Skip to comments.What is the Fabian policy of Permeation?
Posted on 10/30/2012 8:31:13 AM PDT by ProgressingAmerica
During my transcription process of the book Fabian Freeway, I would sometimes go through the footnotes and see what I could verify, when one thing in particular caught my eye. (Chapter 17)
The fact that an old-line southern Democrat had been induced to sponsor the basic legislation so ardently desired by all spokesmen of gradual Socialism was an early and notable example of success for the Fabian technique known as permeation.
This concept is actually used extensively throughout the book, but for whatever reason, it caught my eye in the current context. The Fabians turned "Permeation" into a policy because it was so successful: (GB Shaw, Intelligent Womans Guide to Socialism and Capitalism, Page 186)
The Fabian Society succeeded because it addressed itself to its own class in order that it might set about doing the necessary brain work of planning Socialist organization for all classes, meanwhile accepting, instead of trying to supersede, the existing political organizations which it intended to permeate with the Socialist conception of human society.
In short, a single skilled propagandist can turn a non-Fabian organization into a sort of proxy. Another good source for this(too long to quote) is Fabian Tract 41. Especially page 19, the section titled "Permeating the Liberals", as well as Edward Pease's "The History of the Fabian Society". As to this being a "specific Fabian policy", yes. It indeed was. In "The Story of Fabian Socialism", Fabian Margaret Cole, wife of G. D. H. Cole, writes the following: (Page 85)
What Fabian permeation meant was primarily honeycombing, converting either to Socialism or to parts of the immediate Fabian Programme, as set out in the continuous stream of Tracts and lectures, key persons, or groups of persons, who were in a position either to take action themselves or to influencing others, not merely in getting a resolution passed, or (say) inducing a Town Council to accept one of the clauses of the Adoptive Acts, but in following up, in making sure that the resolution or whatever it was did not remain on paper but was put into effect. It was not necessary that these 'key persons' should be members of the Fabian Society; often it was as well they should not; what was essential was that they should at first or even second-hand be instructed and advised by Fabians.
That last part says it all. Because it's that last line that allows me to actually test this. Anybody can talk about Fabians and Progressives all they want, but can you actually test all of this in reality? Let's take a shot at it. An easy starting place is someone I've already written extensively about, which is fellow Fabian, Stuart Chase. The person who coined the term "New Deal" and a member of FDR's Brainstrust.
Margaret Cole said that 'key persons' must be advised at first or second hand. Who would have FDR's absolute and unquestioning faith and trust? Surely his key advisors would've been important, but how about his wife, Eleanor? I don't believe she was a Fabian herself, but that's the wrong question anyways.
Those of you who may be steeped in historical knowledge about the New Deal era will likely know this right off the bat to be true: Eleanor Roosevelt loved the book "Prohibiting Poverty", written by Prestonia Mann Martin. She would go out and publicly acknowledge Martin's work. Here is such an example.
Remember, permeation. It's preferred if Fabian policies are instituted by non-Fabians. Though, with Chase's inclusion into the Brains Trust, the result was inevitable. And before I get too far away from it, yes, the Martins were Fabians. They founded the "American Fabian", and Prestonia herself was one of it's contributing editors. I have actively written about the Fabian policy of permeation, before I knew it had an official name. Here, Friedrich Engels describes the process without calling it by name.
Now, the New Deal Era is not the only place I can test apply the concept of permeation in an American presidential government.
The Woodrow Wilson years are another example. Take Fabian Walter Lippmann, for example, a member of Wilson's administration. Lippmann helped draft Wilson's "Fourteen Points", an important part of the Wilson story. Certainly Lippmann would've had some influence, but not nearly as potent as Eleanor's effect upon FDR(or for that matter, Stuart Chase in the trust). Look to Wilson himself.
I made an offhanded comment once that I believed Richard T Ely to be probably the closest thing to a "Founding Father" of progressivism that there could be. Based on some of my readings of what went on at the American Economic Association, and further bolstered by reading about how the Fabians structured their groups, similarities in the use of regulation as a means of control, and other things, this AEA has really gotten my attention.(Though I have not mentioned it yet)
Woodrow Wilson was an alumnus of the AEA. Just that alone points to the importance of Ely's influence. R. J. Pestritto has a blurb about this. In the AEA's own minutes, we see that Woodrow Wilson sat upon the AEA's council.
Here's where it gets fun. What did the AEA read or discuss? Among many, many other things they discussed Fabian tracts. The Fabian Society Summer School. G. D. H. Cole. And Sidney Webb.(see below)
A rather interesting footnote is that the Fabians were reading from the AEA. See Sidney Webb's essay titled "Historic", footnote 3. As AEA were reading the work of Sidney Webb, Webb was reading them reading him! Rather ironic, two movements in favor of centralized planning, in development and not yet fully blossomed, both learning from each other and perfecting their concepts of subversion. Allow me to demonstrate:
Margaret Cole's book "The Story of Fabian Socialism" is a gem just like Fabian Freeway is, Here's from page 84/85:
'Permeation' is a peculiarly Fabian term, with a very long history. It is first found in print in Hubert Bland's Fabian Essay - curiously enough Bland was not there advocating but warning the Society against it; but the casual reference shows that it was already in common use. Occasionally it seems to mean no more than what the Americans have taught us to call 'pressure groups' - persons organised with the purpose of forcing a particular measure, a particular interest, or a particular point of view upon those in power.
She doesn't elaborate upon what specific groups she means, but surely good candidates would be the ACLU, the NAACP, and likely the AEA itself. Recall a recent article of mine about how the Fabians and Progressives had enjoyed quite a friendly relationship with each other. Margaret Sanger's body of work(Planned Parenthood) would certainly apply as a 'pressure group', and that group still exists to this day.
'Permeation' is the puppet string that makes a non-Fabian group do Fabian things. It's the reason why (as GBS wrote above) they were so successful, despite the fact that by numbers the Fabians are incredibly small.
It's the reason why associations matter.
It's when Fabian's face is all over everything that you get sick of seeing his mug.......and ashtrays.....and lunchboxes.........
Gramsci described this process - “the long march through the institutions”- as an inevitable mechanism rather than a deliberate policy. It does pretty much amount to the same thing.
Supposedly, with environmental stress, mutation, reproduction and enough time even something as complex as a human being can evolve from nothing but dirt.
They are doing a reverse sort of evolution against us by mutating/changing our Constitutional, philosophical and societal DNA a little at a time.
While the older members of society might be outraged by the changes away from the world of their youth, those born into this current progressive mutation of the world don't have this historical perspective and think that things now are how they've always been.
When the older generations die off, their knowledge of how things used to be, how they are supposed to be, is lost and the mutations made during their lives are made permanent.
We grow progressively accustomed to bigger and bigger government doing more and more and controlling more and more.
Where outside tests and stresses, the natural and man made disasters, used to make us stronger and more united as a nation, now we demand more government, more alphabet agencies, more programs and such to take care of us.
We grow weaker and more divided as a nation, but also at every level of the hierarchy down to each of us as individuals.
The striking feature of evolution is survival of the fittest, yet we have taken an evolutionary approach to making us weak and dependent. See where this is going?
Most of these guys imagined they could keep their subversion secret.
Fabianism, et al ~ the whole Socialist steaming pile ~ is just another way of thinking about theft, and these guys all thought they'd invented a new and secret way to do it.
Rule #1 about theft ~ there really aren't any new ways.
Rule #2 about secrecy ~ there really aren't any secrets ~ just stuff you don't know about yet.
Eventually they get uncovered, we know who they are, and they can be punished ~ which is why we need to keep the death penalty handy for what seem to many to be petty offenses.
You think like I do, in a lot of ways. Which is why I devote my blog to the history of Progressivism instead of current events, and have spent so much time on the Fabians.
They are sister movements.
It’s much easier to understand the evolutionary nature of progressives through the lens of their own past and influences.
reminds me that your blog should have been on my blogroll a long time ago
Actually, once a society becomes urbanized, there tends to be a "dumbing down" of the population. Rome is an obvious example, where the productive original Romans declined as a percentage of the population, very dramatically over the centuries.
For another projection of what has been happening to America: Losing America's Multi-Generational Purpose.
I believe that Romney offers some hope, but we are really going to have our work cut out for us to save our future. Every Conservative certainly needs to vote next Tuesday.
I don’t know. I think we have some Coffee House Communists who sit at the back table of the coffee house drinking espresso and whispering about the dictatorship of the proletariat. They’re the old grandpa and grandma liberals working at the university or government job thinking that they’re “mysterious”. They aren’t the throat cutters. The throat cutters will need to be shipped in to the US. It always comes down to money. Every communist uprising has been by people who wanted control of the power, and thus money, but couldn’t achieve it in the system they were in. Castro doesn’t live in a tent, breaking off a piece of his moldy bread to share with a fellow Cuban. He’s as much of a socialist as Warren Buffet.
We exist in two worlds, one real and the other a human construct.
The real world exists whether we humans are in it or not. The human construct exists for as long as it remains in harmony with the natural laws that govern this world.
Rural or country living, especially in earlier times, is more in tune with those natural laws, thanks to the very real and often fatal built in negative feedback mechanisms for breaking them.
For example, if you dont put up enough wood and food for the winter, you will be cold and hungry, maybe even freeze or starve to death. If you spend more than you make or fail to make enough to cover the bills and youll lose the farm. It can be a big, bad scary world, but especially so if youre lazy or stupid and live out of harmony with the rules that govern it.
Living in an urban setting separates us from much of the natural world and society and government can further disconnect us from the built-in negative feedback mechanisms. The more we can afford, the more true this can be.
Unfortunately, many dont have an inner compass, and with no internal and no external negative feedback governing their actions, they and the system itself will become as corrupt as circumstances will allow.
Sooner or later, such a society becomes so corrupt, out of alignment with natural law, that it comes apart. Some see this as Judgment. Others call it consequences. Whatever you call it, it is avoidable.
Our arrogance and hubris aside, we are not bigger than that which created the world and the laws that govern it. Better to remain humble and aware of our place. Or said another way, A mans got to know his limitations.
Our Constitution is to date the best human construct for governing ourselves in harmony with the natural laws, and at the moment, Romney is the best shot we have for getting back to it and to the reality based thinking that will keep us from Rome's fate.
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