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The Democratic oligarchs funding pro-Hamas nonprofits Biden's pro-Israel stance is more rhetoric than reality

A protestor in Washington DC (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A protestor in Washington DC (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)


November 22, 2023   7 mins

Last Wednesday, several dozen pro-Palestinian activists, their faces obscured by keffiyehs and Covid masks, attempted to block the entrance to the Democratic National Committee Headquarters in Washington, DC. Reports of a riot may have been hyperbole, but footage showed a chaotic demonstration reminiscent of the racial justice protests of 2020. The organisers later accused the police of attacking the “non-violent” protestors; Capitol Police claimed that six of its officers were assaulted.

The protest was the latest instance of the growing hostility between the Biden administration and America’s activist Left, which accuses the President of complicity in an ongoing “genocide” in Gaza. Depending on your perspective, this conflict can be read in one of two ways: either it is evidence that Biden, the old white moderate, is out of touch with his party’s increasingly diverse and Left-wing base; or it is reassuring proof that the adults in the Democratic establishment are still in charge of their party, despite their occasional indulgence of youthful radicalism.

This framing is flattering to both sides. For the radical Left, which find its values endorsed by nearly every prestige institution in the country, from Harvard to the CIA, it provides reassurance that they really are an embattled, anti-establishment minority bravely speaking truth to power. For the moderates, not least Jewish Democrats horrified to see Left-wing college students cheering the murder of Israeli women and children, it functions more as a defence mechanism, sustaining them in the illusion that the party is still run by and for people like them.

But the division between the activist Left and the party establishment is little more than a politically useful fiction. In reality, the radical cadres are bankrolled by the same nexus of progressive oligarchs and dark-money slush funds that finance the party establishment.

The DNC protest, for example, was organised by two progressive “Jewish” NGOs, Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow — the same groups behind a rowdy pro-ceasefire protest at the US Capitol at which more than 300 people were arrested. Both groups are funded by an array of big-money progressive donors, including George Soros, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Tides network. JVP, for instance, has received $650,000 from George Soros’s Open Society Foundation since 2017 and at least $350,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, as well as smaller donations from Tides and from the charitable wings of major financial institutions such as Vanguard, Fidelity, and Morgan Stanley. INN, meanwhile, received $400,000 from Soros in 2019 and 2021 and $160,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund between 2017 and 2023. It has also received donations from the Sixteen Thirty Fund, another massive dark-money group managed by Arabella Advisors.

Soros, of course, is the most prominent individual Democratic donor in the country — he personally spent $170 million to get Democrats elected in the 2022 midterms, and his nonprofit spent at least another $140 million. Arabella Advisors is less well-known but may be just as influential. Run by the Clintonworld insider Eric Kessler, the for-profit consultancy manages a vast and opaque empire of funds and nonprofits aligned with the Democratic Party. Its role, in essence, is to allow wealthy donors to hide their donations. For a sense of the scale involved, Sixteen Thirty Fund, the Arabella group that donated to INN, spent more than $400 million on the 2020 election.

Crucially, Arabella is also notable for pioneering the use of “fiscal sponsorships”. This is an arrangement — essentially a loophole in American tax law — that allows smaller nonprofits to be legally merged into a “fiscal sponsor”, meaning that they do not have to disclose their donors or report them to the IRS. As the Washington Free Beacon reported earlier this year, Arabella discovered that these rules allowed a sophisticated and well-funded sponsor to create an army of pop-up “grassroots” activist groups that in reality are completely controlled by their sponsor.

In recent years, it has used these groups to push for Democratic policy priorities ranging from the repeal of Voter ID laws to DEI in schools — creating an illusion, among ordinary people, of widespread organic support for these initiatives. Fiscal sponsorships are also favoured by Tides, another dark-money behemoth which, in 2020, became the fiscal sponsor of the Black Lives Matter Global Network. Its list of donors includes Soros, Pierre Omidyar, and Warren Buffett’s son Peter, and it has drawn several current and former board members from the Obama administration.

But it’s not just JVP and INN that benefit from these financial arrangements. Scratch a nationally prominent pro-Palestinian organisation, and you’re likely to find Democratic oligarch money somewhere. Take Samidoun, a pro-Palestinian group that is widely alleged to be a support network for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a US and EU-designated terror group whose most famous alumnus is Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, aka Carlos the Jackal. Despite this, it was reported last week that Samidoun is a fiscal sponsorship of the Alliance for Global Justice, a Left-wing nonprofit that has received millions in donations from groups within the Tides and Arabella networks. (Arabella severed its ties with group earlier this year.)

Similarly, the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, the “grassroots” group behind a recent blockade of a US military ship heading to Israel from Tacoma, Washington, is a fiscal sponsorship of Tides, as is the Adalah Justice Project, which organised sit-ins at the offices of House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and California Sen. Ro Khanna.

So, why are Democratic oligarchs financing an AstroTurfed rebellion against a Democratic president? One possibility is that Israel’s war against Hamas could provide a useful pretext for shoving an ageing and politically ailing Biden out the door before 2024. Recent polls have shown Biden trailing Donald Trump in key swing states, with one suggesting that, if the election were held tomorrow, Trump would win outright. Perhaps mobilising this network against Biden now is the donors’ way of telling him, while there’s still time, “it’s time to step aside, old man”. Newsom 2024!

Plausible, perhaps. But what this account ignores is the way that the radicals and the Democratic establishment work together towards shared ends, even when they are fighting. This is especially true when it comes to Israel. As my colleagues at Tablet have repeatedly argued, the Biden administration’s allegedly pro-Israel stance is more rhetoric than reality, a pose adopted to box critics into a corner, constrain Israel’s ability to act independently of the United States, and obscure the true nature of the White House’s Middle East policy. That policy, as Edward Luttwak wrote in these pages, is to fulfil Barack Obama’s “ill-concealed desire to distance the US from Israel and Saudi Arabia, and to reconcile with Iran”.

But wait: isn’t the US funnelling billions of aid toward Israel, and promising even more? Yes, it is — but the meaning of this aid, much of which goes to defensive-only systems such as Iron Dome, is often misunderstood. It is, first and foremost, a lucrative subsidy to the American defence industry, which has the added benefit of buying the US veto power over Israeli policy during crises such as the current one.

Plus, at the same time as it is granting defence credits to Israel, the White House is also funding Iran. On November 14, the administration extended a sanctions waiver that will give Iran access to some $10 billion, following the $6 billion it unfroze in September as part of a prisoner deal mediated by another Hamas patron and Iranian ally, Qatar. Meanwhile, a similar approach is being taken towards Iran’s oil industry. Before the war, in September, The Guardian reported on the booming trade in sanctioned Iranian oil, citing industry analysts who said it was “going on with the full knowledge of the Biden administration”, which had “prioritised diplomatic overtures with Iran over enforcing their own sanctions”. Then there was Biden’s decision to remove Iran’s Yemeni proxies, the Houthis, from the list of US-designated terror organisations, or the various steps his administration has taken to strengthen Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Even on military matters, the US has tried to split the difference between Israel and the Iranian “Axis of Resistance”. Since October 7, the latter, especially Iran and its prized proxy, Hezbollah, has balanced vituperative criticism of Israel with claims that Hamas acted alone and demands that the US restrain Israel from escalating beyond Gaza. The White House has complied, demanding that Israel not carry out any significant operations against Hezbollah in Lebanon, and leaking to the American press that it views Israel’s retaliations to Hezbollah’s daily cross-border attacks as an attempt by Jerusalem to “create a pretext for a wider war” that could draw the US in. The US has, moreover, publicly backed the Iranian and Hezbollah claims that Hamas acted independently and without their knowledge on October 7, despite early public assessments from former US intelligence officials that the “sophistication and complexity” of the attack was “beyond what Hamas could do on its own”.

The United States, in other words, has effectively boxed Israel in. Having been struck hard by an Iranian proxy, Israel can attempt to eliminate that proxy — on an accelerated timeline, at the cost of massive international outrage, and to limited strategic benefit. But it is being prevented by the US from taking any proactive measures to re-establish deterrence against Tehran, including by striking Hezbollah — not, to be clear, because doing so would draw the US into a new war, but because it would derail Washington’s pro-Iran foreign policy. All the while, the Biden administration is micromanaging Israel’s Gaza campaign, publicly criticising its goal of destroying Hamas as unrealistic, and leaking a steady stream of disparaging remarks to the American press to the effect that the Israeli leadership is insensitive to civilian casualties and bent on dragging the United States into war.

Read in that light, the oligarch-funded protests against Biden are somewhat less mysterious. They are, in fact, a useful form of Kabuki: Biden pretends to be the best friend Israel has ever had, while the Left pretends to hate him for it. Both sides benefit: for Biden, pressure from the Left gives him leverage to turn around to the Israelis and say, “you better listen to me, or I’ll have to cave to my party’s flank”, while offering his party’s Jewish and pro-Israel voters a show of the president’s resolute commitment to the Jewish state — even as he courts Iran. And this pose is especially important in justifying the latter policy, since Americans remain overwhelmingly supportive of Israel and overwhelmingly hostile toward Iran and its terrorist proxies. Sending money to Tehran so that it can fund and train Hamas for the purpose of raping women and murdering babies does not, as they say, play in Peoria.

The Left, meanwhile, gets to demonstrate its principled independence from the Democratic establishment while setting the stage to extract concessions within the party and party-adjacent bureaucracies — set-asides for Arab, Palestinian and Muslim staffers, a National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia (presumably to be administered by professional “anti-Islamophobia” activists), and a general resetting of the Overton window for the next round of conflict. Plus, there’s the continued channelling of nominally “anti-system” energies into a web of party-controlled nonprofits, which have already proven themselves adept at redirecting the righteous anger of America’s radicals into a neverending jihad against “racists”, “MAGA extremists”, and other deplorables.

You may not care about Israel, but Israel, or at least the ongoing convulsions in America that are nominally “about” Israel, cares about you. Why? Because this is how progressive governance works in America now: billionaire-funded activist groups stage disruptive protests, sympathetically covered by their allies in mainstream media, to create a false impression of popular support for Left-wing policy demands, regardless of the actual views of the public (see: defund the police). The only difference between this issue and others like it is that the dynamics here are far clearer, since, for now at least, virtually no one in America outside the network of Soros- and Buffet-funded professional radicals actually supports Hamas.


Park MacDougald is Deputy Literary Editor for Tablet

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Arthur G
Arthur G
8 months ago

It’s amazing at how many American elites, who have achieved unimaginable riches, power, and prestige within our political and economic system want nothing more to destroy it all. Do they really think they can ride the tsunami of revolution and end up the ruling elite of their idealized autocratic state? Do they really think the “coalition of the dispossessed” is going to leave these rich, liberal whites (many of them Jews) in charge if their revolution succeeds?

Last edited 8 months ago by Arthur G
Mrs R
Mrs R
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

It’s amazing how many Democratic – and republican – politicians have amassed immense wealth while in office.
Corruption and greed equals compromised elected representatives who cannot be trusted.

Terry M
Terry M
7 months ago
Reply to  Mrs R

Very true. The Biden family alone has raked in excess of $50 million. Oh, wait, that’s just Joe being frugal with is $175k per year Congressional salary for 50 years.

Rob C
Rob C
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

It reminds me a lot of the runup to the Soviet revolution. I suspect most of those in the same situation back then fled to Western countries once they got what they thought they wanted.

El Uro
El Uro
8 months ago
Reply to  Rob C

I wonder where these overfed rich idiots will run to now

Irene Ve
Irene Ve
8 months ago
Reply to  El Uro

Would be wise to start learning Mandarin and Hinduism to have some options – Argentina does not look good anymore 🙂

Kent Ausburn
Kent Ausburn
8 months ago
Reply to  Rob C

And many of the ones who stayed were executed.

Paul Rodolf
Paul Rodolf
7 months ago
Reply to  Rob C

Agreed. But as Bari Weiss pointed out in a recent speech to the Federalist Society, “….there is no second America to run to if this one fails.”

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Most Republican politicians belong to an elite class by education and wealth too. Do you think many well-heeled or powerful people want revolution, either of the far-right or far-left kind? Because both strains-of-chaos are clearly on the rise, and most of the would-be revolutionaries–right and left–are among the less affluent and far from prestigious. Baristas with multiple roommates and angry farmers live lives that are not very similar to those of the politicos, power brokers, and cultural hotshots (think actors, podcast giants, and musicians, etc.) who may claim to represent them.
If armchair and upscale revolutionaries ever get forced into actual bunkers alongside their seeming compatriots in the proletariat (right or left)–they’ll find out how much they truly have in common.

R.I. Loquitur
R.I. Loquitur
8 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

“Most Republican politicians belong to an elite class by education and wealth too.”
Ditto Democrats.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
8 months ago
Reply to  R.I. Loquitur

Yes, as I said: “too”.

Terry M
Terry M
7 months ago
Reply to  R.I. Loquitur

Ill-gotten wealth for most Dems. Union kickbacks, Soros salaries, BLM funds, and corporate shakedowns.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

An equally important question is why this has now become newsworthy. Seemingly those now highlighting the issue were quite happy with these arrangements until the recent turn of events. It really does make me feel like contributing to a Palestinian charity

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

It is in the nature of the powerful, the wealthy, nobles, aristocrats, kings, and commissars to overestimate their power and control. Never content with simply having most of the power and influence, they grasp for more. When people’s loyalty falters, they respond with fear, deception, manipulation, and punishment, and it works for a while, but it’s like damming a river. It can only hold so much until it all falls apart. It’s a pattern that history has seen many times. The Optimates of the Roman Empire, the dilettantes of the French court, the anti-colonial movements of last century, the tsars, and all the way back to nearly the beginning with the Jewish Exodus from Egypt. There are too many to count.
So, no, like most of history’s aristocratic classes, they do not fully grasp the fact that they are sowing the seeds of their own destruction. They are simply doing whatever they can to keep power, convinced of their own immunity within the system they control. In this case, everything the author mentioned is an attempt to divide the common folk on the basis of race, ideology, gender, or whatever else, to divide the people into neat little chess pieces that can be moved and pitted against one another to sustain a balance that preserves the status quo. They are doing this because they lost the loyalty and trust of the people a long time ago and manipulative tactics such as the author discussed are the only way to achieve their goals. Now they are just holding back the flood, and the waters keep rising.

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Yeah … One idea I get out of the Gaza business is that many of those elites really do appeal to the Manichaean “oppressor/oppressed” dichotomy. It does provide a way of understanding things.
I assembled a few paragraphs about exactly that matter here:
Thanksgiving Interrupted — Gaza EditionThe fighting in Gaza reveals that many elites in the West believe not in E Pluribus Unum (“Out of Many, One”) but in “Out of Two, Two,” ever locked in struggle.

Cantab Man
Cantab Man
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

I warned various folks on the Left that they were enabling a very pernicious and dangerous form of group-guilt ideology on the Left that could damage civilization and destroy innocent people’s lives.
These people had the mistaken idea that merely being on the Left automatically meant that someone was ‘on the right side of history.’ In their world, it was good if a fellow progressive applied arbitrary group-guilt intersectionality grids and extrajudicial punishment on ‘the wrong kind of people’ – id est, those who didn’t believe in their Leftist ideology of group guilt but rather believed in the value of individuals themselves. So now these ‘wrong kind of people’ are forced to wear “Scarlet A’s” within certain progressive online networks so they can be punished in the real world.
The self-righteous people on the Left really believe(d) they were being virtuous. That they were very caring and tolerant. Definitely not sadistic toward the vulnerable in society – even as they destroy the vulnerable in society.
They thought that if someone didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton in the US or if someone thought that US Intelligence Agencies shouldn’t gaslight Americans with falsehoods after a free and fair election, then that person must be racist and/or an anti-semite. That someone like this wasn’t enlightened. Therefore, they must be suppressed.
I warned them that their methodology was the very methodology that led to Hitler rising to power. That Germans had identified themselves as the ‘Oppressed’ who were ‘wronged’ after World War I by the world that wanted them to pay back the costs of the war. That the German people were taught that they were being ‘Oppressed’ by Jewish ‘Oppressors’. So they made these ‘Oppressors’ wear “Scarlet A’s” in society, so that thereby they could be immediately identified, lose their jobs, lose their income, lose their wealth, and eventually lose their lives – all because of the application of group-guilt ideology.
In other words, the Germans in Weimar Germany used a very similar form of ‘intersectionality grid’ to the one progressives self-righteously use today. They just had different groupings with similarly-arbitrary scoring to enforce their persecution – completely disregarding the worth and merit of individuals within these groups.
Well, after almost a decade of warning folks on the Left that their ’emperor’ was wearing no clothes, the Left is shocked – shocked I tell ya – that they now see that they’ve enabled and empowered a massive number of influential anti-semites within their movement because of this group-guilt ideology.
I take no pleasure telling them “I told you so” because I have Jewish relatives and for me to be right means trouble for my own extended family. But I do wish they hadn’t ignored the warning signs on the Left for so long. They have allowed – even encouraged – this pernicious group-guilt ideology to gain traction until we now see some of the largest anti-semite demonstrations and escalations in the history of the United States. And almost all of these demonstrations are by those who identify with the Left.

Last edited 8 months ago by Cantab Man
Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
7 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Point well taken. (Analogous to the question: how did Hillary ever imagine Chelsea would be voted in to continue the dynasty, in a party betting on the demographic dissolution of a non-PoC electorate?) On the other hand, it makes lots of sense if a) the revolutionaries are not, in fact, “allowed to win this time” or b) the coalition of the dispossessed is already a coalition composed of a core of lumpen revolutionaries insulated by a belt of New Class wannabes — people who want a career of broadcasting, professing and regulating, which would depend not on any actual revolution succeeding (in which case the wannabes might be the second batch to go to the wall) but on perpetual political churn, coupled with ongoing funding from Soros et al. (These “revolutionary” folx get too much credit for being “Marxists.” I wonder what Marx, or Lenin, would make of the prospects of their revolution ever succeeding. Phrases like “utopian not scientific” and “infantile disorder” spring to mind.)

Last edited 7 months ago by Michael Cavanaugh
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago

NGOs are a pernicious cancer on democracy. Like the author says, they present the veneer of a grassroots movement, but are often funded by less than a handful of motivated donors. They wield too much influence and pervert the political process. displacing voters the primary constituency of our disconnected political leaders. Reform and transparency are desperately needed.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I am so fortunate not to live in the USA. In the UK, there are few of what Americans call NGOs. We have the Third Sector which has charitable organisations, sonlme NGOs and social.enterprise. The funding structures are transparent and ruled by law. Few places for the unscrupulous to hide and fewer places for those who want influence over the work done to make an impression. Maybe time for the US to follow the Eurupean/ UK model…

Hale Virginia
Hale Virginia
8 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

Unfortunately this isn’t exactly right. I’m not an expert on this, but I did just listen the other day to Louise Perry’s most recent podcast where her guest, Poppy Coburn, was on to talk about, among other things, what they termed the “charity industrial complex”, and how their vast amount of wealth and influence has a grip on British politics. I’d recommend it

Dominic A
Dominic A
8 months ago
Reply to  Hale Virginia

Yup – and according to them, the number of children living in poverty creeps ever upward – 25% says the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, we raise you to 33% reply the Child Poverty Action Group. Historic data has the rate at 25% at the end of the nineteenth century, 18% in 1936, 1.5% in 1951.

Irene Ve
Irene Ve
8 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

They changed definitions of poverty; for example in the UK today:
“1. relative income poverty, where households have less than 60% of contemporary median income 2. absolute income poverty, where households have less than 60% of the median income in 2010/11, uprated by inflation
3. material deprivation, where you can’t afford certain essential items and activities”. Josef Rowntree Foundation.
It means, essentially, that what we think of as poverty, in charities’ jargon is “deprivation”; for England it is about 10%, for Scotland 8%.
Poverty as they define it now, can never be eradicated unless everyone’s income is the same – Catch-22.

Last edited 8 months ago by Irene Ve
R.I. Loquitur
R.I. Loquitur
8 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

“the number of children living in poverty creeps ever upward”. Yet so many of them are obese and they and their parents have cell phones. Fancy that.

Joanne Gerber
Joanne Gerber
7 months ago
Reply to  R.I. Loquitur

Obesity does not imply affluence. The poor are often obese because they eat poor-quality cheap foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates, fats, and sugar.

Last edited 7 months ago by Joanne Gerber
Dominic A
Dominic A
7 months ago
Reply to  Joanne Gerber

You still have to spend quite a lot on food to get to and maintain obesity, whilst neglecting oneself and if you are on welfare, expecting others to pay for it and treat the resultant health problems.

R.I. Loquitur
R.I. Loquitur
7 months ago
Reply to  Joanne Gerber

“Obesity does not imply affluence.”
If you’re truly impoverished its pretty hard to be obese. Not many fat people in impoverished nations in Africa.

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
7 months ago
Reply to  R.I. Loquitur

Want to create a ’cause’, change the definition.

Peter White
Peter White
7 months ago
Reply to  R.I. Loquitur

and tattoos

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
7 months ago
Reply to  Hale Virginia

There have been many studies done. That is just the last in a long line… There are very few charities that have vast wealth and most are in Englandshire. Scotland has its own charity laws which make it even less likely they will have huge influence in Scottish politics. Maybe look across the board rather than at one group’s view…

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
8 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

You think? We are about to fall into the hands of the Blair Foundation which now directs the Starmer project, and will soon be directing our government.

Last edited 8 months ago by Jonathan Nash
Liam F
Liam F
7 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

At the last count there are over 220,000 NGO’s in the UK.
Just a cursory glance throws up a few with obvious links to Palestine –
To name just three:
1.Friends of Al-Aqsa: Advocates for the rights of Palestinians and focuses on humanitarian projects.
2.Amnesty International UK: Advocates for human rights globally, including in the Palestinian territories.
3.Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Advocates for the rights of Palestinians and campaigns for a just resolution to the conflict

Apo State
Apo State
7 months ago
Reply to  Liam F

And let’s not forget how the UK’s charity-industrial complex influenced the gender debate!

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
7 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

Our vast leftist Charity/NGO sector has been hugely politicised as well as monetised for executive gain (100k salary piggy troughs). It has been given stupendous simply outrageous sums of EU and UK State money – without the consent of the people. Grubby nasty corrupted. Like the similar parasitic DEI ‘industry’. Come the financial Reckoning, they should vanish and the rump try to return to their old true charitable values. For now the sector is toxic, an unwelcome adjunct to our 30 year Progressive New Order.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
8 months ago

Perhaps the world would be a better place if these organisations were re-designated as a Not-For-Prophet?

Last edited 8 months ago by Paddy Taylor
Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
8 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Maybe too subtle for some

Mrs R
Mrs R
8 months ago

As in the U.S so in the U.K.
That’s is why nothing seems to make sense anymore and democracy is plainly no more than a sham.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
8 months ago

Interesting – not only about recent developments but also about how radical progressives are organised. Some of the detailed comments may be debatable but the overall picture is surely correct.

Is the radical progressive movement as amorphous and spontaneous as it appears? It may be relatively easy to chart the evolution of the key ideas at various elite universities but it is far harder to understand how it is led or directed. There are few visible leaders. Prominent publicity hunting figures such as Ibram X Kendi or Roger Hallam often turn out, on closer inspection, to be entrepreneurial outliers.

I do not know the answer. It is clear that it is not like the 1930s where there was a series of left wing fronts behind which sat the very disciplined and manipulative communist party. On the other hand, the progressive ecosystem does not appear to act anarchically but in a purposeful manner. Most “woke” individuals are just conformist followers mouthing slogans and dancing to tunes selected by others 
 but who? It seems deliberately obscure.

In line with fashionable management theory, some parts of the movement are overtly structured as “collaborative networks” with autonomous teams handling different tasks. If one looks at XR – which is relatively transparent – overall direction appears to be in the hands of an anonymous “strategy team” which “consult with internationally respected experts on civil disobedience and social movement theory”. Attempts to drill down further are fruitless.

The implication of this article and others on e.g. the trans movement is that perhaps the central organising principle of the progressive movement may be the agendas of a few individuals at key NGOs whose financial support for campaigning groups is conditional on adherence to the favoured ideological line on trans, Palestine, social justice or whatever. Maybe they do not just fund but, in effect, direct radical progressivism. How far these NGOs coordinate is obscure.

Everyone is entitled to express their views. But listeners are entitled to know who is speaking. In the commercial world, the use of “astroturf” groups is discredited if their sponsors are unmasked. The same logic should apply to the radical progressive movement.

We need to know more. A few glimpses – as here – are interesting but there is a complete financial / ideological ecosystem to be investigated, defined and described. Perhaps UnHerd can run a series of exposĂ©s.

Last edited 8 months ago by Alex Carnegie
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
8 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

I’d like to see a more careful diagnosis and analysis too. As a Silicon Valley resident who recently finished a grad school degree in a non-STEM major, I have witnessed the disorganization and ill-informed youthfulness of many radical progressives. Then again, some professors, who lack those “alibis”, fit the mold too. Armchair or champagne radicalism is one thing though, true willingness to revolt another. Many of these self-styled social-justice warriors (to used a suddenly-dated term) will age out of it with greater experience and responsibility–or as soon as they are threatened with jail or reciprocal violence. Not that I am all-the-way confident of or re-assured by this.
Bring on the deep dive please. On this and many other things, too many of are shooting the breeze and brewing teapot tempests in our respective bubbles.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
8 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I think you are right that most “SJWs” are conformists who would adapt abruptly if they were convinced fashion had changed and that henceforth, say, polite good faith debate was the way to go. This might be grounds for optimism.

The challenge is twofold: there is a core of true believers and, more importantly, much progressive thinking is being legally or institutionally entrenched not least by corporate or civil service DEI departments. I believe that some progressive strategists are really quite astute. As a result, I think this will be more than a passing phase and we need to understand it better.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Agreed. Unlikely in my opinion to remain so ascendant and common, even within academia, but not a passing phase or minor concern either.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
8 months ago

I always find articles on US politics quite amazing. Why? Because the USA is held up as an example of a, great democracy and yet it isn’t. Democracy is not just left and right politics. There needs to be grey areas like we have in the UK, centre left, centre right, and those who are still swithering on where they sit.
As a lifelong socialist, it pains me to see people who can’t see the whole picture marching and shouting for one group over another in the Gaza/ Israeli conflict. I may be wearing rose tinted glasses but we used to march for peace and everyone’s human rights, not pick sides. The Israeli hostages are just as much victims as the people used by Hamas as human shields and who are stopped from leaving the areas where the fighting is taking place, but nobody apart from Jewish people themselves seem to be shouting for their lives. Why not? Israel didn’t start this bout of war. Hamas did. When will people in the West realise that Hamas propaganda is just that… It is only their truth, not the actual truth.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
8 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

“we used to march for peace and everyone’s human rights, not pick sides.”
With all due respect, this is why so many found such peace marches to be full of wishful thinking, ignorance about reality, and a profound rejection of basic facts of human nature.
Protecting the lives of the hostages requires political action in a context in which multiple parties have conflicting political goals. So you must participate in the political process to accomplish the goal you want. And that means, not ‘taking sides’ per se, but having the moral clarity to understand which side is the ‘true friend’ of peace.
PS. The US has vast swathes of “grey area” voters just like the UK and everywhere else. The reason they don’t dominate the electoral process is because democracy measures not just the number of voters who support a candidate, but also the passion with which they support a candidate. The vast “grey middle” doesn’t care enough to use its size to accomplish its ends. Trump and Biden are the price we all pay for such apathy.

Simon Tavanyar
Simon Tavanyar
7 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

The “vast grey middle” class does care, but they are being gaslighted daily and drugged to sleep by online media, which is totally under the control of the bullying Utopian censorious Left. As evidence I point to the Democrat candidate for 2024, Joseph Biden, a more ridiculous world leader one could not find. (If his role were portrayed by an actor 40 years ago, it would be in Monty Python.) Yet talking heads still report the party line – what a good job he is doing. (“He” is doing?? They keep cutting his microphone.)
Yet – hope rises. There is a grassroots movement like unherd,com, demanding accountability and calling out the lies. Refusing to be silenced, dissenting from the newspeak. It will prevail.

Walter Schwager
Walter Schwager
7 months ago
Reply to  Simon Tavanyar

Do you really mean Joe Biden is more ridiculous than Donald Trump? Please answer.

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
7 months ago

Absolutely. Four years of Peace; bringing back manufacturing to the US; Lower unemployment and better economic conditions for the minorities; elimination of many business regulations; lower taxes etc. Now look at the US today.

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
7 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

“I may be wearing rose tinted glasses but we used to march for peace and everyone’s human rights, not pick sides.” There is a rose-tinted way to make this point (what, anti-Vietnam protesters [full disclosure: me too] didn’t give differential political/rhetorical advantage to the NLF while claiming to be on the side of all?) but nonetheless there is a point here. SJW’s commonly are labeled “Marxists” but unlike Marxism (even Marxism) which inherited some notion of universal humanity & the common weal, the current “Omnicause” sees people as ontologically different: oppressor ilk/oppressed ilk, whites/PoC, cisgendered/queer, etc., with different rules applying to the lesser breeds. How else do we get people saying yeah I stand for human rights and social justice, but beheading defenestrating and raping the right sort is just beneath notice?

Andrzej Wasniewski
Andrzej Wasniewski
8 months ago

You see something evil happening in the world, you scratch the surface and dig a bit deeper and inevitably you see the face of George Soros.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
8 months ago

While certainly commending the author regarding the proper journalism that went into explaining who’s funding these various NGOs and activist outlets, I’m not so sure on some of the conclusions drawn, which seem a bit too Machiavellian.
1) I genuinely don’t think that Israel wanted to fight Hezbollah at the same time as it deals with Hamas, and so rather than the US holding Israel back, it would seem rather more likely that those two aircraft carrier battlegroups deployed in the Med are holding Hezbollah back (and encouraging Iran to stick to rhetoric). In this case, the useful fiction (or truth maybe) that Iran and Hezbollah didn’t know about Hamas’ intentions actually suits all parties.
2) For a while in Obama’s time in office it may have looked like the Saudis were the lesser evil, but even the most deluded policymaker can surely see now that the Iranians are altogether less geopolitically reliable for the West than the Saudis. The Iranians, or at least their government, really believe all the Great Satan stuff. You can deal with the Saudis with most of the usual cost/benefit calculations. Hold your nose if you must.
It’s not really explained here why the US of all people would be wanting to cosy up to Iran at the expense of links with Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
8 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Because Obama’s handler, Valerie Jarrett, is Iranian?

Fern Robin
Fern Robin
8 months ago

And because Obama’s father and stepfather were Shiite Muslims? That, and his childhood upbringing in Muslim Indonesia?

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
7 months ago
Reply to  Fern Robin

Shiite? That would surprise me. And if any Kenyan or Indonesian should happen to be something that can be labeled Shiite, they would probably not be twelvers (like the Iranian and Iraqi ayatollahs) but seveners (like Aga Khan) which is quite different.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
7 months ago

Born in Iran by foreign parents I believe. Neither Valerie nor Jarrett sounds like Farsi.

Saul D
Saul D
8 months ago

With full government-backed digital currencies we’d be able to trace every single doubloon back to the payer, and then where that payer got it from. We would need, of course, to ensure that politicians, civil servants and political advisors are only allowed to be paid in GBDC and that their income sources are considered public information and so fully open to inspection, as would be any institution making a payment to a politician or political advisor. After all, if they want to introduce track-and-trace money, shouldn’t the politicians be the first people who are forced to use it?

JR Hartley
JR Hartley
7 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

Do you really think it would work that way? A GBDC will be designed to only be traceable at a personal level. You can be very sure that tracing NGO funding will end at an anonymous entity.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
8 months ago

I think this article would benefit from the application of Occam’s Razor. It manages to come up with a complex explanation for internal party conflicts, but there’s an easier explanation – there’s no central intelligence planning any of this, just a great mass of individuals, with varying knowledge, prejudices, opinions, judgments, goals and interests, working to their own individual purposes, often at cross-purposes to one another and sometimes even to themselves.

Last edited 8 months ago by Kirk Susong
Ken Allen
Ken Allen
8 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Maybe, but I find that premise doubtful. As someone who grew up in the 80’s, endorsing that era’s progressive view points, I now find myself struggling to wrap my head around the varied agendas of the left. I’m perplexed how these ideas came to the fore, and am constantly drawn to the conclusion that there’s been a concerted background effort of indoctrination that’s been going on for years. Some persons or entities realized they had to play the long game and changing society was accomplished with the hearts and minds of kids. We’re now witnessing the fruits of those efforts. Articles like this continue my enlightenment but I still am on a journey to discover the roots of how we wound up here.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
7 months ago
Reply to  Ken Allen

Thank you for your response. I consider the sentiments you express to be proof that man is a religious creature. We know – we just know! – that there is a secret intelligence ordering the world around us. The difference between us (maybe) is that I view that secret intelligence not to reside in boardrooms and faculty lounges and secret WhatsApp groups, but on a higher plane altogether.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
7 months ago
Reply to  Ken Allen

“We let the girls out of the kitchen to run the estate 
 best of luck with that”. Sounds crude and misogynistic, but food for thought, starting with all female teachers in primary schools at the ‘hearts and minds of kids’.

Michael Lipkin
Michael Lipkin
8 months ago

I don’t think so. I think Hamas is barely even an organisation and that many hostages are actually held by a constellation of death cult groupuscles which Hamas has little control over. ‘Command and control centre’ – maybe it doesn’t exist?
As regards leftist funding for all sorts of dodgy groups I think this is because those in charge of these funds are just deeply stupid people. Any groupuscle coming up with a suitable whining pitch about their ‘oppression’ gets a lump of money thrown at them.
The piece has a conspiratorial air. In general, stupidity is much more common than conspiracy.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
8 months ago
Reply to  Michael Lipkin

A perfect example of Occam’s razor.

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
8 months ago

Biden’s about-turn from cozying up to Iran to unequivocally support for Israel is perceived in Israel as a “homecoming”. Biden wants to cozy up to Iran, but when the chips come down he recognizes good and evil, right and wrong. The unprecedented military threat that the US has posed to Iran to hold them off, is real, though I don’t think that anyone really believes that this is an end to the Democratic policy of appeasement. I do buy Biden’s outrage at the 7th October massacre and I also buy his genuine concern for Israel’s fate in an unbridled regional conflagration, but I do agree that with the writer that his concerns are totally clean of the desire not to derail Iranian appeasement as his long term goal.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
8 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

You seem to buy a lot of what Biden is selling here. However, using the word, “genuine”, in the same sentence as Biden is almost laughable, given his extensive and well documented history of being a pathological liar.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
8 months ago

We’re in a civilizational death spiral – zero sum politics.

mike otter
mike otter
8 months ago

There has always been overlap between political violence and the fringes of the mainstream. At present its a more leftist phenomena but in the Pinochet/Marcos/Babangida era it was more the other part of the “closed society” brigade – the right wingers. These included people like John Bercow’s Esex Uni group and their famed “hang Nelson Mandela” song + posters. What seems obvious, at least since the demise of the USSR is the trend is spreading, squeezing the moderate parts of left and right wing parties. I expect many factors are at work – corporations & security services want a window into these jokers to prepare for the worst case if they blow. I think Soros is a mental health issue – probably complex trauma. Jewish Voice for Peace/Labour is maybe Stockholm Syndrome or else total imposters? I doubt many Jews decry Israel’s right to exist like JV does. And BTW it’s not the Ultra-Orthodox “non-existence” that holds Zion to be a spiritual not corporeal state, its plain old ethnoc cleansing.
So all in their proxies, Iran, HAMAS, Hizbu ‘llah are very dangerous. Their BLM, Occupy and assorted MoonBat divisions less so. I tihnk they could only hope for victory if they controlled the US armed forces and maybe one other serious fighting force – UK or France probably. I don’t think that’s likely for 2 generations at least with the current US recruitment & training system, can’t speak for UK & Fr. In fact i’d go further and say in the US there is a significant crossover in personnel and thinking in civilian and military services. The use of street gangs and even homeless addicts by the left has not gone un-noticed to anyone trained in risk control. Long term future for lefties and their proxies may not be so bright.

Phil Re
Phil Re
7 months ago

This excellent article is long overdue. The Democratic Party’s woke cultural revolutionary wing and its surveil-and-censor wing are the two heads of the same two-headed beast. The ructions between them are real enough, but the beast has a single master, and even the chaos and conflict between these wings serves the master’s interests.

Pip G
Pip G
8 months ago

This is very odd. Put to one side the “useful idiots” protesters of the so called “left”; and the fronts for Hamas.
(1) Why does the Biden government seek to support Iran.
Here put aside the fact that this alienates Saudi Arabia, Gulf states, and all right thinking people.
What is the objective of Biden & Co in supporting a war seeking Iran, an ally of China, which savagely oppresses the Persian people and will destabilise the Middle East?
(2) Why do American billionaires fund bodies advocating support for Iran.
i do not understand.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
7 months ago
Reply to  Pip G

Partially Ithink it is a question of non-Russian sources of oil (Biden very much kept to Trumps Iran policy in the beginning of his term), partially it is part of his administration being loyal to the Obama years. Obama seems to have wanted to rebalance the involvement in the Middle East (not putting all eggs in one basket) and disengage in favor of his “pivot to Asia”

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
7 months ago

I don’t dispute what is written here. However, the article does ignore the reduced support for Israel amongst younger Jewish Americans, several of whom are Israel’s fiercest critics outside of the MSM. It would be interesting to know why this is the case. Is it just the younger generation rebelling against their parents’ unwavering support for Israel and anger that donations to Jewish charities haven’t gone into their trust funds? The greater time that has elapsed since the Holocaust? Sharing non-Jewish repulsion at how Israel has captured US foreign policy for decades? My guess is the main reason being the changing nature of Israel. I remember when many non-Jewish socialists went to live and work on a kibbutz often located in the West Bank. Israel was then one of the most equal societies outside of the Communist world. The thought that an Israeli PM would risk dividing the country so that he could avoid justice for corruption was inconceivable. Netanyahu has a lot to answer for.

Rick Frazier
Rick Frazier
7 months ago

Botton Line: America’s founders really blew it when they failed to place term limits on members of Congress.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
8 months ago

I read Unherd because the MSM seems to me to operate in an Overton window that is well to the left of my views. I want to see the counter arguments, hear about the things the MSM hide, and read analysis by excellent thinkers like Kathleen and Mary.

Increasingly I’m finding the articles as hyperbolic, unbalanced and partisan as those from the other side.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

You will learn as much from the BTL comments. Not to be sniffed at.

Last edited 8 months ago by Lesley van Reenen
Gerry Quinn
Gerry Quinn
8 months ago

“Plus, at the same time as it is granting defence credits to Israel, the White House is also funding Iran. On November 14, for instance, the administration extended a sanctions waiver…”
Whatever you think about the situation, reducing the sanctions you imposed hardly constitutes “funding”.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
8 months ago
Reply to  Gerry Quinn

It most certainly does. Clear example: If your child is living away at college and doesn’t have to worry about paying tuition, because you are paying, all the money they earn whilst working at the college bookstore can be spent on pints at the pub. All the while you can certainly claim that you are not funding their drinking habit.

Kent Ausburn
Kent Ausburn
7 months ago
Reply to  Gerry Quinn

Reduced or non-enforcement of sanctions on oil sales has allowed Iran to earn billions, which can then be used to finance their proxy terror groups as well as fortifying their own military.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
8 months ago

“Billionaire-funded activist groups staging disruptive street actions and running sophisticated influence campaigns to create public pressure for progressive policy outcomes is just how American governance works now”.
A selectively hyperbolic piece. In the Republican-majority House: Bending over for Donald Trump, scoffing at or choking back any pretense to un-mortgaged principle, while getting nothing done and providing no alternative to what you oppose or denounce (including where foreign policy is concerned) all in the name of “owning the progs” or M(aking)A(merica)G(reat)A(gain)–then going on Fox News to brag about it–is a major part of how American governance “works” now too.
So the Republican Party is in no way beholden or sold out to an extremist agenda, or corrupting sources of funding? Mr. McDougald’s asserted connections between some pro-Palestinian activist extremists and the rank-and-file Democratic base are thin. I’m not saying there is no overlap, but his case, at least as it is kept separate from US party-politics more generally, is little more than a “journalistically useful fiction”.
 “In reality, the radical cadres are bankrolled by the same nexus of progressive oligarchs and dark-money slush funds that finance the party establishment”. So you prefer reactionary and ultra-conservative oligarchs, with their somehow-neutral influence over those they fund? And the same chain of guilt by association that creates a seeming connection between standard-issue Democrats and pro-Hamas agitators and Black Lives Matter would also chain Republicans to the Proud Boys and the Jan. 6 rioters. In fact, some GOP luminaries don’t even disavow the latter.
I’m not saying the Democrats, nor Joe Biden, are fine and dandy. But if you’re gonna indulge in a profoundly cynical worldview–making things sound at least a little sicker than they already are–please make it a bit more even handed.

J Bryant
J Bryant
8 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

” In the Republican-majority House…”
Yes, in the House of Representatives. In other words, plainly visible within the political system. In contrast, the current article describes the subterfuge of using NGOs and other organizations, with apparently opposing goals although ultimately receiving money from the same donors, to work toward a disingenuous government agenda that effectively circumvents elected politicians and scrutiny by the press. It is, as you noted, a particularly cynical ploy.
Whatever else is said about the political left, they play the game very, very well. It’s time the right learned to be equally sophisticated and ruthless.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
8 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I certainly regard the political right as at least equally ruthless and quite crafty, if not often sophisticated. Look at how good they are at shameless gerrymandering (better than the Democrats) and how they shoe-horned in three (3!) Supreme Court appointees for a one-term president. And more of their most ruthless members are currently in elected office, according to what I observe. For every AOC or Rashida Tlaib I see at least one MTG or Josh Hawley. Extremists, whether nitwits like Green or smart and Machiavellian like Hawley.
Your point about the goings on in the House being relatively public has some validity, but those dealings are far from all the way above board–on either side of the aisle.
[I don’t view anyone who wants to scrap the Constitution or let Ukraine get swallowed by Mother Russia as a conservative. Nor anyone who advocates violent socialist revolution or attempts police thought or speech that is not violence-inciting (libelous at a minimum) to be liberal].
We clearly have different lesser-of-two-bad-status quo picks–which is fine enough–but I’m a little surprised you would claim the Republicans are much more clean-handed somehow. As a group: Aren’t they at least as sold out to corporate interests, lobbyists, and their own self-interest? Or, if you prefer, almost as sold out anyway?
A “disingenuous government agenda” is quite a vague charge but insofar as it captures anything of substance I most certainly think it applies to both sides.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Republicans are just us unhinged and corrupt as Democrats, no question. The big difference is the Democrats control all the institutions – academia, culture, media, finance, the security state, the bureaucracy. Many of these institutions don’t represent the wishes of your avg voter. Dark money now flows disproportionately to Democrats.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

You claim that conservatives and right leaning-or-wing-dwelling people have no purchase on the security state? All Democrats at the FBI and CIA? And in banks, brokerages, and corporations? Tell that to Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and the corporate board of Walmart.
I’ll give you culture, the bulk of the bureaucracy, and the media–although I could cite major exceptions like talk radio, Fox News, and the rise of the so-called “dark web”–but how about the military brass and enlisted ranks. governor’s mansions, or state legislatures? Do de facto Republicans have any representation on the Supreme Court?
It simply isn’t as one sided as many on the right like to claim.
*And can you please show me your evidence for the disproportion of dark money that you assert? (I’m not saying none exists, I just don’t see it supported by much more than fear or insistent belief here).

Last edited 8 months ago by AJ Mac
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I don’t know what to tell you. Do you honestly think the FBI, the CIA, the DOJ would carry water for the Republicans like they did for Biden during the entire laptop scandal? What’s a bigger threat to democracy? A bunch of yahoos rioting on the capitol Jan. 6, or the FBI and CIA writing a letter during the election campaign saying the laptop had all the classic hallmarks of Russian disinformation? Or the FBI announcing during the campaign that it has arrested a bunch of MAGA people in Michigan who tried to kidnap the governor there. Turns out most of them were FBI informants and virtually no one was convicted.

I don’t have any skin in the game. I would have considered myself a Democrat a little more than 10 years ago, but times have decidedly changed. Oh ya, I forgot to mention big tech, which has been captured by Democrats as well. Sure, Musk owns Twitter now, but is he Republican? Only in the sense that anyone who supports free speech and opposes identitarian politics is now considered far right. And Democrat attack dogs like Media Matters are working overtime to destroy him. It should scare us all that there are dozens of Media Matters equivalents on the left, but zero on the right.

The shift in dark money, and corporate power to the Democrats, is not a new revelation. It’s been well under way since Bill Clinton. That link I provide is from the New York Times so you know it was written very reluctantly.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/29/us/politics/democrats-dark-money-donors.html

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
7 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

A substantive follow up, thank you. Major hypocrisy from the Dems; appalling though not a shock. But the sampling that show 1.5 billion for Dems and 900 million for Reps hardly leaves either party looking unbought.
Also, the Citizens United decision of the John Roberts court, holding that “corporations are people”, was a disaster that made the political game even more fixed. A lowlight in the career of a chief justice I respect a great deal despite my no infrequent disagreement with him.
Reps stand in the way or reform efforts more than Dems do. I think the corruption is pretty general, and the current system nearly forces even the more-honest big-office candidates to play by these bad rules, or lack of rules.
I don’t claim the Bidens, especially Hunter, are squeaky clean but I’m quite sure the CIA has kept secrets about the Trumps too. DJT pretty well openly leveraged the presidency to advance his self-sacred Brand. He’s been a con artist for decades, a very elite and successful one, and his two sons are in on some of that too.
The military, CIA, and FBI are all conservative-leaning on the whole*. It’s true that many of those same people don’t like Trump the chaos agent, but I’m sure some have them have “come around” and sold-out to MAGA-ism in this idiotic, zero-sum zeitgeist of ours.
*More so for the police, which is a non-trivial factor in the overall distribution of power in our society

Last edited 7 months ago by AJ Mac
Terry M
Terry M
7 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

The CIA and FBI rank and file may be conservative-leaning, but the puppeteers at the top are actively weaponizing their depts on behalf of the DNC. Same with DOJ. It’s frightening.
In the ’30s a book was written called It Can’t Happen Here that describes how radical political views and government actors – just as we see in the Democrat party today – subvert democracy and establish a dictatorship. Of course, some leftists made an update that tries to portray Trump as the villain.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
8 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

The world isn’t divided into good people and baaaad people with you as one of the good people. The correct designation for those who think this way is ‘sociopathic narcissist’.

Human beings are not good or bad, we’re good and bad.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
8 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I don’t think it is cleanly or clearly divided either. And back at ya, as you misread my sponsoring worldview and strongly imply that I’m a sociopathic narcissist.
Allow me to quote Solzhenitsyn for about the fifth time on this website: “The line between good and evil runs not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart”.
I hope the final reckoning places me at least 50.1% to the good. But that’s not a done deal–let alone a foregone certainty–and I don’t think I get to render the ultimate judgment.

Last edited 8 months ago by AJ Mac
Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
8 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

“I hope the final reckoning places me at least 50.1% to the good. But that’s not a done deal–let alone a foregone certainty–and I don’t think I get to render the ultimate judgment.”
I’m curious why you think the test you have to pass is 50.1%? If there is a God and there is a heaven, why would he let in people that are 49.9% bad? Doesn’t seem very fair to the deeply good people to lump them in with the barely good people…!
May I suggest a perfect afterlife requires perfection as the ticket price for entry? But how could any human live up to that standard, right? Hmm….

Last edited 8 months ago by Kirk Susong
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
8 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

I don’t know that heaven, should it exist, has a numerical reckoning system and in fact I rather doubt it does. I am talking about my earthly or perhaps “karmic” footprint. So I’d like to have a net-good impact–wouldn’t you?

If I fall short and there’s a remedial program or purgatory opening instead of perdition, I’ll take it.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
7 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Your rhetoric is all over the place then… an ultimate judgment for your karmic footprint without an afterlife? Huh? But no matter, I was just curious.
You say “I’ll take it” – reminding me of C.S. Lewis, to paraphrase: “Hell is just getting what you want, forever.”

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
7 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

It’s not rhetoric but an expression of dynamic, (that is: non-calcified) non-intellectual belief in a power greater than all of us. And in response to someone pretty much calling me a narcissistic sociopath who believes in a simplistic divisions of good and bad people according to their thought-tribe associations– or some other metric which places me safely among The Good. That’s close to the opposite of how I think.
That greater power, which I sometimes call Whomsoever Thou Art. may very well be well beyond any human quantifications or possible understanding. I hope It is. I can no longer short circuit the actual, transcendent mystery of the cosmos for the sake of some fake certitude. You don’t know either.
We operate according to our best inherited, searched out, and perhaps revealed lights and it’s best to avoid mocking one’s sincerely expressed belief even when there’s strong and valid disagreement.
Granted, there was a self-defensive and argumentative aspect to my shorter response above, occasioned (from my perspective) by the condescending, accusatory tone used by Hugh Bryant. I should just let it be more often but I have a hard time doing that. I don’t want get into a fruitless squawk fest with you (again) but please enjoy your day.
I wonder what certainties you claim to possess concerning an afterlife, God, or the universe.

Last edited 7 months ago by AJ Mac
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
7 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

*Thanksgiving Day addendum: What is the purpose, human or divine, of a heaven left empty or nearly so due to a shortage of perfectly lived mortal lives?
We see things in contrast, through the prism of their opposites: love vs. hate, good vs. evil, etc. Right?
I’d say that even highly realized people like Jesus of Nazareth and Gautama Siddhartha became who they were–at the utmost level–after their birth, over time. If they were born perfect or destined for perfection: What’s the accomplishment? Their lives and teachings get cheapened by idealization.
Would you argue with the idea of salvation for the 11th-hour laborer of the Gospel parable (Matthew 20:9), according to some math that makes his overall balance sheet too flimsy, at least in your eyes?
May I AM THAT I AM have mercy on every last one of us. Happy Thanksgiving.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
8 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Amen. It is amazing how much the average bloke on both sides has in common. The difference is where they get their information.