“I’m Convinced That The Whole National Review Is A CIA Operation” — Murray Rothbard

This powerful Rothbard quote, cited by journalist John Judis in his article, “William F. Buckley, Jr., The Consummate Conservative,” in the September 1981 edition of The Progressive, reveals one of the biggest secrets of the past 70 years — how after WWII and the birth of the National Security State in 1947, the Central Intelligence Agency created, fostered, and molded the synthetic ideological movement known as “Conservatism.” This subject is briefly outlined in my LRC articles, “How the CIA Bamboozled the Public For 70 Years,” and The Phony Legacy of William F. Buckley, Jr., the former also dealt with the CIA’s covert interaction with the non-Communist Left and Cold War Liberalism.

From the crucial time before the American government’s formal entrance into World War II, establishment elites have fostered an ongoing series of elaborate intelligence operations based on psychological warfare and propaganda aimed at manipulating public opinion and attitudes in regards to the projection of American state power and interventionism. These operations, both covert and overt, have been one of the central props of the National Security State. It was out of these CIA-funded disinformation campaigns which emerged the key ideological voices of the mainstream media and its adjuncts in academia, whether marching under the unfurled banners of social democracyliberalismconservatism, or neoconservatism. For the past 70 years, “responsible public policy debate” has been confined to the narrow perimeters set by these establishment-sanctioned gatekeepers and mouthpieces.

It was “former” deep cover CIA agent Buckley and intelligence community veterans of the OSS and CIA (James Burnham, Wilmoore Kendall, Priscilla Buckley, and William Casey) who launched National Review, which became the premier publication of this phony “conservative movement.” Buckley called Burnham, who had been a leading Trotskyist communist, WWII consultant for the Office of Strategic Services, and later head of the Political and Psychological Warfare division of the Office of Policy Coordination of the Central Intelligence Agency, “the number one intellectual influence on National Review since the day of its founding.” Buckley and NR shaped and set the stentorian dogmatic tone for such “conservatives” for decades, purging and declaring any alternative voices on the Right anathema. Author John T. McManus, in his critical biography of Buckley, described him as the “Pied Piper for the Establishment.”

In the 1930s and 1940s there was the non-interventionist Old Right of libertarians and nationalists opposed to the welfare-warfare State’s domestic and foreign policies of FDR’s New Deal and Harry Truman’s Fair Deal. They believed in a constitutionally limited and decentralized federal republic, peace and diplomacy not war and empire. The populist grassroots masses of the Old Right were opposed in several presidential elections (1936-1952) by the anglophile northeastern seaboard establishment forces within the nexus of the Morgan and Rockefeller Wall Street financial blocs. The National Security State believed this Old Right must be marginalized and destroyed. This process, as I alluded to above, began during World War II, and accelerated with the virulent covert action insurgency against Old Right figurehead Senator Robert Taft by the elite establishment Eisenhower forces led by the ardent internationalist patrician, Boston Brahmin Henry Cabot Lodge, at the 1952 GOP presidential convention, and continued unabated up to the foundation of National Review.

Here are four exceptional sources which detail this fascinating but little-known story.

The first is an article from the October 1998 edition of the Rothbard-Rockwell Report (the predecessor of It is entitled, “Neoconservatism and the CIA,” by Greg Pavlik.

In this telling except from his semi-autobiographical memoir, The Betrayal of the American Right, Murray Rothbard, delved into the central question raised by the title of this blog: “In the light of hindsight, we should now ask whether or not a major objective of National Review from its inception was to transform the right wing from an isolationist to global warmongering anti-Communist movement; and, particularly, whether or not the entire effort was in essence a CIA operation.” Rothbard goes on to show how the CIA’s public intellectuals at NR maliciously waged war upon the remnants of the Old Right.

The third item is a 1992 speech delivered by Rothbard to the John Randolph Club entitled, “A Strategy For The Right, which further developed his searing analysis of how the Buckleyites transformed the non-interventionist, anti-statist sentiments of a large segment of American public opinion in the brutal totalitarian direction sought by the National Security State.

And lastly there is “Swine Before Perle — The ‘National Review’ Attack on LRC,” by Richard Cummings, which brings this sordid story up to the time of the Iraq War.

12:22 pm on August 4, 2017