“Agenda: Grinding America Down” – Countering Gary North’s Criticisms, Part 1
I’ve always respected Gary North, as an economist, historian, writer and a man of integrity. He’s right up there as a prominent Christian intellectual. His opinions carry a lot of weight with a lot of people.
Unfortunately, Mr. North doesn’t know very much about modern communism – the great threat of our time. Worse, he thinks he does. Worse still, he is willing to publicly criticize those who actually do.
A few months ago, Mr. North penned a harsh criticism, Agenda: A Misleading Fundamentalist Video That Should Never Have Been Made, of the documentary “Agenda:Grinding America Down,” made by my good friend Curtis Bowers.
This documentary has enlightened many thousands of Americans to the dangers facing their country – and indeed every Western nation.
In my opinion, it is the best documentary ever made on the socialist subversion of America. I am very proud to have contributed my views to it.
As Mr. North is so widely respected, his opinion may deter some from viewing “Agenda.” That would be a great shame. Therefore, I’ve decided to counter Mr. North’s opinions with what I believe, are my own more accurate views on the subject.
So here are some segments from Mr North’s column, followed by counter arguments from me.
Gary North: There comes a time to stop beating a dead horse. But there are full-time beaters of dead horses who just cannot bring themselves to admit that the horse is dead.
A recent example of dead-horse-beating is a documentary, Agenda: Grinding America Down (2010). It argues that Communism in America is not only alive and well, it is about to conquer America. In fact, we are almost out of time. Communism is about to take over.
I assume that your initial reaction is this: “This is nuts.” That was my reaction when I first viewed it. But, believe it or not, this documentary has begun to gain a following among fundamentalists who believe that Jesus is coming soon to set up His millennial kingdom. This theory of history teaches that everything must get worse and worse until a time when Christians are about to be overwhelmed by the forces of evil. Jesus will come and take them all to heaven for seven years, and then Jesus, His angels, and the resurrected perfect and immortal followers will return to set up an international bureaucracy to run the world. This theory is called premillennial, pretribulational dispensationalism.
Trevor Loudon: While “Agenda” is very popular in Christian circles, its following goes way beyond that. The documentary is essentially a history of the deliberate breaking down of American society by socialist radicals. Every Christian, Jew, Buddhist, agnostic or atheist, who wants to live in a free and prosperous country, needs to understand this process. This is a deliberate social program, implemented over decades by adherents of an identifiable movement – communism. One doesn’t necessarily have to hold any particular religious views to understand these principles.
Gary North: The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 created a major crisis for this system of Bible interpretation. The “Beast from the North,” the USSR, collapsed. This ended the USSR’s supposed threat to the nation of Israel, which is central to this theory of world history. The nation of the north was now gone. So, how could Jesus’ return to whisk away his helpless church be imminent? I wrote a book on this topic in 1993, Rapture Fever…
Then, in 2010, a fundamentalist offered the answer. Communism really did not die. Not at all. It is about to take over the USA. The visible collapse of Communism was really part of a Communist plot.
Trevor Loudon: The fall of the Soviet Union created a huge problem for all anti-communists – not just fundamentalist Christians. As a friend of mine often says “Ronald Reagan didn’t actually destroy communism, but he did destroy anti-communism.” A minority of anti-communists, from former CIA counter intelligence head James Jesus Angleton to commentator Jeff Nyquist and Czech born film maker Robert Buchar, have made the case that the “Collapse” of the Soviet Union and East European communism, was at least partially a staged event or series of events.
According to former KGB officer Anatoli Golitsyn, a long range communist disinformation strategy was worked out among the world’s communist parties in 1958. Mr. Golitsyn, who was privy to some of the planning, explained that this involved a whole series of major deception exercises, including a fake China/Soviet split in 1961 and the eventual “collapse'” of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Golitsyn exposed all this and much more in his 1984 book New Lies For Old. He maintained that when the West was sufficiently weakened and disarmed, Russia, China and their allies, would combine to strike at the US with “one closed fist.”
Even if you don’t believe that analysis, it is undeniable that Russia, led mainly by the old KGB, is now allied politically, economically and militarily with communist ruled China, through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Russia and China are also allied to communist run Cuba and Venezuela, North Korea and Iran, and large chunks of radical Islam, in an unholy alliance against the United States, Israel and what is left of the West.
The communists gave up a word: “communism,” and by so doing immensely increased their strategic advantage against the West. Not a bad deal?
Gary North: The fall of the USSR was not a hoax. The collapse of Communism in America immediately followed. Hardly anyone noticed. That was because American working class members had never accepted the idea of bloody proletarian revolution as an inevitable way of liberation. They hated Communism.
Trevor Loudon: While the Communist Party USA split and lost members, the actual communist movement in the United States is now large and growing. Sure, the Communist Party suffered, but now we have the Workers World Party, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Revolutionary Communist Party, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, International Socialist Organization and countless others to deal with.
More significantly, the country’s largest quasi-communist group Democratic Socialists of America, working closely with the Communist Party, has now completely taken over the US labor movement and through that avenue and others, the Democratic Party. The communists have several dozen Congressmen and US Senators on their side and in significant areas are able to dictate Democrat policy. With virtually no media opposition, the US communist movement today is at its most influential point since the days of FDR.
Gary North: Why would anyone believe this documentary? Because it’s slick. It is based on a complete misreading of Communist history. It is also based on a series of deceptions. Conservatives cannot believe that someone would deliberately deceive them. So, they believe this message.
But what if the deception was based on self-deception? What if the producer is simply misinformed? What if he is a self-taught man who picked up a few unconnected (and erroneous) bits of information and tried to connect them by means of a thesis that seems superficially plausible? What if his sincerity is not backed up by the facts? What if the average viewer of his documentary is ignorant about these supposed facts? Then the viewer becomes a victim.
I don’t want you to be a victim. That is why I am writing this report.
Trevor Loudon: Admirable motive Mr. North, but unfortunately you are the one potentially creating victims here.
Gary North: The documentary is dedicated to Fred Schwarz. This indicates the degree of the writer-producer’s ignorance.
In 1996, Schwarz, the anti-Communist lecturer who brought me into the conservative movement in 1956 with one powerful speech, wrote a testament: Beating the Unbeatable Foe: One Man’s Victory Over Communism, Leviathan, and the Last Enemy.
That testament resonated with me. His one-hour lecture in 1956 was the most important lecture I ever heard, before or since. I was confronted with what seemed to be a well-organized, ruthless, and relentless enemy: international Communism. It controlled the USSR. The USSR controlled Eastern Europe. Communism controlled China. It had a vision of victory. It had an agenda. It had a comprehensive theory of historical causation: dialectical materialism. The USSR had enormous military power. It looked unbeatable.
Nevertheless, I signed up with Schwarz’s Christian Anti-Communism Crusade. I was not yet a Christian. I even sent him $100 for a lifetime membership, which was about $850 in today’s purchasing power. I was 14 years old. I earned $1 an hour before taxes at a local record store.
A decade later, I began work on my book, Marx’s Religion of Revolution. It was published in 1968. That book goes into detail on the philosophy of Marx and Engels. That philosophy is now dead. So is its economic analysis.
On December 31, 1991, the Communist Party of the USSR committed suicide. It disbursed the funds and shut down. The war was over.
Today, all that remains are North Korea and Cuba. The defeat of Communism is best seen in the satellite photograph of the Korean peninsula.
Schwarz knew it was over for Communism by 1996. He admitted that he was amazed that it fell so fast.
Trevor Loudon: While monolithic international communism is no more, the countries who led the movement, Russia and China are still allies. Both countries are still led by men and women steeped in Leninism. Gary North is right. The old economic model of communism has been badly discredited and largely abandoned by modern communists.
Antonio Gramsci, who preached cultural revolution, rather than economic revolution, is the modern guide to social change. Take over the institutions, while milking and exploiting the remains of the market system – that’s the new model. Once labor unions were the “transmission belt of communism to the masses. Labor is still key, but the revolution is using Hollywood, the MSM, academia, even many churches, to do much of the transmitting these days.
Communism is analogous to cancer. In its early days cancer often starts as a large, readily identifiable tumor. Its big and brutal and bloody… but it can often be surgically removed and the patient may survive. But if left too long, the cancer may metastacize… spread killer cells all over the body, until every major organ is infected. At that point the cancer is almost unstoppable. The patient has little left to do but count down his remaining days. Gary North is still focused on the primary tumor, much of which has been removed. He is blind to the communist cells which have now infected almost every vital institution in the US.
“Agenda” is about exposing the deadly metastasis, not the primary tumor.
Gary North: Sadly, there are conservatives who still live in the past, as if it were still the glory days of Communism and therefore also anti-Communism. Some of them cut their teeth on anti-Communism. I was one of them. Schwarz did, too, more than anyone I have ever known. But by 1996, he knew that the fight was over. The West had won. He turned his files over to David Noebel, who ran Summit Ministries for years. Then Schwarz retired. He deserved his retirement. He died in 2003.
Trevor Loudon: It is Gary North who is living in the past. The enemy is vastly different than it was in the 1980s. Then communism was mainly “over there.” Now because anti-communists have largely gone to sleep or taken their eye off the ball, communism in America has spread to the point that their favored son occupies the White House and the bulk of America’s media cheers him on.
Communism took several steps backwards in socialist Europe, in return for huge leaps forward in “capitalist” America.
If Fred Schwarz, founder of the still existing Christian Anti-communist Crusade, who I once met in New Zealand in the ’80s, was alive today, I’m pretty sure he’d be beside himself at what America has become.
Gary North: This brings me back to the documentary. It unfortunately was not produced by someone who understood the implications of what Schwarz did in 1996. He retired, having fought the fight and having won.
I am going to review this documentary in detail. Let me say from the outset that the documentary is not worth reviewing for its own sake. It is a very bad documentary. It is misleading. Most of all, it is a documentary that will sidetrack anyone who believes it.
Why? Because it is like an aging boxer who trains for an opponent he fought two decades earlier. That opponent had a fatal heart attack in the middle of a fight. The old boxer is making it more likely that his next opponent will flatten him. Why? Because he never changes his defenses. He is predictable.
The documentary is begins with a clip from a B&W documentary on Communism that Ronald Reagan made 50 years ago. He says that the story he was introducing might not have a happy ending. It was a documentary on international Communism. It was a good documentary. It is now a document of an ancient past.
The story did have a happy ending. The Berlin Wall came down. Then the Soviet Union committed suicide in December of 1991. It was the greatest victory of my lifetime. The most powerful empire in history simply shut down: no bloodshed, no revolution. Not a shot was fired. Incredible.
Trevor Loudon: Who is the aging boxer Mr. North? When in history has an entrenched tyranny collapsed without major bloodshed? Try never! And it didn’t happen in Russia and Eastern Europe either. There is ample evidence from several sources that the KGB was complicit in the so-called “Collapse of Communism.” Why, is the important question.
Gary North: The economic irrationality of socialism had been made clear by Ludwig von Mises in his 1920 essay, “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth.” In 1989, Mises’ prediction had become clear even to Soviet economic planners. It became visible to all in late 1991. Mises was right. Marx was wrong.
None of this is mentioned in Agenda. It has movie clips of Soviet parades with lots of tanks and weapons from the 1960s, as if the USSR were still a threat militarily to the West.
It also fails to mention declining birth rates in Russia. It mentions abortion, but not abortion’s demographic effects. The Russians are dying off. Siberia is becoming depopulated. On Siberia’s southern border is China. At some point, the Chinese will start crossing that border. This is Russia’s #1 military problem. It has no solution short of nuclear war.
Trevor Loudon: Gary North as fallen for the propaganda hook, line and sinker. Marxism is dead. Communism is not. Lenin still thrives and Gramsci is having a ball. Russia indeed does have many of the problems Mr. North lists. So does China. Russia and China have recognized the economic fallacies of Marxism and are trying a different tack. They are returning to feudalism and “managed” capitalism to build up their economies and their military might, in order to tilt the balance of power in their favor. They are succeeding. One step backwards, for several steps forward.
Most importantly, Russia and China are not enemies. They may hate each other on racial lines, but they jointly despise the United States even more. In terms of ideology, economics and military strategy, Russia and China are firm allies. China doesn’t want Siberia – who in their right mind would? China wants to move large chunks of its population to the American heartland – by war if necessary. If that involves losing 30 or 40 million of its surplus young male population – so much the better. One less problem to worry about.
If it comes to war, one joint Russia/China plan is for Russia to nuke the hell out of the continental United States. After Obama has finished decimating what is left of the US nuclear arsenal of course. The Russians will then invade Alaska and parts of Canada, but not the lower ’48. China will then invade across the Pacific. They will lose millions of troublesome young men, but they eventually get a foothold. Then their allies in Latin America will invade across the Mexican border… and the Red Dawn will break.
Gary North: Agenda was made by a Bible-affirming Christian. Most of the people he interviewed are Bible-believing Christians. Yet not one of them thanked God onscreen for the greatest political victory of all time. Worse: the ones he quoted said that the fight with Communism still goes on, and that America is likely to lose unless the entire nation turns around morally and religiously.
In short, the documentary claims that God did not provide the victory. It says, loud and clear, that there was no miracle, no victory. Yet they call for God to work a miracle. To which God might well reply: “What do you think I gave you? Are you blind? You show no gratitude.”
Yes, some of them are blind. The ones onscreen who warned that the Communists are close to total victory are blind.
Trevor Loudon: Sorry Mr. North, but if there was a victory for the good guys, it was partial and temporary at best. I come from a secular point of view, but if anything, I’d say it was more likely the “Great Deceiver” who engineered the “Collapse of Communism.” I too think it will take a miracle to save America. But miracles seem to happen more often, when at least some people are giving it their all. “Agenda” is trying to inform and motivate enough people, so that America will at least have a fighting chance.
Part 2, coming soon.