Is Power Listening?
By Carolyn Baker
& Jason Miller
20 January, 2007
Carolyn Baker interviewed
by Jason Miller
crimson stains mottle the pages of humanity’s history. Untold
numbers of souls who were skewered, decapitated, eviscerated, or obliterated
in anonymity scream out for recognition as one peruses humankind’s
memoirs. While our historical manuscript is also generously dappled
by the milk of human kindness, much of our narrative is dominated by
tales of man’s savage cruelty to man.
And despite widespread misconceptions,
the human collective of the United States has acted in accord with the
rest of the players on history’s stage.
Relative to its predecessors,
the empire sometimes referred to as Pax Americana is not exceptionally
exploitative, acquisitive, or genocidal. One can point to numerous historical
examples of clans, tribes, or nations with comparable levels of bloodlust.
As masters of the world go, the United States has been fairly run of
the mill in its pathologies.
Yet what galls many about
the United States is the hubristic set of pernicious and enduring myths
that portray our nation so disingenuously. Since the founding of our
so-called republic, textbook authors, historians, teachers, our government,
the mainstream media, and the moneyed elite have striven tenaciously
to convince the working class, the rest of the world, and perhaps even
themselves of our moral superiority and exemplary virtue.
Recently the Bush administration’s
egregious and blatant breaches of morals, ethics, and laws have rendered
the illusion of American Exceptionalism virtually untenable.
Yet not unlike Joe Pesci’s
witness in My Cousin Vinny, whose testimony could only have been true
if the “laws of physics ceased to exist on [his] stove”,
there are still many among us in the United States who make claims that
could only be true if the “laws of human nature” ceased
to exist in our country.
We are as prone to cruelty,
greed, gluttony, selfishness, and the like as the rest of the human
race. In fact, our refusal to own our collective shadow (coupled with
our possession of nearly unlimited economic and military power) has
heightened our nation’s tendency to behave like a rogue.
Why do so many amongst the
poor and working class of the United States embrace the spiritual cancers
of consumerism, patriotism, nationalism, blind allegiance to corporations,
and delusional thinking so readily proffered by a relatively tiny group
of aristocrats who reside on the other side of a wealth canyon that
was once known as a gap?
A few days ago, I caught
up with Carolyn Baker, an open-minded and deeply knowledgeable author,
essayist, publisher and history professor. She worked as a psychotherapist
for two decades and has spoken truth to power for years. I felt confident
that Carolyn could shed some serious light on the issues vexing me.
So I asked her a series of questions….
1. Please briefly
acquaint us with your latest book, US History Uncensored: What Your
High School Textbook Didn’t Tell You (1).
This book grew out of years
of teaching recent American history (1865 to the present) when after
several semesters of teaching, I realized that I should compile my lecture
notes and relevant documents into a book. Because I prefer struggling
with questions rather than declaring that I have answers, I introduce
the book in this way: “How did we arrive where we are now: American
society dominated by corporations and their interests, an economy based
on war and the weapons industry, trillions of dollars missing from federal
government agencies, the annihilation of our civil liberties and the
shredding of the U.S. Constitution, the dumbing-down of America and
the reduction of our educational system to the lowest common denominator,
Peak Oil—the best-kept secret in America, and the polarization
of economic prosperity and quality of life?”
The book raises myriad questions
about recent American history and offers possible answers, and very
well-documented ones at that.
2. Those who are
familiar with Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United
States(2) are probably thinking that the two books sound similar. How
would you compare and contrast your book with Zinn’s?
First, Zinn’s books
are essentially essays, and they are extremely worthwhile. Zinn has
been an enormous inspiration for me, and I can’t get enough of
him, but my book is more than a book per se; it is a curriculum abstract.
In other words, it was written not only for the reader who just wants
to read about U.S. history from the end of the Civil War to the present,
but was also written so that history instructors or instructors of other
subjects can utilize it as a supplement to their required textbooks
or other materials.
In addition, while I have
the greatest respect for Howard Zinn, there are some subjects that I
do not feel he has sufficiently addressed such as 9/11 and energy depletion
as a motivation for epidemic resource wars around the world.
3. I am curious,
and I suspect the readers are too, to know more about you as a person.
Please favor us (to the degree to which you feel comfortable) with a
brief verbal self-portrait of Carolyn Baker.
I’m a baby-boomer who
grew up in a fundamentalist Christian family in the Midwest. I was raised
on McCarthyism, racism, hellfire and brimstone. I bought into it throughout
my childhood, and at the age of sixteen was saving my money to join
the John Birch Society. I was sent to an evangelical bible college where
I became a rebellious skeptic and left there in order to attend a major
Big Ten university. One thing that my upbringing was unable to squelch
was my thirst for learning, and my university experience proved that
indeed, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I became an activist
in the throes of the sixties, and you might say that I have never ceased
being one. I spent most of my adult life in the fields of human service
and psychology and returned to college teaching about ten years ago.
Although I am no longer a psychotherapist as I was for seventeen years
of my career, I experience the fields of psychology and history as extremely
relevant and complementary to each other. What is history if not the
story of the behavior of human beings? Learning from history can alter
our psychology, and altering our psychology can re-direct how we make
4. Who has been your
It is almost impossible to
name any one person as my biggest inspiration. In college I was greatly
inspired by Norm Pollack, the history professor to whom my book is dedicated,
other professors, peers, employers, therapists, and a variety of other
My spiritual path is extremely
important to me, and individuals like the poets Rumi, Mary Oliver, Mario
Benedetti, and Pablo Neruda have been guiding lights, as well as the
principles of indigenous spirituality and specific teachers such as
Carl Jung, Matthew Fox, the Gnostics, Pema Chodron, and many more.
Politically, I am inspired
by contemporary Latin American socialists such as, President Michelle
Bachelet, of Chile; Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Evo Morales of Bolivia;
Che Guevara; others like Vandana Shiva, Cesar Chavez, and Robert Kennedy
continue to inform my perspective.
Sometimes when I am feeling
depressed or discouraged, I go to the websites of the Latin American
presidents I have mentioned, and there I see and hear the changes they
are making and the ways in which they are transforming their countries
and defeating neoliberalism in Latin America through democratic elections
and by engineering humane government, and I am inspired and enlivened.
In an article I recently wrote entitled “New Kids On the Block
Confront Imperial Bully: Why I Am Smiling”(3), I explained how
these people warm my heart and challenge me to keep going. Most of them
know more of suffering and the struggle for justice than I ever will,
and the ways in which they walk their talk daily reminds me that a better
world is possible.
5. Who has influenced
you the most?
I suppose I would have to
say that the teachings of Jung influenced me the most in my forties
and continue to inform my emotional, spiritual, and political perspectives.
One does not have to be in the field of psychology to experience illumination
of one’s inner and outer worlds from Jung’s writings. While
Jung was a product of his time and influenced by the racism and sexism
of his era, he was also far ahead of his time in a host of other ways.
As a group, I feel that Jungian therapists can sometimes become focused
on the inner world to the exclusion of the outer, whereas for me, it
is essential to develop both a rich inner world and at the same time,
struggle to create a just and humane outer world. In terms of history,
it is because of Jung that I insist on looking at the dark aspects of
it as well as the positive. Only in this way can real integration occur.
6. Your bio for your
new book states that you were an administrator for non-profits and a
psychotherapist (for about two decades) before you became a history
professor. What motivated your transition?
Perhaps it was exactly what
I just mentioned in answer to the last question. I began feeling that
it was time for me to get out of the therapist’s office and human
service management and into the world more directly.
For one thing, I felt that
the injustices in those fields were becoming intolerable. Increasingly,
there were no federal and few state funds for non-profits, while the
unregulated corporate capitalist system was running amuck. The field
of psychotherapy was also being destroyed by the health insurance industry,
unbridled and unchecked. For example, we all know that the society in
which we live in the United States is not emotionally healthy, and there
is a ghastly amount of violence and abuse on every level. In the pre-managed
care world, people could receive psychotherapy and be able to use their
health insurance benefits indefinitely, but after the triumph of managed
care, “brief therapy” prevailed, and people were generally
only allowed twelve sessions in which to address gargantuan emotional
issues such as sexual abuse or other trauma. Thus, the profession increasingly
became about bandaging people up and getting them “repaired”
well enough to function. At the same time, the mental health professional
has been put in the position of either playing the insurance company’s
game in order to survive or taking only clients who can pay out-of-pocket,
and the economic situation in this country being what it is, makes that
But more importantly, my
leaving those fields also had to do with a transition from life in California,
as I responded to an inner calling to move to the Southwestern US and
specifically to live in closer proximity to Latin America and its cultures.
Nevertheless, the experiences and enrichment of the two prior decades
continue to inform every aspect of my current work as a teacher and
7. How long have
you been teaching history?
I have been teaching history
at the college/university level for almost a decade.
8. How valuable has
your humanitarian background been to you in your efforts to teach and
record history in ways that deviate significantly from the “traditional
Well, as I said in my answer
to #3, I see the two worlds as very compatible and complementary to
each other. Much of the psychotherapy world, certainly when one has
a Jungian perspective on board, is about finding meaning—critically
thinking about any subject, analyzing, looking deeper than the bland,
superficial material that is printed in college textbooks. My graduate
studies in history were all about that, and when I became a teacher
of college history myself, I was appalled at the lack of concern for
this. Students came into classes loathing history based on their experiences
of it in high school which were overwhelmingly about memorizing dates
and names and with absolutely no attempt to connect the dots or make
meaningful sense of history.
9. Quoting from your
book’s forward: “….the relegating of history to an
antiquated closet of insignificance is not only intellectually unsound
but fundamentally dangerous.” How much of the US American publics’
minimization of the value of history do you think is orchestrated by
the plutocracy which has managed to leverage most of the wealth and
power in the United States?
I do believe that a significant
amount of the minimization of history is orchestrated by the plutocracy,
but there are other factors at work as well. First, we have a president
who received an undergraduate degree in history from Yale and nearly
brags about his doing so by making C’s and D’s. In addition,
technology, which I love and utilize as much as anyone else, has seduced
us into believing that only that which is instant, momentary, or future-focused
is worth considering. Current conditions do not lend themselves to a
consideration of history as relevant or valuable. I believe that we
live in an infantilized culture, and I have written about this extensively,
as recently as in my commentary on the film “Children Of Men”.
Part of the infantilization is due not only to the United States being
a very young nation compared with European countries, but we have little
sense of history. What inkling most Americans do have is inordinately
positive. Few students coming into my classes have any concept of Native
American genocide or the actual treatment of African Americans before
or after the Civil War. For most of them, U.S. history is “white,
bright, and light”—we were the good guys in white hats,
devoid of any dark side. I’ve noticed, however, that during the
past six years, that attitude has been changing specifically as a result
of war-weariness and the demise of Bush’s popularity.
Moreover, and this is extremely
important, if people do not know their own history, then like children,
they are easily manipulated and controlled and have little discernment
about when they are being lied to by their government or the extent
of corruption in their government. Being unfamiliar with the U.S. Constitution
and the process by which it was formulated makes citizens extremely
vulnerable to oppression because as a result of their ignorance, they
do not know when their rights are being violated, why they should not
be violated, why hundreds of thousands of men and women died so that
these rights would not be violated, and that citizens have every right,
not only to make certain that their liberties are not violated, but
that according to the Constitution, when their government does so, they
have a right and a duty, to abolish that government. Certainly, such
ignorance of history benefits the plutocracy and no one else. That is
the danger of not knowing one’s history.
10. How do you believe
the opulent class and corporatists use the dearth of historical knowledge
amongst the masses in the United States to their advantage? If the question
is too broad, perhaps you could simply provide a few specific examples.
No, the question isn’t
too broad. As stated above, unfamiliarity with the history of the U.S.
Constitution creates people who function like sheep in obedience to
their government. For example, unfamiliarity with the war in Vietnam
makes certain that young men and women have no historical perspective
about fighting in wars. Many have heard that the “poor U.S. troops”
upon returning from Vietnam were spit on by protestors, but they have
no clue that thousands of those returning troops quickly joined the
anti-war movement, and they have no clue about why because they have
no historical understanding of the Vietnam War and what it was about.
When I teach the late-nineteenth
and early-twentieth century periods of U.S. history, students rarely
know that working people at the time were subjected to ghastly mistreatment
by management with no laws to protect them. They take working five days
a week with a guaranteed lunch breaks and bathroom breaks for granted,
as they take getting a paycheck and having a weekend for granted, not
knowing that working people of earlier eras in the U.S. often worked
18 hours a day, 6 days a week and got no paycheck or were cheated on
the amount they received. In my class they learn where these things
that they take for granted in the workplace came from, and they learn
about the lives that were lost in the cause of making sure that working
people had humane treatment and that their civil liberties were respected.
When you do not know your
history, you can be sorely taken advantage of, and of course, who does
11. As I watched
Scott Pelley interview our unitary executive on Sixty Minutes last Sunday,
I literally felt a chill go down my spine followed almost immediately
by a feeling of intense rage when I heard this exchange:
PELLEY: Do you believe as
commander-in-chief you have the authority to put the troops in there
no matter what the Congress wants to do?
BUSH: In this situation,
I do, yeah. Now, I fully understand they could try to stop me from doing
it. But I made my decision, and we're going forward.
Drawing on your knowledge
of history, when has another US president so boldly asserted his intention
to utterly defy the system of checks and balances so crucial to the
preservation of our Constitutional Republic? Obviously, the Bush Regime
has dealt many blows to what is left of our Constitution. How much weight
do you give this one relative to the Patriot Act, Signing Statements,
To my knowledge, no other
U.S. president has so blatantly disregarded checks and balances, but
in my book, I discuss a couple of incidents in which Bush’s father
did the same kind of thing as Reagan’s Vice-President, but did
so behind the scenes. For example, I explain in detail the creation
of a black budget for the military industrial complex under Vice-President
Bush which egregiously violates the U.S. Constitution.
While I give little attention
to mainstream media, I do watch Keith Olbermann’s “Countdown”
on MSNBC every night. In the throes of debate on the Military Commissions
Act a couple of months ago, I listened to Olbermann interview Jonathan
Turley, law professor at George Washington University, and as they discussed
the appalling violation of the Constitution that the Act is, Turley’s
principal lament was that the American people and Congress were doing
nothing about it. Congress has little excuse since most of its members
have some knowledge of U.S. history, but the American citizenry, ignorant
of their history, if they had even heard of the Military Commissions
Act, had virtually nothing to say about it, and if they did, it was
most likely in support of torture and “doing whatever it takes”
to get rid of those nasty terrorists.
I consider one of the final
steps of sealing our fate as a fascist empire, this 2006 act which violates
every principle of liberty in the U.S. Constitution. The violation is
blatant—unprecedentedly blatant, but no other president of earlier
generations could have gotten away with shredding the Constitution or
calling it as Bush did “a goddamn piece of paper”. That’s
because in those times, people still had enough sense of history to
prevent such outrageous usurpation of power.
12.Your book touches
on the darker aspects of US American history which are often white-washed
or ignored in “mainstream” texts. Most history students
spend very little time learning about the Native American genocide,
chattel slavery, the violent oppression of labor and social movements
by the moneyed class, US imperialism, and unprosecuted US war crimes
(i.e. Dresden and the secret bombings in Cambodia). How much time do
your students spend studying these facets of US history?
My students spend a great
deal of time learning about those facets, alongside the positive aspects
of our history. Zinn has done a fabulous job in PEOPLE’S
HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES in recounting noble, courageous, and heroic
acts undertaken by ordinary people in our nation’s history that
served to make us, in principle at least, a great nation. I educate
my students in the necessity of knowing the dark side of their history,
just as they should know some of the not-so-pretty parts of the personality
of a person they plan to marry, or the unpleasant aspects of a job they
want to be hired for. Without an integration of the dark side and the
light side, we either become cynical and depressed, or infantilized
sycophants. Either way, we cannot function as informed and useful citizens.
One thing I want my students
to know about is role models in U.S. history other than presidents.
In fact, I spend very little time talking about presidents because,
as I tell students, presidents don’t run the United States, in
my opinion, and because this nation was built on the backs of people
of color, women, and the poor. One of my favorite assignments is a reaction
paper on the “Autobiography of Frederick Douglass” in which
students must read the autobiography and write a paper, putting themselves
in his place. There are specific questions they must address in the
paper, but without exception, when students read the life of the former
slave and imagine themselves in his shoes, they begin to see themselves,
people of color, and their entire world differently. I have had students
contact me years after doing the assignment and tell them that it was
the most life-changing college assignment they had.
13. You wrote that
educators face a backlash for deviating from teaching “traditional
history”. How has your critical and honest examination of US history
affected your professional career?
Personally, I believe that
it is easier to teach alternative history in college than in high school.
There are too many constraints--parents and administration looking over
the shoulders of high school teachers. College and university professors
have greater latitude.
My professional career has
not suffered as a result of my alternative views. As I mention in the
book, one student once said in front of the entire class, “We
may not agree with you, but we will never forget this class.”
In 2004, one of my very activist students wanted to give an oral presentation
on the war in Iraq and used a couple of video clips she had gotten from
a returning veteran. Some of the scenes were gory, but overall, they
simply raised disturbing questions about why the U.S. was even occupying
Iraq. There were several complaints to the administration about the
class and my not being “patriotic”, but I was not personally
penalized. Today, in 2007, attitudes have shifted enormously, and what
I hear and feel in class from students is rage at the current administration—bitterness
and despair over having lost relatives and friends in a war that they
now recognize as vile and based on lies. The overwhelming majority of
my students are Hispanic and therefore are disproportionately affected
by a recruitment system that promises them the sun, the moon, and the
stars, but either gets them killed in combat or does very little to
help them when they return to the U.S. gravely disabled or suffering
from post-traumatic stress disorder.
14. How much pressure
have you felt from the university where you teach to curb your efforts,
which often (in your words) lead people to accuse you of “hating
America and lacking gratitude for the benefits of being born in this
As stated above, I have not
felt a great deal of pressure. What I have seen in the classroom in
the past three years is the almost-total evaporation of patriotism and
a burgeoning cynicism and despair.
15. Despite the existence
of nearly innumerable sources of evidence that obliterate the incredibly
disingenuous assertion “that the United States of America is the
most tolerant, moral, non-aggressive, and benevolent nation on earth”,
many US Americans cling tenaciously to this pernicious delusion. How
do you account for this?
I’m finding that many students these days are not clinging to
this disingenuous assertion. I think that because many of my students
are working class Hispanics and have seen the darker side of U.S. history
in terms of the experiences of family members who have come to this
country to have a better life, only to find that the U.S. isn’t
the “land of the free” they had fantasized, perhaps they
are more open to an alternative view of U.S. history. However, there
are still some who do embrace the “America can do no wrong”
delusion, and of course, I believe, this is true of many more Anglo
American adults. My sense of that is not only what Jung says, that human
beings can only handle so much reality, but that people who cling to
this assertion need to do so because to entertain a different perception
is too threatening, i.e., coming to realize that they have been egregiously
betrayed and that what they have worked so hard to support and affirm
is not as it seems. All of our institutions in the U.S. serve to perpetuate
this myth, so without profound life experiences that break through the
fantasy, many people never do.
16. In your opinion,
considering the unbridled power of corporations, unchecked militarism,
propaganda disseminated by the corporate media, erosion of civil liberties,
and concentration of power into the Executive branch, has the United
States devolved far enough for the label of fascism to be accurate?
Please elaborate on the reasoning you used to draw your conclusion.
As I tell students, we tend
to think of fascism as soldiers marching around in jackboots, flags
with swastikas draping the entrances of buildings, and Jews being loaded
into boxcars headed for death camps. But Mussolini gave us a very simple
definition of fascism which I emphasize in my book: the merging/symbiosis,
enmeshment of the state and corporations. In fact, he said fascism should
be more properly called “the corporate state.”
It is no longer possible
in the United States to define where corporations leave off and the
state begins. That situation has existed for decades, but the current
Bush administration has taken fascism not just to the next level, but
to a new galaxy—a new realm of power of the state and of capitulation
by the citizenry, as well as a carte blanche for corporations more lenient
than we have seen since the late nineteenth century.
In the 1930s, historian Robert
Brady wrote a powerful and chilling analysis, The Spirit and Structure
of German Fascism(4), in which he examined the creation of the Nazi
empire, but also argued that fascism was not necessarily unique to Germany.
In the book he states that “…almost the entirety of the
German Nazi program and line of argumentation is identical in content
and point of view with that of the American business community.”
(P.380) He continues:
If the analysis given here
is correct, the only difference between fascist and non-fascist capitalist
states—between Italy, Germany, Portugal, Austria, Hungary, Brazil,
etc, on the one hand, and England, France, and the United States, the
Argentine, Belgium, etc. on the other—is to be found not in the
content, but in the level on which the propaganda is promoted.(P.384)
Brady then asserts: “…in
the United States business is still trying to ‘sell itself to
the public’ while in Germany this is no longer necessary—it
has sold the public to itself, and those who do not believe, who do
not accept, and who do not conform are branded as ‘traitors’
to the state and treated accordingly.” (P. 384)
I submit that the corporatocracy
of the United States has “sold itself” unequivocally to
the American people, and the Bush II administration is putting the finishing
touches of institutionalized fascism on the society—a society
that has little sense of history and what actually happened in Germany
in the 1930s.
If you have any doubt left,
you must watch Aaron Russo’s fabulous documentary “America:
From Freedom to Fascism.”(5)
17. You have indicated
that you see a connection between the 2000 Presidential “election”
and the events on 9/11. What does that entail?
One point I made in the book
is that 9/11 is not necessarily the most significant event of the twenty-first
century because I believe that the 2000 presidential election was. I
believe that it was unambiguously a coup d’etat, and that that
coup was completed with the orchestration by the U.S. government of
the 9/11 attacks. Thus, the two events are inextricably connected.
You know, on the night of
the 2000 elections I was teaching at the university in Juarez, Mexico,
and I was watching the election returns on TV in the faculty lounge,
quite appalled at what I was witnessing. Then one of my colleagues,
a friend and a Mexican national, playfully but seriously said to me,
“It looks like you Gringos are living what we Mexicans have been
living for decades—dirty elections that have nothing to do with
how the people actually voted.”
Very soon on my site (www.carolynbaker.org)
I will be reviewing the book 9/11 And American Empire: Intellectuals
Speak Out(6) which is one of the best examinations of 9/11 in the past
year. A chapter at the very end “Parameters Of Power In The Global
Dominance Group: 9/11 & Election Irregularities in Context”
by Peter Phillips, Bridget Thornton, and Celeste Vogler, superbly connects
the dots between this administration’s usurpation of power illegally
and “The New Pearl Harbor” of 9/11. Overwhelming evidence
of every kind points to the orchestration of the attacks by the Bush
administration, and on this point, most Americans cannot and will not
allow themselves to demand a deeper investigation because they are terrified
of what such an investigation may uncover: that their government—yes,
that government that is supposed to be the most liberal, uncorrupted,
pure- as- the -driven -snow entity on earth, murdered 3000 of its own
people as a pretext for endless war and global dominance.
Thinking critically and analytically
demands that we penetrate the veneer of the “official” story
of that event; otherwise we will not understand the current occupation
of Iraq, the likely escalation into Iran and Syria, or the plethora
of resource wars provoked and carried out by the United States that
will ensue for the remainder of this century and beyond.
18. You are one of
a growing number who now calls the United States an “empire”.
What do you say to those who claim that we US Americans only use our
military might to maintain a peaceful, free, and orderly world?
Well, don’t take it
from me, take it from history! In my book is a marvelous article by
Zoltan Grossman, a professor at Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington
in which he presents a detailed and very well-documented list of all
U.S. interventions internationally in our nation’s history. It
is one thing to have heard about this, and it is quite another to actually
see the list with one’s own eyes. It appears almost infinite.
And history absolutely does not confirm that these interventions served
to maintain a peaceful, free, orderly world. Quite the contrary!
But that’s empire on
the geopolitical front.
The consequences of empire
are always a draining and hollowing out of the domestic economy as a
result of endless military adventures abroad. Catherine Austin Fitts
writes and speaks of this hollowing out as “slow burn” in
which the nation’s economy and infrastructure are gradually eviscerated
as a result of war and corporate privatization, or as she says “piratization’
of resources at home and abroad. An honest examination of the current
U.S. economy—an examination that looks beyond the rosy picture
of the financial pages of U.S. media, reveals that this is precisely
what is occurring, and precisely why the American middle class and working
people are working themselves to death but have nothing to show for
it—or as a friend of mine says, “I’m working my tail
off, but I feel like I’m on welfare.”
Another result of empire
is that it must make war not only on the rest of the world but on its
own citizens. American citizens are now the targets of unprecedented
totalitarian surveillance in the United States, and like the frog placed
in a pan of cold water who feels quite comfortable; the heat is being
turned up daily and will continue to rise until the contented inhabitant
of the cold water is cooked.
19. How has your
friendship with “conspiracy theorist” Michael Ruppert affected
your academic career and reputation?
Well, first of all, Mike
would say that he doesn’t deal in conspiracy “theory”
but deals only in conspiracy fact. Mike’s research has been pivotal
in my political awakening in recent years. His writing, speaking, and
research are superb and impeccably documented. In my opinion, he has
written the definitive book on 9/11, Crossing the Rubicon, and while
I believe that physical evidence on 9/11 is important even though it
has all been destroyed, Rubicon provides us with indisputable evidence
of motive, means, and opportunity regarding the atrocities of 9/11.
And by the way, ALL theories
of 9/11 are conspiracy theories. The greatest conspiracy theory ever
devised is the premise that 19 Arab males under the direction of Osama
bin Laden hijacked four airplanes and flew three of them into the World
Trade Center and Pentagon. Once we understand that all theories of 9/11
are conspiracy theories, then we have to decide which conspiracy theory,
based on a thorough examination of the evidence, we will embrace.
20. Are you still
affiliated with Michael’s From the Wilderness website?
From the Wilderness, of which
I was the last Managing Editor, went out of business late in 2006. I
link to the FTW archives on my website(7) and maintain a site that is
extremely current with breaking news and trends, as well as offer a
free subscription to my daily news service in which I email the most
current stories from websites people may not know about or have time
21. Catherine Austin
Fitts, a former Wall Street banker and Assistant Secretary of Federal
Housing Commissioner at HUD under Bush I, wrote the foreword to your
book. Catherine is now a strident critic of the Empire and a strong
supporter of Cynthia McKinney. She cites you as a guiding influence
in her profound conversion. How much influence did you have in her metamorphosis?
I believe that I have had
a great deal of influence in Catherine’s understanding of history,
but her “conversion” as you say, began long before she met
me in 2002. Catherine’s story is extraordinary, and as a result,
she cannot possibly be considered a conspiracy theorist because she
has lived through an enormous conspiracy by the U.S. government to destroy
her. I strongly urge folks to not only study her website at www.solari.com
but also her newer site at www.dunwalke.com which she constructed while
I was writing my book and which she constructed with my book and history
classes in mind. The latter site documents the extent of U.S. government
and corporate corruption during the past fifty years.
And by the way, I would like
to add that one of the topics I offer to my recent American history
students for research and an end-of-semester oral presentation is: MOST
AMERICANS BELIEVE THAT THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, UNLIKE THE GOVERNMENT OF
MEXICO, IS NOT CORRUPT. DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE? WHY? EXPLORE THE REALITY
$59 MILLION MISSING FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND DEVELOPMENT (H.U.D.)
AND $1.3 TRILLION MISSING FROM THE PENTAGON.
Catherine’s story and
research profoundly inspired me to include this as one of the topics
of research and oral presentation. As I mentioned above, many of my
students have their roots in Mexico, where they and most Americans presume
the worst corruption on earth exists. Without exception, however, I
have never had a student, with roots in Mexico or otherwise, who completed
the assignment and did not overwhelmingly conclude that the U.S. is
one of the most corrupt nations on earth.
22. You have impacted
me positively as I have been awakening from my corporate media-induced
slumber over the last few years. Care to speculate on how many others
you may have truly enlightened along the way?
I’m honored and humbled
to have impacted you, Jason.
I don’t like to apply
numbers to the people who have been exposed to my classes or writings.
One of the unfortunate aspects of being a teacher of any kind is that
unlike being a psychotherapist, one does always get to see progress
in the moment. A student may take my classes and yawn his or her way
through, not appearing to be deeply affected by anything he or she heard
there. Yet years later, a light bulb may go on, and much of what I said
in class is recollected by the student. That very thing has happened
on a number of occasions as students have contacted me years later to
relate such an experience. But if I make a difference in only one person’s
life, I will have served my purpose on this earth.
My passion today is getting
information out into the world because if I believe nothing else, I
believe—I know, that knowledge is power. How can we create options
to navigate the daunting future ahead of us if we do not have information?
Therefore, I am pleased to
announce many positive changes occurring on my website in the coming
months. We are beginning to feature pivotal articles by talented writers
who will offer the best in writing and research. Other changes are in
the works as well, and I invite everyone reading this article to visit
us and become a news service subscriber.
Incidentally, today, I received
the following comment on my book:
I had to comment on your
book. I purchased it recently and once I opened it, I read it cover
to cover – it’s that compelling. As a ‘baby boomer’
who experienced doubts about the JFK assassination, researched conspiracies,
protested the war etc., this book was a must read. It provides a cogent
approach in weaving together seemingly disparate and disjointed historical
events into a definitive context – one in which the American public
has been repeatedly lied to and led like ‘sheeple’. Hopefully,
research like this will raise consciousness of awareness and will stem
the tide of inequities and lies.
Keep up the great work. I
would recommend this to anyone.
—Dennis from Texas
You see Jason, not everyone
in Texas is jaded!
23. In closing, I
note that the introduction to US History Uncensored: What Your High
School Textbook Didn’t Tell You would seem to indicate that you
are encouraging history instructors to incorporate your book into their
curriculum. In today’s increasingly academic environment (which
is increasingly subject to over and covert oppression of “alternative”
or “subversive” viewpoints), how could a text like your
I have no illusions that
my book will become a “best-seller” in academia, but some
professors may want to use it supplementally or as the foundation of
their teaching. I think the best way to test its usefulness is simply
to use it and see what happens. If an instructor wants to generate discussion,
it is guaranteed to assist that process.
I also believe that the academic
experience can generate both positive and negative results. Sometimes
we emerge from academia with constricted notions about what it means
to be part of academia—how we “should” think, how
we “should” teach. I notice that many academics are terrified
of being called a conspiracy theorist which is one reason that I so
admire the individuals who participated in the writing of 9/11 And American
Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out.
In recent years I have taught
a course in the Education Department on academic excellence in addition
to my history courses, and one section of the course addresses critical
thinking. I have incorporated into that section of the course a segment
on 9/11 and created a critical thinking project on the official story
of 9/11. The project certainly revealed to me on the deepest level why
students are fearful of knowing the full extent of the evidence regarding
the event, and in the process, I also learned how fearful some instructors
are of being accused of being labeled nut-jobs for questioning the official
So I would say, use my book
and tear it to pieces, but use it!
In conclusion, thank you
Jason for giving me this opportunity to share more of who I am and what
Carolyn, on behalf of those
who will read this piece and myself, I thank you for taking the time
to provide such insightful commentary.
I also want to express appreciation
for your stalwart efforts to enlighten people.
While food is fairly abundant
here in the United States, many of us suffer varying degrees of chronic
spiritual malnutrition. Truth is essential to the well-being of our
souls, yet it is woefully scarce in the lives of US Americans.
Carolyn, may you continue
to follow the noble path blazed by the Religious Society of Friends
in the 18th Century as you speak truth to power….
And to the rest of us!
CAROLYN BAKER, Ph.D., is an adjunct professor of history,
an author, and former psychotherapist. Her lastest book is U.S. HISTORY
UNCENSORED: What Your High School Textbook Didn’t Tell You.
is a wage slave of the American Empire who has freed himself intellectually
and spiritually. He writes prolifically, his essays have appeared widely
on the Internet, and he volunteers at homeless shelters. He welcomes
constructive correspondence at email@example.com
or via his blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/
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