Tuesday, September 24, 2013

#723: G. Edward Griffin

G. Edward Griffin is, like Des Griffin, one of those people who attempt to synthesize all loon, and does arguably manage to take it even a step further than his namesake. G. Edward Griffin is a film producer, author, and political lecturer, perhaps best known as the author of The Creature from Jekyll Island, a less than ideally coherent critique (conspiracy theory, really) of modern economic theory and practice, specifically the Federal Reserve System. It was, despite its coherence-related shortcomings, actually praised by Ron Paul. Basically, it claims that the current economic system is a conspiracy to keep people in debt, and that the United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the World Bank are working to destroy American sovereignty through a system of world military and financial control; the interesting thing is that Griffin is not content to identify what he takes to be flaws with the current economic system, he has to identify some shadowy agent behind said flaw with a nefarious agenda (what the agenda is, remains somewhat nebulous). Given his default identification of intent behind any event or system it is perhaps little surprise that he is also a creationist.

But Griffin has a long career as producer of pseudo-documentaries and books espousing his take on manufactroversies (his whale.to page is here), and as you all know, having your own whale.to page is pretty damning evidence against your ability to reason). For instance, Griffin is deeply into cancer woo and a promoter of laetrile as a cancer treatment, which is pure, dangerous quackery, and indeed often recognized as the canonical example of such.

Despite his lack of any background in medicine, Griffin is nevertheless the author of World Without Cancer, in which he asserts that cancer is a metabolic disease facilitated by the insufficient dietary consumption of amygdalin. This is, to put it tactfully, not a mainstream view, but Griffin doesn’t exactly have any qualms about appealing to conspiracies: “eliminating cancer through a nondrug therapy has not been accepted because of the hidden economic and power agendas of those who dominate the medical establishment,” says Griffin. (There is a very tactful and moderate critique here). In 1976 he founded The Cancer Cure Foundation “as a non-profit organization dedicated to research and education in alternative cancer therapies.” The research part has somehow been stuck in parking mode.

He has also been deeply engaged in what might charitably be called the Noah’s ark controversy, with Griffin claiming that the ark is located at the Durupınar site, as opposed to other Biblical young earth creationists who claim it is located near Ararat. One wonders what counts as “evidence” among these groups. Actually, in the case of Griffin, at least, his position is based on the book The Discovery of Noah’s Ark by David Fasold, who later admitted that the claims were wrong. Already deeply mired in conspiracy theories, Fasold’s admission has not seemed to affect Griffin, who has claimed the Ark continued to exist in fossil form, allegedly based on photographic, radar, and metal detector evidence, and that towns in the area have names that resembled terms from the Biblical story of the flood (keep in mind that Griffin has no background in archaelogy, etymology, or the languagaes of the area either). After Fasold backed out, Griffin continued to promote the view, together with Fasold’s “co-researcher”, none other than the legendary Ron Wyatt.

To return to his main obsession, however, Griffin has been a staunch opponent of the Federal Reserve since the 1960s, claiming that it amounts to a a banking cartel and an instrument of war and totalitarianism (there is a less than ideally hinged interview here), and in 2002 he founded the individualist network Freedom Force International to combat it without measurable success. In fact, Griffin is a staunch proponent of liberty dollars, stating that they are “real money” (it is unclear what that even means in this case).

Griffin also served as speechwriter for candidates from the American Independent Party, and been a member and officer of the John Birch Society. Apparently his 1969 video lecture, “More Deadly Than War: The Communist Revolution in America” remains among his most prominent claims to fame.

Diagnosis: Yep, this guy’s got it all – the range of lunacy is virtually complete. Moreover, Griffin’s got some influence, especially among the less reality-apt segments of Paulbots. Magnificent.


  1. You obviously don't know what you are talking about. If there is anyone spreading dangerous ideas here that is you. The Fed is a central bank, it is not needed and not helpful. It is very dangerous. There are many more such banks in the world.

    These kinds of banks were oppossed by US presidents like Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, Martin van Buren etc.

    The foundation of Austrian economics is based on removing the central bank from the economy. Examples of economists: Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, the Nobel prize winning economist Friedrich Hayek etc. Moreover, we also have philosophers like Ayn Rand who understood the issue. This people are all quacks, right?

    But using ad hominems to attack somebody else, as this whole blog post written by G.D post does, is perfectly legit. I do not condone Griffin's views on cancer, the Ark etc - I find them ridiculous. But this does not, in any way, affect his arguments on the issue of money.

    Read a book on economics and understand how central banks work. Monetary sovereignty? Reserve currency - do you even know what this means?? Reserve of what...paper? There is nothing backing them up, that's why the US went off the gold standard in 1971. You cannot create value by fighting useless wars. And gold is value, unlike paper.

  2. Dan, you obviously have no economic education. Contrary to what you say, it is you who don't know what you are talking about. I graduated with a degree in econ specializing in money and banking.

    >The Fed is a central bank, it is not needed and not helpful.

    Less frequent and less severe recessions, as well as less volatility is extremely helpful, and I would say needed.

    >Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, Martin van Buren etc.

    Yes, well modern economics has only really existed for 60 years or so, and a good understanding of monetary economics has only existed for like 40. Why don't we go ask the Romans about astrophysics while we are at it?

    >The foundation of Austrian economics is based on removing the central bank from the economy.

    No, it's not, it's based on fundamental axioms. You don't even know what Austrian economics is. Not that it matters, since almost no economists are austrian today, for good reason. It's as heterodox as marxist economics. No one gives a shit about them and it's mostly a bunch of loons, at least in modern times.

    >This people are all quacks, right?

    Yes they are, with the exception of Hayek who was just in a period of time where austrians were still relevant.

    >I do not condone Griffin's views on cancer, the Ark etc - I find them ridiculous.

    His economics is equally ridiculous. I guess the crazies can't recognize themselves for what they are.

    >Read a book on economics and understand how central banks work.


    Your level of arrogance is as high as your level of knowledge on this subject is low

    >And gold is value, unlike paper.

    The value of gold, besides it's small amount of practical useless, is only worth what people judge it to be worth subjectively. The same is true of currency