by Robert Castle
In his Aug. 14 New Yorker piece, “The Gift,” Andrew Marantz provides an insider’s look into the political thinking of the super-wealthy political influencer Leah Hunt-Hendrix, an heir to the billionaire fortune of the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas, Texas.
Because Hunt-Hendrix, despite her family history, is ostensibly an environmentalist crusader in the “climate emergency,” the piece is presented as an exploration of how ideological allegiances complicate personal morality within a context of the intergenerational transfer of wealth. But is the article an assessment of how to effect an economic transformation and promote the general welfare? Rather, it begins and ends with:
Given the current distribution of power, working-class movements need upper-class patrons.
Marantz goes fairly far to investigate and explain a certain historical background; but lacking any moral vision to synthesize his historical research, his essay ultimately does not succeed in crafting a sufficient description of the oligarchy he studies, nor consequently in promoting an authentic alternative. He therefore implicitly condones the “money” approach to politics of his subject, Hunt-Hendrix—an approach that is essentially a continuation of her grandfather’s infamous legacy, something Marantz takes pains to malign.
The relevant question for America, which has still not reconciled the traumatic crimes of the last century, is the following: Given the current global progress of the BRICS-11 nations toward equitable agreements in international development—a legacy which can be understood as a nonlinear continuation of a uniquely American, anti-colonial legacy, and which is simply ours for the taking—will we choose to join hands with the Global Majority and break free from the largely self-imposed mental slavery of “Big Lie” thinking in America today?
The ‘Union’ of ‘Natural’ Ruler and ‘Natural’ Slave
At the outset of the article we are told, without any indication as to its significance, that as an undergraduate Hunt-Hendrix studied Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. A telling sentence from the opening of that book reads as follows:
Now, as there are many actions, arts, and sciences, their ends also are many; the end of the medical art is health, that of shipbuilding a vessel, that of strategy victory, that of economics wealth. [Emphasis mine.]
Aristotle gives an unambiguous assessment of the function and purpose of economy. It is to bring about wealth, and nothing more. (“Wealth for whom? for what?” a sane reader immediately asks.) And we only need to read down a couple paragraphs to find out where Aristotle situates the “honorable capacity” for the wealth-producing activity of economy:
[T]he most authoritative art ... that which is most truly architectonic ... [is] politics; for it is this that ordains which of the sciences should be studied in a state, and which each class of citizens should learn and up to what point they should learn them; and we see even the most highly esteemed of capacities to fall under this, e.g. strategy, economics, rhetoric.... [Emphasis mine.]
In sum: Economy (the activity of producing wealth) is stationed between strategy (intellectual-military prowess) and rhetoric (the art of shaping opinion)—while all three are subsumed under the architectonic art of politics, which “ordains” what “each class of citizens” can learn and to what extent.
Parenthetically, it is informative to note how, in his Politics, Aristotle conflates the naturalness of sexual copulation with the “naturalness” of the institution of slavery:
The first coupling together of persons then to which necessity gives rise is that between those who are unable to exist without one another: for instance, the union of female and male for the continuance of the species … and the union of natural ruler and natural slave for the sake of security…. [Emphasis mine.]
For Aristotle, the supposed existence of people, who are by their nature slaves—the very opposite of the concept of humanity experimentally championed by the authors of the U.S. Constitution—is the intellectual justification for any policy whereby politicians of an elite class may ordain (by coercion if not by force) what may be learned and by whom. Thus, the innate human ability to learn is, according to him, a matter of social engineering with respect to mere information, rather than a transcendental quality of the human soul to discover universal physical principles.
This materialist-oligarchical conception of knowledge pervades “The Gift,” as a cynical, unquestioning monetarism. In the following paragraph, the train of thought flows seamlessly from the proposal of a dissertation supporting “investment in social movements,” to an intellectual argument against “giving money to those in need”:
When she [Leah] came back to Princeton, she proposed a dissertation on the intellectual history of solidarity. (“Vast, interdisciplinary topic,” [her dissertation advisor, Cornel] West told me. “We knew she’d pull it off, but she exceeded our expectations.”) She could spend her life giving money to those in need, she concluded, but charity would only change things at the margins; to help uproot structural inequality, she would have to invest in social movements.
What for Aristotle is a frank discussion founded on the oligarchical principles of the use of brute force and sophistry in service of producing wealth—is no different from the outlook of the mealy-mouthed Hunt-Hendrix who “want[s] to devote her life to rectifying society’s imbalance of wealth and power.” Despite these moralisms, Hunt-Hendrix and her coterie of opportunistic street organizers and pro-war “Progressives” (who reportedly attend rooftop parties at the heiress’ residence) perpetrate the delusion of their exception from the actual prevailing national monetary crisis, which increasingly plunges enormous portions of the population into destitution.
Curington: ‘Evaluate Your Economics a Little Bit Further’
There is an historical record of corroborated claims that H.L. Hunt, through his being one of a select few major investors in the Swiss shell corporation Permindex, was party to the conspiracy to assassinate President John F. Kennedy.
There is also the public record of strictly economic subterfuge that the Hunt family participated in throughout the 1970s, something that Marantz notes but does not duly take up. When President Richard Nixon took the dollar off the gold reserve standard on Aug. 15, 1971, he effectively ended the Bretton Woods system of fixed currency-exchange rates. In the years following, as EIR reported in December 1979, members of the Hunt family, in collaboration with British and Swiss bullion interests, joined forces with Kuwaiti investors to create an artificial silver shortage—thereby raising the price of the commodity of which the Hunt family at one point held over 75% globally.
It is readily inferred how that monetarist deregulation of the dollar paved the way for the concerted predatory speculation of the sort that the Hunt family carried out.
Hunt’s role extended far beyond this, however, and included influencing and manipulating the highest levels of government as part of the oligarchical structure he helped to create. Hunt’s erstwhile lackey and lawyer John Curington admitted as much in a 2018 interview, given in tandem with the publication of his book, Motive and Opportunity: The Means by Which H.L. Hunt Influenced the Assassination of JFK, King, Bobby & Hoffa.
From his unique vantage point, Curington sees “the essence of the Kennedy story” to be the following:
For Mr. Hunt to protect his empire, and to honor his commitment to Lyndon Johnson, Kennedy had to leave office. No ifs, ands, buts about it.
Curington explained that though the three ultimately worked in concert, H.L. Hunt wielded considerable influence over both J. Edgar Hoover and Lyndon Johnson, as well as in political and business affairs generally.
In the following description, note the connection between Hunt Oil interests and British Petroleum (formerly the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company) interests. Curington said in the interview:
Let me give you an illustration. Mr. Hunt and [H.L.’s son, Nelson] Bunker [Hunt], they were trying to get a concession in Kuwait. Oil concession. Well, how many major oil companies do you think, any time there’s an oil concession coming up for the richest oil field in the world, how many oil companies do you think would be trying to make a bid on that?
All of them. And back at this time in Kuwait—back at this time there were no public telephones. There was no way to communicate, for your personnel to communicate back to the head offices, from Kuwait to New York or Los Angeles or anywhere, Chicago, anywhere in the world. Every major oil company was over there, and every major oil company had accountants, they had attorneys, they had every kind of personnel in the world because they were changing their bid every day.
Within this bidding scramble, Hunt noted the information bottleneck, and deceptively cut the appropriate deal to achieve intelligence hegemony, securing a lucrative position for his family interests:
H.L. Hunt’s over there, again, showing his thinking mechanism against other people there. There were only two or three telegraph companies in the city that they were in there in Kuwait.... Mr. Hunt goes down, finds the head man of the telegraph companies, to make a deal with him. That man furnished him copies of every communication that went out from the major oil companies. So Mr. Hunt is sitting there, looking at everybody’s hold cards and playing deals.
Anticipating his listener’s train of thought, Curington then explains the principle of cui bono as it applies to Hunt’s deal:
What did the [telegraph] man get out of it? Mr. Hunt was able to call Lyndon Johnson, and say I want this man and his family to have a visa or citizenship or whatever it was. A 15 or 20-second communication from H.L. Hunt to Lyndon Johnson got that man and his family citizenship in the United States…. Bunker’s income was in excess of three million dollars cash a day for several years there.
So if you don’t think the President, or the Vice President of the United States, can do you a business favor, then, you know, you need to evaluate your economics a little bit further there.
The Lawfulness of Universal History
Now, clearly, this account by Curington is not evidence of H.L. Hunt’s direct involvement in a conspiracy to assassinate John F. Kennedy. Nonetheless, these seemingly isolated details are evidently enmeshed in the real, knowable history of political economy in the U.S.A.
Although much of this history consists of billionaires cutting business deals around the world, and similar cosmopolitan affairs, it is nonetheless emphatically a history which properly belongs to each American citizen, all of whom exist from birth to death enmeshed in the economy of what is now the post–World War II, NATO-aligned Anglo-American Empire.
After Kennedy’s assassination, our economy, since at least 1971, has been increasingly transformed into a glorified casino, fit for the enrichment of a select few (such as Hunt-Hendrix and friends) but utterly incapable of sustaining the sort of massive long-term infrastructural developments which our nation as a whole absolutely requires in order to survive.
The relatively unseen forces that undermine the physical economy of the U.S.A. in service of their financial enrichment, what is popularly known as the “deep state,” essentially amounts to oligarchical family and business interests like those of the Hunts (the Rockefellers, the Bushes, etc.), in concert with Wall Street, using sophisticated means to secure legislative influence and executive power in government. (Ask yourself, how could the entire Congress be brought to vote, in a willfully dishonest and eerie consensus, to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, in a move of identitarian politics so threatening to domestic tranquility as to be treasonous in its implications?)
To put a finer point on it, this is the financier-industrialist ideology of “synarchy”: employing pseudo-democratic terroristic regime-change and speculative economic policies to exploit the natural resources, national sovereignty, and lifeblood of peoples around the globe.
Obviously, the U.S. did not innocently end up embroiled in hybrid warfare conflict with Russia in 2014; it was a stated intention of the Department of Defense, with its 1992 Wolfowitz Doctrine, to extend the so-called “democratic zone of peace” all the way to “Ukraine and Russia.” It was and is the power-crazed intention of decision-makers behind the U.S. military, to balkanize and subsequently destroy Russia, thus, to secure U.S. military world hegemony as a triumph over the fall of the USSR. Paul Wolfowitz dictated how this was to be done cheaply, as a way to inflate the military budget and keep old weapons stockpiles fungible; some thirty years later, these notions have been recently echoed by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in connection with the multi-front war-designs currently under way. (Fn. 1)
It is against this foreboding backdrop that Marantz’s essay is found lacking––in that he does not take universal history into account.
Although Curington’s account is not evidence of H.L. Hunt’s direct involvement in a conspiracy to assassinate JFK, seemingly isolated details are evidently enmeshed in the real, knowable history of U.S. political economy.
But only in the context of universal history (i.e., a perception of history as vastly ramified and causally coherent) can one gain enough perspective to adequately understand (let alone critique) the mores of one’s own nation and the changes that continuously occur there. In the words of Friedrich Schiller, spoken in 1789:
Even that we found ourselves together here at this moment, found ourselves together with this degree of national culture, with this language, these manners, these civil benefits, this degree of freedom of conscience, is the result of perhaps all previous events in the world: The entirety of world history, at least, were necessary to explain this single moment.
Schiller’s concept of universal history requires a recognition of the interrelation of the particular and the universal. A universal development is expressed in each particular “moment”––each person, each state, each war, each treaty, each invention expresses universality––because each particular would not exist without all the previous events to which it is causally linked. There is no $100 billion budget for a suicidal proxy war in Ukraine, or in Israel, without Richard Nixon’s deregulation of the U.S. dollar.
In the words of American economist Henry C. Carey, from The Harmony of Interests (1851):
It may be assumed as a universal truth, that every step made in the right direction will be attended with results so beneficial as to pave the way for further steps in the same direction, and that every one made in the wrong direction will be attended with disadvantageous results tending to produce a necessity for a retrograde movement.
The situation facing the U.S. today emphatically requires that we view our own recent history from this standpoint, and consider the steps which have contributed to where we are today. The reluctance to do this, and predilection to instead accept illusionary stories, such as Marantz’s and others, constitutes the chief social and political problem in America today.
Take for example Hunt-Hendrix’s attempt to drum up a semblance of political clout within the current economy, by the meager instatement of a $15 minimum wage in New York City, and the three-card monte student loan debt “unforgiveness” program signed-off by President Biden. These elitist “developments” are not just trivial, they are criminally negligent, and Marantz fails to make this sufficiently clear. There is a deafness in the government and the “power elite” to the actual condition and concerns of the population.
Contrast this to what the controversial Russian writer Vladislav Surkov calls “audibility,” the properly-functioning, trust-based relationship between the head of state and the citizens, which he associates with Putin’s popularity in Russia.
President John F. Kennedy, by no means perfect, was nonetheless the last example of this principle of trust-based audibility at the national level of the state; he exemplified this audibility in statecraft and recommended it as a basis of civic duty, when he spoke at American University on June 10, 1963:
Some say it is useless to speak of world peace or world law or world disarmament—and that it will be useless until the leaders of the Soviet Union adopt a more enlightened attitude. I hope they do. I believe we can help them do it. But I also believe that we must reexamine our own attitudes—as individuals and as a Nation—for our attitude is as essential as theirs. And every graduate of this school, every thoughtful citizen who despairs of war and wishes to bring peace, should begin by looking inward—by examining his own attitude toward the possibilities of peace, toward the Soviet Union, toward the course of the Cold War and toward freedom and peace here at home.
An astute and unbiased observer will be able to perceive the fallout of Kennedy’s assassination and its connection with the rise of the so-called “deep state” in America, vis-à-vis the adoption of homicidal-suicidal economic and military policies. Yet American government and media functionaries, and much of the population, still labor under the now-disproven hoax of the Warren Commission coverup and similar Big Lie–beholden thinking.
The Spiritual Motion Demanded by MLK
Those with eyes to see and ears to hear know that this principle of audibility has been violently suppressed for the last 60 years here in the United States; it is well known, but not properly understood, that the American population, through the mass proliferation of information “noise,” has been effectively deafened to its own troubled cries.
However, this situation coincides with the emergence of a very different impulse, as the majority of the world’s population, along with BRICS-11, are now saying in concert on the stage of world history: The era of colonialism must be brought to an end. Nations which have been subject to decades and even centuries of economic and military aggression are on the rise, asserting their intention for actual national sovereignty and economic development.
Will the American people, as subjects of the Anglo-American Empire, continue to impose an abject mental condition upon themselves, trading their individual dignity for a vapid sense of superiority over the down-trodden of the world? This condition continues so long as Americans ignore in public what their conscience privately demands: An end to the rapacious depopulation wars that misrepresent the actual will of our nation.
Despite attempts to deconstruct it, there remains an undeniable gravitational mass within the U.S.A.; that this mass has conscience is what was represented by the ascent of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the change that his influence effects to this day. But Kennedy’s assassination remains an unshakable nightmare the nation neither remembers nor forgets. Yet the gravitational cultural mass that Kennedy and King responded to with the moral force of their words was that of an actual nation with a profound thirst for justice, peace, and development.
By no coincidence, in the shadow of their assassinations, it is regularly claimed in America today that problems of global and historical import are fundamentally insoluble. But this only seems to be true when seen through the scuffed lens of fear. When fear is gotten over, vision is clarified and certain truths become readily accessible.
For example, writing in the 15th Century, the German theologian, Cardinal Nicolas of Cusa articulated a universal truth known as coincidentia oppositorum, “the coincidence of opposites.” There is a fundamental, paradoxical likeness between microcosm and macrocosm.
This understanding is not just “metaphysics” or “religion.” Astoundingly, it is the conceptual framework that made G.W. Leibniz’s discovery of the calculus possible; it therefore undergirds modern physics, technology, and economy as we know them today. Thus, the very essence of modern life, for good and for ill, consists in an acceptance of coincidentia oppositorum, whether that acceptance is conscious or unconscious. (This is a better conception of “the gift we must accept,” a là Marantz’s article, as opposed to the unconscionable guilt and monetary payoff of crimes we do not condone, as he would have it.)
In accepting the coincidence of opposites, the individual life is revealed to be in a reciprocal relation with that which is whole. Individuals are not fragments strictly defined by their predilections and peculiarities, as the progenitors of culture war would have us believe; every individual is a particular instantiation of one blessed universality. Therefore, truth applied in the individual has a beneficial universal effect.
Through an invisible moral effort of the will, we must first withdraw our consent from rotting systems of menticidal oppression, simply by establishing our own independent mental sovereignty––by refusing to believe any lie for fear of ostracism. Only from that vantage will it be possible to generate a moral status quo, by working outward in a spirit of intellectual courage, peaceful cooperation, and creative optimism.
At the same time, Americans must begin to listen to the voices of the Global Majority, whose current assertion against today’s international “rules-based order” is precisely a recapitulation of our own properly American struggle for independence against the British Empire! Their vast effort can help us to see the means whereby to revive and recreate our own culture, and to recollect what it truly means to be an American.
We must commit fully to the task of educating ourselves and those we know about the real history of the United States of America; who its enemies have historically been and what means have been used to exert control over the populace; and, most importantly, who our true heroes and martyrs are.
The memory of those great martyrs cannot be duly commemorated by the nation as a whole without being written in the individual heart. Their lives and deaths represent the courage required of, and the beautiful fullness bestowed on, each individual engaged in the American experiment to create and maintain independent, consensual political governance.
This experiment has not ceased from the moment it began; but our nation has never found itself more forgetful of its own history than it is today.
It is not a trivial, nor an easy thing, to lift oneself out of a life-long stupor amidst an infantile culture, and to state inwardly an authentic intention to enter adulthood in the fullest sense of the word: To accept the nature of this mortal existence and the moral gravity it contains.
As Martin Luther King put it, on April 4, 1967:
"A time comes when silence is betrayal.” And that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam. The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of an inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and the surrounding world.
This is what Americans must understand: The agony of the calling of King’s mission to speak the truth can only continue to intensify under the paradoxical tyranny of American Empire. Therefore we must not only speak, but speak the truth; that truth is not achieved through factitious description, but through the recognition of the wholeness that is Love.
In the intervening time since the writing of this article, an explosion of protests have erupted against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the depopulation of the Palestinian people. As Joe Biden’s deluded October 19 address calling for an additional $100 billion in funding for the three fundamentally intractable conflict zones––Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan––exemplified, the various imperialist military campaigns the U.S. is entangled in all flow out from the twin evils of the fundamental dysfunction of our monetarist economy and our co-opted Presidency.
This writer had been involved shortly after that “presidential” address in sparking the kindling for a series of protests at Columbia University, by publicly demonstrating the moral fraudulence of Hillary Clinton’s indifference to the plight of the untold destruction of the Gazan and Ukrainian people. These protests led to Columbia University officially silencing the student groups Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine.
Andrew Marantz, the author to whom this article is a reply, has just released an estimable Dec. 2 article in the New Yorker about Columbia University’s regrettable ban. His descriptive approach was well-suited to cover the flurry of events, allowing him to rise above the fear-mongering nominalism ubiquitous in the mainstream.
In fact, there was in Marantz’s most recent piece a moral fiber that his puff-job on Hunt-Hendrix decidedly lacked.
The irony was that my overly polemical write-up against Marantz came back to my desk from the editors of EIR just at the time of the publication of Marantz’s better analysis of a political environment in which, meantime, I had actively become enmeshed—vindicating my original choice to include the following extended quotation from the late thinker and statesman, Lyndon H. LaRouche, from his essay, The Science of Physical Economy:
It is important to acquire the habit of thinking about related matters in such a [scientifically revolutionary] fashion, even if only for the purpose of training the human mind to deal competently with the idea of that universe which we inhabit. This practice fosters that quality of freedom in thinking which is indispensable for promoting the creative powers of the human mind. It is of the highest importance to examine your own mind’s process of thinking, thus using the playing of such imagined tricks upon oneself as a way of promoting true self-consciousness, a truly ironical self-consciousness: To make one’s own processes of thinking, when caught in the moments of their relatively greatest moment of deceptively apparent finality, one recognized as a mere object of one’s own continuing to think in new, higher-order terms of reference, while our mind’s attention has leaped, meanwhile, to the challenge posed by a qualitatively higher set of relative terms of reference.
In light of such a challenge, let us seek the wherewithal to tune our judgments, and summon the courage to change our axioms.
1. Former President of the Russian Federation Dmitri Medvedev, referring to Austin’s saying the quiet part out loud regarding the Wolfowitz Doctrine, wrote, “lingua mali pars pessima servi,” the tongue is the worst part of a bad servant.