Letters to the Editor August 28, 2022

For the editor:

Decline and impending fall of our American republic: the Powell memorandum

The devolution of the Grand Old Party (GOP) into a Trumpista cult began after World War II with McCarthyism, the extremism of Barry Goldwater, the criminality of Richard Nixon and his constant addiction to Big Lie. None of the original leaders of their party’s descent contemplated its decisive coup attempt, its obsessive opposition to our democratic system, or its refusal to do anything to prevent climate change. Nevertheless, it has become a very dangerous organization that aspires to replace our constitutional republic with a plutocratic-theocratic autocracy.

Fifty-one years ago, on August 23, 1971, Lewis Powell laid out a blueprint for what must be done to secure a future with a permanent Republican Party/corporate minority government. That was years before Karl Rove – the mastermind of George W. Bush – advanced the same goal. Mr. Powell has been a corporate lawyer and a member of the board of directors of numerous corporations. He was horrified by the success of the first Earth Day in 1970 and the passage of numerous environmental laws that were introduced by a Democratic-controlled Congress with the signatures of many Republicans.

It’s easy to see why President Nixon nominated him to the Supreme Court of the United States — and Nixon wasn’t even aware of Powell’s memorandum to the chairman of the education committee of the States Chamber of Commerce. -United. In what is also known as the Powell Manifesto, Mr. Powell professed his fear that the American free enterprise system was under attack and that capitalism was in danger of being replaced by another -ism like socialism. He really seemed to believe that consumer advocate Raph Nader, the AFL-CIO and environmental activists didn’t just want cars that were safe to drive, decent wages, safe working conditions, health insurance and air and pure water. No, they wanted to destroy our entire economic system.

Powell wanted big business to stop conforming to popular wishes and go on the offensive to re-educate the people. Focus on jobs rather than the environment, good wages and security, and retirement security. All works. Getting people to side with job creators. The success of this endeavor has been remarkable: unions are in decline – until very recently, the financial gap between executives and the middle class has led to extreme inequality, and we are burning the planet. Today’s self-satisfied Republicans refuse to address these issues.

Powell advocated targeting school faculties and social science textbooks. Recruit teachers to encourage laissez-faire economics rather than government intervention and regulation. The fossil fuel Koch brothers (Charles and David) had already started this by aligning themselves with anti-government right-wing economist James Buchanan. Along with the historic whitewashing and book banning movements, the GOP has also tackled cultural issues on a large scale.

Powell wanted only pro-business judges appointed to all federal courts — appointed by Republican presidents. The Federalist Society was formed in 1978 to train pro-corporate, anti-worker, anti-consumer, anti-environment, anti-government lawyers and future judges. Today, there are six Federalist Society justices on the nine-member United States Supreme Court.

David Offut


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