Proctor and Gamble heir's film denies ecological and energy limits
related page: A permaculture perspective on "Free Energy" claims
from a reader, inquiring about the Foster Gamble film "Thrive"
What's your take on this?
Free range west coasters with a green libertarian attitude??
No, "Thrive" is much worse than that.
Very anti-green. "Green" in the authentic use includes the fact the Earth is abundant and finite. Denying the limits to endless growth is not "green."
The guy behind "Thrive" is a multi-millionaire, whose wealth comes from the Proctor and Gamble corporation. A "green" view might include the tremendous pollution from this company, including their poisoning of the northeast Gulf of Mexico from their paper mill in north Florida.
There are small bits of this film that touch on truthful topics, but most of it is disinformation.
Even some of the "conspiracy" claims that have tiny shreds of truth are ruined by promotion of nonsense. Using bogus claims to defend a real conclusion is a great way to discredit.
I imagine as collapse intensifies there will be more and more of these sorts of slick efforts to steer us away from clarity and understanding.
I'm not surprised that an heir to the Proctor and Gamble fortune made a film that subtly pushes extremely anti environmental positions while ostensibly supporting environmentalism. P&G is a huge polluter, including creation of a dead zone in Gulf of Mexico (due to a paper mill in north Florida). P&G money going to promote denial about climate change with a "we can have everything" newage message seems like a cross of "The Secret" (the childish belief that you can have anything you want with the right attitude) with extreme libertarian anti-ecological messages.
The consciousness shift we need to recognize is that the Earth is abundant but finite, and Spaceship Earth is the only home we have. Fantasies about flying to other planets should be left to bad science fiction stories and make living more in harmony with this planet much less likely.
A note about "libertarian" philosophy.
Like many labels, "libertarian" can encompass a wide range of views. Many libertarians are much more clear sighted on civil liberties concerns than many "progressive" Democrats, who were against policies of the Bush Cheney administration but then silent on the continuation of the surveillance society efforts of the Obama Biden administration. Libertarians are usually well informed on how fiat currency and basing the creation of money on debt is a giant "ponzi" scheme, but rarely include the fact that there are physical limits to growth when considering ecology and energy. The absence of social justice concerns among most libertarians is a reason why many liberal and "progressive" people rarely look at monetary policy and how Federal Reserve Notes are loaned into existence.
An additional note about regulation.
Libertarian philosophy usually suggests that regulations, especially of "free enterprise," should be abolished. The history of the past few decades of ecological efforts supports this conclusion, although not in ways most libertarians or most environmentalists think. Efforts to regulate toxic pollution have rarely been effective ways to protect public health. Instead, pollution prevention is the best way to reduce poison. Lead in our air was not lowered through issuing permits to pollute or creation of more regulatory bureaucracy, but by banning it as an additive for gasoline. Pollution prevention is best for the environment, protects public health, avoids unnecessary regulatory bureaucracy, is cheaper for government budgets and is the sensible approach. Unfortunately, most conservatives and most liberals avoid this conclusion, trapped in the "regulation" versus "free enterprise" fake debate.
Here's a good review of "Thrive" from a founder of the Transition Movement.
from one of the many excellent comments on the article:
Suzanne Taylor: "When all is said and done, what matters is that we have a mystery. You just can't account for the whole phenomenon coming from people."
Actually, there is no mystery: pranksters have come forward and explained exactly how they make crop circles, including the supposed "magnetic particles" in the soil. Here are all the details:
The biggest question you should ask yourself is this: If aliens are so advanced that they've mastered inter-galactic travel, why do they have to communicate with us by making obscure patterns in wheat?
Film review: Why 'Thrive' is best avoided
Posted Jan 11, 2012 by Rob Hopkins
What do you do when you are the heir to the Proctor and Gamble fortune and you have spent years surrounding yourself with new agey thinking and conspiracy theories? You make a film like 'Thrive', the latest conspiracy theory movie that is popping up all over the place. I've lost count of the number of people who have asked me "have you seen 'Thrive'?" Well I have now, and, to be frank, it's dangerous tosh which deserves little other than our derision. It is also a very useful opportunity to look at a worldview which, according to Georgia Kelly writing at Huffington Post, masks "a reactionary, libertarian political agenda that stands in jarring contrast with the soothing tone of the presentation". Here's the trailer to give you a taste:
Visually the film is like some kind of Star Trek fan movie crossed with a National Geographic wildlife film, and is largely built around Gamble's own years of 'research' into the question of what it is that "stops life on earth from thriving". A reasonable question to ask, but his approach can hardly be called 'research' due to the low standards he accepts as 'evidence' and his all-round lack of critical analysis. His research, such as it is, is cherry-picked to deepen and support his established worldview, rather than the worldview being built from a careful analysis of the evidence. As we'll see, this is a dangerous foundation.
So here's the film's argument in a nutshell. Humanity is killing itself and the world around it because free energy sources are being deliberately kept from us, cures for cancer are being kept from us, all because we are controlled by an invisible elite who want to create a 'new world order' to control us all and prevent us from thriving. So let's look at some of the film's central arguments in turn.
Free energy machines
One of the key threads of the film revolves around free energy, the idea that we can generate unlimited clean energy by just tapping into the 'torus', a shape that supposedly pervades the universe (see right), and which could yield endless free energy. 'Thrive' would have you believe that there are dedicated independent scientists around the world bravely defying the laws of thermodynamics only to have their work seized by the FBI, their patents bought up and 'lost', or harassed into silence. Yet all we are offered as evidence is some grainy film of machines that could be anything doing anything, and some smart computer graphics of spinning torus shapes.
If this amazing breakthrough that would rewrite science and win Nobel Prizes for anyone involved were actually a reality, and if you were going to spend huge amounts to make a film to argue for their existence which you would then put out into the public arena, surely you would get a working model of such a device into the studio with some impartial scientists to verify it in operation? If they actually exist, and actually work, then this wouldn't be a big challenge surely? As Kyle Hill writes in his review of the film, "wanting something to be true does not make it more possible", and "someone wanting to invent such a device is not evidence". 'Free energy' is a world notoriously riddled with charlatans and cranks.
Gamble argues that these technologies could provide "enough energy to transform the entire earth", and here's a key point I want to challenge. The idea that free energy would be a universal good (even if it were feasible, which it's not – the US Patent and Trademark Office gets so many nonsensical requests for patents on perpetual energy devices that they now refuse to even look at them without a working model) is deeply dubious. Kimberly Carter Gamble, Foster Gamble's partner, states at one point in the film that:
"… so much of the pain on the planet has to do with the lack of access to energy".
Wow, now there's a statement. How many people on this planet would argue that much of the pain on the planet has to do with the developed world having lack of access to energy? While of course for millions in the developing world, lack of access to energy is a huge impediment to being able to attain a reasonable standard of living and to move beyond poverty, in the developed world, cheap energy (you could argue that for the past 150 years fossil fuels have been so cheap that they might as well have been 'free energy') has allowed Western nations to conquer, plunder, colonise, mine, clearcut, dominate and oppress.
While it has also allowed us to do many good things, energy cannot be seen in isolation from our relationship with other resources. Free energy would mean we would drain the aquifers faster, degrade the soils faster, work our way through the earth's other depleting resources at an accelerated rate. Nowhere in the film is the idea of limits even mentioned, apart from occasional mentions that believing in 'scarcity' is one of our problems.
Can anyone seriously argue that the United States (which is principally the focus of this film) with a new free source of energy would be a more responsible member of the global community? Would they happily share it with the rest of the world? (the current stand-off about Iran's nuclear energy programme rather indicates that they wouldn't). I would argue that it is only the realisation that we are nearing the end of the age of cheap energy, cheap fossil fuels, that is finally bringing some sense, some awareness of the fact that we live on a finite planet and that we need to live more responsibly. Gamble's argument that we could have enough free energy "to transform the entire earth" fills me with dread and foreboding rather than excitement.
We are told that oil companies are spending "huge amounts of money" suppressing free energy, with no evidence presented to support that at all. I would hazard a bet though that if even any money at all is spent on such things, it is a tiny fraction of what is spent on climate change denial, funding dubious organisations which attempt to undermine climate science, all of which gets no mention here. Of course we already have technologies that can harness natural energies and which provide clean energy – they are called renewables, we know they work, and we can install them today. 'Free energy' is a fantasy, and will always remain so. As Kyle Hill writes in his review, "just because the universe is hard to understand and many times mysterious, does not mean that anything goes".
Down the conspiracy rabbithole
Then we are bombarded with the full range of conspiracy thinking. 9/11 was an inside job, there is a conspiracy to suppress natural medicines, "Big Brother's not coming, it's already here", we are one step away from a "military dictatorship", a climate treaty in Copenhagen would have been "a tax base for tyranny", there are 'chemtrails' in the sky to deliberately poison us, there is a deliberate attempt to reduce the world's population underway, there is only a cancer epidemic because all the cures have been suppressed, etc, etc.
UFOs are also brought into the picture, which is odd as they serve little to deepen his argument, rather the argument seems to go like this: there are UFOs and they are extraterrestrial craft, and in order for them to have got here, they must have free energy machines, so therefore the Elite must know about this and be keeping it from us. As he writes on the film's website, "if we can expose the suppression, reveal the truth about ET visitation, and further develop new energy technologies that ETs apparently rely on, then we can decentralize power and make massive strides toward a thriving future". I'll leave you to decide whether that 2+2+2=9 kind of logic makes any sense to you, and whether the word 'apparently' constitutes an evidence base. Naturally, no evidence is presented to support this other than a few fuzzy videos of lights in the sky in different parts of the world.
Wheeled out as 'experts' to support the film's arguments are Deepak Chopra and, erm, David Icke, among others. Gamble is keen on talking about "my research", yet his research, such as it is, is so undemanding that I am reminded of Sir Terry Frost's words, "if you know before you look, you cannot see for knowing". Gamble wheels out the classic conspiracy theorists' gambit, "could I be wrong? Perhaps. But what if I'm not?" No, you are wrong. And even if you were right, you have presented us with so little evidence to back up you claims that you would have no way of knowing whether you were right or not.
He also does the other classic conspiracy theorist's trick of saying "don't just take my word for it, do the research yourself", offering links on the film's website that all back up his arguments, rather than giving a rounded balanced view of arguments and counterarguments. There's some dreadful rubbish on there, the film 'The Great Global Warming Swindle' is presented as evidence that climate change is probably not a problem, for example, and the appalling section on climate change beautifully states "those who point to solar activity as a cause of global warming are often ridiculed and accused of being funded by the oil industry, even when that's not the case". "Even when"?
Ah, so that's what 'Thrive' is all about …
Then, at the end of the film, we finally get into Thrive's manifesto, it's vision for the future and how we might get there. There is lots in there that I wouldn't disagree with, more local food, renewable energy, local banking, local shopping and so on, apart from free energy being thrown into the mix too. But now, it is in this final section of 'Thrive' that the dark side of the film emerges. One of the things put forward, alongside local food, renewables and so on, is "little or no taxes". Eh? Where did that come from?! Ah, now we get into the real agenda of the film, a kind of New Age libertarianism, a sort of cosmic Tea Party, and it all starts to get deeply alarming.
Gamble sets out his 3 stages to get to humanity's being able to thrive. Firstly, he argues, we need to hugely scale back the defence industry and the Federal Reserve. Well I could go along with that, but then the second is "shrink government's role in order to protect individual liberty", and the third is then, because we are now freer, with "no involuntary tax and no involuntary governance" and with "rules but no rules" (?), we can all now thrive. OK, whoa, let's pause here for a moment. Indeed the film's website goes further, describing 'involuntary taxation' as "plunder" and 'involuntary governance' as "tyranny".
In her review, Georgia Kelly quotes Oliver Wendell Holmes as saying "taxes are what we pay for a civilised society". In spite of all it's cosmic graphics and pictures of forests from the air, it is in essence a kind of New Age Tea Party promo film, arguing for a society with no government, no taxes, no laws, alongside "interplanetary exploration", which somehow combine to create a world that respects the rights of all. Apparently, this would lead to a world where "everyone would have the opportunity to thrive". In reality, it would lead to a world in which the wealthy would thrive, but the rest of us would lose healthcare, social welfare, libraries, public transport, pension entitlement, social housing etc etc. Sounds more like a surefire route to the kind of Dickensian world that led to the creation of a welfare state in the first place.
Responding to any of the truly global issues, such as climate change (which 'Thrive' clearly dismisses as part of the conspiracy), would no longer happen due to intergovernmental co-operation presumably being interpreted as steps towards a 'one world government'. The film presents its suggestions in complete isolation from any notions of 'society' and community, presenting a vision of the future where the entire global population is living the same lifestyle as Gamble, the resources to enable this presumably being imported from other planets, or perhaps created afresh using magic?
Nowhere in the film do you hear the words 'less', or anything about reduced consumption in the West. Just as free energy and cures for cancer are our birthright, so, presumably, is the right to consume as much as we like – to think otherwise is to lapse into a 'scarcity' mindset. What I find most alarming about 'Thrive' is that most of the people who have asked me "have you seen Thrive?" are under 20, and they seem genuinely excited by it. Perhaps it is the simplicity of the message that appeals, the "all we need to do is" clarity of its ask. But having to discuss why free energy machines are impossible and the shortcomings of conspiracy theories with otherwise educated young people who are inheriting a warming world with its many deep and complex challenges is deeply depressing.
How we might actually help the world thrive
'Thrive' is dangerous because it invites us to put our faith for the future in a fantasy. A fantasy that free energy is possible, a fantasy that the only thing that is preventing us from creating a benign and enlightened society is a handful of powerful families. Things that are already very successfully preventing the world from thriving include:
• climate change (you try thriving in a world with a world whose temperature has risen 11°F, as the IEA warned this week)
• the fact that we fail to see reducing our oil demand as a key as a key aspect of energy security, oil prices having quadrupled since 2003 and going nowhere other than up, UK North Sea oil production falling by 22.5% in 2011 (a record fall) and North Sea natural gas production falling by 29.5% (a record fall) in 2011
• Social inequality, which as the book 'The Spirit Level' so brilliantly showed, underpins many of our other social problems
• Our economic system, designed to channel money upwards rather than downwards and to enrich the 1%, but this is a sufficiently abhorrent system (see, for example, Nicholas Shaxson's brilliant 'Treasure Islands', review coming soon) without invoking secret societies and conspiracies to explain it
The solutions are already out there, there are proven technologies, proven strategies, and we need to work on all levels, as indeed the film argues, and to withdraw our support from a corrupt and ineffectual model which is taking us over the brink, and put that support into creating a more resilient, localised and accountable model. However, it's not about 'interplanetary travel', it's about finding our feet, here and now, in the communities and the soils that surround us. It's not about 'free energy', it's about learning to appreciate what a precious thing energy is and learning to live well with less of it. It's not about 'no involuntary taxation', it's about taxes that disincentivise the things that are narrowing our future options, and incentivising the things we need to get in place urgently. It's not about 'no government', it's about truly democratic government using its considerable powers to build resilience, decarbonise society, shift the collective focus. The few countries in the world that are actually seriously engaging with the climate issue are those with stronger government, not weaker government.
I have occasionally been interviewed for a film and then squirmed with embarrassment when I have seen the final context in which my interview has been used. I can only imagine that some of the progressives, such as Democracy Now's Amy Goodman, who appear in this film, are similarly horrified with 'Thrive'. It is a film that offers us nothing, and which, taken to its logical conclusion, would lead to our having thrown away the few options for actually thriving that remain open to us. It is the film equivalent of a self-published book, with no critical editor rounding off the corners, and as a self-funded film a sense that you can do what you like. Avoid.
Originally published January 10, 2012 at Transition Culture.
"If civilization is in danger today, if it is fated to decline and perish, it will do so with the enthusiastic assistance of credulous people. They seem to me more dangerous than the most brazen leaders, because everything is done with their cooperation. ....
"How pleasant it is, after all: to treat politics of whatever kind with utter contempt, to dance, to love, to drink and sleep and breathe. To live. God give you strength!
"The only thing is that I can see from my little window that while some people are loving and sleeping, others are busy making handcuffs for them. Why? That's the question. There are so many would-be benefactors in the world. And they are all determined to shower benefits on the whole world. Nothing less. And for this purpose very little is needed: simply that the world should fit into the design which is taking shape God knows how in their feeble, complex-tortured minds.
"They do not scorn politics; they are makers of policy. They make their own cudgel and then bring it down on other people's heads and in this manner they put their politics into practice.
"Careful, my friends!
"On the basis of my own and other people's experience and of experience generally, on the basis of much thinking and searching, worry and calculation, I say to you: THE PERSON WHO TODAY IGNORES POLITICS WILL REGRET IT.
"I did not say I liked politics. I hate them. I scorn them. I do not call upon you to like them or even respect them. I am simply telling you: DON'T IGNORE THEM."
-- A. Anatoli Kuznetsov, "Babi Yar" (the great Russian novel about World War II)
Kuznetsov was a boy when the Germans occupied Kiev. The novel was banned in the Soviet Union for many years (in its uncensored form) since it was too blunt. Babi Yar is the place where the Nazis shot the Jews of Kiev, and then shot tens of thousands of non-Jews.
Humanity and Sanity: Standing for a Thriving World
(and challenging the Movie Thrive)
By John Robbins
Thrive is the name of a richly produced and controversial film that asks, and attempts to answer, some of the deepest questions about the nature of the human condition and what is thwarting our chances to prosper. Elaborately funded, with appealing imagery and beautiful music, it features interviews with many leading progressive voices. And yet ten of these leaders have taken the highly unusual step of signing a statement formally disassociating ourselves from the film.
Why have Amy Goodman, Deepak Chopra, Paul Hawken, Edgar Mitchell, Vandana Shiva, John Perkins, Elisabet Sahtouris, Duane Elgin and Adam Trombly, as well as yours truly, gone to the trouble of signing our names to this public statement?
"We are a group of people who were interviewed for and appear in the movie Thrive, and who hereby publicly disassociate ourselves from the film.
Thrive is a very different film from what we were led to expect when we agreed to be interviewed. We are dismayed that we were not given a chance to know its content until the time of its public release. We are equally dismayed that our participation is being used to give credibility to ideas and agendas that we see as dangerously misguided.
We stand by what each of us said when we were interviewed. But we have grave disagreements with some of the film's content and feel the need to make this public statement to avoid the appearance that our presence in the film constitutes any kind of endorsement."
I have joined the other signers of this statement, even though there are aspects of the film that I find inspiring, and even though the makers of the film, Foster and Kimberly Gamble, are old friends.
In Thrive, the Gambles have attempted to address some of the crucial challenges of our times. I appreciate their idealism, their commitment, and their passion. And I agree with them about some things they state in the movie and on their website — such as that the political system is depraved, the Federal Reserve has been used to consolidate economic power, fiat currency tends to produce a corrupt financial system that depends on ever increasing debt, the tax system is unfair, and enormously powerful economic interests often collude with one another to deceive and defraud the public. I stand with them as they promote the labeling of genetically engineered foods and in their desire to see our nation cease spending enormous sums on war. I appreciate that they support local and organic agriculture, their passion for credit unions and local banking, and their opposition to governmental invasion of privacy. They recommend many action steps that I support.
But I do not agree with some of the core conclusions they draw. Nor do the other signers of the statement of disassociation from Thrive. Duane Elgin, one of the signers, says: "Thrive is idealistic, naive, narrow, shallow, and focuses attention away from more productive areas of engagement."
At the very heart of the Thrive message is what it calls the Global Domination Agenda. Foster Gamble explains:
"A small group of families are actually controlling virtually every sector of human endeavor… Their agenda… (is) to take over the lives of all people across the entire planet… to collapse the economies throughout the European Union… to devalue the dollar to almost zero… and to create a one-world government, with them in charge."
The Thrive movie and website also state that this "small group of families" are developing and experimenting with plans to radically reduce the world's human population to make us "easier to manage."
Could this be true?
There is no doubt that staggering wealth and power is today concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority of humanity. The combined net worth of the world's richest thousand or so people — the planet's billionaires — is almost twice that of the poorest 2.5 billion. I believe this disparity to be nothing less than an indictment of our civilization.
It is also certain that networks exist among the most powerful that enable a remarkably few people to shape the world's economy, to determine what is known and what is not, which views are accepted and which are not, and what priorities and policies will prevail. More than most of us realize, they decide whether we will live in war or peace and how our treasure will be spent. And they have proven to be eminently successful at enriching themselves, often at the expense of the common good. Exposing the global power elite is tremendously important work. And this, Thrive purports to do.
But the Thrive movie and website are filled with dark and unsubstantiated assertions about secret and profoundly malevolent conspiracies that distract us from the real work at hand. The conspiracy theories at the heart of Thrive are based on an ultimate division between "us" and "them." "We" are many and well-meaning but victimized. "They," on the other hand, are a tiny, greedy and inconceivably powerful few who are masterfully organized, who are purposefully causing massive disasters in order to cull the population, and who are deliberately destroying the world economy in order to achieve total world domination.
This way of thinking has an allure, for it distracts and absolves us from the troubling truth that the real source of the problem is in all of us, and in the economic systems we have collectively produced. If the ills of the world are the deliberate intentions of malevolent beings, then we don't have to take responsibility for our problems because they are being done to us. Thinking this way may provide the momentary comfort of feeling exonerated, but it is ultimately disempowering, because it undermines our desire to be accountable for the way our own thoughts and actions help to create the environmental degradation and vast social inequity of the world in which we live. As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote, "The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart."
The Thrive movie has lavish production values, and presents interviews with many leaders in the consciousness movement, all of which lend a beguiling aura of credibility. Foster Gamble himself comes across as soft, warm, and inquiring. Those who have only seen the film may not recognize the agenda and belief system that actually underlie Thrive.
For example, Foster Gamble says that the Japanese earthquake that caused the tsunami that wreaked havoc on the nuclear plants in Fukushima was deliberately created by those seeking absolute world domination, in order to punish the Japanese for not acceding to their wishes. He explains that "they" are able to use an electromagnetic array project in Alaska called HAARP to create earthquakes and tsunamis at will, anywhere on earth. The catastrophic earthquakes that devastated Haiti and Chile in 2010, he says, were intentionally created via HAARP. According to this view, these earthquakes were not the result of tectonic stresses and geologic processes. They were intentional acts perpetrated by a ruling elite with unimaginably sinister intent.
I'm tempted to think that Foster Gamble has watched too many James Bond movies. But the level of diabolical malevolence in the Thrive worldview makes the villains in James Bond movies seem like Mother Teresa in comparison.
There are many things that are terribly wrong in our world, and some of them are dire. All living creatures are poisoned and compromised by surging levels of human-made toxins that spew into our environment, relatively unchecked. We are experiencing unprecedented levels of heart disease, cancer, obesity and childhood diabetes. Our financial institutions and to a large extent our political system have been hijacked by greedy and at times even sociopathic individuals who seem to feel no sense of responsibility to the well being of the whole. The world's military industrial complex is spending more money than ever on guns, bombs, and the machinery of unfathomable destructive power, while governments learn little about how to make peace and hundreds of millions of people go hungry.
But holding these tragedies as the deliberate acts of a tiny group of families seeking total world domination via a global police state distracts us from the arduous work of confronting the true challenges before us.
For example, as an environmentalist I heed the monumental evidence that global warming may be one of the most serious threats faced by humanity and many of the other species on this planet. Those who have merely seen the movie might not know that Foster Gamble and the Thrive website strongly recommend a film (The Great Global Warming Swindle) which states that man-made global warming is a "lie" and "the biggest scam of modern times."
The Thrive website opens its climate change discussion with this question:
"How does the premise of man-made global warming relate to the banking elite's effort to transcend national sovereignty, establish global governance and create a global tax to fund their dominance?"
The insinuation is that the idea of human-caused global warming is being fabricated as an excuse to create a global police state and a tax basis for tyranny. If this is true, just about every scientific expert in the world has been taken in by the hoax. A 2010 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that 97 percent of scientific experts agree that it is…
"very likely that anthropogenic (human-caused) greenhouse gases have been responsible for the unequivocal warming of most of the Earth's global temperature in the second half of the 20th century."
It has been personally painful for me to witness friends of mine become caught up in seeing just about everything on earth as part of a vast demonic conspiracy. When I wrote Foster Gamble to voice my disappointment with many of the ideas in the film and website, he wrote back, encouraging me among other things to study the works of David Icke, Eustace Mullins, Stanley Monteith and G. Edward Griffin. These are among the people he repeatedly refers to in the movie as his "sources." It is in these people's worldviews that Thrive has its roots.
I find this deeply disturbing. Here's why…
David Icke is a major player in Thrive. In fact, he is featured more prominently in the movie than anyone other than Foster Gamble. An extended interview with him, intercut with supporting material, forms much of the middle section of the film.
Though this is not mentioned in Thrive, Icke is well-known for advocating utterly bizarre theories, including that the entire world is run by a secret group of reptilian humanoids who drink human blood and conduct satanic rituals. Forty-threeU.S. Presidents, he says, have been such reptilian beings, and many of them have been part of global satanic pedophile rings that murder hundreds of thousands of children a year. I wish I was making this despicable stuff up, but I'm not. This is what Icke teaches.
What is Thrive's relationship to these beliefs? Foster Gamble explains:
"In our film, we do not go into his (Icke's) research on reptilians, nor his immensely important investigations into global satanic pedophile rings, because it does not serve our film. That does not mean that revealing what is happening to hundreds of thousands of our most vulnerable every year should not be exposed and stopped."
Icke's war on common sense goes even further. He says that the Global Elite's plan for world domination was laid bare in a document titled The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This document is actually a notorious hoax, published in Russia around 1903. It supposedly presents a plan by the Jewish people to take over the world, and was a primary justification used by Adolph Hitler as he initiated the Holocaust. This fraudulent document was also used to justify the violent pogroms and massacres of the Jewish people in pre-SovietRussia.
How anyone could take seriously a man who espouses such "information" is beyond me. Thrive not only takes Icke seriously, but relies more heavily on his "insights" than on any other source, both in the movie and as a source of "data" for its website.
In a recent interview, Icke seemed to be competing for lunatic of the year: "What I'm explaining now," he said, "is that the moon is not a heavenly body but a construct."
One of the signers of the statement of disassociation from Thrive, former astronaut Edgar Mitchell, has grounds to disagree. As the lunar module pilot of Apollo 14, he spent nine hours working on the moon's surface.
Another of Thrive's primary sources, and another of the authors Foster Gamble told me I should read in order to better understand Thrive, is Eustace Mullins. I honestly find it difficult to convey the level of anti-semitism in Mullins's books, without it seeming that I am exaggerating. So I will let Mullins's own words speak for themselves:
"We must remember that there is no Jewish crime per se, since the existence of the Jewish parasite on the host is a crime against nature, because its existence imperils the health and life of the host…
This religious ceremony of drinking the blood of an innocent gentile child is basic to the Jew's entire concept of his existence as a parasite, living off the blood of the host…
The Jews do not want anyone to know what Nazism is. Nazism is simply this–a proposal that the German people rid themselves of the parasitic Jews. The gentile host dared to protest against the continued presence of the parasite, and attempted to throw it off."
The title of one of Eustace Mullins's books is: Hitler, An Appreciation. While Foster Gamble evidently believes that Mullins has shed valuable light on banking systems and other aspects of the "Global Domination Agenda," I have no interest in looking to such individuals for insight into anything.
The Gambles state that they do not necessarily agree with all of the thoughts and beliefs of their sources, but rather that they have incorporated only those ideas they find useful and with which they agree. I'm sure the Gambles do not condone Mullins' overt anti-semitism, but I find it disturbing that the thinking of these men has been used as the foundation for some of the key ideas presented in Thrive. While I do not believe the Gambles are themselves guilty of anti-semitism, I do believe they are naïve and gullible, and that in depending heavily on sources such as Icke and Mullins they have unwittingly allowed anti-semitism to become a subtext in their work.
As journalist Eric Johnson points out, viewers of the movie may not realize that Gamble's central thesis, that a handful of families, many of them Jewish, control the world and plan to enslave humanity, is nearly identical to the argument that Joseph Goebbels made in his notorious Nazi propaganda film The Eternal Jew: that a handful of banking families, many of them Jewish, run the world and seek global domination.
Two of the other sources that Foster Gamble recommended to me so that I might better understand the philosophical underpinnings of Thrive are Stanley Monteith and G. Edward Griffin. Monteith, who happens to be a neighbor of mine, has long been involved with Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition, and professes that the environmental movement is a pretext for the effort to create a global police state. The author of two books on AIDS, he says "the vast majority of AIDS information available to the American public has only one purpose – and that purpose is to deceive the people of our nation." Monteith's answer? He calls for schools to "abandon all comprehensive sex education" in favor of "abstinence only sex instruction."
G. Edward Griffin is showcased in both the Thrive movie and website. Both he and Monteith have long been members and officers of the John Birch Society, a far-right political organization that first came to public attention when one of its founders, Robert W. Welch, proclaimed that Dwight Eisenhower wasn't the genial war hero and popular President he seemed, but rather "a conscious, dedicated agent of the international communist conspiracy." G. Edward Griffin has written an admiring biography of Welch, who co-founded the John Birch Society along with Fred Koch, the father of today's notorious Koch Brothers.
Both Thrive and the John Birch Society view government, in Welch's words, "as always and inevitably an enemy of individual freedom." And both see a small group of families, including the Rockefellers and Rothschilds, as behind an utterly malevolent conspiracy seeking total global domination. The Thrive website features this statement from the second president of the John Birch Society, Larry McDonald:
"The drive of the Rockefellers and their allies is to create a one-world government…all under their control… Do I mean conspiracy? Yes I do. I am convinced there is such a plot, international in cope, generations old in planning, and incredibly evil in intent."
There are only a few of the ultra-right wing sources whose ideas and agendas pervade Thrive. Another is the economist Ludwig von Mises, whose words and beliefs are cited frequently and sympathetically on the Thrive website. Many Americans first learned of von Mises when Michele Bachman, seeking the Republican nomination for the Presidency, said she read his books at the beach. Von Mises's brand of laissez-faire capitalism is hard-core. In his eyes, nearly all government intervention in the economy is strictly verboten, and taxes are a crime against freedom.
Buoyed by lush visual effects and lovely words, the Thrive film has been attractive to many who know how often we are deceived and exploited by the powers that shouldn't be. "In times of universal deceit," wrote George Orwell, "telling the truth will be a revolutionary act."
But what is the revolution Thrive would bring? Both the Thrive movie and website call for the end of taxation even for the rich. Thrive's goal is a world in which public schools and welfare programs, including social security, have been terminated. Instead of police, we have private security forces. As Foster Gamble puts it, "Private security works way better than the state."
That may be true for the rich who can pay for it. But who, I might ask, would pay to protect low-income communities if all security was privatized?
Eventually, if Foster Gamble had his way and the Thrive vision was fully manifest, there would be no taxes, no government, and everything would be privately owned, including roads. "It's clear that when you drive into a shopping center you are on a private road, and almost without exception it is in great shape," explains the Thrive website, as though a free market unfettered by concern for the 99 percent would somehow magically meet the needs of all.
I am saddened to see Foster Gamble, an heir to the Procter & Gamble fortune, so oblivious to the realities of those who do not share his privileges. If all roads are privatized, how will the poor get anywhere?
It is hard to overstate how opposed Thrive is to taxes, even on the ultra-wealthy. To Foster Gamble's eyes, any form of government that depends on taxation, including democracy, is unconscionable. He writes on the Thrive website:
"Democracy…which is born of and sustains itself by taking people's hard-earned money, whether they like it or not, and calling it 'taxation,' – is in and of itself a violation [against life]."
No wonder Amy Goodman, who appears in the film, is one of the signers of the statement repudiating Thrive. She has long been the host of what may be the most significant progressive news institution of our time. While Thrive finds democracy abhorrent because it depends on taxation, her outstanding program is called Democracy Now.
How, you might be asking, did those of us who have signed the statement of disassociation from Thrive ever allow ourselves to be filmed for a movie that advances such ideas? The answer is simple. We were grievously misled about what the film would be.
I want to underscore that although I think the Gambles are promoting a destructive agenda (which they kept secret from those of who were interviewed for their film), I do not think either Foster or his wife Kimberly are sinister or malicious, which is why it has been a very painful process for me to write this critique. I have known them to be kind people who mean well, and I have long considered Kimberly in particular to be one of my closest friends. But I have found it necessary to speak out in this way, because some of the ideas at the heart of Thrive strike me as frightening and misguided, and they most certainly are not ones with which I or the other signers of the disassociation statement can condone.
I have spent decades exposing and seeking to undermine powerful industries whose ways of doing business are diametrically opposed to the public welfare. In my view, the deregulation of the economy and the demolition of government programs that Thrive proposes, would take us even further in the direction of a winner-take-all economy in which wealth would concentrate even more in the hands of the financial elites.
As one of the signers of the disassociation statement, evolutionary biologist Elisabet Sahtouris, writes:
"Without community, we do not exist, and community is about creating relationships of mutual benefit. It does not just happen with flowers and rainbows, and no taxes."
Each of us who have signed the statement have dedicated our lives to creating and conveying positive visions of how to create a truly thriving, just and sustainable way of life. We have been part of vast movements toward generating a human presence on this planet that is spiritually fulfilling, socially just, and environmentally responsible. We do not want to see our names, reputations, and influence used to fuel unsubstantiated claims or misguided policies. We want to see them used to strengthen individuals and communities, and to serve the ability each of us possesses to live with respect for ourselves, for one another, and for the truth of our interdependence.
As another of the signers, Paul Hawken, writes:
"The world is riven by people who are convinced they are right, while others are wrong. Dualism permeates political, economic, cultural and religious conflict. It is the true source of suffering and the despoliation of the world. This wound cannot be healed by the us/them divisions that inform Thrive. Evil most certainly exists, but the core of evil is ignorance, and it cannot be repelled by righteousness or by making others wrong. It is only through compassion that we can create true transformation."
We do not deny the evil in the world. It is here and it is real. But there is also hope here, and it too is real.
It is hope that believes we can build trust, build community, and build a better world. Such hope is not the blind belief in something which has little possibility of ever materializing. It is the hope which remains open to miracles while investing the sweat and perseverance to lend the Universe a hand in creating those miracles. It is the hope that is borne from knowing that it is far too late, and our situation far too serious, to indulge in the luxuries of pessimism, paranoia, and finger-pointing.
The state of the world is perilous. But it is not too late to love, not too late to work to realize our dreams, and not too late to believe in ourselves and each other.
In the end, we are all in this together. Each step you take to lessen the amount of fear in yourself and the world brings us closer to a world reflective of the beauty that exists — sometimes buried and other times apparent — in each of us. Every act you take that increases the amount of trust and compassion in your relationships helps us move from a world created by privilege to a world created by community.
As the poet Adrienne Rich wrote, "So much has been destroyed. I have cast my lot with those who, age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world."
A short, funny film about libertarianism:
REGULATION VACATION CELEBRATION!
Uploaded by PublicServiceAdmin on May 5, 2009
Lest we be accused of misrepresenting their views, actual Libertarians have been kicking around this take on Somalia with a straight face for some time now. No shit: http://mises.org/story/2066
[note: "mises.org" is the website for the economic school of thought that Mr. Gamble is promoting via Thrive website]
Praxis Peace institute is a small non profit in Sonoma, California. I went to an excellent economics conference they had in 2009.
A Critique Prompted by the film Thrive
A Project of the Praxis Think Tank
Edited by Georgia Kelly
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Why is Praxis Peace Institute Publishing this Pamphlet? …. Page 3
Deconstructing the Political Agenda Behind Thrive by Georgia Kelly ….. Page 4
Some Reflections on Thrive by Dan Drasin ….. Page 10
Challenging the Hidden Ideological Underbelly of Thrive by Ben Boyce… Pg 14
The Ethical Incoherence at the Heart of Thrive by Gus diZerega ….. Page 17
Critique of the Movie, Thrive by Benjamin N. Colby …… Page 29
When Gamble makes statements like "private owners of forest land are not known to clear cut," all one needs is a single case to falsify such a statement. Indeed, Champion International, owner of 45 percent of Maine's forest land, plans to greatly increase its clear-cutting, and herbicide use, as do other timber companies. Private companies and forest
landowners are more likely to increase clear cutting trees if they seek a profit rather than the long-term sustainability of the planet. A socially and biologically responsive, democracy-promoting, corruption-free government, however, is more likely to be more conserving and to promote well-being. Rather than eliminate government, we need to eliminate corruption. We need to change the campaign finance laws, and be less subject to false media representations. But Gamble goes on,
"Private owners of highways would be naturally incented to have as many people as possible use them, and to keep them in good shape to maintain their reputation and insurance. Perhaps some roads will be left in some sort of commons beyond Stage 2 of the transition we are recommending, but my guess is that by then we will see how private ownership serves the public far better than taxpayer funded state control."
The above statements are entirely unsupported. It is when private ownership gains enormous power that formerly democratic governments are corrupted and are unable to fulfill their proper function of serving the public as they would in a true democracy.
(the ridiculous comment about forests is at http://www.thrivemovement.com/solutions-liberty )
Proctor and Gamble's paper mill in north Florida requires lots of clearcuts.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2012
The Blood of the Earth, or Pulp Nonfiction
by John Michael Greer
The second response to the recognition that the narrative of progress has failed is to rehash it over again in an even more extreme form. The poster child for this second option just now is a video titled Thrive, which is doing the rounds in the alternative scene as I write this. Those of my readers who are connoisseurs of meretricious nonsense may find it of interest, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else; we will all be hearing far too much like it over the years to come.
The basic message of Thrive is that we all ought to be living in a wonderful Utopian world, and would be doing so if evil corporate conspiracies weren't suppressing the inventions that would have given us limitless free energy, cures for cancer and, well, pretty much anything else your heart desires. Evidence? We don't need no steenking evidence—and of course, in an entirely pragmatic sense,Thrive doesn't; all it has to do is hammer over and over again on a set of emotional hot buttons until the viewer's ability to reason is overwhelmed, and if the video fails at this, it's certainly not for want of trying. It's a pity, in a way, that Thrive wasn't yet in circulation when I wrote last year's posts on thaumaturgy; it would have been educational to go through it scene by scene and talk about the crassly manipulative tactics it uses to get its effect.
Anyone interested in a thorough critique of Thrive should read Rob Hopkins' cogent essay on the subject. For our present purposes, the point I want to make is that Thrive is an all-out effort to uphold the narrative of progress in the teeth of the facts. The narrative of progress says that we ought to have cheaper, more abundant energy with every passing year; in fact, the industrial world's supplies of cheap abundant energy are running out fast, with predictable effects on price and supply, but those effects and their causes simply can't be squared with the narrative of progress. Enter a flurry of accusations of conspiracy, which make it possible to insist that progress is still continuing but its fruits are being withheld from the people. The claims that cures for cancer are being suppressed has the same role with regard to the ongoing collapse of public health in America and elsewhere: we ought to be getting healthier, but we're not, so a scapegoat has to be found to justify the widening gap between the narrative we prefer and the reality we get.
For all the problems with apocalyptic thinking, then, the prophets of apocalypse have at least gotten the first step right; having noticed that the narrative of progress doesn't work any more, they've gone looking for an alternative, and it's simply their bad luck that the alternative they've chosen doesn't work either. Of course that raises a challenging question: if the narratives of progress and apocalypse don't fit the world in which we're living or the future that's looming ahead of us, what narratives do?
Mulling over this question a few days ago, I started making a list of the more obvious features of the story in which we find ourselves at this point in the turning of history's wheel. I encourage my readers to follow along, and see whether or not the answer that struck me occurs to them as well.
• We live in a world dominated by a vast, slowly decaying empire that gets quite literally superhuman powers by feeding on what we may as well call the blood of the Earth;
• That empire is ruled by a decadent aristocracy that holds court in soaring towers and bolsters its crumbling authority by conjuring vast amounts of wealth out of thin air;
• Backing the aristocracy is a caste of corrupt sorcerers whose incantations, projected into every home through the power of the blood of the Earth, keep the populace disorganized, deluded and passive;
• Entire provinces of the empire are ravaged by droughts, storms, and other disasters caused by the misuse of the Earth's blood, while prophecies from the past warn of much worse to come;
• Meanwhile, far from the centers of power, the members of a scattered fellowship struggle to find and learn the forgotten lore of an earlier time, which might just hold the secret of survival...
It was more or less at this point that the realization hit: we have somehow gotten stuck, all seven billion of us, inside the pages of a pulp fantasy novel.