Are you surprised that a right-wing tool like Ann Coulter is a big fan of the Grateful Dead? You shouldn’t be.
The “paradigm shift” of American culture in the 1970s – the rise of mindless Coulter-like selfish individualism as passionate ideology now seen in the religious right and the Tea Party – was the consequence of a concerted covert operations effort by pro-fascist elements of the post-World War II intelligence community and their military-industrial-corporate masters.
The mass proliferation of LSD and other drugs to the youth of the nation during the 1950s and 1960s, known as the CIA’s “Project MK-Ultra,” was accompanied by an intelligence engineered and media-orchestrated elevation of the anarcho-hedonist beat culture of the East Village to the social limelight.
Rather than face down the youth-driven surge of progressive values in that era, which sought to enfranchise the disenfranchised, these sinister operations were deployed to subvert them from within.
Drugs were a major but not the only component in this, especially LSD because of its proven ability to break down moral resolve and to leave individuals with an amorphous, ill-defined lack of constructive perseverance. It was cheap and easy to proliferate, much as heroin was in the nation’s ghettos in the 1960s.
In music, social protest, anti-war and social bonding (love song) lyrics popular before were replaced by psychedelic, angry and repetitive disco alternatives.
On the streets, wanton violence and chaos constituted another cornerstone of this project, with professional provocateurs riling up drugged and socially-marginalized elements to destabilize serious civil rights efforts. These operations ranged from the urban riots of the mid-1960s to the antics of the so-called Yippies, the terrorist Weather Underground and militant groups like the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA).
In prisons, where more and more young people found themselves as a result of the chaos and drugs of the 1960s, vigorous covert operations organized racially-tinged hate groups.
In the hippie counterculture, the game plan was also to organize the alienation of the socially and economically marginalized, and the hippie mantra to repudiate the social bonds with parents and family created more and more of them.
The answer for the marginalized in this new paradigm was a combination of anarchistic rage, an extinction of the ego and a desire for “belonging” that abusive religious and other cults and communes exploited.
The rise of “small group therapy” and ego-stripping models, perfected at the Esalen Institute in California and elsewhere, swept up legions of the young, turning their attention away from concerns for social and economic justice and an end to war, to their internal feelings, especially the sense of inadequacy and weakness. The ego was blamed, and the result of effective “therapy” of this type was a mewling follower of leads provided by cult leaders and dominant, orchestrated fads and trends.
While some cults had eastern religions as their model, others formed the basis for the rise of the Christian right. These cults, like the Children of God, obsessed their followers (captives) with the preeminence of the conditions of their own souls, and not any wider social concerns.
Thus, the idea of “personal salvation” replaced social justice at the center of consciousness for such persons, and that eased their transition into the larger domain of fundamentalist churches. The churches, which had similar emphases on personal salvation, had nonetheless never before been political.
Not, that is, until the counterculture cults swarmed them, and with direction coming from their intelligence community puppet masters, they inspired an explosion of right-wing political reaction.
It was a masterful stroke for the forces of ill will: they created cult-versus-cult wars in the 1970s, and found that the antipathy that could be fueled by setting their new religious right creation against gay liberationists was particularly useful.
So, the Anita Bryant-inspired social wars of the late 1970s swelled the ranks of the marginalized on both sides and, armed with a noxious if untidy mix of fundamentalism, Ayn Rand and Neitzchian might-makes-right, Social Darwinist and radical individualist anarchist ideology, the right-wing Reagan revolution was launched in 1980.
Sorting out and solving today’s political morass requires exposing and deconstructing this unsavory history.