the Rhodes Legacy
"In America, where idealism is the yardstick used to judge a generation's collective virtue, Rhodes scholars are its masters," says Rhodes scholar Peter Beinart. "They are chosen as much for their public-spiritedness as for their academic prowess. Not all want to run for elective office, but the bulk think their talents can be most fully realized through public service. Like Clinton, my peers believe earnestly in government. Above all, they believe in themselves in government."
Writing in the "My Turn" section of Newsweek's January 16th issue, Beinart, a 23-year-old student now in his second year at Oxford University, offers a perceptive critique of the "Rhodie" tendency to giddily embrace idealism as summum bonum. Beinart notes that "such idealism should be refreshing. Yet after a year at Oxford, it makes me uneasy. The commitment to government my colleagues express so passionately is rarely linked to a clear vision of what government should do .... I'm afraid that the idealism for which Rhodes scholars receive praise is less an antidote to the problems of American politics than a symptom of them."
"Lacking a vision of political service in pursuit of specific ends," observes Beinart, "the rhetoric of idealism allows Rhodes scholars to justify and celebrate political service per se. Idealism masks an ideological vacuum."
On the pernicious potential of misdirected idealism Beinart scores some important points. However, it is not idealism per se, but a particular kind of idealism, of which Rhodies are typically imbued, that is the problem under consideration here. And it is certainly not an idealism proceeding from an "ideological vacuum." If that were the case, we would expect to see idealism manifested and expressed in a diversity of shapes and forms, as, for instance: Christian idealism versus humanist/pagan/atheist idealism, individualist versus collectivist idealism, libertarian versus totalitarian idealism, nationalist versus globalist idealism, etc.
The Oxonian idealism, however, seems to run almost invariably along the humanist/pagan/atheist, collectivist, totalitarian, globalist, elitist lines. Perhaps Beinart's peers do not explicitly subscribe to such a nasty idealism, but, apparently, it is implicit -- at least in the formative stages -- in their collective world view, and it is this which makes him "uneasy." As he says, they have a passionate "commitment to government," but, "above all, they believe in themselves in government." Which is exactly the kind of "idealism" British empire builder Cecil John Rhodes intended to foster when he established the Rhodes scholarships at the turn of the century.
We have written previously about the baleful effects of Rhodes' bequest ("A 'Rhodie' in the White House," THE NEW AMERICAN, January 25, 1993). However, since the accession of Bill Clinton to the Oval Office, the Oxford influence in the Executive branch of the federal government has attained unprecedented heights. As Rhodes scholar Robert Rotberg noted in the Christian Science Monitor for December 7, 1992, the Clinton Presidency "fulfills Rhodes' deepest aspiration." Rotberg, author of The Founder: Cecil Rhodes and the Pursuit of Power, wrote in his Monitor piece that "Rhodes believed that he had discovered an idea that could lead 'to the cessation of all wars and one language throughout the world.' Rhodes also specified fairly clearly the kinds of men who should receive the opportunity to go to Oxford. He had Clinton in mind" -- an admission which, by itself, should severely diminish the prestige of the esteemed academic honors. Rhodes' men, said Rotberg, were a special breed: "They were to 'esteem the performance of public duties' as their highest aim. Rhodes wanted the best men for 'the World's fight.' ... In the 90 years of scholarships, only Clinton has taken Rhodes' dream to the top."
Government of the World
Indeed. Which is why we are grateful for the appearance of two recent studies on this important subject: Secret Records Revealed: The Men, the Money, and the Methods Behind the New World Order, by Dennis Laurence Cuddy (Plymouth Rock Foundation, P.O. Box 577, Marlborough, NH 02455); and The Rhodes Legacy: Are Its Agents Shaping America's Destiny? by Samuel L. Blumenfeld (The Blumenfeld Education Letter, P.O. Box 45161, Boise, Idaho 83711). As two of the most perceptive writers on education issues today, Dr. Cuddy and Mr. Blumenfeld are well qualified to tackle the Rhodesian menace to American academe, government, and society.
Quoting from Professor Carroll Quigley's monumental history, Tragedy and Hope, Blumenfeld recounts the "sensational impact" that socialist professor John Ruskin had on the young Cecil Rhodes while a student at Oxford. Later, "with support from Lord Rothschild and Alfred Beit, [Rhodes] was able to monopolize the diamond mines of South Africa" and put his enormous, illgotten fortune in diamonds and gold to work in his plan for world empire.
To accomplish this end, Rhodes confided to his intimate friend and executor, William T. Stead, it was necessary to (in Rhodes' own words) create "a society copied, as to organization, from the Jesuits." Unlike the Jesuits (the Society of Jesus), however, Rhodes' society would be secret and decidedly un-Christian. Rhodes told Stead that it should be "a secret society, organized like Loyola's, supported by the accumulated wealth of those whose aspiration is to do something."
And this "something" that Rhodes had in mind for them to "do" with their wealth? Nothing less, said Rhodes, than "a scheme to take the government of the whole world." Thus, Rhodes biographer Sarah Millin noted, "The government of the world was Rhodes' simple desire." Simple, yes, though hardly lacking in ambitious grandiosity. Said Rhodes to Stead: "What scope! What a horizon of work for the next two centuries for the best energies of the best people in the world." And, averred the fabulously wealthy magnate, "The only thing feasible to carry out this idea is a secret society gradually absorbing the wealth of the world, to be devoted to this object."
These and other revealing statements are found in an important article on Cecil Rhodes in the New York Times of April 9, 1902, which Blumenfeld has reprinted in The Rhodes Legacy.
The secret society of which Rhodes spoke was launched, notes Blumenfeld, on February 5, 1891. Forming the executive committee of this society were Rhodes, Stead, Lord Esher, and Alfred Milner. Below them was a "Circle of Initiates" comprised of Lord Balfour, Sir Harry Johnson, Lord Rothschild, Lord Grey, and other scions of Britain's financial and aristocratic elite. According to Professor Quigley, Bill Clinton's mentor at Georgetown University, "The scholarships were merely a facade to conceal the secret society, or more accurately, they were to be one of the instruments by which the members of the secret society could carry out his purpose." "The Rhodes Scholarships," Blumenfeld writes, "as outlined in Rhodes' will, became the main instrument whereby the most promising young people throughout the English-speaking world could be recruited to serve an idea that Rhodes thought would take 200 years to fulfill." And, says Blumenfeld:
Obviously, the way the secret society would recruit its future leaders from among the Rhodes scholars was to dangle before them the prospects of future advancement in whatever field they chose to pursue, be it education, politics, government, foundation work, finance, journalism, etc. Thus, if you understood the implicit message being given to you by your sponsors you might one day become president of Harvard, President of the United States, a Supreme Court judge, a U.S. senator, or president of the Carnegie Foundation. The road to fame and fortune was open as long as you played the game and obeyed the rules. The Association of American Rhodes Scholars has an alumni membership of about 1,600. They have become leading figures in the new ruling elite in America.
Rhodie Roll Call
For gaining an appreciation of just how influential the "leading figures" in this ruling elite have been, and are today, Dr. Cuddy's 50-page booklet, Secret Records Revealed, is of immense value. Utilizing the chronological format he has used in some of his previous studies, Cuddy begins with the year 1890 and traces the perfidious Rhodes influence to the present, outlining not only the "contributions" of Rhodes scholars, but those as well of prominent members in Rhodes' other fronts such as the Council on Foreign Relations.
The impact of this elect (but in most cases unelected) coterie has been nothing less than incredible. A roll call of the famous Rhodies who have advanced the founder's scheme reads like a Who's Who of American finance, business, academe, journalism, and politics: Whitney Shepardson, John K. Fairbank, Lester Thurow, Erwin D. Canham, Stringfellow Barr, Nicholas Katzenbach, Howard K. Smith, Harlan Cleveland, Carl Albert, J. William Fullbright, Dean Rusk, Hedley Donovan, Walt Rostow, Robert Roosa, Stansfield Turner, Richard Lugar, David Boren, Michael Kinsley, Daniel Boorstin, and many more. Among the more than 20 Rhodies in Clinton's retinue are Strobe Talbott, Robert Reich, James Woolsey, Ira Magaziner, George Stephanopoulos, Stephen Oxman, Sarah Sewall, Walter Slocombe, Joseph Nye, and Richard N. Gardner.
And what are the characteristics that the Rhodes scholarship selection committees were to look for in candidates and nurture in their scholars? According to Rhodes' own criteria, notes Cuddy, the traits most desired were (and are) "smugness, brutality, unctuous rectitude, and tact." Obviously, as Mr. Rotberg beamed above, Rhodes "had Clinton in mind." After all, his proteges were to be the "best men," the "best people," pursuing his vision of world government run by a socialist aristocratic elite. According to Rhodes' coconspirator Stead, it was expected that by 1920 there would be "between two and three thousand men in the prime of life scattered all over the world, each of whom, moreover, would have been specially -- mathematically -- selected toward the Founder's purposes."
Words and Works
Dr. Cuddy examines the writings, speeches, policies, and deeds of Rhodes scholars and other members of the Rhodes network over the past century, to reveal what is clearly the sinister nature of "the Founder's purposes." He shares the alarm expressed by Professor Quigley in his posthumously published exposť, The Anglo-American Establishment: "The picture is terrifying because such power, whatever the goals at which it is being directed, is too much to be entrusted to any group .... No country that values its safety should allow what the [Rhodes-Milner] group accomplished -- that is, that a small number of men would be able to wield such a power in administration and politics, should be given almost complete control over the publication of documents relating to their actions, should be able to exercise such influence over the avenues of information that create public opinion, and should be able to monopolize so completely the writing and the teaching of the history of their own period."