Thursday, February 14, 2008


Yesterday, in reviewing Robert O. Self's fifth Chapter in his book AMERICAN BABYLON, I included his quotation of a passage from Jeffrey Steinberg. Steinberg's review of Austrian Economics is also online here. The article is titled "The Legacy of Friedrich von Hayek: Fascism Didn't Die With Hitler" and it appeared in American Almanac, September 23, 1995. The passage that Robert O. Self quoted is contained in the article:

Von Hayek totally rejected the principle that man was created in the image of God. In fact, he traced his own philosophical roots to the early eighteenth century Satanist, Bernard Mandeville. In a lecture he delivered at the British Academy on March 23, 1966, von Hayek lauded Mandeville as a ``master mind,'' as the inventor of modern psychology, and as the true intellectual forbearer of David Hume, Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham, Carl Savigny and Charles Darwin.

Steinberg is a member of Lyndon LaRoche's organization which includes the Schiller Institute. The above-referenced article was an address to Schiller's Day Conference. LaRoche is a conspiracy theorist extraordinare, but if the source passes Muster at Princeton press, it's worth a look.

In this article Steinberg claims

In the summer 1994 issue of the Heritage Foundation's Policy Review, Representative Dick Armey, perhaps the leading candidate for the honorary title of the ``Robespierre of the 1990s Conservative Revolution in America,'' delivered a glowing tribute to his intellectual mentor, Dr. Friedrich von Hayek, on the 50th anniversary of the publication of the professor's most well-known work, The Road to Serfdom.


The Mont Pelerin Society, from the outset, was to be a clandestine agency committed to implementing the ``Hayekian'' Conservative Revolution.

One of the key figures in this effort was Antony Fisher. Born in London in 1915, educated at Eton and Cambridge, Fisher was elected to the Mont Pelerin Society in 1954. The following year, he founded the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, as the first of dozens of front groups for Mont Pelerin that he would help launch. Other IEA founders included von Hayek, who at this point was at the University of Chicago; Ralph Harris, a leader of the British Eugenics Society which had earlier helped draft Hitler's race laws; Keith Joseph and Allan Walters.

Those are some serious charges, particularly the last one.

Was Mandeville a member of the Hellfire Club?

Donald Hunt makes the claim here.

Believe it or not, classical economics, the foundation of neoliberal ideology, was inspired by satanism. I'm not referring to Adam Smith, but to the poet who inspired him, Bernard de Mandeville. Mandeville was said to be a member of the notorious Hellfire Club in London. Mandeville's poem, The Grumbling Hive (also appearing in The Fable of the Bees), published in 1705, puts the argument for individual selfishness at most basic.

Apart from this, however, it is only LaRoche's organization who is making the claim online. Geoffrey Ashe does not mention either Mandeville or Smith in his book THE HELL-FIRE CLUBS. However, most of the book concentrates on one particular club, the club of Sir Francis Dashwood, which would have been after Mandeville's time.

Certainly his promotion of selfishness in opposition to the prevailing Christian principles of his time would open the door to any sort of corruption, but there seems to be little evidence for his actual involvement in the Hellfire Club of his day.

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