The Allure of Conspiracy Theories


The gringa loves real science and also a thrilling science-fiction tale. I don’t get the two confused. I love to debunk a curious space related conspiracy theory and I have to admit I have believed my share of crazy conspiracy theories in my lifetime. However, there is a difference, I believe, between a person who entertains a conspiracy theory as a possibility, explores it for its entertainment value or believes one with the joint purpose of proving or disproving, and the person who is a whole-hearted conspiracy theorist. Where exactly is the line in the sand between the two psyches? Why are conspiracy theories so alluring to otherwise sound, reasonable minds?

Take for example the true believers in a  YouTube video  that contains audio claimed to belong to a Soviet Union era cosmonaut, the first Soviet woman in space, who was killed upon re-entry when her space capsule failed to withstand the re-entry burn.  The video/audio was debunked as a hoax by former NASA mission control technician James Oberg. His career encompasses space journalist, historian, author and he is fluent in the Russian language, an expert in Russia’s space program.

The hoax award can probably be given to the Judica-Cordiglia brothers who perpetrated multiple space related hoaxes throughout the 1960s. These Italian brothers liked to while away the time underground in an old bunker filled with electronic equipment. Although they claimed the equipment was for detecting radio frequencies filled with covert signals that they decoded and revealed to the public, the truth is it was their own private hoax production studio.

They also claimed to have captured the dying words of Vladimir Komarov, a Soviet cosmonaut whose spaceship burned up in re-entry. Back then the public must not have known what we know now… there is a radio blackout during re-entry as radiation and intense heat interfere with the viability of radio signals.

Although the gringa is certain the hoax videos and audios were highly compelling, the truth is equally, if not more, interesting. While Komarov encircled the Earth in a faulty space capsule he had what he knew was his last conversation with a Soviet official who was safely aground on Earth. It is reported that Alexei Kosygin was in tears as the two talked, knowing his comrade was doomed to a torturous death by suffocation in extreme heat before the capsule ever disintegrated into a ball of flames. The United States had listening posts in Turkey where Cold War spies eavesdropped on the emotional exchange as  Komarov vacillated between rage and despair at his horrible fate.

To make the tale even more gripping is the fact that Komarov’s gruesome death could have been completely avoided. The original plan was to launch a second capsule the day after Komarov’s launch. The two space vehicles were to dock together and Komarov would swap places with one of the two cosmonauts in the second vehicle.  This was all scheduled to coincide with the Communist revolution’s 50 year anniversary and was Brezhnev’s victory plan to reveal to the world Soviet superiority.

Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was slated for the second space capsule. He made a tour of Soyuz 1 with a group of technicians and they recommended a postponement of launch due to hundreds of flaws in the vehicle. Forwarding the recommendation, inspection report and a ten page memo to Brezhnev through a KGB friend, the buck stopped with the KGB. No one dared defy Brezhnev’s dream of glory because the KGB agent, Venyamin Russayev, as well as every other agent who had knowledge of the communique, were summarily demoted and shipped off to remote areas within the Soviet Union for convenient, out of the way service.

Komarov knew he was on a suicide mission but he went anyway. He is a true hero. When Gagarin’s KGB friend suggested to Komarov to simply refuse the mission, he explained that if he didn’t go, the government would send the cosmonaut who was next in line, which was Gagarin. Gagarin had tried to save Komarov’s life by recommending the mission be scrapped. Komarov turned around and gave his own life that Gagarin’s might be saved. If that’s not a hero, I don’t know what is.

Soyuz I launched April 23, 1967 and almost immediately began experiencing problems and mechanical failures. Due to these problems the second capsule’s launch was scrubbed from the schedule. U.S. National Security Agency analysts (fancy words that basically mean spies) recorded and translated what they could of Komarov’s communications to ground control. They describe a cosmonaut who knew he was going to die. Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin cried as he told Komarov he was a hero. American records reveal that when the descent parachutes failed, Komarov raged as he entered his death plummet.

This tragic story is as fascinating as it is sad. Why would anyone feel the need to believe a titillating conspiracy theory rather than the tragic truth? And this is not the only case where outrageous conspiracy theories have often been eclipsed by an even more fantastic truth. Consider the following conspiracy theories and their fans:

  • Da Vinci disciples who believe the mysteries in the book “The Da Vinci Code” are real yet the mystery of Da Vinci’s art is even greater than conspiracy fiction.
  • 9/11 Truthers who believe that the U.S. government murdered thousands of U.S. citizens yet is eclipsed by the intricacies of an ideological war by a small group of terrorists that have managed to capture the entire world’s attention, keeping everyone riveted with fear despite their very small numbers compared to the numbers of allied militaries fighting against them.
  • Birthers who believe that President Obama was not born a U.S. citizen is really quite boring when compared to the fascinating, tragic yet triumphant tale of how a young boy became president of the United States of America despite the statistical odds stacked against him.
  • Amelia Earhart fans who believe that she was abducted by extra-terrestrials yet the biography of this amazing, adventurous woman and the impact she has had on the lives of women for decades is so much greater than chasing shadows.
  • Osama bin Laden – conspiracy theorists believe that he is not dead and that the story of his body being dumped into the sea from a helicopter is a cover story. However, the account of the assassination plan by military special forces is the stuff that best selling novels are made of.
  • Princess Diana – conspiracy theorists believe that she was assassinated by the British Royal family and would rather believe such outrageousness when the life of not only this amazing princess but the entire House of Windsor can keep a person riveted to history books for weeks on end.

The gringa would like to know what makes a diehard conspiracy theorist tick. Experts say that they are more than your average skeptic. To selectively doubt certain scenarios or details that are reported by official agencies is normal. But when a critical political view morphs into believing in the omnipotent power of an elite shadow government ruling the world, a real conspiracy theorist is born.

Conspiracy theorists are not necessarily mentally ill despite the fact that they may believe some things that seem outright crazy, unreasonable or illogical. It is becoming such a widespread perspective, psychologists are categorizing it with its own empirical field definition. They explain that distrust is the underlying condition but it is the wrong kind of distrust. It is a form of distrust that is disconnected from critical thinking skills.

Although everyone has trust issues with someone at some point in their life, not everyone becomes a conspiracy theorist. When a person is able to hold on to the general opinion that most people in society are decent people worthy of measured trust, that trust growing as a relationship grows, that is a person managing distrust in a healthy way. However, once a person becomes so cynical that they believe that no one can be trusted, that everyone is out to get something over on everyone else, they are primed and ready to believe that the entire world is at the mercy of global elite puppetmasters.

Conspiracy theorists believe a distortion of the real truth that governments, though corrupt to varying degrees, do have within them some officials who are puppets serving elite interests in order to line their own pockets yet at the same time there are also officials who genuinely want to serve their people. And working within these governments are programs honestly designed to make the nation, as well as the world, a better place while at the same time operating alongside programs designed to enhance and broaden the scope of power for individual elites as well as the nation. So, a conspiracy theorist neglects to believe the good that is very real and their perspective lacks balance because it lacks the entire truth.

You see, cynicism is like a cancer. Once a person gets into that negative mindset, cynicism grows. At first Frank believes that his coworker, Joe, who got a promotion, somehow conspired to sabotage Frank’s chances at the promotion by telling tales behind his back. Once Frank convinces himself of this truth, rather than the real, ugly truth that he’s just a lousy worker unworthy of the promotion, Frank then has to include his other co-workers in the conspiracy when they object to his accusations against Joe. As Frank continues to stew in his own angry juices he soon believes it all started at the top with a boss who must surely hate him. Eventually he either quits or his behavior is so affected he gets fired. Such an experience will most certainly shape his behavior as he continues on to his next job.

Rather than accept the uncomfortable truth that another person excelled his own capabilities and deserved the promotion, rather than believe the nasty truth about self, that he scapegoated a co-worker and then blamed his other co-workers and, ultimately, his boss, rather than accept that he is the problem, Frank continues in blaming others because that is more convenient than believing an uncomfortable truth about self. By perpetuating this scapegoat mindset Frank becomes unfit for any job. As he continues this self-destructive cycle blaming others rather than practicing self-accountability, Frank must then begin to believe in a united business conspiracy of a network of people who just want to keep him down. Eventually this unreasonable paranoia will affect Frank’s view of pretty much everything in his life.

Eventually, Frank is just a very nasty, negative fellow who believes that everyone is out to get him. He concludes if that’s true about society and work environments, it’s not a stretch to then believe that the federal government also conspires against the little people for their own gain. Mainstream and official sources of information are rejected as “tainted” and Frank only relies on fringe journalism because those are the folks who really know what’s going on and haven’t sold their souls to the “establishment”.  Eventually, by his own selective exposure to views that agree with his personal angry-at-the-world perspective, Frank is a full-fledged conspiracy theorist, brainwashed by himself.

So, when you get right down to it, psychologists are right. Conspiracy theorists are not really mentally ill. They are really just Negative Nellies and Nasty Nelsons. It’s perfectly fine to be a Curious Casper and entertain conspiracy theories for entertainment value or as alternative possibilities to an accepted truth that does not have the evidence to completely prove it to be the truth. But keep things in perspective. Don’t be like Frank.

Sources:

www.npr.org

www.yahoo.com/news

www.slate.com

www.scientificamerican.com

time.com

Image Credit: http://www.topsecretwriters.com

 

Advertisements

POWs, MIAs, “We Will Never Forget” Part IV, H-J


In continuation of my blog post of Friday, August, 8, 2015, I will continue to list the names of the servicemen still unaccounted for from the Vietnam and Korean conflicts. The gringa will kindly remind dear readers that clicking on incident date, name, branch of service or side note will take the reader directly to a page regarding that serviceman that is linked with the website www.pownetwork.org. So, in honor of those POWs and MIAs considered with the November 9, 2000, immigration policy known as the “Bring Them Home Alive Act”, the following men are not forgotten:

17-Jul-72   HAAS LEON F.    USN

24-Jul-68    HACKETT HARLEY B.    USAF    (Photo)

06-May-69    HAGAN JOHN ROBERT    USMC

10-Jun-65   HAGEN CRAIG L.   ARMY   Last seen on ground, under fire

09-May-70   HAIGHT STEPHEN H.   ARMY

02-Aug-65   HAIL WILLIAM WARREN   USAF

08-Mar-71   HALE JOHN D.   ARMY

06-Feb-67   HALL DONALD J.   USAF

12-Apr-69   HALL FREDERICK M.   USAF

15-May-75   HALL GARY L.   USMC   Mayaguez Incident loss 05/15/75

10-Jun-65   HALL WALTER L.   ARMY   Last seen on ground, under fire

22-Mar-71   HALL WALTER R.   ARMY

11-MAR-68   HALL WILLIS ROSELLE   USAF   Not on Official DIA list – TDY CIV/LOCKHEED

24-Mar-67   HALLBERG ROGER C.   ARMY

28-Sep-68   HALPIN DAVID P.   USN

21-Apr-67   HAMILTON ROGER DALE   USMC

14-Mar-68   HAMM JAMES E.   USAF

10-Oct-68   HANDRAHAN EUGENE A.   ARMY   Photo

01-Jan-68   HANLEY TERENCE H.   USN

05-APR-70   HANNOTEAUX GUY   CIV

11-Jun-67   HANRATTY THOMAS M.   USMC

13-Aug-69   HANSEN LESTER A.   ARMY

05-Sep-67   HANSON THOMAS P.   USAF

02-Jul-70   HARBER STEPHEN J.   ARMY

27-Jul-67   HARDIE CHARLES D.   USN

12-Oct-67   HARDY JOHN K.   USAF

15-May-75   HARGROVE JOSEPH N.   USMC   Mayaguez Incident loss

17-Oct-67   HARGROVE OLIN JR.   ARMY

18-May-66   HARLEY LEE D.   USAF

19-May-65   HARPER RICHARD K.   ARMY

12-Jun-66   HARRIS GREGORY J.   USMC

22-Oct-66   HARRIS HAROLD L.   ARMY

13-Mar-67   HARRIS PAUL WINIFORD   USMC

12-Apr-66   HARRIS REUBEN   USN

29-Oct-68   HARRISON DONALD L.   ARMY

25-Feb-67   HART JOSEPH L.   USAF

21-Dec-72   HART THOMAS T. III   USAF   Remains Returned 02/21/85 – Id Rescinded

28-Nov-72   HARVEY JACK R.   USAF

15-Jan-71   HARWOOD JAMES A.   ARMY

21-Apr-67   HASENBACH PAUL A.   ARMY

01-Aug-68   HASTINGS STEVEN M.   ARMY

05-FEB-68   HATTON WILTON N.   USAF   Not on Official DIA list

22-Mar-68   HATTORI MASAKI   ARMY

05-Sep-70   HAUER ROBERT D.   USAF

30-Jan-73   HAVILAND ROY ELBERT   USN

11-Jun-67   HAVRANEK MICHAEL W.   USMC

20-Sep-65   HAWKINS EDGAR LEE   USAF

12-Sep-67   HAWTHORNE RICHARD WILLIAM   USMC

24-Aug-68   HEEP WILLIAM ARTHUR   USN

06-Feb-67   HEISKELL LUCIUS L.   USAF

13-Mar-68   HEITMAN STEVEN W.   ARMY

24-Jan-66   HELBER LAWRENCE N.   USMC

17-Apr-68   HELD JOHN W.   USAF

12-Nov-69  HELMICH GERALD ROBERT   USAF   

11-Sep-69   HELWIG ROGER D.   USAF

21-Oct-67   HEMMEL CLARENCE J.   USAF   (Photo)

24-May-72   HENN JOHN R. JR.   ARMY

13-Mar-66   HENNINGER HOWARD W.   USAF

19-Sep-66   HENRY DAVID ALAN   USN

17-Mar-68   HENSLEY THOMAS TRUETT   USAF

04-Mar-71   HENTZ RICHARD J.   ARMY

03-NOV-70   HERBERT MICHAEL P.   RAAF   Australian Air Force – remains located 07/2009

06-May-70   HERNANDEZ FRANK S.   ARMY

02-Sep-72   HEROLD RICHARD W.   USAF

10-Oct-68   HERREID ROBERT D.   ARMY

25-Mar-69   HERRERA FREDERICK D.   ARMY

27-Oct-69   HERRICK JAMES W. JR   USAF

01-Jan-68   HERRIN HENRY H. JR.   USN

31-May-66   HERROLD NED R.   USAF

21-Mar-68   HESFORD PETER D.   USAF   (Photo)

29-Mar-69   HESS FREDERICK W.   USAF   (Photo)

17-Jun-66   HESS GENE K.   USAF

06-Jul-66   HESTLE ROOSEVELT L JR.   USAF

29-Apr-75   HEUBECK ELMER K.   CIV

29-Apr-75   HEUBECK NIBRIT H.   CIV

14-Jan-64   HICKMAN VINCENT JOSEPH   USAF

25-Mar-69   HICKS PRENTICE W.   ARMY

15-Aug-68   HICKS TERRIN D.   USAF

17-Nov-65   HIEMER JERRY A.   ARMY

09-Jun-70   HILBRICH BARRY W.   ARMY

29-Dec-65   HILL ARTHUR S. JR.   USN

21-Jan-68   HILL BILLY D.   ARMY

15-May-67   HILL CHARLES DALE   USN

30-Jun-70   HILL GORDON CLARK   USAF

27-Apr-70  HILL JOHN R.   ARMY

28-May-68   HILL JOSEPH A.  USMC

02-Oct-69   HILL RAYFORD J.   USN

06-Dec-63   HILL RICHARD D.   USAF

18-Oct-66  HILL ROBERT L.   USAF

14-Feb-66   HILLS JOHN R.   USAF

14-Mar-66   HILTON ROBERT L.   USAF

08-Nov-67   HINES VAUGHN M.   ARMY

26-Apr-72   HIRONS ALAN   CIV   Not on Official DIA list

25-Mar-67   HISE JAMES H.   USN

29-Jan-66   HODGSON CECIL J.   ARMY

28-Nov-66  HOEFFS JOHN H.  ARMY

07-Jan-70   HOFF MICHAEL G.   USN

21-Jan-67   HOGAN JERRY FRANKS   USN

03-Jan-71   HOLGUIN LUIS G.   ARMY

11-Mar-68   HOLLAND MELVIN A.   USAF   Not on Official DIA list – TDY CIV/LOCKHEED

20-Jan-68   HOLLEY TILDEN S.   USAF

14-Dec-71   HOLLINGER GREG N.   ARMY

16-Jan-66   HOLLINGSWORTH HAL T.   USN

14-Dec-66   HOLMAN GERALD A.   USN

15-Mar-66   HOLMES DAVID H.   USAF

30-Dec-71   HOLMES FREDERICK   USN

29-Jan-69   HOLTON ROBERT E.   USAF

24-Aug-67   HOLTZMAN RONALD L.   ARMY

17-Aug-67   HOM CHARLES DAVID   USN

23-May-67  HOMUTH RICHARD W.   USN

10-Feb-66   HOPPS GARY DOUGLAS   USN

09-Apr-70   HORCHAR ANDREW A.   USN

29-Apr-75   HORTON PAUL L.   CIV   Left Saigon

24-Mar-70   HOSKEN JOHN C.   ARMY   Group I.D. 06/2001

16-Feb-71   HOSKINS CHARLES L.   USAF   (Photo)

30-Mar-75   HOSKINS THOMAS B.   CIV   Left Saigon 10/75

29-Jul-66   HOSKINSON ROBERT E.   USAF

30-Jun-67   HOUSE JOHN A. II   USMC

19-Apr-68   HOUSH ANTHONY F.   ARMY

07-Jul-70   HOWARD LEWIS J.   ARMY

30-Jun-67   HOWARD LUTHER H.   ARMY

07-Mar-72   HOWELL CARTER A.   USAF

18-May-65   HRDLICKA DAVID L.   USAF   Photo Published by Communists 07/66

17-Mar-68   HUBBS DONALD R.   USN

13-May-70   HUBERTH ERIC J.   USAF

23-Feb-68   HUBLER GEORGE L.   USMC

26-Sep-67   HUDDLESTON LYNN R.   ARMY

10-Feb-71   HUET HENRI   Civ

04-Jun-70   HUGGINS BOBBY GENE   USAF

29-Apr-75   HUGHES JOSEPH   CIV   Left Saigon 08/75

29-Apr-75   HUGHES RICHARD   CIV   Left Saigon 08/75

27-Feb-67   HUIE LITCHFIELD P.   USN

29-Mar-65   HUME KENNETH E.   USN

06-Mar-71   HUMMEL JOHN F.   ARMY

01-Feb-66   HUMPHREY GALEN F.   USMC   (Photo)

04-Nov-70   HUMPHREY LARRY D.   ARMY   Escaped custody to join VC – USA Today 20 Feb 86

24-Apr-72   HUNSICKER JAMES E.   ARMY

05-Feb-70   HUNSUCKER JAMES   USN   Released 02/28/70

13-Oct-68   HUNT JAMES D.   ARMY

28-Feb-68   HUNT ROBERT W.   ARMY

04-Nov-66   HUNT WILLIAM B.   ARMY

29-Oct-68   HUNTER JAMES D.   USA

10-Feb-66   HUNTER RUSSELL P. JR.   USAF

29-Apr-75   HUNTLEY CHAD   CIV   Expelled from Saigon 06/75

27-Sep-69   HUNTLEY JOHN N.   ARMY

13-Jul-68   HURST JOHN CLARK   USMC

06-Feb-68   HUSS ROY A.   USN 

28-Mar-68   HUSTON CHARLES G.   ARMY

05-Dec-65   HYDE JIMMY DON   USN

02-Aug-67   HYNDS WALLACE G. JR.   USAF

19-Nov-67   IANDOLI DONALD   ARMY

05-Jun-67    IBANEZ DI REYES    USMC

09-Jan-68   IRSCH WAYNE C.   USAF

31-May-70   ISHI TOMOHARA   CIV   Not on Official DIA list

27-Jun-69   JABLONSKI MICHAEL J.   ARMY

27-Jun-65    JACKSON CARL E.    USAF

23-Mar-72   JACKSON JAMES T.   USAF

21-Sep-69   JACKSON JAMES W. JR.   USMC

24-Dec-72   JACKSON PAUL V. III   USAF   (Photo)

25-Aug-67   JACOBS EDWARD JAMES JR.   USN

21-Apr-68   JAMERSON LARRY C.   ARMY

18-Apr-73   JAMES SAMUEL L.   USAF   Charred bodies found at crash site (Photo) 
Remains Returned 02 Jan 99    ID Disputed

09-Aug-69   JANOUSEK RONALD J.   USMC

25-Jul-67   JARVIS JEREMY M.   USAF

12-Mar-71   JEFFS CLIVE G.   USAF

08-May-68   JENNE ROBERT E.   ARMY

18-Feb-69   JEROME STANLEY M.   USN

04-Sep-65   JEWELL EUGENE M.   USAF

11-May-68   JIMENEZ JUAN M.   ARMY   Ground Attack, Possibly KIA

28-Jun-68   JOHNS PAUL FREDERCK   USAF

03-Feb-67   JOHNSON AUGUST D.   USN   Reported blown up by grenade in boat

10-Jun-65   JOHNSON BRUCE G.   ARMY

27-Oct-66   JOHNSON DALE A.   USAF

21-Apr-68   JOHNSON FRANKIE B. JR.   ARMY

21-Aug-66   JOHNSON JAMES R.   ARMY

20-Feb-71   JOHNSON RANDOLPH L.   ARMY

29-Jul-67   JOHNSON RICHARD HERMAN   USMC

01-Sep-67   JOHNSON ROBERT D.   USN

03-Dec-65   JOHNSON STANLEY GARWOOD   USMC

19-Jan-68   JOHNSON WILLIAM D.   ARMY

04-Jan-73   JOHNSTON STEVEN B.   USAF

28-Nov-72   JONES BOBBY M.   USAF

23-Nov-69   JONES GRAYLAND   ARMY

03-Oct-66   JONES JAMES E.   ARMY

12-Nov-66   JONES JAMES GRADY   USN

24-Apr-72   JONES JOHNNY M.   ARMY

29-Nov-67   JONES LOUIS F.   USAF   Remains Returned 11/20/2000 ID’d 11/26/2001
Family has NOT accepted ID as of 10/2002

16-Apr-72   JONES ORVIN C. JR.   USAF

06-Feb-68   JONES THOMAS P.   USN

12-Apr-66   JORDAN LARRY M.   USN

01-Apr-67   JOURDENAIS GEORGE HENRY   USAF

30-Mar-75   JUDSON LORENZO D.   CIV   Left Saigon 05/76

08-May-68   JURECKO DANIEL E.   ARMY

Photo courtesy: www.telegraph.co.uk

1952 Immigration and Nationality Act – The Big Red Flush


June 27, 1952 United States immigration policies changed, and not for the better. Commonly called the McCarran-Walter Act, the bill sought to exclude immigrants that were criminals, immoral,diseased, or political radicals, particularly communists. Anyone who had any association with communism could just forget about entry. The ban on all Asians was lifted, except for the Japanese.  Because of World War II, the Japanese were “out”, and the Chinese, the “good Asians”, were “in”. This was their reward for being such great allies in the war with Japan. Quotas would still exist, rigidly controlling entry according to ethnicity by nation of origin. However, if you were a good candidate for assimilation into the nation’s economy, society and political system, and, more importantly, white, odds were you’d get in. This was all done in the name of national security.

Because of the Soviet Union’s success at spreading the practice of Communism throughout China and Korea during the war, Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, co-author of the bill, and his congressional cronies considered communism to be the biggest threat to post-war America. Now, instead of being discriminated against because of race, a new form of discrimination based on ideology emerged. Anti-communism was the underlying tone throughout the legislation.

Prior to this bill, McCarran had been the driving force behind the McCarran Internal Security Act of 1950. This law required persons who were members of the American Communist Party to register with the Attorney General. The gringa is pretty certain this was not so they could be on the Attorney General’s Christmas card list. No, Big Brother was watching. Eventually, many of these folks would be rounded up as subversives and incarcerated under the authorization of Title II of that bill and its “loyalty clearance programs.” Under the umbrella of this bill’s authority, McCarran investigated Roosevelt and Truman’s administrations in efforts to flush out any communist infiltrators. The gringa thinks it’s safe to say that McCarren was most likely a passionate, commie hater.

It would also seem that McCarran did not harbor many warm sentiments toward Asians either. Journalist Phil Tajitsu Nash would look back at this legislation and conclude that it was “explicit racial discrimination against Asian immigration…” I mean, after all, annually it only allowed into the country 2,000 Asians indigenous to the area known as the “Asia-Pacific Triangle”. Countries within the “triangle” were allowed only 100 immigrants toward the quota. Also, even if a Chinese person was born in Europe, that person still counted toward the Asian quota.

Some immigrants enjoyed privileges where entry into the nation was concerned. If an immigrant already had a family member in the country, that person experienced preferential treatment in gaining entry to the nation. Such immigrants also did not count toward that ethnicity’s quota. And, if someone was from the Western Hemisphere it was practically guaranteed that person could enter the United States.

McCarran was not ashamed at all about his racist ideology. He introduced a quota system that practiced flagrant, open, ethnic bias. If you were British, Irish, or German, in other words, white, you got the preferred slot in the 70% of the immigrant quota set aside for these races. Now, if you were a skilled laborer, no matter what color your skin was, you had a pretty good chance of getting into the country. McCarran still liked the idea of importing labor that could be oppressed with no political representation as a non-citizen.

McCarran also seemed to have a great appreciation for the term “subversive”. That was a very present theme throughout the 1952 bill he co-authored. The immigration law of the land now could incarcerate a person, bar them from entry or deport them solely on ideological grounds. A person didn’t even have to do anything. They simply had to think about it or talk about it or write about. That means a person could be considered a criminal even if they were exercising their First Amendment right and talking in glowing terms about communism. Hell, the gringa would probably be considered a “subversive” and thrown in the slammer for writing something like this. My Caveman thinks it could still happen and tells me not to expect him on visiting day for getting myself in trouble with my big mouth.

The first time around, President Truman stamped the bill with a big fat veto. Remember, he viewed immigration policy from a more humanitarian point of view. He did not feel threatened by ethnic diversity. He recognized the discriminatory nature of the bill. At the time of Truman’s veto, he said, “The basic error of this bill is that it moves in the direction of suppressing opinion and belief… that would make a mockery of the Bill of Rights and of our claims to stand for freedom in the world.”

Truman rejected the bill on the grounds that it created a second-class status among citizens based on whether an American was born here or was naturalized.  Truman was so dissatisfied with the spirit of the legislation, he commissioned an investigation of the political implications of these immigration policy changes. The Presidential Commission on Immigration and Naturalization (PCIN) advised relaxing the policies of the Act. McCarran reacted to this by accusing the commission members of, wait for it, wait for it…. Yes, he accused them of being Communist sympathizers. Mmm Hmmm. Anger somebody and get an accusing finger pointed your way, labeling you a “subversive” or a “communist”. Your enemies would get their revenge by accusing you of being a Red. McCarran’s paranoia about Communism is reflected in his statement that if immigration controls were relaxed “in the course of a generation or so, [it would] tend to change the ethnic and cultural composition of this nation.” In other words, he was afraid the nation would become less white.

Despite Truman’s strong objections and veto, Congress had enough votes to support it anyway and it became the new immigration law of the land. Thus the era was ushered in of Communist hysteria which will always be remembered by rejection of immigrant hopefuls such as Colombian novelist and Nobel laureate, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Other Nobel laureates that were barred were British author Doris Lessing and Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. They were considered “undesirable aliens” because their ideology was unacceptable. In other words, they didn’t think they way Congress wanted them to think.

This Communist hysteria would culminate in the infamous trials and 1953 executions of the Rosenbergs. So, in 1952, not only was racism alive and well in the United States, but open, state-sanctioned intolerance of a specific ideology becomes the new social trend.

Sources:

http://library.uwb.edu/guides/usimmigration/1952_immigration_and_nationality_act.html

http://icirr.org/sites/default/files/IPC%20McCarran-Walter.pdf

http://immigrationinamerica.org/593-immigration-and-nationality-act-of-1952.html

Photo credit: www.foundsf.org

1924 Immigration Act: The New & Improved White America


Although eugenics was alive and well in American society in the early 1900’s, it wasn’t until 1924 that it could be called official policy of the United States. Immigration reform in 1924 was the permanent plan to shape the American population into a white capitalist utopia. For the next two decades, eugenics would be the law of the land.

May 26, 1924, immigration reform was enacted with the purpose of establishing a system of quotas to determine the number of immigrants that would be allowed entry into the United States. This new law was called “An act to limit the immigration of aliens into the United States, and for other purposes” (the gringa suspects they chose the wording “other purposes” rather than “weeding out the undesirables through the practice of eugenics”). The law was commonly known as The Johnson-Reed Act. The quota formula used census totals of each ethnicity and allowed two percent of each total to immigrate, except, of course, for the Asian immigrants who were still prohibited. Filipinos were granted immigration status because their land was U.S. territory. Japanese were allowed entry but their nation was cooperating with America in restrictive immigration policies. However, this new law would contain a statute to legally restrict Japanese immigration.

The political campaigns of California Senator James D. Phelan and California’s Attorney General, Ulysses S. Webb, were supported by the lobbying efforts of V.S. McClatchy, publisher of The Sacramento Bee. McClatchy claimed the Japanese did not assimilate to American culture and their “astronomical birth rate” was a cultural threat. As Japanese property ownership increased, the envy of the white majority caused them to consider the Japanese a menace. The gringa would have wagged her finger at these Americans who should have respected the work ethic of the Japanese which enabled them to prosper. The gringa has always been under the impression that was what “real” Americanism was all about. McClatchy stated that the Japanese “make more dangerous competitors in an economic way”. The gringa stands corrected. Racism inspired by greed was the “real” Americanism of 1924, keep the money and the power in the hands of the white majority.

In response to the American population’s racist attitudes toward the Japanese, a provision was then included within the Act to prevent entry into the country by any alien who was ineligible for citizenship. This meant a total ban for Japanese who, according to the Gentleman’s Agreement of 1907, could immigrate for purposes of work but were prohibited from naturalization. Despite Japan’s protest that this violated the 1907 agreement, the stipulation remained. Promoting eugenics was more important than a good relationship with the country of Japan. Japan, viewing the legislation as an insult, commemorated the day of May 26, 1924 as a national day of humiliation. Japanese passions were so incensed, a Japanese man publicly committed suicide outside the American embassy in Tokyo. This resentment would eventually grow and create the tensions that ultimately resulted in Japan becoming an enemy to the U.S. and engaging in an act of war, the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Once again the gringa has a new perspective on an important event in U.S. history. The educational propaganda of my youth never taught me this lead up to the Pearl Harbor event. The propaganda I was taught in history class was always the drill that we were the good guys, they were the bad guys. To be a good little patriot, the textbooks at my school were full of examples proving that the good ol’ U.S.A. was founded by people persecuted for their religious beliefs and created a nation that would be open to all and where all could be equal. Where were all the other historical facts? You know, like the ones I found when researching this article? The gringa can only cock her head, squint her eyes and point her finger at D.C. and say, “Japan was demonized for this attack yet it could have been prevented if the U.S. hadn’t been greedy racists who befriended them for profit, then stabbed them in the back for racism and profit, thus making an enemy of them.”

In 1921 the Emergency Quota Act had determined the ratio of quotas to be three percent of ethnic group census totals. The 1924 legislation would further restrict immigration by lowering this ratio to two percent of ethnic group census totals. In 1924, the American people demanded even fewer immigrants. In order to further squeeze the numbers, the new act established the use of census totals from 1890 rather than 1910. Also, rather than just tally the totals for ethnicities of foreign born people, the entire population of the U.S. was used. This resulted in a large, ethnically British group. These new methods served two purposes: (a) to increase the immigration potential for the British, as well as Northern and Western Europe while (b.) diminishing the immigration potential for Southern and Eastern Europe. This is yet another deliberate attempt at eugenics through immigration controls.

Northern Europe is represented by the countries of Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Northern Ireland, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, United Kingdom, and Wales. The countries of Western Europe are Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, and Switzerland. Eastern Europe is comprised of Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia Federation, Slovakia, and Ukraine. The countries of Southern Europe are Albania, Andorra, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey. It’s easy to see the line in the sand between white Europeans and Slavic/Mediterranean Europeans.

If anyone doubt’s the racist agenda behind this act, pay attention to the words of Detroit’s Republican Congressman Robert H. Clancy who, when debating the Act in Congress, defended Jews, Italians and Polish as Americans and described the bill as racially discriminate. He said, “…today it is the Italians, Spanish, Poles, Jews, Greeks, Russians, Balkanians, and so forth, who are the racial lepers… In this bill we find racial discrimination at its worst… so that a blow may be aimed at peoples of eastern and southern Europe, particularly at our recent allies in the Great War – Poland and Italy… Much of the animus against Poland and Russia, old and new… is directed against the Jew… We have many American citizens of Jewish descent… active in every profession… particularly active in charities… One of our greatest judges, if not the greatest, is a Jew. Surely no fair-minded person with a knowledge of the facts can say the Jews… are a menace… Italian-Americans… are found in all walks… of life… and make themselves good citizens… They do the hard work that the native-born American dislikes. Rapidly they rise in life…” He went on to explain that despite the fact that Italians only made up about four percent of the U.S. population, they comprised ten percent of our fighting force in World War I. Yet our country, because of racism, demonstrated no pride or loyalty toward this patriotic ethnic group within our nation. Clancy added, “… tens of thousands of Polish-Americans living in my district… are essentially home builders,… They learn the English language as quickly as possible… they become assimilated and adopt our institutions… in the World War the proportion of… volunteers of Polish blood was greater than the proportion of Americans of any other racial descent… they are at least entitled to justice… My mother’s father fought in the Civil War… to fight against racial distinctions and protect his country… I cannot stultify myself by voting for the present bill and overwhelm my country with racial hatreds and racial lines…”

Unfortunately when it comes to racial superiority, America has no sense of loyalty to any darker skinned nation that may have stood by us, strongly, in a time of trouble. To comprehend the direct results of this legislation, take a look at the numbers: from 1900-1910, about 200,000 Italians immigrated to the U.S. annually. The quota determined by the 1924 law resulted in less than 4,000 Italians entering annually yet over 34,000 could emigrate from Great Britain, although actual numbers put the average number of British immigrants at about 50,000 annually. Germans increased to an average 45,000 immigrants annually. From 1880-1924 about two million Jews entered, which translates to an average of 143,000 annually. One year after the passage of this law, only 10,000 Jews entered the country. Because of this legislation millions of Jews from France, Poland and Germany were denied visas and died at the hands of the Nazis. The country’s restrictive policy allowed only a few thousand of the highest educated into the country. Despite U.S. propaganda depicting itself as the friend of the Jews, the nation actually left these people to their fate in their enemy’s hands. The Americanism of 1924 was one of white supremacy and the opinion that foreigners threatened jobs and wages.

The obvious goal of American legislators was to continue to strengthen the Caucasian population and limit other ethnic groups. This would be the country’s immigration policy until the 1960’s and it stank to high heaven of eugenics. If the dear reader doubt’s the eugenics angle, let us then explore the interest groups representing eugenics who used biological arguments to promote immigration reform that favored Caucasian ethnic groups and restricted other ethnicities.

As early as 1914 the Surgeon General’s office was staffed with officers who were active members of eugenic groups and were responsible for the medical inspections of immigrants entering the country. Harry Laughlin, director of the Eugenics Record office, conducted a research program to determine ethnic origins for “hereditary defectives” that populated America’s prisons, mental hospitals and charity homes. This research was performed at the request of a political interest group, the Immigration Restriction League. The findings of this research were used to create the legal definition used by Congress to categorize “idiots, imbeciles, feeble-minded persons, epileptics, insane persons… persons of constitutional psychopathic inferiority… and mentally or physically defective…” people as those who were “likely to become a public charge” and therefore denied entry into America.

In 1920, Laughlin’s eugenics study was used by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Immigration and Naturalization to argue that the gene pool of America was being contaminated with immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe who were defective on intellectual and moral grounds. The restrictive immigration act of 1924 is a direct result of Laughlin’s eugenics research convincing Congress to reduce the number of “inadequate” ethnicities from entering the United States. Ultimately, eugenics wanted to halt altogether the immigration of Italians and Eastern European Jews. The motto coined by President Calvin Coolidge at the signing of the bill, that continued to be echoed throughout the white majority American population was, “America must remain American.” So, that meant, white.

The Jews were unacceptable because of their religion. The Italians were also unacceptable because of Catholicism. But what about those Eastern Europeans? Well, the gringa blames the Red Scare, which occurred during 1919 and 1920, for creating a nationwide fear and distrust aimed at these ethnicities. The civil liberties of these groups of people were abused as Americans feared something similar to the Bolshevik Revolution might occur on U.S. soil because of subversive activities of dissidents, communists and socialists. This resulted in an expression of passionate patriotism by the American people.

The U.S. propaganda machine, under the direction of George Creel, as head of the U.S. Committee on Public Information, used art, advertising and motion pictures to indoctrinate the masses and encourage Americans to report persons who spoke out against the war and in favor of peace. Americans were denied their liberty under the guise of patriotic protection of liberty. Sound familiar? The hypocrisy is obvious now, yet, caught up in the fervor, Americans were ignorant that the very liberty they thought they were protecting they were actually denying to others simply because they expressed a different opinion, philosophy or belief. Sounds a lot like what goes on today when peace proponents criticize the warmongers in D.C. and the “patriots” accuse them of being un-patriotic.

During World War I, the U.S. discovered that war was profitable for the nation. The country had no complaints about all those hard-working immigrants during the fat years. The wartime economy of America had almost nine million Americans employed in war related jobs and about another four million serving in the military. When the war ended, vast unemployment created economic trouble and worker unrest. And, guess who got blamed for all of that trouble? Yep, you guessed it, true to the pattern of the past, the immigrants who were “more different” than the eugenics ideal Caucasian American were to blame.

A socialist group in northwest America created a union which held a strike in 1919. Although no violence occurred, the workers were charged with attempting to incite a revolution. Seattle, where this occurred, became the rally point for nationalist propaganda. Subsequent worker strikes around the country were considered crimes and conspiracies against society and the government. Workers who involved themselves in union activities became more and more persecuted. Despite this, workers continued to unite across the country, demanding better pay and working conditions, such as Boston’s police force and the entire country’s steel industry. Many colleges were considered to be fertile ground for such communist and socialist radicals.

As a result of all of this unrest, in the spring of 1919 the American Legion was created. Their pamphlets declared their mission was to “to foster and perpetuate a one hundred per cent Americanism.” The question I ask is, “Who is defining what ‘one hundred per cent Americanism’ is?”  The Legion’s “patriotic” purpose in action was vigilante justice meted out to suspected “Red” radicals. Their notoriety was so great the phrase was coined, “Leave the Reds to the Legion”. Today’s American Legion posts holding their bingo nights and dances where they serve up gallons of beer to its members was headquarters to the very types of racist oppression we see modeled in KKK activities in the 50’s and 60’s, it was just a different ethnic group that was targeted.

The summer of 1919 delivered to America the General Intelligence Division of Bureau of Investigations with the Justice Department appointing J. Edgar Hoover as its leader. Hoover was to uncover Bolshevik plots and detain or deport all involved conspirators. Civil liberties was the price the nation paid as the nation ignored its own Constitution that guaranteed all equal liberty and protection to all. Freedom of speech, the legal right of all on American soil since December 15, 1791, was all but forgotten if your speech disagreed with what was defined as “American”.

So, what happened to finally soothe this nationalist fervor against people who just didn’t quite fit in and had strange political ideas? Newspapers started feeling the pain in the pocket book when anti-sedition policies interfered with their sensational, headlining stories that sold lots of newspapers. Big industry began feeling the pain in their wallets as well when they realized much of their cheap labor was either in jail or on a boat back home. Racist America began realizing they had shot themselves in their own foot with their bigoted behavior. They decided it was time to behave so the good times could continue to roll. The tables turned and the Americans who had gone after the “Commies” with a rabid vengeance now turned on the “Commie” hunters. Once again we see that true “Americanism” is about pure capitalism with loyalty to no idea or person. Loyalty is solely to the almighty dollar and how to earn another one.

Once patriotic passions had calmed, legislators created the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 as a temporary measure to stem the tide of the immigrants who were considered to be the instigators of all the social trouble of 1919 and 1920. The Immigration Act of 1924 was to be the permanent solution. Purposely left off of the quota list were the Latin ethnicities who were immigrating through Mexico and provided much of the nation’s cheap farm labor. These people would become the new class of cheap imported labor to replace the troublemakers from Southern and Eastern Europe. Specific wording of the legislation defined “non quota immigrants” as originating from Canada, Newfoundland, Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, The Dominican Republic, peoples from the Panama Canal Zone, and Central and South America.

Inspired by the trend of eugenics, it is easy to see the philosophy of Madison Grant as instrumental in the expected goal of this legislation. In his book “The Passing of the Great Race”, penned in 1916, he teaches that eastern Europeans were physically and mentally substandard to Protestant society that descended from northern and western Europeans. He proposed that population controls must be put into place in order to protect the quality of life of current society. The legislation of 1924, specifically the immigration reform that was contained in that pile of paperwork, was the culmination of eugenics. For the next twenty years the population of America would be groomed to be populated by a majority of people of British, and Western and Northern European ancestry. That was the Americanism of 1924, the nation wanted a new and improved white America.

Sources:

https://history.state.gov/milestones/1921-1936/immigration-act

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/coolidge-signs-stringent-immigration-law

http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/europe.htm

http://www.eugenicsarchive.org/html/eugenics/essay9text.html

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5078/

http://immigrationinamerica.org/590-immigration-act-of-1924.html

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/SaccoV/redscare.html

http://newsmine.org/content.php?ol=coldwar-imperialism/hoover-red-scare-1919/hoover-red-scare-1919-ch1.txt

http://www.upa.pdx.edu/IMS/currentprojects/TAHv3/Content/PDFs/Immigration_Act_1924.pdf

http://encyclopedia.densho.org/Immigration_Act_of_1924/

Photo credit: www.hsl.virginia.edu