Executive Intelligence Review
This article appears in the April 20, 2007 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

From Hippies to Hedge Fund Operators:
The Case of Jeff Skoll

by Harley Schlanger

The evolution of Jeff Skoll from a tech entrepreneur to a leading figure in promoting the anti-science global warming hoax pushed by the racist from Tennessee, Al Gore, provides a textbook case in how the degeneration associated with the domination of our culture by Baby Boomers has brought civilization to a moment of a final, existential reckoning.

Though not a Boomer himself—Skoll was born in 1965—he is clearly a product of the convulsions unleashed by the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) through its creation of the counterculture, by its brainwashing of the Baby Boomer generation, following the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. After receiving an MBA at Stanford University, the Canadian-born Skoll joined Pierre Omidyar in creating eBay, which began as Auction Web, an online flea market. When eBay went public in 1998, Skoll became a billionaire overnight (as did many of the dot.com "innovators," despite the fact that few of their dot.com creations survived much beyond the bonanza of the Initial Public Offering). He retired from eBay in 2000, taking $2 billion with him. He has used that fortune to bankroll Oxford University's Skoll Center for Social Entrepreneurship, from which he has been promoting operations such as Gore's climate hoax, and to set up Participant Productions, a movie company in the news after its Gorey, lying production, "An Inconvenient Truth," won an Oscar this year for Best Feature Documentary.

Skoll described his goal for Participant, in an interview with Wired magazine, as a way to utilize the "power of stories to make a difference." He said he had been aware, since childhood, that "the world was going the wrong way: environmental degradation, new diseases, terrible weapons. And I thought, wouldn't it be great to write stories that got people involved before these problems could get even bigger?"

As part of its operations, Participant creates partnerships with activist groups, organizing "action campaigns" to accompany each film, and a website to create a network to follow through in solving "these problems."

Skoll's current operations bring together the various components of the counterculture, which have become institutionalized as the present Boomer culture: a decentralized, anti-hierarchical, post-industrial "information" age, which has been fueled by "networking," and advanced by the "tech revolution," with its promise of "democratizing" the workplace and "freeing individual creativity." This has been aided by a persistent, vicious attack on real science, as the Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) has demonstrated in its exposé of the fraud perpetrated by Gore, who uses Sophistry and outright lies to push his racist Malthusianism, in the garb of "climate science."[1]

Skoll's personal immersion in this culture is demonstrated by his admission that two of the seminal influences in his development were Ayn Rand, the rabid free market "Greed is the Highest Good" sex cultist, and Aldous Huxley, the drug-pushing brother of eugenics promoter Julian Huxley. The evolution of the Boomers from "hippies" to hedge fund operators demonstrates that Rand and the Huxleys are not-such-strange bedfellows![2]

The Triumph of 'Market Populism'

There is another aspect of this, which is not immediately evident. This paradigm, which emerged in the mid-1960s, after the assassination of President Kennedy, as a post-industrial society, is responsible for the orgy of speculation of the present hedge fund-dominated financial system, which has been promoted under the guise of "market populism," and is threatening imminently to blow out the collapsing world financial system. Along with the achievement of hegemony of the Boomer counterculture has been the march of the radical anti-state monetarists, with Stanford's George Shultz leading the charge. While the hippies were "tuning in, turning on, and dropping out," the monetarists were establishing their own hegemony over economic policy, not just burying the memory of Franklin Roosevelt, but building a new globalized empire as the antithesis to his revival of the American System of economics.

Shultz and the economic neo-cons won that fight—at least temporarily—by co-opting the anti-authoritarian "feelings" of the Boomer generation, and turning them against government, and against the "experts," the "elitists," i.e., those who maintained a commitment to the positive role of government, based on the history of successes of the Leibnizian American System of physical economy, demonstrated most recently by the results of the anti-Depression policies of FDR, which were based on his re-application of that American System.

In contrast, Shultz et al. argue, on behalf of financial oligarchs of the City of London and their Wall Street allies, that the FDR/American System paradigm is authoritarian and undemocratic, as it uses the power of government to usurp the freedoms of the "people." FDR's New Deal was "anti-business," they claim, and prevented corporations from providing consumers the goods they want and need, at prices they could afford. This market populism emerged triumphant in the 1980s, as the people-as-victims-of-big-government were rallied by President Ronald Reagan's pledge to "get the government off our backs."[3]

This argument was used to push through radical deregulation policies, beginning in the late 1970s—first, in Great Britain under Margaret Thatcher, the same Thatcher who was the first head of state to push the hoax of man-made global warming—but it really took off in the U.S. under Reagan. It was sold under the broad heading of free trade, as "globalization." It should have been seen for what it was, a transparent fraud, imposed for the benefit of the corporate cartels and speculators, as a new version of the old Anglo-Dutch imperial game: cheap raw materials, cheap labor through outsourcing, disinvestment in infrastructure—it was the exact opposite of FDR's policies. It trashed the General Welfare, in favor of the short-term "bottom line" for increasingly monopolized corporate cartels. From the 1980s to the present, we have lived through one financial bubble after another, with the gap between those in the lower 80% of family-income brackets and those in the upper 20% growing wider every year, with the real physical economy contracting further after each bubble popped.

Is this what the leaders of the Baby Boom generation had in mind, when they proclaimed their commitment to rebel against authority, to bring "power to the people?"[4]

The Prescience of LaRouche

It must be noted, at this juncture, that Lyndon LaRouche is the one commentator who was on to the degeneration of the Baby Boomers almost from Day One. His writings on this topic today are not the musings of a "Johnny-come-lately" social critic, but as one who was on the scene as the '68ers first emerged as a visible force, attempting to steer that generation from the self-destructive course mapped out for them by the likes of the Huxleys and their collaborators.

He wrote prolifically then, as now, to offer an alternative to what he has recently described as the rush of a generation, "like fabled lemmings, toward the waiting rocks below," hoping for one last Dionysian orgy before the end.[5] In now-classic pamphlets, such as "The New Left, Local Control, and Fascism," he warned of the susceptibility of the Boomers to the fascist outlook promoted by the Huxleys and Lord Bertrand Russell, this time around, in the guise of a "peace movement" to counter the "evils of modern science," in the form of "out-of-control" technology.

LaRouche's prescience regarding the direction of the Boomers derived from his insights into the influence of Norbert Wiener, whose promotion of "cybernetics" was a conscious attack on the Classical scientific method of Johannes Kepler. Instead of the pursuit of universal physical principles, of the sort discovered by Kepler in his work on gravity, and the harmonic ordering of our Solar System, Wiener's theory of cybernetics came from his study of the mathematics of self-regulation in anti-aircraft missiles. From this, he advanced a theory of "information," which he applied to social organization, for the purpose of social control and manipulation.

Of his theory, Wiener himself was unambiguous. He wrote that "the study of ... effective messages of control constitutes the science of cybernetics."[6]

Wiener's work was not done in isolation. From 1942 through 1946, he collaborated with a group of social-control freaks under the sponsorship of the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, working to develop a mathematical construct from which to advance what he called a "theoretical understanding of all voluntary or purposeful behavior."[7] His collaborators included Gregory Bateson, Margaret Mead, John von Neumann and Kurt Lewin, as well as Max Horkheimer, the head of the Frankfurt School.

This was not a collection of serious scientists, but a hit-team focussed on a social engineering project, working on concepts which could be employed to shift the outlook of the U.S. population in the post-World War II era away from the scientific and technological optimism generated by President Franklin Roosevelt's successful reorganization of the nation. In attacking the creative method of real science, that associated with Kepler and Leibniz, they reduced human creativity to an interface between man and machines, as organisms through which bits of information flow, and are processed.

It was from this network that the utopian concept of "artificial intelligence" was posited, as an outgrowth of cybernetic systems research.

This "Cybernetics Group" worked closely with another gang of social engineers, those involved in the CIA/British intelligence project, which created the rock-sex-drug counterculture, a group which included Aldous Huxley and his LSD-pushing spawns, such as Dr. Timothy Leary, and Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters.[8]

It was this interface, which Lyndon LaRouche correctly identified as it was unfolding, which is responsible for the pathetic lemming-like behavior of today's Baby Boomers, who are lining up behind Gore's fraud. The counterculture has been the driving force behind the emergence of the post-industrial society, globalization, the fiasco of the "New Economy" of the 1990s—including the economically indefensible, hyperinflated dot.com bubble—and the unregulated overripe hedge-fund casino economy of this decade.

Stewart Brand and the Futurologists

The interface between the cybernetics group and the rock-sex-drug counterculture in shaping the so-called cyberspace revolution has been the subject of several recent book-length studies. John Markoff of the New York Times revealed how these two phenomena jointly created the personal computer industry in What the Doormouse Said. A second contribution comes from Fred Turner, who wrote "From Counterculture to Cyberculture."[9]

While each provides a wealth of intelligence, drawing out the connections between the two groups, which operated in close proximity in the San Francisco Bay Area and at Stanford University, the authors end up offering a defense of the Boomers and the counterculture. They argue that it was the anti-authoritarian libertarianism of the generation which transformed the computer industry and the Internet from being a tool of social control and military power in the hands of the Military-Industrial Complex, to being a force for individual liberation! This analysis fits the personal conceit of Stewart Brand, who was a key link between the two groups.

Brand's Whole Earth Catalog served as an entry point into the digital utopia of cyberspace, in which he believed a new ethic of communitarianism would replace existing hierarchical structures. Turner writes that Brand, who dropped acid with Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey, while talking cybernetic theory with Douglas Englebart and other pioneers in computer sciences, worked "to create the cultural conditions under which microcomputers and computer networks could be imagined as tools of liberation," while portraying "technological production and research as hip."

Markoff and Turner seem to take the self-promoter Brand at his word. Brand titled a paean to himself and his fellow Pranksters, which appeared in Time magazine on March 1, 1995, "We Owe It All to the Hippies." In it, he brags, "Newcomers to the Internet are often startled to discover themselves not so much in some soulless colony of technocrats as in a kind of cultural Brigadoon—a flowering remnant of the '60s, when hippie communalism and libertarian politics formed the roots of the modern cyberrevolution. At the time, it seemed dangerously anarchic ... but the counterculture's scorn for centralized authority provided the philosophical foundations of not only the leaderless Internet but also the entire personal-computer revolution."

Brand was promoting the idea that it was the rebellion of the counterculture which was responsible for the dramatic economic transformations associated with the computer in advancing post-industrial society since the mid-1960s, and Markoff and Turner bought it.

What they miss is that it actually worked the other way around. Wiener's cybernetic theory was a foot-in-the-door to destroy science, by shifting the goal of scientific work from making discoveries of universal physical principles, to creating mechanisms of social control. In doing this, Wiener and his collaborators were applying the anti-human, anti-science mathematical-philosophical system of Lord Bertrand Russell to a generation, almost as a lab experiment! By combining his "information theory" with the Dionysian pleasure-seeking rock-sex-drug counterculture, the financial oligarchy which Russell represented, and which backed Wiener, which despised FDR's resurrection of the American System, created a generation which could move seamlessly from the technological optimism of the New Deal to the anti-science, anti-production orientation of post-industrial society.

This combination provided the basis for the attack on blue-collar production workers that was written into the founding documents of the "New Left," the Port Huron statement of June 1962, which was called by one of its authors, Tom Hayden, "an agenda for a generation";[10] and in the "Triple Revolution" manifesto of March 1964, with its promise of plenty, due to the "great potential of cybernation." This piece of Sophistry, in which Tom Hayden appears again as an author, argues, "In the developing cybernated system, potentially unlimited output can be achieved by systems of machines which will require little cooperation from human beings."

Thus, the Boomer generation, believing it was freed from both productive labor, and the need to make new discoveries to increase scientific and technological progress, could "do its own thing!" Brand, in his Time magazine piece, wrote that, for the hippies, " 'Do your own thing' easily translated into 'Start your own business,' " words taken to heart by the tech "entrepreneurs" such as Skoll and other future Bay area dot.com billionaires.

The Destructive Alliance of Gore and Newt

Some readers, trapped by the axioms of contemporary political science, may be confused by the above section. Wasn't the New Left really left-wing? Wasn't the counterculture the spawning ground of anti-business activism? Isn't Al Gore just a big, hypocritical liberal?

The erroneous beliefs implied by these questions may pass for intellectual analysis on the Rush Limbaugh show, or on Fox News, but actually represent nothing but noise designed to obfuscate the truth: The New Left was set up to recruit Boomers to adopt fascist ideology; the counterculture has been used to destroy the FDR economic paradigm, and restore the old Anglo-Dutch liberal paradigm, now called "globalization"; and Al Gore is a Tennessee racist who is personally profiting from the speculative hedge funds set up to make a killing from bio-foolery and carbon markets.

While Gore's personal actions on behalf of the global fascist Anglo-Dutch empire have been fully covered in recent issues of the EIR, a further clue as to his intent comes from his alliance with former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, when they were leading members of the Congressional Clearing House for the Future, which was established in 1978. With the collaboration of Alvin Toffler—whose theory of the "Third Wave" is another name for post-industrial society—they conspired to "Reinvent Government," so that government would no longer stand in the way of speculators, for whom regulations represent a constraint on innovation, i.e., innovative ways to loot the physical economy and the labor force![11]

Gore and Gingrich worked to deregulate every sector of the U.S. economy; they were early backers of free-trade agreements, such as NAFTA and GATT, which have furthered the outsourcing of U.S. jobs, through taking down the U.S. manufacturing sector; and they were vehement defenders of post-industrial society, arguing that we have now entered a "weightless" economy, in which wealth is no longer produced, but made through trading.

The broad goal of their alliance is the destruction of the sovereign nation-state. A leading backer of this was Citicorp chairman Walter Wriston, whose book, Twilight of Sovereignty: How the Information Revolution is Transforming Our World, lets the cat out of the bag, for those paying attention.

Wriston, who was an outspoken proponent of banking deregulation, and whose bank grew enormously after its implementation, literally drools over the potential to make money through speculation, especially on currencies no longer protected by national governments. For him, the destruction of the lives of millions, through the dismantling of the industrial economy, is a small price to pay—perhaps "collateral damage"—given the new wealth that can be made through financial speculation.

The full embrace of post-industrialism is evident in the opening words of his tract: "Intellectual capital is becoming more important than physical capital. Indeed, the new source of wealth is not material, it is information, knowledge applied to work to create value. The pursuit of wealth is now largely the pursuit of information, and the application of information to the means of production (emphasis added).

"The information technology, which carries the news of freedom, is rapidly creating a situation that might be described as the twilight of sovereignty...."

Gore and Skoll: Hedge Funds and the New Eugenics

The hoax of "man-made global warming" pushed by Al Gore and Jeff Skoll is a further product of the merger between the hippies of the late 1960s and the libertarians of the von Hayek/Milton Friedman school. Those, such as Stewart Brand and Alvin Toffler, who assert that they are liberating society from the shackles of a previous, outmoded industrial paradigm, are actually marching to the beat of George Shultz and Walt Wriston, serving as the shock troops against the nation-state and its uniquely American constitutional promise of defense of the General Welfare.

They are not motivated primarily by greed—though a glance at the corpulent figure of Gore, the astronomical fees he is receiving from right-wing ideologues, such as Sebastián Piñera of Chile, and his reinvention as a hedge fund operator, indicate he is being well-compensated for his activities.

However, underlying all the hype and nonsense about the New Economy and post-industrialism, is a profound hatred for mankind. The "weightless" economy cannot support the more than 6 billion people who inhabit our planet. Speculation on corn futures, as part of the biofuel mania, has already led to a major inflation of food prices. The effects of carbon caps and carbon trading, as part of Gore's "solution" to global warming, will mean a cap on economic development of the world's poorest nations, condemning as many as several billion people to extreme poverty and miserable deaths.

While it may seem "cool" to the Boomers who are following Gore to think that they can become rich while "saving the planet," the reality is quite different. Those Boomers are merely stroking their inflated egos, while cooking up schemes to make the kind of big bucks that Skoll made from eBay, patting themselves on the back with their delusions that they are the "Golden Generation."

The number of human beings who will die, if Gore and his followers are not stopped, would make even Hitler "Green" with envy.

[1] For more on the whole global warming/climate change hoax, beginning with coverage of the bio-fuel swindle in the feature "Bio-Foolery is Causing 'Food Shocks,' " see EIR Jan. 26, 2007); also "Is U.S.A. Drowning in Its Gore? The Great Luddite Hoax of 2007," by Lyndon LaRouche, and "Cosmoclimatology, Kepler and Moon's Model of the Nucleus," by Laurence Hecht (EIR, March 9, 2007). For daily updates on Gore's hoax and the campaign to defeat it, go to the "Breaking News" section of larouchepac.com.

[2] For background to Gore's predilection for racist eugenics, of the sort promoted by Julian Huxley, see "The Freaks Who Created Al Gore," by Anton Chaitkin, Leandra Bernstein, and Michele Steinberg (EIR, April 6, 2007).

[3] The market populism of the Shultzians is not new, as shown by FDR-allied economist John Kenneth Galbraith in his study of the 1929 stock market crash (The Great Crash, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1988, p. 70), in which he quotes Princeton University economist Joseph Stagg Lawrence, who presented a Greenspan-style defense of the stock bubble on the eve of that crash, railing against those "elites" who warned that the market was overvalued, arguing that "the consensus of judgment of the millions [of stock holders] whose valuation function on that admirable market, the Stock Exchange, is that stocks are not at present over-valued.... Where is that group of men with the all-embracing wisdom which will entitle them to veto the judgment of this intelligent multitude?"

For a thorough, delightfully ironic evisceration of "market populism," see Thomas Frank's One Market Under God: Extreme Capitalism, Market Populism, and the End of Economic Democracy (New York: Anchor Books, 2000), especially the first three chapters.

[4] With no irony intended, the former chairman of Citicorp, Walter Wriston—who was one of the most vociferous and aggressive supporters of a fully deregulated economy—titled the last chapter of his book on the wonders of the coming New Economy, "Power to the People" (Walter Wriston, The Twilight of Sovereignty: How the Information Revolution is Transforming Our World, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1992).

[5] Lyndon LaRouche, "Is the U.S. Congress Dying Before Our Eyes? The Baby Doomers," EIR, April 13, 2007.

[6] Norbert Wiener, The Human Uses of Human Beings (Cambridge: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1950), p. 181.

[7] Quoted from a 1943 paper co-authored by Wiener, with Arturo Rosenblueth and Julian Bigelow, in David Lipset's Gregory Bateson: The Legacy of a Scientist (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1980).

[8] For the interface of the Cybernetics Group with the Huxley/MK-Ultra/LSD crowd, see Jeffrey Steinberg, "From Cybernetics to Littleton: Techniques in Mind Control," in EIR, May 5, 2000.

[9] John Markoff, What the Doormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry (New York: Penguin Group, 2005); and Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006).

[10] The Port Huron statement opened with an acknowledgement that it was addressed to the privileged children from upper income brackets: "We are people of this generation, bred in at least moderate comfort, housed in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit."

[11] As the official responsible for "Reinventing Government" in the Clinton Administration, Gore spoke at an international conference on Jan. 14, 1999, calling on delegates to replace the "creaking government machinery of the Industrial Age" with "smaller, smarter, and more responsive" government. Later in the speech, he credited the Thatcher government of Great Britain with pioneering the notion that governments should treat citizens as "customers," thus abrogating any notion of the constitutional responsibility for the General Welfare! In the same speech, he waxed on about the importance of "free markets" for future prosperity: "In this fast-moving, fast-changing global economy—when the free flow of dollars and data are the source of economic and political strength ... governments must be lean, nimble and creative, or they will surely be left behind."

For Toffler's take on this, see his "Cyberspace and the American Dream: A Magna Carta for the Knowledge Age." This was a manifesto he drafted in August 1994, which opened by arguing that the Third Wave "will not deliver on its potential unless it adds social and political dominance to its accelerating technological and economic strength. This means repealing Second Wave laws and retiring Second Wave attitudes." His co-authors included Reaganite economic charlatan George Gilder, and George Keyworth, who served as Reagan's science advisor.

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