December 12, 1998
Written By S.R. Shearer

[Much of the material for this report was gleaned from Professor. C. Wright Mills' excellent book, The Power Elite.]

"... in this particular epoch a conjunction of historical circumstances has led to the rise of an elite of power ... the men of the circles composing this elite, severally and collectively, now make such key decisions as are made; and that, given the enlargement and the centralization of the means of power now available, the decisions that they make and fail to make carry more consequences for more people than has ever been the case in the world history of mankind."

Professor C. Wright Mills
Columbia University


It is sometimes difficult for ordinary people to believe that there exists the kind of people who are so past all feeling toward their fellow man, and so lacking in any kind of compassion that they are able to involve themselves in the type of venal and despicable behavior that the CIA and the shareholders of United Fruit were able to get themselves involved in during the 1950s in Guatemala for the sake of corporate profits and the "bottom line" (please see last newsletter, "The American Empire"). Worse yet, it's even more difficult to believe that the United States has built up an empire of client states around the world (i.e., the Philippines, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, etc.) using as its model the sordid and corrupt "methodologies of empire" developed by the CIA and United Fruit in that poor and impoverished land (i.e., Guatemala). But, of course, that is what has plainly happened.

This is, however, what elite power is all about; this is what it ultimately leads to: for the elite, money-making and the accumulation of wealth has become the raison d'être of life. These people have no real sense of "right" and "wrong." "Right" to such people is simply that which advances their own selfish pecuniary ends; "wrong" is that which hinders them; these words possess no other meaning beyond this. Their loyalty is to themselves and to their personal enrichment, and hang all those who get in their way - and it's only when one begins to grasp this fact that it becomes at last possible to "identify" the American elite and "track" its activities. "Tracking" the elite using any other "marker" than money is an exercise in abject futility.

The lust for wealth; the lust for money - this is the common denominator for all members of the elite; the terms "liberal," "conservative," "secular," "religious," "Christian," "humanist" are all useless in "identifying" and "tracking" the elite. Depending on the historical circumstance and the exigencies of the moment, the elite co-opts this or that label to "identify" itself; but the label is meaningless; it's merely a temporary mask or a momentary contrivance. For example, in the America of the first half of the twentieth century, the elite co-opted for itself the label of "conservative" and "Christian." However, when - during the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement - the left was in the ascendancy, it shed its "conservative" and "Christian" labels and took on the labels of "secular-humanism" and "diversity." Now it's beginning to swing back the other way. But in the end, it's all the same: these are merely masquerades and artifices which serve to ingratiate the elite to that portion of the population which at the time it feels it must "pacify" in order to maintain itself in power and, ipso facto, hold on to its wealth and prerogatives.


Wealth makes beasts out of us all; it has surely made a beast out of the elite - and it's precisely because of this fact that the elite was able to do what it did in Guatemala. Dom Helder Camara of Brazil has been much maligned because of his connection with Liberation Theology - a theology which attempts to involve Christians in left-wing (as opposed to right-wing) political causes. But Camara was right at least on one point when he wrote:

"I used to think, when I was a child, that Christ might have been exaggerating when He warned about the dangers of wealth. Today I know better. I know how ... (impossible) it is to be rich and still keep the milk of human kindness. Money (or the desire for money) has a dangerous way of putting scales on one's eyes, a dangerous way of freezing people's hands, eyes, lips and hearts."

Paul cautioned,

"... they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition." (I Tim. 6:9)

And Peter said of those who desire wealth (i.e., who are covetous),

"These are wells without water, clouds that are carried (about) with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever." (2 Pet. 2:17)

The plain fact of the matter is, the people who comprise the American elite are selfish, small-minded and amazingly petty individuals whose lives revolve around only one thing: the pursuit of wealth. These are people like David H. Koch of Wichita, Kansas - he is chairman of Koch Industries; David Friess, an investment banker who claims that the most important thing in his life is his belief in Christ as his savior - and this despite the fact that much of his wealth was acquired through ruthless business practices which contradict the teachings of the Bible: he is the current president of the Council on National Policy; Charles Schwab of Charles Schwab and Company; Jerome V. Ansel of Boca Raton, President of St. Andrews Reality; Stanley Druckenmiller of New York, Managing Director of the Soros Fund (which specializes in a high stakes and risky stock activity called "hedge betting"), etc., etc.1

The only real concern of such people centers around their greedy, self-absorbed life-styles and their preoccupation with piling up ever greater amounts of material wealth and worldly treasure. And for what purpose? - there is none! Remarkably, that's it: the accumulation of money! - that's their goal! There is nothing beyond that except an eerie and frightening emptiness. The sad thing for the rest of the public, however, is that whenever such people rule a society, that society is corrupted to the degree that these people come to dominate it.

Some people, of course, will say that we are being too harsh in our condemnation of the economic elite. That certainly there is something more behind their accumulation of wealth; that some kind of "greater good" lies at the heart of what they're doing; that these people have a goal beyond the mere acquisition of earthly treasure. But they're wrong! - for the moneyed-elite, there is nothing more! This is as far as their thinking goes. Covetousness (i.e., the psychological drive to accumulate wealth) has blinded them - and what a terrible blindness it is!

The late Professor C. Wright Mills of Columbia University writes,

"The pursuit of the moneyed-life is ... (the elite's) commanding value, in relation to which the influence of other values has declined, so ... (that they have) easily become morally ruthless in its pursuit ..." 2

"(They have) narrowed the meaning of 'success' to big money and in these terms condemn failure as the chief vice, raising money to the plane of absolute value."3


Greed renders those who have been captured by it into empty shells who no longer possess substance or meaning to their lives. While it's true that many of those people who have been captured by it continue to preserve a certain front of "purpose" and "idealism" in their lives, there is nothing behind that "front" except a vacuum - a hollowness that resembles the emptiness of a body without a soul. Their idealism is nothing more than a subterfuge, a contrivance, a masquerade - an excuse for what really drives them, which is the actual process of accumulation.

Moreover, while these people may manifest a certain sophistication and even refinement when circumstances demand it, they are nonetheless a dangerous and extremely loathsome species of mankind - dangerous not in the fact that they are immoral (that would imply that they possess a conscience), but that they are amoral - that they don't even possess a sense of "right" or "wrong." "Right," as we have already said, is simply that which advances their own selfish ends; "wrong" is that which hinders them; these words possess no other meaning beyond this.

It's this utter abandonment of all private convictions - of any concept of what's "right" or "wrong" - which leads to one of their most abhorrent and disgusting traits: specifically, their heartless and cruel way of discarding those "allies" and "hangers-on" who no longer possess the ability to advance their interests or careers. Moreover, they are loathsome in the fact that they have been emptied of all their humanity and concern for anything beyond themselves - though they all too often possess an uncanny and extraordinary way of hiding this fact behind a pretense of flattery and charm. Indeed, Peter warned,

"For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure (people) ... through much wantonness ..." (2 Pet. 2:18)

Mills continues"

"Whenever the standards of the moneyed life prevail, the man with money, no matter how he got it, will eventually be respected. (In America), it is not only that men want money; it is that their very standards are pecuniary. In a society (i.e., the American society) in which the money-maker has ... no serious rival for repute and honor, the word 'practical' comes to mean 'useful for private gain' and 'common sense', 'the sense to get ahead financially'."4


Where possible, of course, the elite likes to pretend that it doesn't exist - and, indeed, so successful has it been over the years in this effort that today it's become fashionable to believe that, at least in this country, there is no special ruling-elite that governs the affairs of our society. Indeed, the prevailing view today - the one that is trumpeted continually, even incessantly, from all the mainline media - is that if there does exist an American elite, it is largely a powerless one; that far from being omnipotent, this elite - such as it is - is so scattered that it lacks any fusion or historical force. Its invisibility is not the invisibility of secrecy and concealment - as is supposed, for example, by those who today continue to believe in the verity of the Illuminist Conspiracy - but the invisibility of those who lack coherence; that the people who occupy the places of authority in the business community, the government, and the intelligence / military complexes are so checkmated by other elites exerting other pressure, or by the "public," or by the "electorate," or by "constitutional codes and restrictions," etc. that, although there may be "upper classes," there is no ruling class; that although there may be men of power, there is no unified ruling-elite; that although there may be a system of stratification, it has no effective top.


To those who are used to thinking in "left / right" terms or in a socialist-humanist / capitalist-Christian dichotomy, it would seem that the pundits of the mainline media have it right: there is no ruling-elite. How could there be? Most of the major corporations (which one would naturally assume would be linked to the "right" in any "left / right dichotomy") give to both the Democratic Party (presumably, the "left") and the Republican Party (presumably, the "right"). And that's not all: the Ford, Rockefeller and Carnegie Foundations, (presumably all bastions of the "right") are today the main financial supporters for such "leftish" political and cultural agendas as gay and lesbian empowerment, diversity, radical feminism, multiculturalism, black studies, etc.

For example, the Ford Foundation provided most of the original funding for the National Organization for Women, and the Rockefeller Foundation was the main source of support for almost all the early grants which endowed the "diversity" programs on most of the nation's university and college campuses. The Carnegie Foundation gave grants to organizations working against the California Civil Rights Initiative (Proposition 209), a ballot measure that barred race preferences in state employment, contracts, and college admissions. Indeed, all three foundations - which most suppose to be controlled by the so-called "White Establishment" - have poured money into groups which seem to be dedicated to the "browning" of America and the destruction of the "White Establishment:" the Urban League, La Raza, La Familia, etc.

On the other hand, while the Rockefeller Foundation was funding such left-wing causes as feminism, multiculturalism and the gay and lesbian agenda, it was also helping to fund the CIA's infamous (and, presumably "right-wing") MK-Ultra Mind Control Program, as well as hundreds of other schemes designed to destabilize left-wing governments throughout Central and South America. And not only that, while the Rockefeller Foundation was providing money to various left-wing (and, supposedly, "humanist") organizations in the United States, it was also contributing - directly and indirectly - millions and millions of dollars to a well-known, fundamentalist Christian Missionary group, the Wycliffe Bible Translators. And what's true of the Rockefeller Foundation insofar as this dichotomy of purpose is concerned, is also true of the Ford and Carnegie Foundations.

It's enough to make one's head spin. Where is there any consistency? Where is there any coherence? And if there is no coherence and no consistency, how can one say that there is a unified ruling-elite? - or if there is a ruling-elite, one would have to conclude that it is a very confused and disoriented one.


But despite the universality of such thinking in academic and media circles (i.e., that there is no ruling-elite), and despite what seems to be the lack of any identifiable coherence insofar as an elite cultural and political agenda is concerned, there exists a gnawing feeling among most in this country - and, in fact, the world - that as they proceed in their customary rounds of job, family, and neighborhoods they are being driven by forces not of their own making and by powers over which they have little or no control.

Take, for example, the matter of unrestricted immigration into this country (both legal and illegal); polls have revealed that most Americans are dead set against it by better than two to one; the mainstream media, however, says that it's good for the country, and that nothing can be done to stop it anyway. Yet, who could really doubt that it couldn't be stopped if enough resources were expended? There are countless places in this world where border crossings are impossible to make, and this is so in countries far less sophisticated than ours. Yet, nothing is done - despite the fact that most Americans are willing to vote the resources necessary to seal the borders.

And that's not the only example. Take the matter of "Free Trade," which most Americans by now connect to the loss of high-paying manufacturing jobs to cheap labor and sweatshops overseas and in Mexico. Polls indicate that most Americans are overwhelmingly against "Free Trade." Nonetheless, if one were to listen to the mainstream media, one would think that it's as popular as "mother" and "apple pie" with the American electorate. The list is endless: multiculturalism, bi-lingualism, busing, affirmative action, women in the military, homosexuality and on and on. All these are issues against which most Americans feel themselves arrayed; yet these issues continue to be successfully pushed on them by "unseen forces" over which they have no control and about which they have very little or no understanding. Indeed, so far has all this progressed that many very well educated people now believe that democracy in the United States has become nothing more than a farce; for example, take Michael Parenti. He alleges that one -

"... might better think of ours as a dual political system. First, there is the symbolic political system centered around electoral and representative activities including party conflicts, voter turnout, political personalities, public pronouncements, official role-playing and certain ambiguous presentations of some of the public issues which bestir presidents, governors, mayors and their respective legislatures. Then there is the substantive political system, involving multi-billion dollar contracts, tax write-offs, protections, rebates, grants, loss compensations, subsidies, leases, giveaways and the whole vast process of budgeting, legislating, advising, regulating, protecting and servicing major producer interests - now bending or ignoring the law on behalf of the powerful, now applying it with full punitive vigor against heretics and 'troublemakers'. The symbolic system is highly visible, taught in schools, discussed by academicians, gossiped about by newsmen. The substantive system is seldom heard of or accounted for." 5

The fact of the matter is, the protestations of those involved in the militia movement and other similar populist movements (of both the right and the left) against elite power are not all that "off the mark." Their effort to identify the elite may not be that accurate (because the new elite is anything but a Jewish cabal); nonetheless, their contention that the mass of the American public has been rendered impotent by an all-powerful elite which has seized command of the country and is now moving to seize control of the world is fairly accurate.


Mills says that as a matter of pure historical fact, there always have been ruling elites, and - as the means of information and power have become ever more centralized - these elites have grown in strength. For example, Caesar could do less with Rome than Napoleon with France; Napoleon less with France than Lenin with Russia; Lenin less with Russia than Hitler with Germany; and today's elite more than all the rest - to the point that at present, in this precise day and hour, some men have come to occupy such lofty positions of power that they can now look down on the rest of humanity, and by their decisions mightily affect the everyday worlds of "ordinary" men and women in ways that heretofore were never possible - and all this despite the imposition of democratic forms of government throughout the world over the last two or three centuries. That the facilities of power are now so enormously enlarged and so decisively centralized means that the decisions of very small groups are now much more consequential than they have ever been before - to the end, Mills says, that today's elites can actually say which nations will prosper economically and which will not; and, if they so choose, can cause great cities (and whole nations) to be destroyed in a single night.

Yes! - elites exist, and that should be apparent to anyone with an ounce of common sense: the obvious truth is that although we are all within the "historical moment," we do not all possess equal power to make history in that moment. To pretend otherwise is nonsense. And more than that, it's irresponsible. It's nonsense because any group or any individual is limited by the technical and institutional means of power at its (his) command: we do not all have equal access to the means of power that now exist, nor do we all have equal influence over its use. And to pretend that we are all "history-makers" is irresponsible because it obfuscates the attempt to locate responsibility for the consequential decisions of men who do have access to the means of power. The fact is, according to Mills, to deny that powerful elites exist with the capacity to bend people to their will - is nothing less than mindless stupidity. Mills writes,

"This elite (of power) is composed of men and women who have transcended the ordinary environments of ordinary people; by their decisions they set up and break down the destinies of others - their daily lives, the places where they live, the security which is ultimately afforded them, etc. They are not 'confined' by their 'responsibilities' as are 'ordinary' people. They are not bound by their communities. They need not merely 'meet the demands of the day and hour'; in some part, they create these demands, and cause others to meet them. Whether or not they profess their power, they wield it in a manner which far transcends that of the underlying population. What Jacob Burckhardt said of great men, could be said of them: 'they are all that ordinary people are not'."6


Moreover, as Mills discovered, the unity of the elite is not a simple reflection of the unity of institutions, but of the men and women who constitute that elite. Remarkably, the individuals who make up this elite - regardless of the segment from which they come, i.e., whether or not they belong to the "liberal" faction of the elite (which is centered around the Council on Foreign Relations) or the "conservative" faction of that same elite (which revolves around such organizations as the Council on National Policy and the Heritage Foundation) - are men and women of very similar origin and education, and, insofar as their careers and their styles of life are alike, there is a psychological and social bases for their unity (i.e., their possession of great wealth and their desire to protect it) which leads invariably to the fact of their easy intermingling. In reality, there is very little difference between a Coors (supposedly a conservative) on the one hand and a Rockefeller (supposedly a liberal) on the other. While they may entertain various and sometimes very different social and religious views, in the final analysis - i.e., where money is concerned - they are all committed to capitalism and "Free Trade," and detest socialism and trade unionism. Mills writes:

"They (i.e., elite "liberals" and elite "conservatives" alike) belong to the same associations at the same Ivy League colleges, and they remain in social and business touch by means of the same big-city networks of metropolitan clubs. In each of the nation's leading cities, they recognize one another ... as people with much in common. In one another's biographies they recognize the experiences they have had in common; in their financial positions of brokerage firm, bank, and corporation, they recognize the (moneyed) interests they all serve ...

All this may come as a surprise to those who imbibed deeply of the egalitarianism and social radicalism of the 1960s and later. But the fact is, the 1960s kind of egalitarianism had very little effect on the elite establishment. The truth is, the social and political coteries which surround the fortunes of the elite establishment of this country (i.e., the DuPonts, the Lodges, the Vanderbilts, the Morgans, the Rockefellers, the Carnegies, the Fords, the Forbes family, the Lansings, the Dulles family, etc., etc. were little affected by the events of those times, other than at the margins. The prep schools of the elite have continued, (schools like Groton, the Friends School in Washington D.C., etc.) though the times did necessitate a discreet withdrawal into the background; the elite college fraternal organizations endured, i.e., Porcellian, Fly, Zeta Psi, Fence, Skull and Bones, Cap and Gown, Ivy, etc.; the same is true of the elite's leading social clubs, i.e., the Somerset Club, Burning Tree, the Broadmoor, etc.

Many, of course, would retort, "I've never heard of these clubs and associations." The answer to such a response is simply, "Naturally!" - you're not supposed to know about them. Mills writes:

"These clubs (and associations) are truly exclusive in the sense that they are not widely known to the middle and lower classes in general. (And) they are above those better-known arenas where upper-class status is more widely recognized (i.e., they are above what normal people would call "upper class," which - when considering what Mills is talking about here - are not "upper class" at all). They are of and by and for the upper circles (i.e., the super elite), and no other."7

Mills continues:

"They (i.e., the elite) spread easily into the various commanding circles of the institutions of power (and money they control). One promising son enters upon a high governmental career - perhaps the State Department; his first cousin is in due course elevated to a high executive place in the headquarters of a corporation; his uncle has already ascended to naval command; and a brother of the first cousin is about to become the president of a leading college. And, of course, there is the family law firm, whose partners keep in close touch with outlying members and with the problems they face.


Mills might have been describing here the Dulles family's experience where John Dulles became Secretary of State, another brother (Allen) became CIA Chief, while other members of the family continued on with the family law practice; or the experience of the Rockefeller children where one became Vice President of the United States, another member of the family became President of the Chase Manhattan Bank, others involved themselves exclusively in philanthropy, another became a governor, etc. Mills goes on:

"Accordingly, in the inner circles of the upper classes, the most impersonal problems of the largest and most important institutions are fused with the sentiments and worries of (the elite's) small, closed, intimate groups. This is one very important meaning of the upper class family and of the upper-class school: 'background' is one way in which, on the basis of intimate association, the activities of an upper class may be tacitly coordinated. It is also important because in such circles, (the) adolescent boys and girls (of the elites) are exposed to the table conversations of decision-makers, and thus have bred into them the informal skills and pretensions of decision-makers; in short, they imbibe what is called 'judgment'. Without conscious effort, they absorb the ... conviction that they are - The Ones Who Decide.8

Mills continues by describing the function that prep schools and colleges play in the construction of the elite establishment:

"Harvard or Yale or Princeton is not enough. It is the really exclusive prep school that counts, for that determines which of the 'two Harvards' one attends. The clubs and cliques of college are usually composed of carry-overs of association and names made in the lower levels at the proper (prep) schools; one's friends at Harvard are friends made at prep school. That is why in the upper social classes, it does not by itself mean much merely to have a degree from an Ivy League college. That is assumed; the point is not Harvard, but which Harvard? By Harvard, one means Porcellian, Fly, or A.D.; by Yale, one means Zeta Psi or Fence or Delta Kappa Epsilon or Skull and Bones; by Princeton, Cottage, Tiger, Cap and Gown, or Ivy. It is the prestige of a properly certified secondary (i.e., "prep school") education followed by a proper club in a proper Ivy League college that is the standard admission ticket to the world of urban clubs and parties in any major city of the nation. To the prestige of the voice and manner, constructed in such schools, local loyalties bow, for that experience is a major clue to the nation-wide upper class that is both homogeneous and self-conscious.9


Nonetheless, despite the very obvious place "family" and "breeding" play in the construction of America's elite establishment (a process which is totally closed to ordinary Americans), the upper classes have a remarkable ability in imagining that they are all "self-made" men and women. Mills writes:

"It is, of course, the proud claim of the higher circles in America that their members are entirely self-made. That is their self-image and their well-publicized myth. Popular proof of this is based on anecdotes; its scholarly proof is supposed to rest upon statistical rituals whereby it is shown that varying proportions of the men and women at the top are the sons and daughters of men of lower rank. (But, as we have already seen, the proportion of men and women who have risen into the elite from humble backgrounds is very, very small indeed - no more than 10 percent)."10

Mills continues,

"People with advantages are loath to believe that they just happen to be people with advantages. They come readily to define themselves as inherently worthy of what they possess; they come to believe themselves 'naturally' elite; and, in fact, to imagine their possessions and their privileges as natural extensions of their own elite selves. In this sense, the idea of the elite as composed of men and women having a finer moral character is an ideology of the elite as a privileged ruling stratum, and this is true whether the ideology is elite-made or made up for it by others."11


Behind the psychological and social unity of the elite establishment are the institutional hierarchies which the elites control. Mills writes:

"The greater the scale of these bureaucratic domains, the greater the scope of their respective elite's power." 12

And this brings us at last to an exceedingly important point: the use by today's elites of institutional or corporate power.

Corporate authority has become the primary means today through which the elites exercise control over the country; specifically, the application of hierarchical control - which is the application of "order" and "discipline" on an institution in a top to bottom flow of authority through an orderly system (or sequence) of intermediaries in a "lord to minion" type of arrangement in which prestige and power are measured by how high up one is in the hierarchy. Conceptually, the whole arrangement approximates in appearance a pyramid in which authority flows downward (and prestige flows upward), and as it (authority) passes to the base, it expands over time and space.

Now it's important to realize that insofar as the elite's use of hierarchies is concerned, the authority elites extend to average people in the institutions they control is not extended to such people on a personal basis, but on an institutional basis; the power does not become inherent in the person to whom it is given; it's inherent in the POSITION the person occupies within the institution in which he or she is a member. The fact is, in today's world - except for the elites themselves - one borrows the prestige and power one holds from the institution one is a member of. If one is separated from that position, one loses the power (and prestige) one holds - and this goes a long way in explaining the awesome power elites hold over average people, especially people "on the make."

It also goes a long way in explaining why the modern-day, elite-controlled corporation is a hotbed of jealousy and strife; there is nothing particularly "friendly" or "informal" or "family-like" about it. Because power and prestige are measured by how high up one has managed to scramble in the pyramid, there is a kind of never ending, "Hobbesian," "King of the Hill" struggle "by all against all" as those who are not members of the elite try to claw their way up the pyramid - and the road up is littered with broken friendships, heartache, and the bodies of those who have fallen by the wayside or who have been "stabbed in the back" by erstwhile "friends." Needless to say, it's a world filled with intrigue, back-biting, jealousy, and envy - staffed by people who, by training and position, slavishly and fawningly defer to those above them, and who in turn rule over those below them with a ruthlessness that is oftentimes hard to imagine. The anonymity of "bigness" gives license to malevolence. The loyalty of those who have sold themselves to an elite-controlled corporation becomes over time a loyalty only to themselves and to their personal enrichment; their methodology is co-optation - i.e., the process of ingratiating themselves (usually as a sycophant or flunky) to the elites in order to get ahead; the process of "fitting into the mold;" of saying the right things and "brown-nosing" the right people (i.e., the elite power structure); of appearing to be what one is not.

Mills writes:

"As we trace the career of ... (those who are trying to claw their way up into the elite), we are also tracing the history of his loyalties, for the first and overshadowing fact about ... (such people), from the standpoint of what it takes to succeed within ... (an elite-controlled hierarchy), is that ... (success is) based upon self co-optation ... (The ways of virtue and high-mindedness) have given way to 'the most important single factor, the effective personality', 'which commands attention by charm', and 'radiates self-confidence'. In this 'new way of life', one must smile often and be a good listener, talk in terms of the other man's interests and make the other feel important - and one must do all this sincerely. Personal relations, in short, have become part of 'public relations', a sacrifice of ... (one's personhood and private convictions) on a personality market, to the sole end of individual success in the corporate way of life. Being justified not by superior merit and hard work, but being founded on co-optation by a clique, often on quite other grounds, the elite careerist must continually persuade others and himself as well that he is the opposite of what he actually is."13

The fact is, the very nature of these institutions has been so structured as to practically guarantee that the very worst in people will eventually manifest itself. A shark-like atmosphere has been created in which only the treacherous and vicious can survive and prosper; an atmosphere where, as Mills says, "... men easily become morally ruthless in the pursuit of ... money ..." and the scramble up the pyramid. The truth is, no one can have the kind of organized "deference group" below him and possess such powers of command as is possible in today's elite-controlled corporate pyramids without also acquiring the inner corruption of character which usually accompanies the kind of cringing adulation that inevitably attaches itself to "organized deference." Indeed, today's elite-controlled corporation is a place where one is able to take the full measure of Jeremiah 17:9:

"The heart (of man) is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"


What, then, does all this say about the alliance that Christians have struck with the corporate elites of the economic right? What it says is, there's something wrong with it!! It doesn't pass the smell test.

If, as the Bible suggests, where money is to be found, Satan is close by (I Tim. 6:10), then what are we as Christians tying ourselves to people who are so in love and involved with it? And it isn't as if it's a deep, dark secret that money corrupts; that it perverts those who become involved with it; that the so-called moneyed elite is a venal and squalid group of individuals - even the world recognizes this fact: it's in our literature, it's in our movies, it's in our culture. Mills writes:

"The American elite is not composed of ... men whose conduct and character constitute models for American imitation and aspiration ... (This) is no set of men with whom members of the mass public can rightfully and gladly identify ...14

This, of course, runs counter to what most American Christians have been led to believe - especially the devotees of people like Charles Capps, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland and the other purveyors of the "Green Gospel:" that a life of virtue will result in financial success. This brings us at last to the "money trap" of the "end of days."

THE "MONEY TRAP" OF THE "END OF DAYS" There has been a great deal of dedicated and sacrificial15 effort made in recent years concerning the insinuation of the "New Age Movement" into Western Christendom. The pioneering work of Constance Cumbey's Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow and her later work A Hidden Deception, remain classics. Also the works of Dave Hunt, Pauline MacPherson, Jewel Van der Merwe, D.R. McConnell and many others have gone a long way in exposing what's going on insofar as all this is concerned. False doctrine posing as Christian doctrine has always been one of the great dangers confronting Christianity, and it is - no doubt - one of the greatest dangers that Christians will have to face in the "End of Days." (2 Cor. 11:4) The peril to Christians of "Another Gospel" and "Another Christ" is something which must be taken very, very seriously in the "End of Days."

There is, however, a second danger which must be confronted - a danger every bit as formidable as that of false doctrine, and a danger which in some respects is more frightful - the danger of money! Money is, after all, the basis of what Rev. 13:16-17 is all about ("And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.") - and the fact that we are evidently dealing with a form of "electronic" money here rather than paper money does not affect the substance of these verses at all. The bait that is built into Rev. 13:16-17 is the enticement of "buying and selling" - and this is, after all, what money is all about.

To be sure, this particular trap (i.e., the "Money Trap") is not something with which too many Christians in Uganda, Zaire, Guatemala, China, Russia, etc. need to be particularly concerned about (at least not on any kind of relative basis), but it is certainly something which Christians in America and in the West in general should be very much concerned with - and it's something most of them would rather not talk about or face up to. Nonetheless, they'd better - or they will "pay the piper" if they don't.

The Bible says:

"...the children of this world (i.e., secularists like Professor Mills) are in their generation wiser than the children of light (i.e., people like Bennie Hinn, Kenneth Copeland and the 'Name-It-And-Claim-It' crowd, as well as the other purveyors of the 'Green Gospel')." (Luke 16:8)

And that certainly is true here. The Bible says:

"Take heed and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." (Luke 12:15)

And, as we pointed out earlier, Paul cautioned,

"... they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition." (I Tim. 6:9)

Money - or the lust for it - is as capable of poisoning us as evangelicals as it is capable of poisoning the members of the elite. It's as capable of working its evil on us as on the Fords or the DuPonts.


From its beginning, Christianity was a movement of the "little people," the "common folk" - the lowly, the meek, the unassuming; people of "no reputation," "no account," and very little money. It was not a movement with which the economic elites of this world wanted to be involved - at least originally. Indeed, the Bible says of the early Christians,

"For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
"And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are ..." (I Cor. 1:26-28)

Jesus wasn't born into the moneyed aristocracy - he wasn't a patrician; nor was He even a member of what we today would call the "middle class" (i.e., the bougouise) - He wasn't a merchant, a businessman, or an entrepreneur. He was poor. He was very poor. The Bible says:

"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor ..." (II Cor. 8:9)

He was plainly numbered with the publicans - i.e., the "common folk:"

"... and they (i.e., the religious leaders) said of Him, Behold ... a friend of publicans and sinners ..." (Matt. 11:19)

and -

"And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples." (Matt. 9:10)


And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat ... many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they (i.e., the publicans) followed him. (Mark 2:15)


Jesus worked with His hands. He was a laborer; a "workingman;" specifically, a carpenter - the kind of person one is more likely to find today in a union hall, at a construction site, or among the Mexican "stoop laborers"16 of California's Central Valley or in Southern Texas and Arizona than on Wall Street or in the board rooms of General Electric, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, or Ford Motor Company.

The family he was born into was a family of meager and humble means. And other than the fact that He was of the lineage of David (a fact which evidently didn't count for much anymore - after all, it was then about one thousand years after the fact). It was also a family of humble origins - and so much so that there was a saying voiced abroad regarding Him which concerned the town He grew up in (i.e., Nazareth): "Can there any good thing come out of it?" (John 1:46) - and it was said in the same way one would say today, "Oh, he's an Okie" or "he's a redneck" or "he's a wetback," or "he comes from the 'projects'." Indeed, so closely were Jesus and His disciples linked to the "cultural backwater" associated with the region around Nazareth that -

"... when they (i.e., the religious leaders of the day) saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, (i.e., that they came from Nazareth) they marveled ..." (Acts 4:13)


The truth is, Jesus didn't have much use for money or those who possessed it - and He made this fact very clear in the story of the rich young ruler:

"And, behold, one (a very rich person) came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
"And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
"He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
"Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
"The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
"Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
"But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, THAT A RICH MAN SHALL HARDLY ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

The fact is, throughout His ministry, Jesus identified Himself with the poor:

"And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God." (Luke 6:20)

And He vilified the rich:

"... woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation." (Luke 6:24)


The Word of God speaks of money as "the mammon of unrighteousness" (Luke 16:9) - something which invariably leads away from God. The Bible says,

"... the love of money is the root of ALL evil ..." (1 Tim. 6:10)

Jesus saw money as standing in opposition to the Kingdom of God; to rely on it was antithetical to that kingdom. He refused to allow His disciples to depend on it:

"Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
"Carry neither purse, nor scrip (i.e., money), nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. (Luke 10:3-4)

To Jesus, it was a corrupting influence which defiled those who touched it, which contaminated those who depended on it, which perverted those who relied on it, and which polluted those who based their calculations and manner of living on it - and He somberly warned His disciples of its allure:

"Take heed and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." (Luke 12:15)

And He cautioned them of the outcome the attraction of money can lead to - the failure to recognize that the grave (and ultimately judgment) awaits all of us - even the richest of us (and then what will all that wealth mean?):

"... the ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
"And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
"he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
"And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
"But God said unto him, Thou FOOL, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? (Luke 12:16-20)

Jesus called those who were blinded by the seductiveness of wealth "fools" - and He didn't use the word "fool" lightly. (Matt. 5:22)

Again, Paul cautioned,

"... they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition." (I Tim. 6:9)

And Peter said of those who desire wealth (i.e., who are covetous),

"These are wells without water, clouds that are carried (about) with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever." (2 Pet. 2:17)


One, might, of course, ask, What is it about money that makes it so evil? Well, it's what makes the "world system of man" go round - a system which derives its force and impetus from greed and selfishness, and one which is, therefore, in utter opposition to God.

And there is something more! Something much more fundamental and somber: and we begin to get an idea of what that is when we study what the Bible means when it uses the word "world." In Scripture, Satan is called the "Prince of this World" (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). What is meant by the term "world?" The word "world" is the translation of the Greek word "kosmos," which means an harmonious order or arrangement, and it is used in three ways in the New Testament:

  1. First, it means the MATERIAL UNIVERSE (Acts 17:14; Matt. 13:35; John 1:10; Mark 16:15).
  1. Second, it means -

    1. THE INHABITANTS OF THE WORLD as whole (John 1:10; 3:16; 12:19; 17:21);
    2. THE WHOLE RACE OF MAN ALIENATED FROM GOD AND HOSTILE TO THE CAUSE OF CHRIST (Heb. 11:38; John 14:17; 14:27; 15:18); this is but an extension of (a) above and is the meaning we are most concerned with here.

  2. Third, it means the whole circle of WORLDLY goods, endowments, riches, advantages, pleasures, which though hollow and fleeting, stir our desires and seduce us from God, so that they are obstacles to the cause of Christ (I John 3:17; Matt. 16:26; I Cor 2:12; 3:19, 7:31; Titus 2:12; II Peter 1:4; 2:20; I John 2:15-17; James 1:27). It is the world of our split level homes, two cars, good careers, good educations, bank accounts, vacations, etc. It is when these pleasures and even so-called necessities of life "possess our hearts" and crowd out our commitment to the Lord and to His people that they have in reality become part of the kosmos.


Moreover, the word kosmos, taken in conjunction with the three meanings described above, implies that behind all this there is a mind - the Prince of this World - which gives order and arrangement to it all. John says:

"... the whole world (i.e., kosmos) lies in {the power of} the evil one." (I John 5:19).

He is the KOSMOKRATER or world-ruler - a word which, however, appears only once, and is used in the plural of his lieutenants: "the WORLD RULERS OF THIS DARKNESS" (Eph. 6:12).

Politics, education, literature, science, art, law, commerce, music, our homes, careers, etc. - together they constitute the "kosmos." Subtract them, and the world as a coherent system ceases to exist. It is the development of these things that constitutes history. The question is, which direction is history tending? Not toward God, that's for sure!

We repeat, the world is Satan's great creation, and he has directed all his strength and ingenuity into causing it to flourish. To what end? To capture man's allegiance and draw man to himself. He has one object - to establish his own dominion in human hearts worldwide! And the bait which Satan uses? - the allure of wealth! Moneymaking!

This, of course, is not what the mandarins of the "American Free Enterprise System" would like you to know, but it's nonetheless the truth. The Bible says:

"The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying...
"Now, thou son of man, take up a lamentation for Tyrus [Satan]17,
"And say unto Tyrus, O thou that are situate (situated) at the entry ["midst" - is the more accurate translation] of the sea, which are a MERCHANT of the people ... [the traders of the earth] have made thy beauty perfect.
"Tarshish [the trading nations] ... traded in thy fairs.
"Son of man, say unto the Prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord God, because thine heart is lifted up and thou hast said, I am a god, I sit in the seat of God IN THE MIDST OF THE SEAS ...
"By thy great wisdom and by thy traffic [commerce] thou hast increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches:
"By the multitudes of thy merchandise they have filled ... thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: ... Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by ... the iniquity of thy traffic [commerce] ..." (Ezek. 27:1-3, 12; 28:2, 5,16, 18).

Commerce and Satan are inextricably linked in the Bible. Find one and there you will inevitably find the other.


What does all this mean to us? - much in every way! There is a great "test" coming to all of us, and it has to do with money; specifically, our love of it. It's one thing to say that we love the Lord more than we love our money, but it's quite another thing to have it worked out in our lives as reality. The Bible says that when Antichrist comes, he -

"... causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

"And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." (Rev. 13:16-17)

In the light of these verses, therefore, we would all do well to examine ourselves insofar as our relationship with money is concerned - and in doing so, if we don't take great care to conduct this examination carefully and honestly, the only person we will be kidding in the long run is ourselves. Of course, as we said in the Antipas Papers, insofar as God is concerned, it doesn't really matter what we do. His plans do not exist for our convenience - they will come to pass whether we approve of them or not. In the long run, it only matters to us - AND TIME FOR RECOGNIZING THIS FACT IS RUNNING OUT! To continue to ignore God's Word with regard to the "end of days" is as stupid as what the Jews did with regard to Hitler on the eve of the Second World War. L.S. Dawidowics, in her authoritative account of the Holocaust, War Against the Jews, 1933-1945, wrote:

"The Jews, whose dazzling success in business blinded them to the encroaching blackness of National Socialism (Nazism), were caught unaware by the onslaught of Hitler ... Most Jews regarded Zionism (the longing of certain Jews to return to their ancient homeland) as a radical and alien doctrine; the son who left Judaism for communism was less likely to be rejected than the one who chose Zionism..18

Yet Zionism was the very vehicle that God had chosen to fulfill His promise to bring back the Jews from out of the nations to which they had been driven nearly two thousand years before by the Roman general Titus. Zionism was rooted in the Hebrew Bible and was toasted once every year at the Feast of Passover with the words, "Next Year in Jerusalem." But the toast had become a meaningless, empty ritual, and success in the world had blinded the Jews to the words of their own prophets. It was not so much the fact that they had denied their own Jewishness as it was the fact that they wanted to have the best of both worlds - the wealth that their success in Europe had brought them, as well as their own Jewish heritage. It could never be!

And that's where so many of us, as Christians, are today! We want the best of both worlds - Christ and money. But we can't have both. Jesus said:

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (i.e., money)." (Matt. 6:24)

Jesus continued by saying:

"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
"Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
"Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
"And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
"And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
"Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
"(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
"Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matt. 6:24-34)

We must have a radical change in our attitude toward money or we will never make it through what's to come! No pretending then! Then we shall see if we are able to say with the prophet Habakkuk:

"Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls -

God preserve us all from the "Money Trap."

I have been young, and now I have grown old, but I tell you the truth when I say that I have seen more Christians destroyed by money than I have ever seen destroyed by false doctrine. If you hear God calling you, don't sit down and "count the cost." By the time you've finished counting, God will have passed you by.

God bless all of you,

S.R. Shearer
Antipas Ministries

  1. David H. Koch gave $339,000 to Republican Party causes during the last election cycle through a tangled web of think tanks, PR agencies, and trade associations. Friess gave $260,000 to Senator Al D'Amato to save the mutual fund industry billions of dollars by lifting government regulations. Schwab contributed $266,100 to the Republican Party; Nagel gave $317,000; Ansel gave $233,430; Druckenmiller contributed $275,000.
  2. pg. 346-7.
  3. pg. 347
  4. pg. 347
  5. Michael Parenti in "How Democratic Is The Government?" as cited in Joel Dyer, Harvest of Rage)
  6. pg. 3.
  7. Ibid., pg. 61.
  8. Ibid., pg. 69.
  9. Ibid., pg. 67.
  10. Ibid., pg. 349.
  11. Ibid., pg. 14.
  12. Ibid., pg. 67.
  13. pg. 348.
  14. pgs. 360-361
  15. Because there is very little money involved in any of these efforts to keep "body and soul" of these authors intact as they write.
  16. i.e., agricultural field hands.
  17. Concerning the identity of this personage (i.e., the "King of Tyrus"), almost all evangelical scholars are in agreement that what the Scriptures have in mind here is Satan. Pember writes: "... the lamentation upon the King of Tyrus ... cannot be applied to any mortal ... To adopt the too common plan of explaining these (verses) away as mere figures of speech, is to trifle with the Word of God. We have no right to use so dishonest a method of extricating ourselves from difficulties, a method which enables men to deduce almost any desired meaning from a passage, and makes the whole Bible an enigma instead of a disclosure ... (Please see Pember, Earth's Earliest Ages {pgs. 45-49} for a detailed treatment as to the identification of Tyrus as Satan {antichrist}.]
  18. Lucy S. Dawidowics, War Against the Jews, 1933-1945. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1975, p. 172.


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