1. Ben

    Ben New Member

    Most "Conspiracy Theories" has some degree of truth, okay, Clinton was joking, and you presented your interpretations, what is your interpretation on this:
    "Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it." The New Freedom (1913), Page 5, Section I: “The Old Order Changeth”, by Dr. Thomas Woodrow Wilson the 28th President of the United States.
    Perhaps Wilson was bluffing his readers!! Do you think so?! I don't!
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2014
  2. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Moderator Staff Member

    Well what's your interpretation?
    What's the context surrounding that passage?
  3. jonnyH

    jonnyH Active Member

    He's talking about monopolies. He is saying that large established companies operate to prevent new companies establishing themselves within the same market, if you read the rest of the paragraph that becomes clear:
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  4. Ben

    Ben New Member

    Beg your pardon, monopolies! Seriously?! All the description that Wilson describes doesn't fit on monopolies, it doesn't make sense when it's interpreted that way, that WikiQoute you referred to jumped from page 5 to page 15, that's truly regarded as a quotation out of context, if you ever read his book from cover-to-cover you won't come to this conclusion, if you read from page 2 to 8 you'll see clearly that he isn't speaking of whom that you are referring to, monopolistic parties are well known to the public, the Cock Brother are one example, it seems you do not believe in the existence of Secret Societies wich Wilson was referring too truly, don't you? Or do you? Answer that...
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2014
    • Disagree Disagree x 3
  5. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

    You jumped all the way back back to 1913 to put an interpretation on a quote from 1998? By the way, all conspiracy theories have a grain of truth is like all urban legends have grain of truth. Wanting a good story to be true doesn't make it so. Unless it can be proved with something besides inferences, innuendo and anecdotes (the staple of You Tube videos) it remains nothing more than a good story.
  6. NoParty

    NoParty Senior Member

    Actually, anyone who has studied WW knows how often he beat the monopoly drum.
    Wilson believed (rightly) that monopolies killed the American spirit by keeping the little guy and new enterprises frozen out. And don't worry Ben, you're far from the the first to fall for this...(I'm guessing you got it from Glenn Beck?)

    As explained in RationalWiki: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Woodrow_Wilson


    A short excerpt from The New Freedom, a 1913 book compiled from Wilson's presidential campaign speeches, is sometimes quoted out of context by various conspiracy theorists to suggest that Wilson believed in a large conspiracy. The quote itself is taken from the first chapter of the book, where Wilson rants against corporations and "Big Business" (this is his own term!). Which sounds oddly familiar...

    Here is the quote, with the following paragraph to give some context:

    “”Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it. They know that America is not a place of which it can be said, as it used to be, that a man may choose his own calling and pursue it just as far as his abilities enable him to pursue it; because to-day, if he enters certain fields, there are organizations which will use means against him that will prevent his building up a business which they do not want to have built up; organizations that will see to it that the ground is cut from under him and the markets shut against him. For if he begins to sell to certain retail dealers, to any retail dealers, the monopoly will refuse to sell to those dealers, and those dealers, afraid, will not buy the new man's wares.
    The New Freedom, Chapter I: The Old Order Changeth

    Conspiracy theorists usually quote only the bold part, ignoring (or being ignorant of) the context, including the whole platform Wilson campaigned on and the political and economical climate of the era. The quote can be found in lists of similar quotes, such as on whale.to[1] and elsewhere,[2][3] or in isolation.[4]


    I merely highlighted the last paragraph in red to emphasize that this twisting of
    WW's words has been tried so many times by CTs, as to merit special mention.

    I would also agree with Bill that--in addition to being just plain wrong,
    going all the way
    back to the Wilson presidency to try to support mis-interpreting Clinton, is not a good plan...

    I will say, that my Monday morning spirits were lifted, though, Ben, by your playful
    referral to the "Koch brothers" to a new spelling many Americans would undoubtedly prefer. :cool:
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Moderator Staff Member

    Yes business monopolies. Look at the excerpts from the book and it's clearly the theme.

    Can you show this to be true? It appears to be on the same page in the excerpts I quoted.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2014
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. jonnyH

    jonnyH Active Member

    Yes, seriously. Section VIII of the book is even titled "Monopoly or Opportunity"
    WikiQuote is a library of quotes, its not going to reproduce the whole text, just the pithy bits.
    By this definition any quote not comprising the full text is "out of context". This is not the case, "context" is not necessarily "the rest of the book", it is peripheral information that informs the reader's interpretation of the quote.

    You seem to be adding your own context to WW's book of campaign speeches because i can't see where he alludes to "secret societies" having read pages 2-8 as you suggested.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. Hachiman

    Hachiman New Member

    You can't find it? It's the first paragraph of page 9.

    If they have actually read the previous paragraphs they would not have been able to expect a bombshell like this coming on the next page; case in point being jonnyH, presumably.

    The book offers no further explanation whatsoever. He continues to talk about the struggles of the small man in enterprise. The extended quote shows this. It bears no contextual relevance to the preceding paragraph in question. The quoted paragraph bears no relevance to its previous paragraphs either. In fact, the quote itself is out of context in its own source material. So much for being rational.

    Of course, you could argue that his speeches had to relate to the small man's troubles to buy his vote, but that makes it all the more interesting why he had it included in this way.
  10. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    What is? There's multiple editions of the book. What exactly are you referring to?
  11. Hachiman

    Hachiman New Member

  12. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    That does not have page numbers.

    Are you just talking about the quote in the first post here?
    That's clearly just about monopolies, as discussed above.

    If not, what exactly are you referring to?
  13. Hachiman

    Hachiman New Member

    The horizontal line breaks delimit the pages. Unless I miscounted, that should be page 9.

    Here's my take on this.

    Refers to those who control large established corporations who own the monopolies. It is them who are afraid of something. He's not talking about the little guy or middle-level players.

    Note that this something he alludes to is singular and it is something that wields power.

    I'm not sure what to interpret this as other than the suggestion that this entity wields a lot of power on one or more levels. So much power, in fact, that these monopoly owners
    As to the nature of this powerful entity is beyond the scope of this debate. Interpretation depends on the assumption that this entity wields economical or political power/influence over these monopolies, or both.

    What I know is that monopolies are limited to specific fields of commerce and manufacture. Of course, hold a monopoly in one field gives you a better chance to hold/obtain a monopoly in a similar or related field.

    There is one that springs to mind but I am unsure if it is a monopoly, strictly speaking. It also the only one that I can think of that fits those six attributes the best; namely the central banking system. This is the only monopoly that makes sense, in my view, unless he was talking about some of the biggest players in a specific field of enterprise. Seems unlikely, this is the man who personally signed the Federal Reserve Act into law.

    As I've said, the book offers no explanation.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
  14. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Those are section breaks, indicated by a blank line in the actual book, so what you are referring to is on page 13:

    As for your explanation, it seems rather disjointed, and hinges on "Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture" being interpreted as the monopoly owners, when it seems more likely that these are the men who are afraid of the monopoly owners, if you read the full section:

    The entity that is instilling fear is the monopoly. The big men who are afraid of "something" are afraid of the monopoly, and what will happen if they try to operate outside of the bounds of the monopoly, as he continues to discuss:

    • Agree Agree x 2
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  15. Hachiman

    Hachiman New Member

    Another problem with this quote is the fact that he refers to a singular thing and whether it was intended or not.
    As the preface clearly states, these sentences have been reproduced exactly as they were stenographed. Nothing is said about how they were reordered and why they were reordered that way, which is why it clearly states that this is not a book of campaign speeches. In other words, we cannot assume anything about context with absolute certainty. This is the real problem with this quote and quoting from this source material in general.

    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  16. Spectrar Ghost

    Spectrar Ghost Senior Member

    And as they were reproduced exactly there should be no doubt that Wilson was speaking of monopolies when context is taken into account.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  17. MikeG

    MikeG Senior Member

    The comments about context are on point. Big business, monopolies (or "trusts" to use the 1913 term) occupied a prominent place in American politics when Wilson was president.

    Wilson's New Freedom was a counterpoint to Theodore Roosevelt's New Nationalism.

    Herbert Croly summarized New Nationalism in The Promise of American Life (1909) as"Hamiltonian means to achieve Jeffersonian ends."


    However, where Roosevelt wanted larger government to counterbalance big business, Wilson wanted greater competition to achieve fairness in the marketplace.

    Much of his rhetoric in 1913 was preparing the ground for a large, controversial debate over the proposed Underwood-Simmons Tariff proposed that year, something Wilson hoped would further his New Freedom.


    So there is some more context for the discussion.
  18. Wilson Dawson

    Wilson Dawson New Member

    Skepticism can be a healthy and useful trait. At times, for some however, it becomes an end in itself. I have met people who, having once discovered some fallacy, become what I call confirmed skeptics, that is they adopt a veiwpoint which predisposes them to disbelieve theories. This introduces an error in logic which they themselves are unaware of and cannot see.
    It is understandable. Why risk considering something or investigating something as possibly true when it may turn out to be another falsehood? You may look foolish later if you do, and there seems to be no downside to debunking something; the onus for proving the theory rests on the proponents of the theory.
    I have fallen victim to this kind of error myself on occasion.

    Wilson's statement says that "Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture" are afraid of a powerful group of organizations of people. His description of this group sounds much more ominous than a large business monopoly. He doesn't call them a monopoly at all, he calls them "a power somewhere". That is not how you describe a mere business monopoly.

    Listen to his description: "a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it."

    Wilson seems to be making the point that this 'powerful organization' if I may paraphrase him that way, is pervasive enough that they can control the titans of the business world through their influence.

    I have no doubt that this 'powerful organization' owned large companies in major industries. But I think that the kind of power they had/have over "some of the biggest men...in the field of commerce and manufacture" indicates that the organization includes the banking and probably the political world as well. He did say the "power" was "pervasive" and "interlocked".
    We know that some of the international bankers which make up the Federal Reserve also own very large shares of oil companies, defense industry companies, and many other areas of business. They belong to the Council on Foreign Relations. Their influence over the economy is tremendous. They have the kind of power Wilson seems to be referring to. Of course they were not around when Wilson made that statement. But there have always been men of that sort.

    Is it so far fetched to believe that these men would collaborate with each other to manipulate the economy for their own benefit? Given that the FED can inflate or deflate the economy at their own discretion, without government oversight and without having to undergo any external audits, it would be very tempting to use that power to benefit the businesses, industries, and international corporations they also own.
    It would also be tempting and very easy to use your power and influence to 'cut the ground out from under' business men who don't belong to your organization.

    There is a group which calls itself "The Club of Rome" consisting of many of the most wealthy and powerful and influential men and women in the world. It includes many of the international bankers referenced above. The CoR has geopolitical goals some of which they have released for the public in their publications. One of them is the formation of an un-elected world government.
    It did not exist at the time Wilson wrote the quote in question, but the international bankers did. And they had only recently had their man in Congress fool Wilson into signing the bill into law which created the Federal Reserve and gave them the power to regulate the money supply.

    I think it is more likely that Wilson was talking about a group of organizations of men in banking, business, and politics, similar to those we see today in the CoR and the CFR
  19. jonnyH

    jonnyH Active Member

    Yes he does:
    The FED is subject to annual external audit by Deloitte and Touche. The auditors' reports from 1995 to 2013 are available here within the FRB Annual Report.

    The audit and accountability regime is outlined in the 2013 report as follows:
    I'm getting off-topic though, this probably would be better explored in another thread.
  20. Whitebeard

    Whitebeard Senior Member

    If he was talking in 1913, the world political situation makes interesting study. There is any number of factors that could be relevant to "They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it."

    There is the growth of Marxism and anarchism in Europe, which would spark the Russian revolution four years later, something that was troubling a lot of governments around the world at the time.

    The international situation across Europe was becoming increasingly unstable. Britain, France and Germany were in an out of control arms race and, the Russian, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires were on the verge of collapse as internal strife was feeding a new wave of nationalism that was tearing them apart. The whole situation was propped by a fragile network of alliances and pacts that meant war was all but inevitable. As what came to pass in August 1914.

    Even the most establish of world empires such as Britain, France and Spain were facing a constant string of colonial revolts, separatist uprisings and nationalist movements that was also causing concern as it threatened to interrupt world trade. Pancho Villa's Mexican revolution or the first French Indo-china up rising for exmple

    A world wide women's suffrage movement was causing concern to political and business orders alike.

    The years preceding WW1 also saw the rise of trade unionism and an increasing demand for workers rights, again establishment apple carts being rocked....

    Reading the quote, it could be applied to any one of those issues and more. It is important that before using a 100 year old quote to 'prove' a modern 'conspiracy' or world view, you MUST fully explore and understand the historical, economic and political landscape of the time. You will all to often find that the context of the time shows far more relevance than any modern contextualisation.
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  21. A surprisingly boring thread. There are other more recent examples of the "most powerful man in the world" speaking about feeling powerless or persecuted. Eisenhower's Military industrial Complex speech is the classic example. Nixon seems to have believed he had enemies in the establishment beyond those he created. The Clintons did talk about a "vast right wing conspiracy." Personally I believe that the natural laws of history follow patterns which make us think there is a conspiracy. Monoplolies are the best example of this. Power accumulates to such a degree that it automatically reacts to any emerging power.
  22. Wilson Dawson

    Wilson Dawson New Member

    Yes, good points. Monopolies are conspiracies among the members of the people and companies forming the monopoly. Conspiracy has become a ruined word. Skeptics hurl it back at you as a pejorative, implying that you are crazy. Those involved in conspiracies promote this attitude as it benefits them. But most people who scoff at the idea of a conspiracy are not involved in one, they simply cannot conceive of or believe in most conspiracies. I think they are projecting, i.e. they have never been involved in anything or become aware of anything like what they hear suggested. And they believe other people are basically like they are in this respect. Hitler knew this as he explained when talking about the Big Lie. He said most people tell small lies, but would never tell really big outrageous lies. So they will believe big outrageous lies because they cannot believe anyone would make up and try to tell such a lie. The other psychological principle he took advantage of to sell the big lie is that people tend to believe something they hear over and over again.
    The FED has never had a complete audit. The owners of those banks also own oil companies, defense contractors, international corporations, etc. They inflate and deflate the economy at will. Pres Wilson never should have signed the legislation allowing them to issue our currency. The dollar has lost most of it's value since then.
  23. Phaldistimus

    Phaldistimus New Member

    Back to the text in question... It speaks of "Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture." It is reasonable to conclude that these men were in fact at the top of rather large monopolies themselves. And they were afraid of yet something else, something more "subtle" than a monopoly.
  24. MikeG

    MikeG Senior Member

    I am not sure how to take your meaning. Explain "subtle" and its direct relation to the passage in question.
  25. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    • Funny Funny x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  26. Phaldistimus

    Phaldistimus New Member

    He described it as a very subtle entity. Most monopolies I've heard of aren't terribly subtle.
  27. Auldy

    Auldy Senior Member

    What is your definition of subtle in this context? How many monopolies have you heard of from 1913 that were not "terribly subtle"?
  28. MikeC

    MikeC Closed Account

    why is it reasonable to conclude that? What is the evidence you use?

    It is also possible to conclude, for example, that the monopolies are much bigger in toto than the biggest men in them, so the men are afraid of the rest of whatever constitutes the monopoly...

    Regardless of your interpretation, the FACT is that the quote comes from a passage referring to monopolies.

    If there is a conspiracy here it seems to me it is one to ignore what was said and make a false meaning from it.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  29. MikeG

    MikeG Senior Member

    Well, you aren't really answering my question. You are giving me a personal impression as evidence of a particular monopoly's lack of subtlety.

    Let me give you a historical example from the pre-WWI period.

    If you go to Harrisburg, PA and look at the state archives, you can find incredibly elaborate regulation of railroad fees. The intent of Progressive regulation, back in the time of Woodrow Wilson, was to standardize shipping charges so that railroad monopolies could not selectively price competitors (both transportation and commercial businesses) out of the market. Monopolies often very selectively applied pressure at the local and regional level to eliminate competition.

    Pretty subtle when you think about it.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  30. Hevach

    Hevach Senior Member

    Possibly you haven't heard of many of the monopolies at work around you, then. Sure, most people know Monsanto has a stranglehold on seed corn (not just of the GMO varieties), and it's semi-common knowledge that virtually all of the companies that sell uncut diamonds are actually part of Debeers, neither company is particularly subtle about what they do to the markets.

    However, how many people know that nearly every brand of sunglasses in North America is from Luxotica? How about that almost every imported beer available in the US is either owned outright, owned in majority or significant minority stake, or has an exclusive import license with InBev? How about this one: Toshiba, Dell, HP, Sony, and Apple laptops are all manufactured by a single company? Or that the core ingredient in hundreds of brands of pet and human food come from a single company? How about zippers? Or internet porn?
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
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  31. Phaldistimus

    Phaldistimus New Member

    Wow! Thanks for your example, Mike. I would suggest that the mechanism(s) that sway(s) public opinion, or keeps all of Hevach's information absent from the minds of almost every American, is more subtle and more powerful than manipulation of prices. But these are grand accusations. Wilson also said it was very pervasive, determining who succeeds and who fails. So, of course, it would be functioning through monopolies in short order.
  32. MikeC

    MikeC Closed Account

    You haven't determined that "it" is anything other than monopolies....except perhaps to your own satisfaction.

    this is a common tactic - bypassing the discussion about whether "it" exists at all and proceeding to "how it would operate" and then treating that as "how it does operate".

    so no - I do not accept "So, of course, it would be functioning through monopolies in short order." as a legitimate point.
  33. Phaldistimus

    Phaldistimus New Member

    No, I was just doing the math, not theorizing or speculating much, really. Wilson has decided that "it" exists. The question the thread has been debating is what is "it"? Does Wilson think the power is the monopolies, a monopoly, or something else entirely? I merely point out that by his own statements, it does not matter, as "it" will have largely taken over the monopolies by then anyway and be virtually one and the same with them if "it" wasn't to begin with anyway. Although, in the next few lines, he uses the word "organizations" twice, which seems a rather vague term if what he really meant was "monopolies" or anything along those lines when he said "a power somewhere". [Sorry for this somewhat confusing text here. Dissecting someone else's text must lead to this cacophony...]
  34. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    forgive me if i'm confusing the issue, but did a quick search looking to see how "organizations" was used back then and found this (sorry text so small , had to shrink it to snippet it. )

    • Informative Informative x 1
  35. Phaldistimus

    Phaldistimus New Member

    Very true.
  36. MikeC

    MikeC Closed Account

    by this analysis of your own "it" and the monopolies are the same ...which is what everyone else has been saying......so it seems to me you have come a full circle and answered all your own questions by accepting what everyone else has been saying.

    If that is not the case then what is your point?
  37. MikeG

    MikeG Senior Member

    I'm not quite ready to give up on this conversation just yet. Can you identify "it" in the context of pre-WWI America?

    You seem to imply that monopolies were a means to an end.

    Who are you talking about? Please be specific to the period we are talking about.
  38. Phaldistimus

    Phaldistimus New Member

    Sorry for the slow response. Got pretty busy. Mike, you have a point; I do agree with the others. Yet I stop at Wilson's use of the word "something". It could be a colorful, ominous charicaturization of a purely monopolistic force, but it certainly leaves open the door of speculation about that. If he did believe that someone was using all this manipulation as a means to an end, he kept his voice just under his breath about it, didn't he. It seems he wanted to say more but couldn't or wouldn't. That's the way it reads to me. When I look at our world, I see a force like that, over the course of known history. As to Wilson's specific period, I wish I knew more, had more specific examples. We have always been taught to see things in certain ways: giant wars as normal, lying politicians as de rigueur, big industry as exciting, money as essential... It is so consistent; examples of this must abound in any period. There is nothing so subtle and pervasive as that which is so big that no one will question it.

    Please forgive me for not knowing more about the early twentieth. They don't teach it in schools much, but if you read certain material, you see that war resisters were quelled in that decade much the same way they are in our own lifetime. It was often worse for labor movements And the partnership between military endeavors and business today is not new. Is all this due to simply human nature? No. Humans tend to be more like sheep. These are the actions of wolves. If we take a step back and look at the world, we see the patterns. Looking for context? There's some context.

    I do study, but so do all of you. Surely you must see my point.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016
  39. Phaldistimus

    Phaldistimus New Member

    Either way though, Wilson is describing something sinister and subversive, and driving the point home about it. He might as well have called it "Bogeyman".
  40. MikeC

    MikeC Closed Account

    But he didn't - he called it monopolies.