ZEITGEIST MOVEMENT AND THE VENUS PROJECT - AN ANALYSIS
© 2008 - 2011 by G. Edward Griffin. Updated 2011 March 23
What started in 2007 as a small but enthusiastic following of an Internet video entitled Zeitgeist, The Movie, by 2011 had attracted over 100,000 dedicated advocates world wide. By then, two additional movies had been produced and, altogether, they had been seen by approximately 200 million people.
The movies were produced by a man who calls himself Peter Joseph, although Joseph is not his real last name. He claims that he wishes to conceal his identity to protect family and friends. Joseph is a former drummer/percussionist who turned his talents to video production as a channel to express his personal views on social and political issues. His style of production is strongly influenced by his musical background, and the resulting combination of powerful rythyms and long periods of black screen to focus attention only on the audio is his trademark. The impact is compelling. The message? Well, that's another story.
The first video included three sections. The first was an attack on religion. The second was an expose of the Federal Reserve System. The third was about the impossibility of 9/11 being carried out without the help of U.S. intelligence agencies and military. I was disappointed by the first section because I feel that it is a mistake to attack the religious beliefs of others. In Freedom Force we welcome those from all religious persuasions, including atheists, so long as they agree on the principles expressed in The Creed Of Freedom. In our battle against collectivism, our common enemy, our goal is to bring people together, not to divide them.
Nevertheless, I felt that the other two segments were well produced and factual; so, when Joseph invited me to participate at his film's premier at a theater in Hollywood and be on stage to answer questions relating to the Federal Reserve, I accepted, knowing that there would be about 600 in attendance. My policy always has been to accept speaking engagements before large audiences regardless of the views of the sponsors, so long as it is understood that I speak for myself and not the sponsors. Heck, I have even spoken at universities and before groups of Republicans and Democrats!
I was relieved to find that most of the questions from the audience after the showing of the film were focused, not on its theme of religious intolerance, but on the Federal Reserve and 9/11. I felt that my time was well spent because I was able to deliver economic and monetary truth to another 600 people.
The following year, Peter Joseph released a second film entitled Zeitgeist Addendum, which went much further than the first and revealed the true agenda. The so-called solution to the problems outlined in the first film emerged in the form of something called the Venus Project, the creation of an elderly industrial designer and social planner by the name of Jacque Fresco. Fresco is happy to explain that his current views were shaped by his early involvement in the American branch of the Communist Party. He says he left the Party because they would not accept his theories of using technology. It wasn't that he disagreed with the goals of Communism, he just felt that the Party was too rigid to incorporate his own concepts regarding how to best reach those goals; so he went on his own and, eventually, created the Venus Project to build Communism by another name and by different strategies. Most of Zeitgeist Addendum is devoted to promoting The Venus Project.
Make no mistake about it, Fresco has not abandoned the basic concepts of Communism. In fact, he is proud to claim success in helping the Communist regime in Cuba put technology to better use. Read The Communist Manifesto and you will find the complete blueprint for The Venus Project. Although stated in different language, virtually every one of the Manifesto's 10-point program is embedded in Fresco's utopia. He calls for abolition of private property and right of inheritance, centralization of credit into the state because money itself would be replaced by state administration of work assignments and allocation of food, shelter, and all necessities of life. The family, too, would be eliminated, and people would be reduced to programmed robots, doing exactly what they are told and without opinions of their own. He has said: "Never give people the right to their own opinion. ... If you give everybody a right to their own opinion, you damage society."(1) That, of course, is his opinion, so we must assume that, like all collectivists, he and others in the ruling elite will decide which opinions are acceptable and which are not.
It was shortly after Zeitgeist Addendum was released that we began to receive inquiries about our views on this movement. Here is one of the first that came in:
Hello Mr. Griffin.
I'm sure you have heard of the popular movie on the internet, Zeitgeist. It had three separate parts about Christianity being fake, the Federal Reserve being a conspiracy and bad, and that the government was involved in 9/11. Well the sequel just came out, Zeitgeist Addendum, and it seems very dangerous. This movie screams controlled opposition/false solution propaganda more than anything I have ever seen.
The movie starts off with why the Federal Reserve is bad. It seems to latch onto valid concerns that the freedom movement/Ron Paul supporters have been worried about. But its solution is really, really bad and is already sending a lot of people in the wrong direction. It goes on to say that money is evil and has caused every problem in the world. If only we abolished all money and private property everything would be great. All resources should collectively belong to all humans of the world. Intelligent management of resources and technology could allow everyone to be free. The world would turn into some utopia. All crime would go away and greed and corruption would go away. We should be a one world community. It even specifically says that voting for liberty candidates like Ron Paul is the wrong thing to do. I guess we should give up all hope and let bad politicians do whatever they want to us.
It is full of doublespeak, wild assumptions, and crazy socialist propaganda. It also put in more about how religion is bad. I am convinced this thing was specifically made to stop the liberty movement from achieving anything. It puts in just enough truths that we believe in to trick people into following the wrong path.
I think statements about what is wrong with this film from liberty organizations like Freedom Force International would do a lot of good and would prevent some people from going in the wrong direction. Some people might think the best idea is to just ignore it and it will go away. But it appears to be incredibly popular online and gaining support. Even the most popular Ron Paul website posted the video. And the most popular Ron Paul message board has three threads with hundreds of posts talking about it. Here is the video link.
Jonathan, 2008 Oct 6
REPLY FROM GEG:
Jonathan, I don't like to criticize anything that is helping to spread the truth about the Federal Reserve and 9/11 but I must agree with the substance of what you have said about this video. I watched it two nights ago and was deeply disturbed by its message. At first, I thought it would be best to just let it play itself out in expectation that most viewers would cross it off as whacky. However, the production value is high, the effects and sound score are compelling, and there is enough truth embedded in the beginning to capture the attention and possibly the trust of many within the freedom movement. So here are my comments on a few items of concern:
1. The information about the Federal Reserve is, for the most part, right on target. However, I practically fell out of my chair when the program repeated that old, silly argument about the Fed not creating enough money to cover the cost of interest on debt; and, therefore, the world must forever be in debt. I knew right there that the writer did not read The Creature from Jekyll Island or, if he did, he forgot my analysis of this common myth. For those who are interested in that topic, it is found on pages 191-192 of The Creature.
2. The next jolt came when the program praised Civil War Greenbacks, calling them debt-free. Actually, Greenbacks were contrary to the U.S. Constitution and, although they were not fiat money issued by the banks, they were fiat money issued by the government. That was better than paying interest on nothing to bankers, but they still wiped out the purchasing power of American money through massive inflation. They can not correctly be called debt-free, either, because they represented debt on the shoulders of the government, which means, of course, on the shoulders of the taxpayers. It never ceases to amaze me how people think that the solution to money created out of nothing by those big, bad bankers is to have money created out of nothing by those nice, trustworthy politicians. Yet, that is what this program supports.
3. There is a lengthy segment in which the author of I Was an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins, tells the story of how propagandists in the U.S. manipulated public opinion to support military action against several Latin American countries. Then Perkins says that these propagandists scared Americans by telling them that the leaders of these countries were Marxists who were aligned with the Soviets. This, of course, is a half truth that is just as dangerous as a total lie. It is true about the propagandists and their strategy to scare the public into supporting military intervention in those countries, but it is false to portray those dictators as great humanitarians who cared only for the well being of their people. That is total bunk. They WERE aligned with the Soviet Union and they WERE part of a Marxist/Leninist strategy to dominate Latin America; a strategy that continues to this day.
There was plenty not to like on both sides of that struggle, but objective historians would never depict the Rhodesians (the CFR crowd in the U.S.) as bad guys but depict the Soviet puppets as good guys. In his book, Perkins reveals this same slant. He exposes the foul tactics of international corporations, the IMF, and World Bank, but he never mentions a Leftist dictator, such as Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez without praising them. Perkins is a collectivist aligned with the Left, and that strongly influences his telling of this story. Yet the producers of the video make no mention of this bias and give him an inordinate amount of time to present his slanted view without challenge.
4. Perhaps the biggest insult to our intelligence is the main theme of the program. It is that profits are the root of all our problems today. That being the case, we must change mankind to reject profit and we must work together on some other basis. It is never quite clear what that basis is, but, whatever it is, it will be administered and directed by an elite group, at least in the beginning. I was stunned by the fact that this is pure Marxism. Marx theorized that people had to be re-educated (in labor camps, if necessary) to cleanse their minds of the profit motive. He and his disciples, such as Lenin and Stalin and Khrushchev, said that, eventually, the character of man would be purged of greed, and then the state would wither away because it no longer would be needed. Sure! We saw that in the Soviet Union and China, right? Yet this Marxist nonsense is exactly what is offered in this video program. It is Communism without using the name.
The profit motive is neither good nor bad. It can be applied either way depending on social and political factors. The desire for profit is merely the desire to be compensated for our labor, our creativity, our knowledge, or even for our risk. Without profit, very little would be accomplished in the world - not even if everyone spent a few years in labor camps to be re-educated. It is a basic part of man's nature and is the mainspring of human progress, as Henry Grady Weaver described it in his book by that same title. Throughout history, whenever man lived in a system that allows him to be rewarded for his work, there has been great productivity and abundance. By contrast, where social engineers gained control of the state and restricted people from receiving the fruits of their labor, productivity fell, and scarcity was the norm.
The profit motive functions differently in different political systems. In a free system where government does not intervene in the market place, the profit motive always will manifest itself as competition, each person or each company trying to deliver better quality products and services at lower prices. That was how it used to be in the early days of America, and that is what led to the greatest outpouring of productivity and abundance the world has ever seen. However, in a collectivist system where government controls every conceivable aspect of economic and commercial activity (the system that now exists in America), the profit motive always manifests itself as a quest for political influence and laws to favor one group over another. The net effect is to eliminate competition in the market place. Under collectivism, success is achieved, not by creating better products and services for less cost, but by controlling legislators and government agencies. It is a system of legalized plunder, as Frederic Bastiat called it in his famous treatise, The Law. Unfortunately, it is the system that dominates most of the world today.
Zeitgeist Addendum ignores this reality. At one point the narrator even says that the greatest evil in the world today is "the free enterprise system." That's an incredible statement inasmuch as the free enterprise system has been dead for several decades. It lives in name only. The whole world now is in the grips of non-competitive monopolies and cartels that have forged partnerships with governments. All of the evils to which this program alludes are the result, not of the free enterprise system, but of the abandonment of free enterprise and the adoption of collectivism. This program creates a mythological boogeyman and then advocates more of the very same thing that has brought us to the mess we are in today.
The enemy of mankind is not profit. It is a political system of big government. Yet, this program is supportive of some of the most notable big-government collectivist on the planet. Marxist/Leninists may be enemies of right-wing collectivists in Washington, DC, but they are all collectivists. The Communist model is no better than the Nazi model.
There is much more that could be said about other program topics such as technology supposedly being our salvation, about the a future world in which no one has to work, and about common ownership of land, oceans, natural resources, etc. but, for the most part, these merely are sub issues to the ones already described, so I will spare you the pain of further discourse.
In summary, this program does NOT offer a cure. It offers a mega dose of the disease itself.
Ed Griffin, 2008 Oct 9
THE PROFIT MOTIVE HAS GOT TO GO
by Dustin Archer - in defense of Zeitgeist Addendum. 2008 October 13
Greetings, I am an avid support of Freedom Force and a reader of The Creature from Jekyll Island. I am also a huge proponent of the world envisioned in Zeitgeist Addendum. It is my hope that those statements do not dissuade you from reading the content of this message, as I am deeply curious if you understand the underlying issues and if I will be able to continue to associate myself with your organization in the future.
While I do not disagree with many of your claims and I understand the failures in the Addendum, the main overall argument must be refuted. You are a man who believes in the profit motive, and thus your natural inclination is to defend that ideology, even it it is outdated. I challenge you to sufficiently dispute the fact that seeking profit results in exploitation of both the people of the world as well as destruction of the worlds resources. No matter how individualist-based a world we live in, there will still be a great deal of wealth stratification that will not go away. This results from education, access to technology, etc.
However, the world's resources are in abundance, but will not be accessed if money remains the central theme. Under the laws of supply and demand, moving our world to a sustainable society both economically and environmentally will not work under individualism unless we also remove money from the equation, allowing resources to be accessed by all and the most useful, non damaging technologies to be used. For example, the movie points out that we currently have the technology to satisfy all the worlds energy demand by using safe, environmentally friendly, renewable resources. However, the profit motive will not allow this as those already in institutional positions of power will be able to use their influence to buy patents preventing technologies from coming to market. Even without government protecting these corporations they will still, at least temporarily, have a tremendous market share in all major industries. How, under a profit based individualist society, would you propose to implement this technology which would benefit everyone - not merely the greatest good for the greatest number, but true freedom for mankind. Freedom from war, poverty, labor, toil, etc.
I find it interesting that you would dispute the idea that machines could handle 90% of the worlds occupations if money was obsolete. Indeed, it is only a small portion of our society now that works in manufacturing, and in the society alluded to in Zeitgeist Addendum every profession dealing with money, which intrinsically does not benefit society, would be eliminated. Why do people need the profit motive to motivate them in a world when they have all their demands met? I am currently unemployed with my basic needs met. I don't desire more money. Yet, I don't sit around doing nothing - instead I devote myself to liberty and freedom through education and conversation. The ideology that people who have their needs met will simply do nothing is foolish - you have obviously never been in such a situation.
My final argument is that you suggest that an 'elite' would be necessary to implement the ideas in the Venus project. Why? If money became worthless anyway (which it is looking like it will, at least the dollar) why wouldn't people want to use their energy and resources to build a world where they (among everyone on the planet) would have an extremely high quality of life? Generosity is the trademark of a world where profit is eliminated - as opposed to hording wealth like we do today.
In this society we don't need government at all - nor leaders. The only purpose the founding fathers had when creating this nation was regulating commerce (unnecessary without money) and to provide for the common defense (unnecessary if everyone has access to everything they need for life). What function would government hold in this world? Nothing . . . people would be totally free, without government, and great altruism would be achieved because peoples lives would be devoted to helping society - rather than making money for themselves by, often, providing no useful service to society.
My main confusion is that I would think you would be an advocate of this type of society ... instead of its opponent. My only conclusion that can be drawn is either that you simply don't understand because you're held back by outmoded ideas, or that you enjoy the social and economic stratification that America has over the rest of the world and you enjoy feeling 'elite' yourself compared to citizens of other nations.
Please clarify your position for me.
Dustin Archer, 2008 October 13
RESPONSE FROM GEG:
Thanks for your letter. I have studied it carefully and find nothing that was not part of the argument presented in Zeitgeist Addendum. It appears to be merely a re-statement of the thesis presented in the film, so there is little I can add to what I have already written. We have different views of the nature of man. My view is that he is what he is, and that's not altogether bad. Your view is that he must be perfected according to a higher standard. My view is that a desire to be rewarded for one's effort and a desire to acquire property is a constructive force in a free society without political favoritism but is a destructive force when social engineers have power to coerce us into a collective mould to their liking.
The only way to create the kind of a system envisioned in Zeitgeist Addendum would be to violate just about every principle in The Creed of Freedom. The concept that the state will just disappear someday when man is finally perfected by those in charge of perfecting him is, to me, incredibly naive. If anyone can show how such a system could be established without denying my freedom to reject it if I should choose, I would be more enthusiastic, but my sense of history and human nature compels me to reject it as just another collectivist utopia. As with all the others, either it never has been tried or, if it has, it has been totally destructive of freedom.
By the way, I do not aspire to be an elitist as you suggest. However, I am not new to these concepts. I have been reading about them in one form or another for over fifty years, many of them appearing in the Socialist-utopia novels that proliferated in the 1920s through 1940s. I believe that I DO understand these issues very well. Only beginning political-science students could think that The Venus Project is a new concept. By contrast, the concept of freedom and individualism is far from outmoded. If anything is outmoded, it is the re-mixing and re-packaging of old and worn out collectivist theories.
I welcome your support of Freedom Force and hope that we can work together in support of the principles expressed in The Creed of Freedom.
(1) The source of these quotes is an interview with Fresco by Alex Newman published in "Zeitgeist and the Venus Project," The New American, March 21, 2011, pp 23 -28.
CAN PEOPLE HAVE PROPERTY RIGHTS?
Abolition of private property is the first tenet of Communism, so it is not surprising that one of the recurring themes in the Venus Project is that no one has a right to the exclusive use of property, which is the essence of ownership. Under the name of ParadigmShifting, one Venus-Project blogger put it this way: "The "right" of an individual to keep the majority of the life-giving resources of this planet to himself isn't a right. … I was born on this planet just the same as you were. What gives you anymore "right" to anything on it than I have?"
Our unsinkable Freedom Force chapter president in Atlanta, Rich Clarke, responded:
“If I build a log house with my own labor and haul in river stones for a fireplace to keep it warm, do you have a 'right' to that house? Do you have a right to the product of my labor? Because you were born here, do you have a right to my services? To my time? To my person? I don't think so. That’s because you don’t own' me. My body is sovereign. I, alone, control its action and I have a right to protect it from harm.
In the so-called resource-based economy [of the Venus Project] they don’t talk much about human resources, the greatest resources of all. They just say that no one will have to work for anything material. However, someone will have to work. Even Paul Joseph admits that, although he assumes they will volunteer their time to maintain the equipment of this world. Maybe so and maybe not, but labor would be required, even in a collectivist utopia. If ownership of self and the fruits of one’s labor is abolished, then the collective will determine the use of your labor. If a cause is said to be for the greater good of the greater number, your human resource can be commanded, expropriated, or even prohibited by the collective, which means, by the authorities who claim to speak on behalf of the collective. While this may sound like a technological advance, actually it is a throwback to one of the world’s most primitive social systems.
In the collectivist society of the Venus Project, the individual would have no recourse when the majority speaks, other than begging on hands and knees. If everything is provided to you by the resource center or computer mainframe, then everything can be taken away by them as well. When you have a populous dependent on one central system of resource management, that system and those who are a part of it are subject to manipulation and control. If individuals are not self sufficient and have no natural rights, the most fundamental of them being the right to life (the ownership of one's own body), then individuals have no rights at all. They have only privileges granted to them by a higher authority. The nature of privileges dictates that they can be taken from you at any point. This includes even your license to live.
Under collectivism, the authority to control all resources, material and human, must be delegated. PJ states this. It must be managed by a central nervous system. Determining the use of something is the essence of ownership. Therefore, this utopian system will own all resources and decide what to do with them. Perhaps you'll say it will not own anything, because ownership will not be allowed, but that is merely a word game and a fantasy. The people who claim to speak on behalf of society will be the de facto owners and absolute rulers.
Well said, Rich. The bottom line is that, under collectivism, individuals are dispensable – except, of course, those individuals who claim the right to decide what is best for the greater number. They talk a lot about technology and resource allocation, but they remain silent about freedom and human rights. To them, these are “outmoded” concepts that would interfere with their bee-hive society. The true zeitgeist of the Venus Project is human bondage.