harvard professor or N.Y. Times columnist), it serves as a magnet for the incompetent. The Puritan founders of Harvard were courageous people with a true love of education. The original Sulzberger had integrity and a respect for truth. Thomas Edison created enormous economic values, but Consolidated Edison is a bloated monopoly which exploits us.
The problem is that incompetent and immoral people are drawn to these reputations. If they can fit into the slot, they can slip into the reputation without anyone knowing. Every time I study a highly regarded institution in our culture, It turns out to have been taken over by incompetents who are living off its past glory. To seek such a position is, of itself, evil. To grant it recognition is both lazy and stupid.
- The Pilgrim Fathers won their battle against the power structure of their day by running away from it. The revolutionaries of 1776 won theirs by fighting.
- The prime example here are the ignorant conscripts who obediently marched off to fight World War I so that J.P. Morgan could achieve his political and financial objectives.
- and inflicted the same on much of the world; for example, France from 1791-1815 or Germany from 1913-1945
This material is made available with the generous permission of Howard Katz (1931-2012).