Edwin J. Feulner

‘Because the world is perfidious, I am going into mourning’

inscription from Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s The Misanthrope (above)

Throughout the world, on any given day, a man, woman, or child is likely to be displaced, tortured, killed, or disappeared, at the hands of governments or armed political groups. More often than not, the United States shares the blame.

Mohamed Khodr Amnesty International, 1996

Harold Laswell’s examination of political science extended into investigation of propaganda, and his work is used here to examine the work of the Heritage Foundation in the context of a biographical profile of Edwin J. Feulner, and since, as the Wikibook on Communication Theory/Propaganda and the Public puts it: “…much of the propaganda that Lasswell was examining was actually being written by Lippmann himself,” we will also draw on the work of Walter Lippman, whose influence also extends to the (1938) Lippmann Colloquium. This centred around a discussion of Lippmann’s (1936) The Good Society, with attendees that included F. A. Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. The Colloquium had the objectives of an anti Keynesian counter-revolution, and the formation of a permanent organisation (which eventually took the form of the Mont Pelerin Society). These, and the work of other theorists are used to provide a focus on the general drive behind the ‘Behavioural’ ideology that dominated US social science. Heritage Foundation’s influence in terms of what shaped its weltenschauung, in terms of a counter-revolution towards the percieved dominance of the “liberal establishment” and also how its influence spread in to the UK, in relation to the Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies, the other organisations that Feulner was a member of (such as the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Pinay Circle, Mont Pelerin Society, International Republican Institute and so on) and the wider network of right-wing organisations that the Heritage Foundation funded and supported together with the work of writers such as Charles Murray and George Gilder. We shall also aim to examine feulner’s involvement with Heritage Foundation in some detail together with the methodology underpinning its propaganda work, and provide some historical context, which for the most part encompasses the Reagan administration, its relationship to the formation of policy in the Thatcher administration, principally in terms of social and defence policy and their concomitant public diplomacy in relation to the Strategic Defense Initiative. We return to an examination of Laswell and Lippmann in terms of how UK academic writing on think tanks have largely passed over the Heritage Foundation.

Lasswell created a cycle, whereby the public is limited in the information that is presented to them, and also apprehensive to accept it. However, it is still that information that is affecting their decisions within the democratic system, and is being presented to them by the government. But first let us examine the basic outline of Laswell’s work.

Dwaine Marvick’s (1980) The Work of Harold D. Lasswell: His Approach, Concerns, and Influence in Political Behavior Vol. 2, No. 3, observed that Lasswell provided a common-sense, open-ended idea of what political science might be when he wrote his (1936) Politics: Who Gets What, When, How. The title is his famous mapping sentence for the study of politics:

  • How — requires us to cope with the power aspects of any situation
  • When — suggests the need to chart the results through time
  • What — raises the question of which value conditions are being sought, gained, and lost
  • Who — poses the task of identifying elites —that is, those in any situation who have the most of what there is to get.

Marvick states that Lasswell noted that study of this kind of ‘allocative process’ requires the skills of a practicing politician: the ability to calculate probable changes in the nature of influence and in the identity of the influential. This approach differs from the political science approach because ‘political sociology’ looks for the answers to these questions in the social formation, in social institutions that underpin both the social and the political.

In Laswell’s (2005) The Future of Political Science, he cites C. Wright Mills as the rare exception in his study whereby political and social scientists had artificially restricted their investigations to the middle and lower classes: “intimidation by powerful and wealthy elites had resulted in timidity” (p. xiii). Although he acknowledges that the study did not look at the influence of propaganda considerations in policy formulation and its corollary—the manner in which the propaganda process was governed by political decision makers, this circumscription is also evident in a different form in Laswell’s definition of propaganda in his (1971) Propaganda Technique in World War I, (xv):

At best the propagandist is selective. He discerns a potential reservoir of discontent or aspiration and searches for ways of discharging the discontent and harnessing the aspirations so that they harmonize with his policy’ objectives. The available means of mobilizing collective action depend, in turn, on words and word equivalents whose signification is already circumscribed by the predispositional patterns present in the political arena. Furthermore , the existing predispositional patterns themselves set limits on what can be done.

These patterns include:

  • Value structures — who is elite , sub-elite , or rank-and-file in terms of power , wealth , and other preferred outcomes
  • Myths — doctrines, formulas , and that which is to be admired in the popular imagination (Laswell uses the term ‘miranda’)
  • Techniques — distribution of operational routines affecting behavior and the resource environment
  • Culture materials — raw resources, processed resources in the environment

This can be related to the concern sociologists felt that, after the Second World War, private foundations and the US government were more interested to fund research deemed useful to policy-makers, rather than expose the questionable propaganda techniques they used. Laswell described propaganda generally as the “management of collective attitude by the manipulation of the significant symbols.” Dorothy Ross’ (1992) The Origins of American Social Science (p. 456), contextualises this with the observation that for Laswell, propaganda was the inevitable accompaniment of the argument and persuasion that existed in democracy adding that: “Indeed propaganda was not only necessary, but salutary. It would puncture “eulogistic democracy” and promote the “engineering frame of mind.” Ross adds that, drawing on Mary Follet’s notion of ‘obliteration’ (Mills would have said obfuscation) of the distinction of elite direction and democratic initiative:

The political implication of this cultural iconoclasm lay not simply in its Menckenesque desire to debunk “the will of the people,” but more deeply in its aims to substitute technocratic social control for political conflict. The political philosophy of conflict, of “nation versus nation, class versus class, leader versus leader, party versus party,” is out of date […] The propagandist understands that society is rather a “process of defining and affirming meaning,” that by use of cultural symbols, the situation can be redefined, so that what occurs is neither a victory nor defeat for conflicting parties but rather a new “integration.”

For Ross, then, the problem for elites is one of redefinition: but to what extent are the processes of redefinition behind the scenes. In the evidence presented below we find a reinstatement of an adversarial discourse in the revival of the cold war and with Feulner the installation of a propagandist in the Reagan administration who wanted to obliterate the “engineering frame of mind.”

Laswell’s model covers seven functional distinctions:

  • Intelligence — the giving or withholding of information about plans and occurrences
  • Promotion — the mobilization of policy support
  • Prescription — the crystallization of general objectives and the assignment of means
  • Invocation — the provisional application of prescriptions to concrete circumstances
  • Application — the final application
  • Termination — the ending of prescriptions
  • Appraisal — the assessment of past and present successes or failures

Yet for all his stated influence Laswell’s books seem mostly out of print. Those who seek to survey Political Science as a discipline find him, like Mills, almost forgotten and his work unwanted.

The quandry remains that if the public are influenced to such a high degree how does this relate to Walter Lippmann’s ideas that the public are unable to take in all of the knowledge from their environment that would truly be needed to affect their governance. Although it is argued by Michael Schudson’s (2008) The “Lippmann-Dewey Debate” and the Invention of Walter Lippmann as an Anti-Democrat 1986-1996, in the International Journal of Communication 2, argues that the picture of Lippmann as an arrogant critic who found democracy an inadequate system of government, and proposed to remedy these inadequacies by turning governance over to the experts, is misleading. It can be said that with Santanyana, Lippmann argued that ‘democracy’ would result in a tyranny of the majority, and in the Phantom Public (1925) Lippmann supported this by demonstrating that public opinion caused little influence on a democratic system that was controlled by the educated elite: “…it is hard to say whether a man is acting executively on his opinions or merely acting to influence the opinion of someone else, who is acting executively” (Lippmann, 1925, p. 110). The Marxist claim that mass media is used as a tool by the elite to control society is a evident as a theme in Lippmann’s Public Opinion (1922), which argued that it was the mass media that determined what information the public could access, and that the limitation of this shaped public opinion.

Laswell’s disciplinary legacy was influenced by Merriam and is seen in James Farr’s (2003) Political Science, in David C. Lindberg et al, The Cambridge History of Science: The Modern Social Sciences, as influencing the beginnings of the psychological treatment of politics, which Farr describes as the forth stage of the development of scientific methods (the previous being a priori and deductive, historical and comparative and the ‘present tendency’ of observational measurement. This forth phase is said to have mainly identified the study and control of attitudes, opinions and personal character, and it is argued by Farr that this, like Behaviourism, spawned a “special political science” which, it is claimed, was “control-orientated and ostensibly value-free”. Quoting Merriam’s New Aspects of Politics:

But this is fundamental — that politics and social science [including psychology] see face to face; that social science and natural science come together in a common effort and unite their forces in the greatest task that humanity yet faced — the intelligent understanding and control of human behavior.

Merriam’s input into the ‘Chicago School’ included teaching Laswell, who according to Farr, was influenced in respect of making science synonymous with methods — at this juncture we might recall Poincaré’s remark that social science was the science with most methods and fewest results (whether that is true of propaganda is another matter) — developing out of Marx, Weber, Mosca and Pareto and Michels such approaches as configurative analysis, elite analysis, cohort analysis around power and psychology which “appealed to a discipline disabused of juridical notions in a world lurching again towards war.” Farr states:

Propaganda lay at the core of politics and political science for Laswell, who defined it as “the management of collective attitudes by the manipulation of significant symbols,” or again as “control over opinion by significant symbols.” Lasswell’s dissertation on the topic was followed by numerous studies during the 1930s and 1940s, including World Revolutionary Propaganda: A Chicago Study (1939) on the methods of domestic communists. These studies spawned still more methodological “skills” like content analysis. Straddling theory and practice, propaganda, while value-neutral, could yet be instrumental in the service of any cause. It was a “mere tool …no more moral or immoral than a pump handle.”

For Laswell democracy (the “dictatorship of palaver”) needed propaganda more than fascism or communism given its emphasis on speech and deliberation, and he would go on to direct the Experimental division for the Study of war-time Communications at the Library of Congress. In the early 1950s a network of institutes and centres would spring up, more of less influenced by the Behavioral direction which included the Survey Research center at the University of Michagan, the National Opinion Research Center, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the Rockefeller Foundation, Carnegie Foundation, Ford Foundation and National Science Foundation as well as various agencies of the US government. Bernard Susser’s (2006) The Behavioural Ideology: a Review and a Retrospect, Political Studies, Volume 22 Issue 3, (p. 271-288), states that the ‘behavioural revolution’ can be divided into three more or less identifiable groups:

  • The pre-behaviouralists who retained traditional methods such as legal-institutional analysis and normative theory.
  • The behaviouralists who emphasized the need for scientific method.
  • The post-behaviouralists who felt that exclusive reliance upon scientific method threatened the ‘relevance’ of the discipline.

According to Andrew Heywood’s (2000) Key Concepts in Politics, the attraction of Behaviouralism was that it gave the study of politics reliable scientific credentials. For Heywood, this fuelled the belief that politics could adopt the methodology of the natural sciences through the use of quantitative research methods in areas such as voting behaviour and the behaviour of legislators, lobbyists and municipal politicians. Criticisms of Behaviouralism are given that “it significantly constrained the scope of political analysis, preventing it going beyond what was directly observable”.

Susser notes that criticisms of Behavioural ‘ideology’ include that it concealed ideological assumptions behind a veneer of scientific objectivity. According to Alvin Gouldner’s (1955) ‘Metaphysical Pathos and the Theory of Bureaucracy’, American Political Science Review, (p. 496-507) it contained a ‘metaphysical pathos,’ a series of intended and unintended consequences that derived either directly from the application of scientific, empirical and quantitative methods to human questions or that represented unrecognized importations of values and preferences as ‘scientific’ conclusions. Gouldner’s critique of a type of ‘cargo-cult’ amongst social scientists is combined with his criticisms (advanced in his (1970) The Coming Crisis of Western Sociology) of the ‘mass-society theory’, whereby sociology is seen to exist in a state of autonomy from the discourse of the non-professional realm and the pressures of modern mass society itself. As David Paul Haney’s (2008) The Americanization of Social Science: Intellectuals and Public Responsibility in the Postwar United States, views the Behavioural phase as a critical period in the evolution of American sociology’s professional identity during which leading sociologists encouraged a professional secession from public engagement in the name of establishing the discipline’s scientific integrity. Gouldner’s notion of ‘metaphysical pathos,’ is defined by Haney as containing a criticism of the tendency towards a profound pessimism about the prospects for democracy and the acceptance of the inevitability of impenetrable bureacratic authority. In a footnote (without acknowledgement of his connections and propaganda work) Haney also notes the influence of the IEDSS’ Leopold Labedz‘s (1962) Revisionism: Essays on the History of Marxist Ideas, (published by Praeger) in publishing Daniel Bell’s ‘The debate on Alienation’ which advanced a counter-thesis to Gouldner and Mills, arguing that conditions such as alienation, anomie, bureaucratization, depersonalization could be attributed to “the disorientation of the radical intellectual in the mass society.” This also notes that Bell connected this to his idea of the end of ideology: “perceiving as crucial the alienation of the social observer living amidst the bankruptcy of ideologies of transformative social change”. This also argues (p. 195) that:

The contemporary use of alienation, as estrangement, is a far cry from the transmuted ideas of alienation as used by Marx in Capital. And to a considerable extent, the current usage ‘reads back’ into Marx overtones of contemporary society that were only dimly heard at the time.

As Anthony Giddens’ (1971) Capitalism and Modern Social Theory: An Analysis of the Writings of Marx, Durkheim and Max Weber, notes (p. 19) this is also linked to the view that Marx eliminated alienation from his later works and that there is a break in continuity — Giddens notes that Marx wished to put himself at a remove from thos who argued about an alienation of the human essence. Bell’s (1982) The Social Sciences Since the Second World War, (published by Transaction Publishers and Bell was also published by Basic Books), this also draws on the IEDSS’ Jean-Marie Benoist in its section on Structuralism (p. 94).

For Susser — the radicals identified that the behavioural analysis of politics contained an attempt to vindicate ideological positions without recognizing them as such, and went on to decry the ulterior motives behind many of the methodology-laden treaties, its jargoned ‘scientism’, the self-effacing ‘neutrality, like the use of the term ‘Science’, had become ‘politics by other means’. Behaviouralism (or what it had become) reflected a political perspective as well as a research method. He first cites Laswell in connection with the epistemological bias that implies a type of training and ultimately a type of professional personality: that ‘. . . the discovery of truth is an object of specialized research . . .’ This conception —that neither the people, nor the politicians, nor the philosophers are equipped for the pursuit of truths about society, that only the scientists, following certain prescribed methods, can penetrate the nature of social reality is a return to Lippmann. Susser then makes (not entirely serious) reference to Mills:

The training orientation that is the concomitant of this approach comes into stark outline when contrasted with the professional personality sought by, among others, C. Wright Mills, the great enemy of ‘abstracted empiricism.’ Mills sees the role of the social scientist as one of committed participant, social critic, gadfly. The goal of his work is to vindicate freedom, human fulfilment and responsible, effective popular participation in the political process. As an educator ‘it is his purpose to cultivate such habits of mind among men and women who are publicly exposed to him’. Social knowledge must serve society; it must be turned from the university outward, it must seek—in the words of Mills’ intellectual forbear—to change the world, not merely to understand it. The critical question is at all times: ‘Knowledge for what?”

Susser uses Robert Dahl’s attacks on Floyd Hunter’s power structure research as evidence of the persistence of the Behaviouralist approach. The end of ideology ‘school’, is termed “behaviouralism’s noisy step-sister”, that welcomed an end to ideology as a salutory development: “It promised to politics that long sought after even keel of equilibrium, compromise and civility”. Theories and hypotheses —the most uncertain aspects of scientific enquiry — can come to prominence in connection to the stimulation of institutional and cultural factors: but then, these arguments point to a sociological and cultural relativity in their scientific knowledge claims. The increased self-assurance that sociologists confront their phenomena does not mean that the content of scientific knowledge is amenable to sociological investigation.

The limitations of the Behaviouralist approach can also be viewed in relation to the general climate of anti-Communism within the study of Communism. Jon Clark et al’s (1991) Robert K. Merton: Consensus and Controversy, (p. 24) observes that much of the analysis that explicitly studied communist organisations, such as Selznick and Lipset’s, were undermined in terms of their adequacy. Selznick’s writing spanned 25 years including essays on the Communist party as an organizational weapon and of its organisational leadership in the 1950s. At this period at Columbia, Organizational Sociology influenced by Merton work on the theory of bureaucracy and organizations investigated the use of tight organizational structures as tools of ideologues, including Gouldner’s study of a Gypsum plant, Blau’s study of government agencies, Lipset’s study of the interaction between the Social Credit Movement and public bureaucrats and Lazerfeld’s study on the extent to which American Universities maintained traditions of free speech during the McCarthy era — all of which are said to use a ‘Weberian’ methodology.

Of course the rule of an elite is ultimately based on force, even if that force is hidden. Richard Kohn, the Professor of History and Chair, Curriculum in Peace, War, and Defense at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and the Air Force Historian in his (2005) Civil-Military Relations in the United States Today, writing on the powerful mass psychology that War generates and how militarism was a word “invented by European leftist opponents of their government in the eighteen sixties,” argues that:

In 1941, Harold Laswell wrote on the garrison state. Charles Beard, the historian, expressed similar fears about the dangers of centralized power in a Republic and its threat to civil liberties. These fears did not materialize however. American victory in World War II and the Cold War were achieved with heavy military spending but not a total capitulation to military values. After the Cold War, around the world, democracy not only survived but expanded, along with individual liberty and human rights, and military budgets declined. Military regimes declined in number. War became more an internal than international problem.

This would seem to obfuscate the moments when the world nearly ended because of the mutual assured destruction policy of the US and a similar policy by those European militarists — the Soviet Union, and one could bring C. Wright Mills’ conception of ‘crackpot realism’ to bear here (Kohn mentions Mills himself in the essay but ignores this). But we should also note that Kohn also argues that it was the World War I partnership “between government and business to produce military power that changed things”; but that this “force” was dismantled after the war, but “the idea remained”. This residual idea — seemingly floating free or perhaps nurtured in the grove of Akadēmos —”was an irreversible step toward the creation of the national security state”:

The strategic objectives of the Cold War displaced other economic and political aims to determine foreign relations. Military leadership became more influential in interagency politics. The services gained independence and power. Veterans groups emerged to promote preparedness and other ends. Conventional forces were expanded, their readiness upgraded. The forces built bases abroad and send military advisors to dozens of countries. A huge intelligence apparatus grew, not only to ascertain enemy intentions but to combat them around the world. America overturned foreign governments and made covert war.

The essay rambles into bold summaries of US history where no real people seem to live — the near civil war of the 1960s , neither race nor gun ownership are factors other than ‘internal problems’, some sort of indigestion suffered by the National Security State. But it serves as an example of how, even in fairly liberal military thinking the work of Mills and Laswell are more or less ignored, together with analysis of how ideas gain force and how this relates to the drift of history and how this process (already working covertly) becomes sublimated generally under the blanket of ‘national security’. Organisations such as the Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies run by individuals such as Edwin J. Feulner of the Heritage Foundation, together with Richard V. Allen one of the main White House National Security Advisors and a member of the National Security Council, Melvin J. Lasky, the ex-editor of Encounter, George R. Urban, former director of Radio Free Europe and director of the British Centre for Policy Studies, represent a combination of forces who together with their British counterparts planned to build the garrison state.

Here, amongst those favoured by the Reagan and Thatcher administration, propaganda cannot be studied in isolation and Laswell’s work in analysis of propaganda is prefigured by Lippmann’s construction and deployment of propaganda. If we look for a development of a Laswellian Political Sociology in C. Wright Mills — the Mills we would be studying would somehow have to represent a counter-tradition, beyond the major institutions mentioned above as part of the behavioral tradition. We can argue that we might want (or need) to include a critical study of the major sociological approaches to politics and secrecy in politics: the study of the principles, procedures & structures of secret government and the analysis of secretive political ideas, institutions, behavior and practices —and even begin to question the assumption that government is an open agreement among people so that here can be order and security instead of chaos.

This is largely the direction Mills was moving which enhanced his isolation and estrangement from his colleages who formed the ‘Nato intellectuals’ he had began to expose, to the chagrin of former OSS members such as Shills, and other attackers such as Daniel Bell. It was not so much that Mills regarded the power elite as hidden, as if it were some form of secret conspiracy, it is more that its workings and expansion was obfuscated by the lack of free enquiry and those who reinforced its sublimation by their incorporation. One key distinguishing biforcation is Mills’ and Gerth’s counter tradition as represented by their differing interpretation of Weber, which challenged Tallcot Parson’s version which ultimately fed into Managerialism.

Elite theory is often framed in that it contends that various elites are at some level held accountable. Possibly there is evidence of this —it is not evident here: a permanent state of exoneration is. The social bases of political identities, forms of state and organization of interests, the sources and distribution of political power, political transformations are all made invisible and where they emerge into the light their very existence is denied.

We can distinguish between political sociology and the sociology of politics: the latter using social structures as explanatory variables and the former using political structures. Mills’ conception of a power elite joined these two approaches into an interdisciplinary hybrid attempting to combine social and political explanatory variables. But from what tradition? I would argue one that could not fit into the dominant paradigm it saught to analyse.

If we return to Marx we can note that economic relations are of prime importance (our phantoms still want money in abundance and defend its centralisation) and the State can take various forms (even the ‘plausable denial’ and ‘covert operation’ or double agent), Ideologically the right-wing factions which dominate the make-up of the IEDSS and the other arganisations of which it is an expression act in a very Marxist way as Instrument or tools of the capitalist class to create a false consciousness; as arbiters in managing the struggle between states in a quasi-autonomous relation to the state and as functionaries in creating the conditions for capital accumulation and US imperialism.

Following Weber we can witness the trend towards increasing rationalization and bureaucratization (the creation of the national security state), that power relations may exist throughout society but politics, which is the struggle for power, is here, mainly at the state level, even if it is the ‘secret state’. We can offer power, legitimacy and domination as our main concepts with our defining proposition that power is inevitably concentrated in an elite (we can forget Dahl’s polyarchy here) which regards democracy and the idea of popular representation as a sham—given we are discussing its overthrow at home and abroad.

The Counter-Establishment

Bill Berkowitz’s (2008) The Heritage Foundation’s 35 Years, which could be described as an official history, observes that:

The Heritage Foundation was envisioned as one of the institutions that would “break the back of the dominant liberal establishment, which the late William Simon, Nixon’s former energy czar and Treasury Secretary, and the then-president of the conservative Olin Foundation accused of enforcing misguided concepts of ‘equality’ and of being ‘possessed of delusions of moral grandeur.'”

What happens to czars who accuse others of moral grandeur? But Berkowitz’s observations points to some form of emulation as it adds that Simon determined that conservatives needed a “counter-intelligentsia” to challenge conventional liberal wisdom: “Funds generated by business…must rush by the multi-million to the aid of liberty…to funnel desperately needed funds to scholars, social scientists, writers and journalists who understand the relationship between political and economic liberty.” Berkowitz draws from Sidney Blumenthal’s (1986) The Rise of the Counter-Establishment, which continues the war-like imagery in its statement that:

The Bastille to which they [conservative foundations] laid siege was the fortress of liberalism, the hollow doctrine of the old regime. These intellectuals impressed their thoughts on public activity, staffing the new institutes, writing policy papers and newspaper editorials, and serving as political advisors, lending the power of the word to the defense of ideology.

To feed this army the Heritage Foundation also draws on the large conservative foundations where certain large companies pool financial resources: the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Castle Rock Foundation (Coors Family), Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation (Amway), and the John M. Olin Foundation. Heritage’s reactionary mission grew throughout the 1970s and its political opportunism coincided with the 1980 presidential campaign when it offered a 3,000-page, 20-volume set of policy recommendations called “Mandate for Leadership,” which could easily be described as the intellectual blueprint for the “Reagan Revolution,” including trickle-down economics, massive cutbacks in social programs, and the Star Wars Defense Strategy. As Blumenthal notes in this quotation from chapter 12, there was something elaborately contrived about the onslaught:

…in May 1985, at the Madison Hotel, conservatives conducted a conference to dispute the pernicious notion that there was some “moral equivalence” between America and Russia— an idea they claimed liberals backed. Yet “moral equivalence” was a formula contrived by Jeane Kirkpatrick. No liberals stepped forward to defend “moral equivalence.” No matter. “Moral equivalence” kept them on the ideological defensive.

Blumenthal outlined three dimensions to the endeavour:

Three distinct horizons appeared in the future the Counter-Establishment was making. First there was the immediate future, a jumble of deficits and budgets. To explain it to us, the Counter-Establishment rolled out a new conservative scholar— Charles Murray, with his critique of the welfare state. Then there was the future that would be judged by a new conservative judiciary who would issue their decisions, precedent by precedent, incrementally changing the law itself, reversing the interpretation that has prevailed for most of the twentieth century. And then there would be the future perfect, which was also the past perfect, a category that “transcends time,” as Reagan noted in his second inaugural address. To attain this state of grace we must ascend to the heavens to install a “Star Wars” mechanism, dispel the doomsday anxiety, and usher in universal peace— the final Restoration.

Murray’s Losing Ground, is described as the crucial text of the second Reagan term, serving the same function of justification as George Gilder’s Wealth and Poverty did in the first. Blumenthal argues that Murray’s view on Lyndon Johnson’s ‘War on Poverty’ was that it was imposed from above by a liberal “elite,” acting without the approval of the “blue-collar and white-collar electorate.” Murray’s solution was the dissolution of the welfare state.

Only two years before Murray’s book and Murray himself became celebrated, he was toiling in Iowa as an obscure policy wonk. He had been chief scientist at the American Institutes for Research, a private think tank, but his principal claim to fame was a pamphlet authored for the Heritage Foundation, “Safety Nets and the Truly Needy,” which argued that welfare fostered poverty. By now, Murray had befriended Michael Horowitz, the general counsel at the Office of Management and Budget, a neoconservative talent scout. On the strength of his Heritage tract and Horowitz’s recommendation, he was invited to a luncheon at the Manhattan Institute, the Counter-Establishment think tank that had helped incubate Gilder. William Hammett, the institute’s president, appraised Murray as “a nobody” who could be somebody. After some reflection he decided to take “a flier” on Murray. In short order, $125,000 was raised to support him while he turned his idea into a book. Irving Kristol’s connection with the Olin Foundation accounted for $25,000.

Blumenthal notes the irony of the ‘welfare state’ that marketed Murray’s work and the book is replete with the inversions of the left, coupled with the sophistry and back-tracking of Murray and others as the analysis’ flaws become evident and ‘faith’ takes over:

Among conservatives, Murray’s book was still accepted as gospel. The criticism was dismissed as a predictable response of the Liberal Establishment— “some of the most intellectually debilitated of Americans . . . mental incompetents . . . limp-minded and lame-prosed critics,” according to Gilder. Curiously, the conservatives did not notice that Murray’s argument directly contradicted the last major conservative statement against the welfare state, previously accepted as gospel. “The war on poverty that began in 1964 has been won,” wrote Martin Anderson in Welfare, published in 1978. Anderson, a Hoover Institution scholar who became Reagan’s first chief of domestic policy, argued that because poverty had been eliminated, the programs that had worked so well were no longer needed and therefore the welfare state could be safely dismantled. Murray’s thesis began from a diametrically opposite point: “We tried to provide more for the poor and produced more poor instead.” Who was right? One thing was certain: they could not both he right. Conservatives did not debate this question. Instead they rushed to defend Murray as a movement intellectual. Once saluted by the conservatives as an example of their rigorous intellectual standards, Anderson’s book was silently remaindered on a back shelf.

And with the conceptualisation of ‘Star Wars’, again we see the use of the Heritage Foundation and others:

The idea of Star Wars did not drop from the sky. It was a product of the hothouse debates among the small circle of nuclear theologians. Appropriately, the father of Star Wars was Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb, an abrasive opponent of liberal policies since his falling-out with J. Robert Oppenheimer at Los Alamos. Another influential proponent of Star Wars was retired Lieutenant General Daniel 0. Graham, previously director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and a member of the B-Team, set up at the instigation of conservatives as the CIA shadow to produce an analysis that asserted a rising Soviet threat. Teller and Graham’s work was subsidized by a rump group of Reagan’s Kitchen Cabinet— Joseph Coors, Justin Dart, Karl Bendetsen (CEO of Champion Industries)— benefactors whose interest was so great that they personally participated in the planning of the study. The Heritage Foundation served as a home, where anonymous policy analysts were attached to the effort.

Blumenthal also notes a close-knit group around Gregory Fossedal, a Wall Street Journal editorial writer, who served as the writer for Graham, and promoted ‘Star Wars’ in Journal editorials and articles. Fossedal’s wife, Lisa, “was placed in charge of a new Counter-Establishment group”, the Marshall Foundation (funded by the Olin Foundation), which funded Star Wars proponents who produced studies in its favor: “Idea, money, think tank, media— the Star Wars project began as an ideally formed Counter-Establishment molecule.” A new group of crackpot realists had been born:

In 1982, the group at Heritage issued a full-color glossy report entitled High Frontier. Its authors argued that Soviet power was so great that it “can no longer be counterbalanced.” We are “undefended,” except that we can destroy our enemy and they can destroy us. This condition— Mutual Assured Destruction— is an “immoral and militarily bankrupt doctrine” that must be replaced by “a strategy of Assured Survival.” (The word mutual does not fit into this doctrine.) Space would serve the function once performed by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans as natural barriers to foreign attack. Star Wars is more than a defensive system; it is our manifest destiny: “We Americans have always been successful on the frontiers; we will be successful on the new High Frontier of space.”

As the president and co-founder with Paul Weyrich of the Heritage Foundation, Feulner has occupied an influential role in manufacturing the conservative agenda since the 1970s. The Heritage Foundation developed an ideologically driven policy agenda and operated as an advocacy organization and an adjunct of the reformed conservative movement in the wake of Barry Goldwater’s far-right 1964 presidential campaign. Even if we were to gague our idea of its influence in terms of employing people and ‘influencing’ and providing supposedly socially useful ideas on the amount of money it spent on the IEDSS alone its influence is like impressive. It should not be seen in isolation though, and the funding pattern by specific foundations, joining with Heritage now seems to be fairly easily mapped thanks to the inherent and developed aspects of the web. A ‘follow-the-money’ indicator to establish conjunctions of covert influences on political decision making process problematise several assumptions and notions we have about political accountability and the decision-making process. Can one encounter a televised wood-panneled committee meeting room where someone in authority says “ok now let’s look at what the Americans have been spending thousands trying to make us think certain things and how that could be taken into account.” Diplomacy does not work like that: these are the words of ex-Diplomats and so on, who serve as examples of people not to be believed.

It is possible to loose sight of the fact that with magazines like Encounter and organisations like the Congress for Cultural Freedom the CIA and those around it tried to create a surrogate left, a pretend opposition. The weight of this agency varies from individual to individual the sway of their political alliegencies is varied there are many types of professional ex-Communist, but very few represented in these organisations seem to be doing it for free, this could be described as a competitive market were it not a form of subsidy. If a wager were made as to how much of the output of these organisations actually sold or would have survived in comparison to those containing serious dissent the results might explain the high levels of this subsidy. Feulner’s talents as a salesman were more directed and effective at the level of targeting influential people: but what sanctioned his approach?

Feulner’s influence grew. Following the Reagan/Gorbachev meeting at the Geneva Summit in 1986, he was appointed by Reagan as Chairman of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (1982-91). The Commission reports to the US Congress and the President on the US Information Agency and its activities in relation to public diplomacy and included recommendations for Soviet/American Educational Exchanges. And in 1987, Feulner was also appointed a consultant for domestic policy to Reagan. Presumably by this exposure the system Soviet system would collapse.

The gang’s all here

In 1989 President Reagan conferred the Presidential Citizens Medal on Feulner according to a biography from the Progress Foundation, the citation continues: “By building an organization dedicated to ideas and their consequences, he has helped to shape the policy of our Government. His has been a voice of reason and values in service to his country and the cause of freedom around the world.”

Feulner’s involvement on the Heritage-funded Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies and US Public Diplomacy is, even after a lengthy period, mirrored in his involvement with David M. Abshire, Robert Conquest, Carl Gershman, Richard Pipes and John K. Singlaub, Feulner was on the National Advisory Council (2007) of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

His range of affiliations form an index of right-wing propaganda organisations: such as High Frontier: which according to Feulner in the National Review was underwritten through the Heritage Foundation to provide studies advocating the ‘Star Wars’ missile system in the early 1980s.

His membership of European organisations such as the Pinay Circle, Mont Pelerin Society (Treasurer, Trustee, senior Vice President and Past President) together with the Philadelphia Society (a past president) and Acton Institute, represents high-level participation in quasi-secret right-wing groups with a European reach using the UK as a base. And we can speculate fairly safely that much of this also formed a propaganda front which used some subversive tactics and took no interest in representative democracy except how to manipulate it; and here, in this context, his involvement as a fellow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies Hoover Institution (CSIS) is also relevant in terms of what groups sanction and approve and more importantly benefit by his work. One would sound far-fetched to hold that the CIA did not have some knowledge and arms length influence in such a social milieu never mind the instauration of the institutions.

Feulner’s biography at the Heritage Foundation states that he began his Washington career as Public Affairs Fellow for the Center for Strategic Studies (now the Center for Strategic and International Studies) and also at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, where he wrote on subjects such as trade with the Soviet Union. He later became a confidential assistant to Defense Secretary Melvin R. Laird. An Open Congress biography states that here, Feulner was:

…an important member of the staff of both Congressman Melvin Laird—including serving as his ‘confidential assistant’ when President Richard Nixon nominated Melvin Laird to be his Secretary of Defense—and Congressman Phil Crane…

This (celebratory) profile states that the Heritage Foundation was the ‘crown jewel’ of the conservative movement thanks to Feulner’s ability to market policy and encouragement to publish ‘Mandate for Leadership’ which played a crucial role in orientating the Reagan Administration in 1981 via Counselor to the President Ed Meese, who had close connections to Feulner and would join Heritage. Afterward, Feulner became Chief of Staff to Rep. Philip M. Crane. Before joining Heritage as its President, Feulner was Executive Director of the Republican Study Committee.

Indeed seeming academic posts are also part of this network, sketching out his biography we could note that: Feulner was with the George Mason University, Board of Visitors, Executive Committee, Intercollegiate Studies Institute (trustee) and former chairman, Regis University. We can also consider his trusteeship of the International Republican Institute membership of Belle Haven Consultants, founder National Chamber Foundation, board member of financial ventures such as the Sequoia National Bank, past director Center for Applied Economic Research in Rome and the Lehrman Institute in New York (Lewis Lehrman was the founder and chairman of the Citizens for America, a lobby group supporting anticommunist resistance groups around the world. Lehrman was also a trustee of the Heritage Foundation). Not that we are short of ‘organisations’ of which Feulner is a ‘member’ of, some of whom weave more of a mystique around themselves than others.

Council for National Policy —”Culture War”

A Rightweb profile states that according to one source, the CNP was formed in 1981 by Texas millionaires Nelson Bunker Hunt, Herbert Hunt, and T. Cullen Davis. Other sources it cites state that it was formed by Richard Viguerie to rival the Council on Foreign Relations. This also adds that the CNP is composed of politically powerful, wealthy individuals who intentionally maintained a very low profile: “One of the conditions of membership is not to reveal the names of other members or the substance of the group’s meetings.”

It is considered by its members as a network that encompasses the entire spectrum of right-wing politics. It provides a “safe” place for representatives of a wide range of ultra-conservative, anticommunist, pro-military organizations—including the executive branch of the White House—to discuss and promote their programs. […] Those who spoke at the meetings became de facto principal sources of what is known as “inside information.” An example of this was the influence of Oliver North on the CNP. Sidney Blumenthal in an article in the Washington Post National Weekly Edition wrote,”The conservatives’ perceptions of the worldwide struggle with communism in general and the Sandinistas in particular were heavily influenced by North who was a favorite speaker…”

The list of speakers includes most of the major figures of the Right including: Philip Truluck of the Heritage Foundation; Howard Phillips of the Conservative Caucus; Joseph Coors; conservative columnist Patrick Buchanan; Frank Shakespeare, chairman of Heritage; Richard Viguerie; Jerry Falwell of the Moral Majority; the president of Amway Corp, Richard DeVos; Jeane Kirkpatrick, U.S. delegate to the United Nations; and from the Christian Broadcasting Network, evangelist Pat Robertson.

With Feulner, Coors, Paul Weyrich, and Howard Phillips had served on the executive committee over a series of years, Viguerie was important in assembling the Moral Majority and US public diplomacy in the 1970s which fed into the formation of the IEDSS and Frank Shakespeare, chairman of the Heritage Foundation was a also a director of the National Strategy Information Center (NSIC), which funded IEDSS, and is itself a network of US propagandists other connections here include the involvement of Richard V. Allen.

The CNP also has membership links to the World Anti-Communist League, whose many other members included, among others, the Unification Church and backers of rightist paramilitary death squads in Latin America, particularly during the 1980s.

Pam Chamberlain’s (2007) Heritage is Hip to Culture, which focuses on Heritage and the FamilyValues web site, notes that:

Feulner is a Roman Catholic, and Weyrich a deacon in the Melkite-Greek Catholic Church. Weyrich in particular has influenced Heritage’s commitment to traditional cultural values, if only from his seat at other organizations. He cofounded the Moral Majority with Jerry Falwell in 1979, which, among other things, served to split Roman Catholics off from their traditionally Democratic affiliation over the issue of abortion. Weyrich was also actively involved in organizing annual Family Forums to help Christian Right leaders meet with the Reagan administration, and he coined the phrase “culture war,” referring to the clash between traditional and counter-culture attitudes and behaviors that arose in the 1960s. When Weyrich founded his Free Congress Foundation in 1977, he was banking on the notion that cultural issues could unite conservatives more effectively than economic ones, and he published the organization’s first book, Cultural Conservatism: Toward a New National Agenda, which outlined this argument.

American Council on Germany

He also has served on the United States delegations to several meetings of the International Monetary Fund/World Bank group.

The Final Frontier

According to its web site High Frontier (HF):

In 1982, High Frontier’s founder, Lt. General Daniel O. Graham, published a report entitled, “High Frontier: A New National Strategy.” General Graham’s purpose was to seek answers in U.S. technology, especially space technology, to the strategic problems that plague the United States and the world. The foundation of High Frontier concepts was the abandonment of the suicidal and immoral strategy of Mutual Assured Destruction [MAD] for the concept of Assured Survival through the creation of effective defenses against ballistic missiles.

HF was part of US public diplomacy (revivified as the SDI becomes a technological possibility) of the 1980s concerned with the siting of missiles in Europe and dealing with any counter argument. From 1973-1974, Graham served as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and from 1974-1976 as Director of its military counterpart, the Defense Intelligence Agency. He served as military advisor to Ronald Reagan in both the 1976 and 1980 Presidential campaigns. In 1978, Graham became Co-Chairman of the Coalition for Peace through Strength.

Other members include: Ambassador Henry F. (Hank) Cooper, a Visiting Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, was Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO) during the Bush administration. In the 1980s he was President Reagan’s Chief Negotiator at the Geneva Defense and Space Talks. In the private sector, he was Senior Vice President of Jaycor, Deputy Director of the Nuclear Weapons Effects Division at R&D Associates, member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories.

According to High Frontier’s site others include those with commercial interests in the technology, the media promotions, Dr. Klaus P. Heiss whose work involved development and applications of advanced concepts in the Theory of Games and Mathematical Economics (now working on future moonbases); Christopher Vizas who is described as an Entrepreneur and founder of successful technology/telecommunications businesses.

The group also use the National Review to promote their views.

According to Feulner in a (2003) National Review Joseph Coors, “without whom there would be no Heritage Foundation”, who had long known nuclear physicist Edward Teller and Reagan, was closely involved with High Frontier, which Feulner credits with strongly influencing Reagan:

There were several meetings between High Frontier and the White House over the next year, but Joe Coors always remembered one in particular with President Reagan. Scheduled for only 15 minutes, the briefing went on for more than an hour, at the end of which, Joe told me, “It was clear from his [President Reagan’s] demeanor that he was convinced it could be done.” Soon thereafter, Reagan announced on national television that development and deployment of a comprehensive antiballistic-missile system — the Strategic Defense Initiative — would be his top defense priority. We later learned from top Soviet officials that Reagan’s unflinching commitment to SDI convinced the Kremlin it could not win the arms race and led to ending the Cold War.

Jacob Weisberg’s (1998) Happy Birthday, Heritage Foundation, which quotes Feulner as stating that at Heritage: “We conduct warfare in the battle of ideas,” argued that:

Because of its combat mentality, Heritage has never been a place with very high standards. Like other conservative outfits, it loves the lingo of academic life. Its hallways are cluttered with endowed chairs, visiting fellows, and distinguished scholars. The conceit here is that as a PC Dark Age has overcome the universities, conservative think tanks have become the refuge of thought and learning. At Heritage in particular, this is a laugh. […] Heritage is focused on selling and promoting its views rather than on developing thoughtful or nuanced ones. It spends nearly half its $29 million annual budget on marketing. It prides itself on producing reports with concision and speed. According to Edwards, one recent innovation is the colored index card summarizing a conservative position in “short, punchy sentences.” According to Heritage’s “Vice-president for information marketing,” these cards have been “wildly successful” with Republicans in Congress.

Weisberg also describes its ethical standards as being as “lax as its intellectual ones”:

Heritage is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, which means it is not supposed to lobby Congress. Edwards notes that a disclaimer appears at the foot of all its publications. “Nothing written here is to be construed as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any bill before Congress.” This is an evident absurdity. Heritage exists to aid and hinder legislation before Congress and often boasts about doing so. […] Having been investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, AEI didn’t focus on getting its reports into the hands of members of Congress before the relevant votes. For whatever reason, liberal groups tend to be more punctilious about this. Many are split between two organizations, a 501(c)(3), to which contributions are tax deductible, and a 501(c)(4), which is simply not taxable itself, and which has more latitude in lobbying. This reduces the amount liberal groups can raise, enhancing their natural disadvantage.

Feulner and Hayek

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) publishes the work of Hayek, uncharacteristically giving it away free. Feulner provides the introduction, and of the book, the IEA tell us:

In The Road to Serfdom F. A. Hayek set out the danger posed to freedom by attempts to apply the principles of wartime economic and social planning to the problems of peacetime. Hayek argued that the rise of Nazism was not due to any character failure on the part of the German people, but was a consequence of the socialist ideas that had gained common currency in Germany in the decades preceding the outbreak of war. Such ideas, Hayek argued, were now becoming similarly accepted in Britain and the USA.

They add that it was when the book was promoted by Reader’s Digest Hayek’s began to find a mass audience; and in a condensed edition was republished by the IEA in 1999. for Hayek’s relevant and accessible message. Feulner’s introduction adds:

It is no exaggeration to say that The Road to Serfdom simultaneously prevented the emergence of full-blown socialism in Western Europe and the United States and planted seeds of freedom in the Soviet Union that would finally bear fruit nearly 45 years later. Socialist catchphrases such as ‘collectivism’ were stricken from the mainstream political debate and even academic socialists were forced to retreat from their defence of overt social planning.

But Feulner is more known for the document as outlined below by Anne Marie Mergier’s (1996) The Biggest Robbery of All Time in “Proceso“, which quotes the Belgian journalist Gerard de Seylis:

“In 1981, in the United States, Edwin J. Feulner, the president of the Heritage Foundation, closely tied to the extreme right, delivered a 1,000-page document to the White House one day after the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. This Mandate for Leadership spelled out the use of American foreign aid to obligate developing nations to sell their corporations and public services. In 1983, 40 of the most powerful corporations in Europe created the European Round Table, which then developed a radical program for liberalization and privatization. In 1985, the Adam Smith Institute published its so-called Omega Report in Great Britain. This outlined the greater part of the legislative program put into effect by Margaret Thatcher’s government during the next five years.

De Seylis’ argument is that at the beginning of the 1980s, those in charge of the major multinationals, aware of the seriousness of the economic crisis and frightened by the prospect of economic war, started to get very interested in the public sector.

According to Lee Edwards’ (1997) The Power of Ideas: The Heritage Foundation at 25 Years, when the Heritage Foundation was established the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) at Georgetown University were providing most of the analysis for Washington conservatives, with AEI focusing on domestic policy and CSIS on foreign and national security affairs. Yet according to Edwards, Feulner felt “the Left had a finely tuned policymaking machine, and the Right had nothing to match it.” Together with Paul M. Weyrich (press secretary to Senator Gordon Allott) Feulner (an administrative assistant to Congressman Philip Crane) inspired by Barry Goldwater’s run for the presidency in 1964 and calling themselves ‘movement conservatives’ also expressed dissatisfaction with the AEI’s deliberate non-involvement stance towards policy debate.

Feulner, stated that it was at this point in 1971 “that Paul and I decided that conservatives needed an independent research institute designed to influence the policy debate as it was occurring in Congress–before decisions were made.” They envisioned an activist think tank but separate from Congress and not officially connected to any political party. At the same time:

Although Weyrich and Feulner never talked with him about it, Patrick J. Buchanan, then working for Nixon aide H. R. Haldeman, had developed a plan similar to the Weyrich-Feulner analysis. Buchanan had made himself the White House expert on “how the liberal beast operated” in Washington, and within days of Nixon’s reelection in November 1972, he presented the president with a lengthy memorandum on how “to make permanent the New Majority.” An enduring Republican majority, Buchanan wrote, required the building of an institute that would serve as “the repository of its political beliefs.” Such an institute would have three roles: a “talent bank” for Republicans in office, a “tax-exempt refuge” for them when out of office, and a “communications center” for Republican thinkers across the nation.

After the celebrated hook-up with the Adolph Coors Company, with Coors investing some $250,000 for 1971-1972, and the involvement of Richard M. Scaife, a supporter of several conservative and anticommunist causes. In in 1976, after hooking up with members of Reagan’s entourage, Heritage turned its attention to the UK, for reasons unspecified by Edwards:

Heritage published a sixty-two-page monograph entitled, The British National Health Service in Theory and Practice: A Critical Analysis of Socialized Medicine. The coauthors, who taught at St. Andrew’s University in Scotland, were Eamonn F. Butler and Stuart M. Butler. The latter would become vice president of domestic and economic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation. The Butlers found “startling parallels” between British socialized medicine, which had produced “unsatisfied demands and shortages” in every health sector in Britain at an ever-increasing cost, and America’s Medicare and Medicaid programs. They stated that “virtually all [cost] restraint has been stripped away” from the U.S. programs since Congress elected to reimburse users of the system on the basis of “reasonable cost.”

The report argued for “a system of private medical insurance” with tax concessions for those who could provide for themselves and “direct assistance to those who cannot.” Dr Eamonn Butler is now the director of the Adam Smith Institute which he helped found, Butler had worked for the US House of Representatives and the ASI describe their origins as:

The Institute was founded by St Andrews graduates who joined the ‘brain drain’ in the 1970s, but who returned with new ideas to bring to public policy debate in the UK, and still fulfil the Institute’s leadership role.

Similarly Madsen Pirie, President of the ASI, worked for the House of Representatives in Washington DC and was one of three Scots graduates working in the US who founded the Institute in 1977 along with and Stuart Butler — they had made contact with Feulner (who studied at the University of Edinburgh) and left for the US to work under his tutelage, when they returned they also gained the help of Antony Fisher of the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Alex Carey, Andrew Lohrey and Noam Chomsky’s (1997) Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda Versus Freedom and Liberty, (p.106-7) states that in 1978, Feulner attended a London conference of “corporate democracy-managers from around the world” (they do not specify what this is unfortunately) and stated that “the American public policy area was ‘awash with in-depth academic studies’ of a New Right bent. ” They also add that Feulner visited Australia in late 1985 under the auspices of Quadrant magazine, itself funded by theAssociation for Cultural Freedom (an Australian version of the CCF), “to explain how to use think tanks to control the political agenda”. Here Feulner gathers up the faculty of the ‘Phantom Academy’:

Feulner’s basic thesis (1985) was that while academics and intellectuals are necassary for the initial production of ideas (strangely, he instances Milton Friedman among intellectuals), ‘it takes an institution to help popularise and propagandise an idea — to market an idea’. This role, Feulner says with frankness, of ‘organisations like the Institute of Economic Affairs or the Adam Smith Institute in London, my own Heritage Foundation in the United States and the centre for Policy Studies and the Centre for Independent Studies in Australia’.

Feulner demonstrated the point with the analogy of how Proctor and Gamble sell toothpaste by ‘keeping the product fresh in the consumer’s mind’, and went on to make another point:

…Feulner distinguishes between ‘electoral politics’ (that is, the campaigns to influence public opinion that are conducted at election time) and ‘policy politics’, by which he means the continuous treetops and grassroots campaigns to influence public opinion and set the political agenda which American corporations fund continuously between elections. ‘The latter’, he says, ‘is my speciality and is, in my opinion, the more important of the two’ . It should be noted that this development renders virtually meaningless the concept of a ‘free society’ of ideas.

In a (2004) interview Feulner described Heritage’s ‘mission’ thus:

Our role is to run the flag up the flagpole and let the politicians salute. If they don’t salute all the time, well then we ought to be teaching them why they should saute. Our role is not lowering the flag so that it’s easier for them to see it and salute.

As regards security and defense issues, and the war in Iraq, Feulner adds that “a lot of the design of new security strategy can be found in some of Heritage’s early and continuing studies.” In terms of “feckless Europeans” president Bush “has been stalwart in big things like the whole conceptualization of what to do about Iraq.”

In an (1986) address to Public Relations Society of America members (which bears a remarkable similarity to that quoted by Chomsky) Feulner, in a talk called, “Waging and Winning The War of Ideas,” discussed the role of Heritage in the public policy arena saying:

We man the ivory towers as well as the trenches in this war of ideas. We define the objectives, devise the strategies, and manufacture the ammunition. The war of ideas is a war of words—a war of intellect. It is a war of great importance because, as Richard Weaver said, ‘ideas have consequences.’ Lenin put it this way: ‘Ideas are much more fatal things than guns.’

Feulner also outlined the Heritage Foundation’s major achievments:

It was The Heritage Foundation, for example, that in 1981 funded a major $100,000 research project on anti-missile technology. The results were published in 1982, and one year later, our vision of the future became President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative […] …the supply-side tax cuts of 1981 and 1986; the recent law to sell the government’s rail freight system, Conrail, to the public through a stock offering; establishing “enterprise zones” in decayed urban areas, and so forth.

This also adds that:

In December 1980, just weeks after the first Reagan election, in a public policy book called Mandate for Leadership Policy Management in a Conservative Administration. The Heritage Foundation offered the incoming Reagan Administration more than 3,000 such proposals. In later 1984, we published a follow-up volume with some 1,300 specific proposals.

Public relations is described as being “part of the action from the very beginning” playing a key role both in terms of “making institutional policy and in carrying out that policy,” and that in relation to the many executive departments of government, and the White House itself: “It is the task of our public relations team to get as big a piece of the pie for our research product as we can.” Feulner outlines the process whereby the Heritage Foundation takes on an idea, applies it to a public policy problem, and gradually changes the way policy makers operate—in this case, in the area of urban policy and the idea of ‘Enterprise Zones’. Feulner argues that the Heritage Public Relations team was involved in the effort—first focusing on the radical new idea itself and later “keeping critical media and public attention on the issue as it moved through the policy process”.

* Peter Hall (British socialist) delivered a speech on Enterprise Zones to the Royal Town Planning Institute in 1977.
* Stuart Butler wrote a Heritage International Briefing Paper in 1979.
* In June 1980 The New York Times printed Butler’s op-ed article.
* Republican Jack Kemp and Democrat Bob Garcia started coalition building.
* Heritage started sponsoring public policy forums, seminars, and roundtables.
* Enteprise Zones was a 1980 campaign issue for Ronald Reagan and John Anderson.
* In 1981, Heritage and the American Legislative Exchange Council sponsored a conference in Atlanta for state legislators and black entrepreneurs.
* Stuart Butler’s book Enterprise Zones; Greenlining the Inner Cities appeared in 1981.
* Reagan referred to it in the 1982 State of the Union Message.
* In the 1984 election, both Reagan and Mondale endorsed it during their televised debate.
* This past June, Enterprise Zone legislation passed the Congress.
* In the six years it took the U.S. Congress to pass Enterprise Zone legislation, 32 states passed their own laws and created a total of 250 separate zones.

Both Hall and Butler (who is involved in the ASI) are British, and of course the notion of Enterprise Zones was implemented in the UK along with Development Agencies and other methods of privatisation of public amenities and other ways of directly funding capitalism, Feulner adds:

The bottom line is that Washington is now working from our agenda in this area. People are not talking about big government throwing more and more money at a problem that seemed to defy solution. Congress is now looking at additional market-oriented solutions to urban decay, such as Urban Homesteading—the privatization of public housing.

Privatization as such is outlined as a Heritage project, but again, with a British focus (also mentioning Butler — who privately seems owned himself) on results:

In the last four years we have published more than 20 papers on the theory of privatization—and how this theory can be put into practice. Simply put, privatization involves having private sector institutions provide services traditionally provided by a government bureaucracy. The British have privatized nearly two dozen government-owned entities, including: British Telecom, Jaguar, English Channel Hovercraft, British Aerospace, the National Bus Company—and British Gas is next. In the United States, privatization proposals have dealt with municipal services, the communications airwaves, public lands, air traffic control, Conrail, and even space. We have written op-ed page articles, and Stuart Butler has produced another book. The concept has successfully been made part of the public policy debate. The Washington bureau of The New York Times now has an economics writer assigned almost full-time to cover privatization developments. We have even fought—successfully I might add—to have the term included in the newer editions of most popular dictionaries. Communities all over the country are privatizing everything from parks to jails to waste disposal, and just a couple of months ago we won a major victory in Congress when the House of Representatives voted to allow some public housing tenants to buy the units they live in—a proposal that was again developed by our own Stuart Butler.

Feulner makes the manifestly false assertion that “Privatization provides for greater choice of services at a reduced cost,” and couples this with the similarly erroneous “it leaves the services intact. Feulner categourises the public policy process as a very private and inter-related one aligned to the corporate agenda:

…whether you like it or not—whether you are a conservative or a liberal—this is where the action is. According to studies, today most chief executive officers are spending 50 percent of their time on public policy. As a result, dozens, perhaps hundreds, of trade associations have migrated to Washington. Most major corporations now have public affairs offices here. There are approximately 10,000 lobbyists in Washington. And D.C. has become the news capital of the world; The latest Hudson’s Directory lists 3,900 Washington-area journalists.

The 1978 Heritage Foundation annual report outlined some of the ‘giant steps’ taken in 1977 in their effort to begin playing an important role in this ‘battle of ideas’. Those steps, which can be seen in relation to the above, were:

…revamped our research department by focusing its work on Washington’s need for “quick response” on current policy issues;

…introduced Policy Review, a prestigious quarterly journal of analysis and opinion;

…stepped up the activities of our Resource Bank program to make Heritage a national clearinghouse of people, ideas and facts important to the policy community; and

…substantially upgraded and expanded our public information program. It is obvious that no matter how many studies are written, no matter how well they are constructed, the effort is wasted if it fails to reach those who influence, decide and implement policy—opinion writers, lawmakers and regulators,” wrote then Chairman of the Board Ben Blackburn.

Some observations and questions might arise here: by “quick response” do they mean influence at the time of decision-making; Policy Review’s independence immediately comes into question if it is used for this purpose; a ‘clearinghouse of people’ seems to connote that the factory is producing a standardised product for specific purposes — placing individuals in certain positions to enable outside, possibly undue influence; “opinion writers, lawmakers and regulators” how is the manner in which these type of people are influenced monitored, does the heritage Foundation’s activity as outlined here come under the same supervision as lobbyists or other such corporate errand boys?

As regards government awareness of these conflicts of interest and behind the scenes manipulation and the use of ostensibly independent media, Hugh Newton, who makes a presentation after Feulner, states that the techniques used at The Heritage Foundation in selling its ideas and causes in the marketplace of ideas have “been around for decades” and have received awards from the Public Relations organisation he is addressing. He advocates that those willing to engage in the process not only aspire to provide the content for the journalists but insinuate themselves into the decision-making process:

Get to know the media and the individual newsmen and editors necessary to do your job…The best way to gain the attention, confidence, and respect of news people is through a combination of personal contact and being known as the source of useful material—intelligently prepared, accurate, and interesting […] Finally, there really is something to a phrase bandied about at public relations conferences for some years now—issues management. The most effective communications programs I know are carried out by public relations practitioners who are, from the beginning, part of the policy team.

The news management techniques are outline in the third speaker, Herb Berkowitz:

If you can, remove yourself from the field of battle for a little while and analyze your story as you would expect somebody in the news media to analyze it. A) Is it of national interest, regional interest, or strictly local importance? Obviously, your marketing strategy will vary depending on the answer. B) Is it timely? Can it be made timely? C) Is it unique? Can it be made to appear unique? Is there something special about your story that sets it apart from everything else you have seen on the subject? If so, exploit it. D) Is it really news, or are you merely providing something to enhance the understanding of a subject? How you treat “news” will be different from how you treat background information.

On how to “understand your role in the debate” he adds the terminology of clientele and the need for dissimulation:

If your client or employer has a direct and obvious stake in the debate, the media will discount what you have to say to some degree. This does not mean they are necessarily hostile to your point of view. It does mean, however, that they see you as another special interest. You should at least keep this in mind as you plan and carry out your program. What else should you know about yourself? A) Are you known, or unknown, to the media? B) Do you have an articulate spokesman? C) What is the personality or image you are trying to project—that of an activist player in the war of ideas, the thoughtful third party, the consumer advocate? What you say, how you say it, and to whom you say it all will be determined by your answers to these questions.

The media are divided into two broad categories: “those who cover the news and those who are actively involved in the public policy debate, the opinion media.”

Each of these potential audiences has its own rules and requirements. Some general rules hold true for all, however. A) They are interested first in the five Ws of journalism: Who, What, When, Where, and Why (or How). B) They like it when you can make their jobs easier for them. So do not send them a book, a long, complicated report, or a detailed press kit and expect very many to read it. Prepare a summary. Spell the story out in crisp, clear prose. C) They do not appreciate it when you waste their time with something that is old, trivial, not in their area of interest. In other words, do not send a report on health-care costs to somebody whose only news interest is energy and the environment.

Think Tanks thought of

Two key works on understanding the role of think tanks in the UK were Richard Cockett’s (1994) Thinking the Unthinkable: Think-tanks and the Economic Counter-Revolution 1931-83, and John Ranelagh’s (1991) Thatcher’s People. Of Cockett, Robin Ramsay’s (1994) The liberal apocalypse: or, understanding the 1970s and 80s (Lobster 28) noted an omission in his line of enquiry:

Cockett has little understanding of the para-political and paramilitary dimension to the counter-revolution. While he does notice that ‘the various organisations involved, such as NAFF and the Institute for the Study of Conflict, all used military-style tactics and were staffed by ex-army or in a few cases, ex-intelligence personnel’, and gives the Institute for the Study of Conflict (ISC) half of page 224, he is unaware of – or refrains from mentioning – ISC’s intelligence role. He may not have had time to read Brian Crozier’s memoir Free Agent, but this does not excuse such an omission. Consequently he has missed the extent to which Mrs Thatcher was, in the shorthand of the British Right, ‘a patriot’; in other words, someone who accepted the conspiracy theory of ‘the enemy within’, in which the Soviet Union ran the CPGB, which ran the unions, which ran the Labour Party.

Ranelagh was a member of the Conservative Research Department (CRD) between 1975-79 and has also written on the CIA and this lack of perspective on the intelligence input into Heritage and the IEDSS is a commonplace. Diane Stone and Andrew Denham’s (2004) Think Tank Traditions: Policy Research and the Politics of Ideas, published by Manchester University Press, although valuable in many other respects, makes no real mention of the Heritage Foundation’s influence in the UK even although it aimed to contextualise the significance of think tanks in the wider setting of Europe, Eastern Europe, China and Argentina. Andrew Denham and Mark Garnett’s (1998) British Think-tanks And The Climate Of Opinion, made no mention of the Heritage Foundation’s influence in the UK and McGann and Weaver’s (2002) Think Tanks & Civil Societies: Catalysts for Ideas and Action, published by Transaction Publishers, has a section on the Heritage Foundation written by Feulner. Stone is Professor and Co-Director of the Center for Policy Studies at the Central European University in Budapest. Michael David Kandiah and Anthony Seldon’s (1996) Ideas and Think Tanks in Contemporary Britain, contains contributions from Andrew Gamble, Tim Bale, John Callaghan, Michael Harris, Peter Ruben, Michael Oliver, Richard Cockett and a ‘Witness Seminar’ involving Geoff Mulgan. Oliver’s contribution is a response to Denham and Mark Garnett’s The Nature and Impact of Think Tanks in Contemporary Britain, and argues that before Cockett’s (1994) think tanks had been ‘relatively neglected’. As can be imagined, adopting a somewhat smug academic pose, these works simply ignore the volume of work in publications such as Lobster and confine themselves to addressing ‘academics’. We do have a mention of the Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies, in a converstation between Seldon and Freedman (p.137) whereby, in response to Seldon’s question “have the right-wing think tanks had any influence on government thinking? Freedman states:

The main right-wing think tank has been run by Gerald Frost, that is the Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies, but I am not sure of its influence. The former Labour minister for disarmament, Lord Chalfont, took a number of strong positions. One big issue, certainly for right wingers, was president Reagan’s Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI), and there was quite a lot of support for that from Lord Chalfont. Their difficulty here was that they were confronted not just by aukward political and strategic questions (such as the impact on deterrence), but by the laws of physics, and that undermined their wider credibility.

That would seem to be the extent of the discussion of ‘the main right-wing think tank’. Ziauddin Sardar’s (1999) Small Presses Special – British Think-Tanks and the Climate of Opinion, New Statesman review of Denham and Garnett’s British Think-Tanks and the Climate of Opinion, notes that:

The function of the original think-tanks was to justify the rhetoric of the cold war, promote defence-oriented research and influence American foreign policy. During the 1960s the term gained currency in political circles and described a hotch-potch of private research organisations, including pressure groups and lobbyists.

He also notes a tradition continued by the English disciples of Auguste Comte, mainly via the Fabians and the utilitarians, or Philosophic Radicals, who worked under the leadership of Jeremy Bentham and James Mill in the early 19th century. Tomoyuki Saito’s (2005) Introduction: September 11, Globalization, and Think Tanks, observes the National Institute for Research Advancement’s (NIRA) assessment of think tanks:

NIRA’s World Directory of Think Tanks 2005 covers more than 300 organizations in approximately 90 countries, and works to demonstrate that think tanks cannot be defined in a precise manner.

Inderjeet Parmar’s series of works which offer theoretical, historical and contemporary perspectives on themes around think tanks and power in foreign policy, including Nye’s conception of ‘Soft Power’ and an interpretation of Gramsci’s concept of hegemony in relation to US foreign affairs — although at times this seems to border on rephrasing C. Wright Mills’ conception of the power elite. His aim with specific works is, for example, an exploration of the roles of Carnegie and Rockefeller philanthropy in producing an influential, dominant ‘Realist tradition in International Relations’ and in others to describe the work of the Ford Foundation in the context of the role of philanthropy in “Construction of a Modernising Elite Knowledge Network for Indonesia:”

American foundations construct policy- oriented intellectual-academic networks inside and beyond the United States to build specific types of expertise for specific purposes, particularly to develop and consolidate US hegemony in world affairs. The knowledge networks usually consist of interpenetrating research, teaching and administrative components, as well as, more controversially, key agencies and individuals within the American state (such as the State Department, CIA, US AID) and (in this case) the Indonesian state (Army, Police, key ministries).

Parmar finds that that “the knowledge network” itself, despite its stated intentions to ‘solve’ social and economic problems, is the principal long-term product of such sponsorship. This networks functions to train, socialise, inter-connect, cohere and discipline scholars and institutions: for Parmar they are an “end in themselves, not merely a means to an end.” His findings are that such networks may be conceptualised using the work of Pierre Bourdieu, as a field of power which socialises current and future generations by enabling the conversion of their intellectual products, into ‘symbolic capital’ that can in some way legitimate the wider global system and reinforce the power relations which constitute elite cohesiveness. The US foundation-sponsored ‘knowledge networks’ role in American hegemony can be the fostering of a counter-elites (such as Chile’s Friedmanite “Chicago Boys”) who, act as a proxy for pro-US capitalistic free- market thinking. This is essentially a public diplomacy reading of the knowledge network.

Parmar has also conducted research into the rise of Anti-Americanism in Brendon O’Connor and Martin Griffiths’ (2006) The Rise of Anti-Americanism; a comparison of the role of the Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) on British and American foreign policy during World War II, with a view to establishing to what extent did these organizations mattered; and he has also explored Gramsci’s little-examined notion of “state spirit” in his (2007) Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations? Roles in the Rise of the Realist Tradition in American International Relations.

On the latter, he states that Gramsci’s ideas on the resistance to socialist revolution of western capitalism: its relative immunity to revolution. According to Parmar, Gramsci identified the existence of important layers of pro-bourgeois culture, ideology, values, and institutions that shape the minds of the masses in favour of the status quo and against violent revolution so that the ruling class control and protect the ruling ideas.The thinkers who attach themselves to the dominant class via the universities, mass media or institutions which surround the political parties, develop, elaborate, refine, disseminate and teach these dominant ideas, values and norms, in a process of the rationalisation of the real:

…the coalition […] is generated and sustained by leadership based on the “consent of the governed”, under the hegemonic leadership of politicians and intellectuals of the capitalist class. As the “consent of the governed” is so vital to political and social arrangements, it is not left to chance. It is engineered by intellectual, political and cultural elites through numerous channels that involve not only the state […] but also through key organizations.

This alliance of state elites and private ruling class organizations, is, according to Parmar, motivated by “state spirit”: that which inspires leaders to see the problems of the state as their own, and view themselves as the embodiment of national and global historical developments. The example of the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundation’s construction of a dense network of think tanks, policy research institutes, publicity organisations, student societies to encourage globalism is set out as part of the rise of the major American foundations at the turn of the twentieth-century was intimately connected with the rise of the corporate capitalist economy:

…urbanisation, mass immigration, increasing social complexity, growth of trade union and socialistic movements, and the development of the urban slum. All of these developments heightened an awareness among elites of the necessity of greater levels of private and public intervention in a society sceptical of untrammelled state power. (p.7)

For Parmar in (2006) The Rise of Anti-Americanism (p. 174) the Foundation elites are intimately interconnected with other influential institutions such as the large corporations, universities and US state and can “justifiably be classified as part of the power elite of the United States.” Whether this adds to C. Wright Mills’ work or orientates itself theoretically is not discussed.


Frank Fischer, Gerald Miller, Mara S. Sidney’s (2007) Handbook of Public Policy Analysis: Theory, Politics, and Methods, is a study of public policy and the methods of policy analysis and the process of supplying decision makers with policy-relevant knowledge. This offers a broader perspective involving theory, politics, and methodology and the historical development of policy analysis and empirical methods. Its scope aims to consider the theory generated by these methods and the normative and ethical issues surrounding their practice. Its description of the theoretical debates that have recently defined the field, find them to be “postpositivist, interpretivist, and social constructionist”. Policy analysis itself is described (p.xix) as an “applied social science discipline which uses multiple methods of inquiry and arguments to produce and transform policy-relevant information that may be utilized in political settings to resolve policy problems,” and is categourised as a predominently American phenomena whose origins can be traced to the writings of Harold Lasswell:

Laswell envisioned a multidisciplinary enterprise capable of guiding the political decision processes of World War II industrial societies […] he called for the study of the role of “knowledge in and of the policy process.” The project referred to an overarching social-scientific discipline geared to adjusting democratic practices to the realities of an emerging techno-industrial society. Designed to cut across various specializations, the field was to include contributions from political science, sociology, anthropology, psychology, statistics and mathematics, and even the physical and natural sciences in some cases. It was to employ both quantitative and qualitative methods.

The writers feel it failed to take up Laswell’s vision, itself a response to “John Dewey’s relentless pressing of pragmatism.” The introduction to the work argues that policy analysis took an empirical orientation “geared more to managerial practices than to the facilitation of democratic government per se.” It also argues that the field has been shaped by a limited framework derived from dominant “neopositivist/empiricist” theories of knowledge:

This has generated an emphasis on rigorous qualitative analysis, the objective separation of facts and values, and the search for generalizable findings whose validity would be independent of the particular social context from which they were drawn. […] In no small part. this has been driven by the dominant influence of economics and its positivist scientific methodologies on the development of the field.

This also finds that policy analysis and policy outcomes are have not offered an abundance of “usable knowledge” and, as a discipline, is infused with “sticky problems of politics and social values” that require the field to open itself to other types of methods and issues. Peter deLeon and Danielle M. Vogenbeck’s Policy Sciences at the Crossroads, in similar vein and refer to author Ron Suskind’s description of a meeting with an official from the George W. Bush White House, which, they argue, directly affected the ways in which policy scholars addressed matters:

The aide said that guys like [Suskind] were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmered something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That’s not the way the world really operates any more,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will— we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to study what we do.”

The reference to managerialism seems significant and Robert Horwitz’s description of Lasswell as a propagandist for “social control through science,” in an essay in Herbert J. Storing’s (1962) Essays on the Scientific Study of Politics . Yet Harvard psychiatrist Miles Shore, called Lasswell:

“one of the most hopeful and influential political scientists exploring ways in which [political science and psychiatry] might benefit one another.”

In Laswell’s (1963) The Future of Political Science (p. 147) he puts an emphasis on creativity arguing: “No static certainty is to be found in politics or political science, hence the importance of cultivating an affirmative, inventive, flexible mind.” A shift in Laswell’s orientation of his work is identified in Harold D. Lasswell and the Lost Opportunity of the Purposive School in Mark C. Smith’s (1994) Social Science in the Crucible: The American Debate over Objectivity and Purpose, 1918-1941, Smith observes that:

Unlike either Lynd or Beard, Lasswell developed a sophisticated and consistent individual and social psychology that promised to actually locate universal human values. Yet, despite a consistent and apparently deeply felt commitment during this period to create a social science firmly based on normative goals, by the early 1940s he had adopted a value-free empiricism which accepted established political elites and abandoned advocacy of public education and criticism.

According to Heinz Eulau (1969) Maddening Methods of Harold D. Lasswell in Politics, Personality, and Social Science in the Twentieth Century: Essays in Honor of Harold D. Lasswell, Laswell’s formulation (which sounded strange to his contemporaries) held that there was no “ficticious cleveage” which divides the study of the individual from the study of society — there are gradual gradations of reference points and Laswell, according to Eulau (p. 22), called for a new form of thinking about social phenomena (a cross between Darwin and Hegel) “emergent evolution”, drawing on a Hobbesian materialism and the behavioristic psychology of John Watson with Freudian psychology used as an instrument of thought, rather than therapy. Logical thinking is offered as but one usage of the mind, in terms of political analysis, Eulau argues (p. 26) that Laswell held that the state (political systems) was a ‘manifold of events’ and that state behaviour cannot be analysed by disassembling it into parts:

The important point to keep in mind is that in leading to a conception of the whole, the idea of emergence called attention to the manifold of events that constitutes the whole.

Laswell’s own articulation of ’emergence’ is given as prefiguring gestalt analysis:

Sound political analysis is nothing less than correct orientation in the continuum which embraces the past, present and future. Unless the salient features of the all-inclusive whole are discerned, details will be incorrectly located … The gradual creation of a sense of wholeness, and of assurance in the discovery of interdetail connections within the all-encompassing totality, also requires new methods of formal exposition.

*Back to the The Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies

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