Cassandra and Laocoon warned the Trojans about the Greek gift. Had the Trojans attended their warnings Troy would have been saved but alas, the gods intervened. Cassandra was cursed never to be believed and Laocoon and his sons were swallowed up by a sea serpent sent by Athena. Too old a metaphor? Let’s move forward on the time line a bit: In 1919 French Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch judged the Treaty of Versailles with the statement, “This is not peace, only an armistice for twenty years.” He then predicted how the Germans would invade France through the low countries and a few other things that would prove true. Foch’s statements were dismissed in the euphoria of the cessation of the slaughter of the trenches and he was declared too old to know, but then, twenty years later, the Germans attacked Poland and the World War began again.
In 1923 Brigadier General Billy Mitchell predicted the Japanese would stage a surprise air assault on Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands. His warnings were ignored and two years later he was court-martialed for his predictions that the age of the battleship had been overtaken by Air Power.
In 1950-54 the alcoholic junior senator from Wisconsin Joseph McCarthy made claims that the U.S. Government had been infiltrated by Soviet spies and that these spies were not only stealing secrets they were in influential positions in the government determining U.S. foreign and domestic policies. These spies were a Trojan horse that we had pulled inside the government. Like Cassandra he was not believed and like Laocoon he was destroyed by the press and other politicians who wanted to believe he was wrong. He was an easy target being the buffoon he was and the Senate would censor him in a 67-22 vote. But like Cassandra, Laocoon, Foch and Mitchell, McCarthy was right and could have been defended by the U.S. Government except to do so would have been to expose the highly classified Venona Project where the Soviet diplomatic code had been broken. There were, in fact, more than one hundred Soviet agents operating in Washington, D.C. and other government areas during WWII and its aftermath. The Venona Project would confirm the actions of Julius Rosenberg and other nuclear spies but it would also confirm earlier claims by Elizabeth Bentley and Whittaker Chambers regarding the names and positions of a number of soviet spies. One of those spies was the number two at the Treasury Department, Harry Dexter White, the crafter of the Bretton Woods agreement and architect of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Another was head of the War Productions priority board and another the number three in the Office of Strategic Services the first actual spy organization of the U.S. and the forerunner of the CIA. One of President Roosevelt’s top economic advisors was a Soviet agent and besides White there were seven Soviet agents in the Monetary Division of the Department of Treasury. There is some evidence, although not rising to the level of prosecutorial material, that President Roosevelt’s most trusted advisor Harry Hopkins, if not a recruited agent, was at least a fellow traveler of the Soviets.
McCarthy will be forever vilified by the term “McCarthyism,” but for all his faults, and they were many, he was right. Yet, like Cassandra driven to madness, Laocoon crushed by the sea monster, Foch written off as too old and feeble, Mitchell court-martialed and sent into durance vile, opponents destroyed McCarthy as well, and little was done to ferret out or stop the influence of the Soviet spies although Harry Dexter White would die from a digitalis overdose less than two days after his first appearance in front of the House Committee on un-American Affairs.
Why do I write about this now? Because there are prophets out there now who are telling us the truth and predicting the future of the country while we are watching as they are being torn down by their adversaries. Just as people are filming attacks on the subway with their cellphones instead of stopping the attacks, we are watching on TV and the internet as the clairvoyants among us are being scandalized, ignored and denigrated. It’s time to make some intelligent decisions based on how things are instead of how we want them to be.
BUT, you ask, how do we separate the real seers from the false prophets? We have discussed deconstructing myths in this blog a number of times and that is how you separate the real from the imagined. Strip away the words of emotion and burrow for the discernible facts. Look at actions and ignore claims. It’s like ads on the radio or television, the more flamboyant the presentation, the more bombastic the language, the less likely the facts are correct. Do your own fact-finding and don’t depend upon someone else’s. The talking heads are no smarter than you are, they just get on TV and you don’t. As they say, actions speak louder than words so look at what people are doing and not what they claim they are doing or want to do.
Learn to extrapolate the future yourself. If this occurs then that will follow, Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc. Look to history to learn if something has been tried before and whether it succeeded and, if it didn’t, why didn’t it. Remember that human nature doesn’t change and lying, cheating and stealing are deadly sins for a reason. This is the greatest of DIY projects so let’s get started and remember that killing the messenger doesn’t change the message.