Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ray McGovern on Antiwar Radio

Scott Horton Interviews Ray McGovern
March 12th, 2009
Via Antiwar Radio

WOOOHOO! Thanks for the great interview. I'm a devoted student of Brother Ray.

Robert Parry's reporting burst my "America can do no wrong" bubble back in the 80s. And yet, like you, Scott, I too haven't read all his books.

How has this all happened? As a (non-matriculating) grad student of psychology, here's what I see.

I call it myth jacking. It's a combination of comparative mythology and radical behaviorism. It's the method behind the madness Joseph Campbell lectured at the Foreign Service Institute, beginning in 1956. If you're familiar with "The Power of Myth," that should send a chill up your spine. Look at the dramatic change in our foreign affairs after that!

I'm convinced that someone, perhaps The Crazies, is using a warped "power of myth" to power weapons-grade domestic propaganda. Can you say, Message Force Multipliers?

This is how I see it: just as McCarthy jacked America with threats of Commies under every bed, we got jacked into Iraq by myths of terrorists with WMDs; the McCain campaign tried to jack the election with scurrilous myths about Obama; Chas Freeman got jacked by the Israel lobby; and as the Stewart/Cramer debate has shown, so-called "news" organizations helped jack us into this economic Waste Land.

Looks like a concerted effort to jack the nation.

Ever since I read Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, I've been wondering: who are our EHMs today? Does it have anything to do with people who just can't seem to fail big enough to get fired? How many consecutive mistakes can they make before admitting it's the actual policy, aka disaster capitalism at its finest?

What is our covert financial policy, and its attendant covert ops?

Myths aren't simple lies, they are metaphors, they are vessels. The myths of our day, that is, deliver us as a people into our Promised or Waste Land, exactly as we load them with our intentions. On second thought, a better image is of us in Mother Nature's Waste Stream. Is the earth already voiding us?

Myth-jacking: the state of the art in manuFRACTURing consent.

As you may know, War is our way of being in the world. We confuse the dance of positive and negative, order and chaos, growth and decay, with a battle.

I believe Philip Zelikow and PNAC said as much in their National Security Strategy for the United States, adopted by the Bush junta in 2002 as our official policy.

Our new national motto is, Do as I say or we'll make your life a living hell until you do, so help US god.

And I'll tell you why: we worship a thunder-hurling war god, the god of kinetic power, that's why, whether we call him Allah, Indra, Yahweh, or Zeus or whatever. We model our "commander-in-chief" after the absolute tyrant-creator of the universe. And on down the chain of command.

Look at prisons. Look at gated communities. Who are the inmates? For every inmate there must necessarily be an outmate.

[[[Full-Spectrum Dominance / Our Common Weal///[[[{{{Dissent}}}]]]]]]

See the castle walls? See the border patrol? See the de facto segregation?

But our borders actually are regions of joining, not absolute division and antipathy.


Just as the spaces between these words are unified in their common background, we, too, stand united. Our power comes from within, not without, as in the phrase "the people untied will never be defeated."

As you of course are well aware, Brother Scott, war doesn't have to make sense, it just has to work. In this case, it just has to keep enriching the rich at the expense of the rest of us. That's our Prime Directive.

As the poet, Jon Stewart, said the other night, brimming with virtuous anger, "So what it feels like to us - and I'm talking purely as a layman - it feels like we are capitalizing your adventure by our pension and our hard earned money. And that it is a game that you know. That you know is going on. But that you go on television as a financial network and pretend isn't happening."



Pam Green said...

Hey, KnowBuddhau,

I'm wondering if you know that your comments about Joseph Campbell and the weaponization of myth were picked up, almost verbatim, without attribution to you, by one Dave Parker, in a comment he left on in March, in response to an op-ed by Bill Moyers. Parker's post was so well-received that he then enlarged upon it in an article for, again without crediting you. And this in turn was extensively quoted on the blog of Jonathan Turley in July.

The only idea that seems to belong to Dave Parker is that the U.S. government had perverted Campbell's original intentions. Or do you believe this too? I can't really tell from your post, because, maddeningly, just where clarification should occur, a run-on sentence obscures your point. Could you now clarify your position on this? Hoping for your reply...

Pam Green said...

Just an update....

I attempted to contact the two websites on which your comments appear (without crediting you). On whowhatwhy, I wrote to the administrator, and I tried to leave a comment under Dave Parker's article, "The Rich and the Power of Myth". Twice, my comment was deleted. And I haven't heard back from Russ Baker who runs whowhatwhy.

I also tried to contact, which carried an article called something like "Myth and the New Feudalism" which quotes Dave Parker's article extensively. I haven't heard back from this site either.

As I mentioned before, it's not only the concept of the weaponization of myth, and the historical reference to Joseph Campbell's speeches at the State Department, but the text itself, which, word for word, seems to have been lifted from your post. So, are you Dave Parker, or is this a case of plagiarism?

I'm really curious about this, as you can see. I happen to be writing an article of my own on this topic, and want to make sure to give credit where credit is due. Please contact me or answer my post. Thank you.

knowbuddhau said...

Hi Pam, thanks for the comments.

Yes, Dave Parker is me. I'm glad that someone is reading this old blog. I gave up on it 3 years ago.

Funny thing is, I tried logging in a few months back, but couldn't get the email or password correct.

I'm thrilled to hear you're writing on the same topic. I'd love to read your article. Please keep me posted.

Pam Green said...

Wow, it is you! I'm relieved!

I have the same situation with a blog I started on WordPress in 2008 and then abandoned, called academichatecrimes.

I'll definitely keep you posted on my article, which is excerpted from a book I am trying to polish up. However, as you'll see, I disagree with you about Campbell. In fact, I was deeply pained by your point of view. Please stop promoting him, at least for the time being! We don't need any more Campbell converts.

knowbuddhau said...

Don't be shy, please elaborate: what's wrong with discussing Campbell?

I understand that there's a lot of hogwash about Campbell being anti-Semitic. I've never looked into the history of it, though.

Am I promoting Campbell? Fine. Guilty as charged. But please note: I'm less interested in Campbell, the man, than I am in his scholarship.

I admire his pioneering work in the field of comparative mythology. OTHOH, I'm disappointed by his pro-war stance with regard to Vietnam. And I think he vastly overestimated the conquest by science of religion.

Full disclosure: I attended the 2004 centennial celebration of his birth, held at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA, where I met Jean Erdman-Campbell and several of JC's close friends.

The highlight of the week, for me, was, discussing the Buddhist concept of sunyata in the lodge over coffee with Chungliang Al Huang.

Pam Green said...

Tell me what impresses you about his scholarship, and what else you've studied that puts you in a position to evaluate it.

I'm not trying to be argumentative or hostile, but most people defend Campbell passionately without knowing much about mythology or any of the other fields he wrote about.

For instance, you say, "i admire his pioneering work in the field of comparative mythology." What makes you think he was a pioneer?

knowbuddhau said...

The onus is on you, Pam. You said you were "deeply pained by [my] point of view." Please do me the courtesy of telling me what it is that pains you about my point of view.

You could start by answering my question: what's wrong with discussing Campbell?

Pam Green said...

Promoting and discussing are quite different, as I'm sure you'll agree.

I said to you, "Please stop promoting him!" It was you who changed this to "What's wrong with discussing him?"

However, I thought I had answered the question. The trouble with 'discussing' Campbell is that it becomes tedious, because people are passionate about him and emotionally driven in their defense of him. You are a perfect example. In your article, you defend him by assuming that the "weaponization of mythology" as you called it (and it's a great phrase) is a perversion of Campbell's ideas. How do you know this? Did you back this up? No. You spoke as a disciple.

knowbuddhau said...

We have yet to discuss Campbell at all. How could it become tedious?

Your first comments mentioned giving credit where its due. Now you don't want me even discussing Campbell unless I submit to your interrogation of my credentials first. All we've discussed is your pain at my point of view, a complaint based on your perception of my being a "disciple" of Campbell's, and demands for my credentials even to discuss Campbell.

Now that's tedious.

I've been told I'm something of a Zen poet. And I'm a bachelor of arts in psychology, with 5 years of grad school but not a masters in research psychology. I've read damn near every book Campbell wrote.

I consider the weaponization of social sciences, like psychology and comparative mythology, to be literally perverse: turned away from their true purpose. I speak as a poet, with all the precision I can muster, not as any one's disciple. Or hadn't you considered what "knowBuddhaU" might mean?

And you?

Since you seem to know so much about the proper way to discuss Campbell, please enlighten me by elaborating on what mean when you say, "We don't need any more Campbell converts." Maybe I can learn by your example.

I bow in your virtual direction.

Pam Green said...

Dave, you're proving my point by getting very emotional. You're twisting my words. And your sarcasm is undeserved.

I did not ask for your credentials. I said that you had not backed up your statements. I merely asked what you were basing them on.

As for discussing Campbell with you here, the topic is too complicated. If I could have made my case in a blog post, I wouldn't have had to write a book.

knowbuddhau said...

I'm sorry, but I'm getting the impression that you know little about Campbell, and perhaps about comparative mythology as well.

Your questions about my background seek to determine if I'm qualified to discuss Campbell and/or comp mythology with you (commonly called a demand for credentials).

You evade my simple questions with charges of emotionality on my part, excusing yourself from defending your complaints about my point of view by appealing to the complexity of your thesis.

Let's start all over. You come to me, seemingly concerned about possible plagiarism and wanting to give me credit in your book. When I confirm that I indeed wrote the article in question, instead of telling me why you think I should "stop promoting Campbell, at least for the time being", you sidestep my direct questions. Your refusal to elaborate on why you would make such an unusual demand makes me suspicious of your motives.

Please tell me what you think is so wrong about the way I've written about Campbell that I should accede to the demand of a total stranger, to stop writing about Campbell. It's the least a scholar would do. Do you make such censorial demands a habit?

If you can't explain your thesis in a paragraph, I learned in grad school, you've got a lot more homework to do. Saying your ideas are too complex for a blog post, when you're trying to get someone to stop writing about a topic, is just evasive.

If your next comment doesn't explain why you think discussing Campbell is such a bad idea that you need to demand of a total stranger that they stop doing it, "at least for the time being," or if it doesn't explain what you mean by "We don't need any more Campbell converts," or if you can't tell me, at the very least, what Campbell's fundamental thesis was, then I'm sorry, we're done here.

Pam Green said...

Yes, Dave, I originally contacted you out of concern about plagiarism. I thought I was doing you a favor.

I asked you not to promote Campbell because he has already had far too much influence in our society. He was not a scholar, Dave. He did not approach his subjects fairly or objectively. He was a hack for the "New World Order", very much a member of the 'elite', laying the cultural groundwork for totalitarianism. And to that end, he tampered with facts, cherry-picked 'evidence', misrepresented and misquoted sources, and presented this garbage in a literary style that has all the traits of propaganda. And you are one of millions who 'drank the Kool-Aid'.

I hope this is sufficient because, yes, I think we're done here.

knowbuddhau said...

As I suspected, you don't know jack about Campbell or comparative mythology. I don't know where you're getting that crap, but it bears absolutely no resemblance to reality.

I suggest you try learning from different sources. The ones you're using now have got you spouting nonsense.

What a drag. I was sincerely excited at the prospect of learning from a dialogue of differing perspectives. If you change your mind, you know where to find me.

For example, you could try providing a concrete example of Campbell tampering with facts, cherry-picking, or any of the other charges you make. Or you could recap his main thesis, describe what you find objectionable about what I've written, and provide your own critique.

Anything but repeating spurious garbage of the type one finds in lousy YouTube comments. Talk about tedious.

Also: remember to follow your bliss ;)

In parting, I bow in your virtual direction.