This week marks 60 years since a horrifying conspiracy was attempted against the American people. On March 13th, 1962, our top military leaders formally proposed killing Americans and blaming it on Cuba, inciting domestic panic and outrage.
Their ultimate goal? To drum up support for military intervention in Cuba. The official memorandum—which you can and should read here—stated:
“The desired result from the execution of this plan would be to place the United States in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government of Cuba and to develop an international image of a Cuban threat to peace in the Western Hemisphere.”
The only reason this did not happen? JFK rejected their proposal, which was nicknamed Operation Northwoods. If he hadn’t shut this plot down, the public would have been unknowingly misled, their emotions manipulated using false information to further someone’s desired political agenda.
I’ll be honest: when the Ukraine war started, I was emotionally manipulated. I saw images of a heroic looking president in the midst of the conflict, news of Ukrainian soldiers on an island telling a Russian warship to “F off,” and tales of the Ghost of Kyiv downing six Russian planes.
These and so many other stories were total lies. Lies, I’ll add, that much of the corporate media spread further, despite their professed love of “fact-checkers.”
Here’s the tough truth: when our attention is focused on one event or circumstance—especially one with a general consensus—that should raise warning bells.
We should realize that pervasive propaganda is circulating, hoping to shift our views in furtherance of someone else’s goals. We should be skeptical when everyone else is immediately believing the generally accepted narrative.
A century ago, the father of public relations—Edward Bernays—boldly published his observations about how even then, politicians and the media were manipulating people using psychological tactics that have no doubt been honed and perfected in the decades since:
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, and our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of…. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.”
Russia should not be attacking Ukraine, of course. But it’s not as simple as so many are making it. There’s been proxy warfare for some time, furthered in part by U.S. intervention: we’ve spent plenty of time and resources replacing elected officials and attempting to shift the balance of power at Russia’s doorstep.
There are deeper interests at play, and the opinions and attitudes of the public are being twisted to attain certain outcomes. It’s happened many times before, and it’s happening now.
And beyond the events themselves, the narrowing of our attention to one event elsewhere is a sort of sleight of hand, causing the public to ignore other things we should be focused on and concerned about.
This isn’t to say what’s happening in Ukraine isn’t serious, or worthy of attention. But we must challenge ourselves to think beyond the immediate, surface-level narratives spinning from our social media feeds and TV screens.
So, when the next great crisis hits, let’s ask ourselves a couple of questions. First, what are our government and media hoping we’ll focus on? And, the real question: what do they not want us paying attention to?
Critical thinking is a rare and dangerous act in today’s world. But we can’t afford to let other people decide how we should feel about every major event—much less, how we ought to respond. Collectivism thrives when people stop questioning the “acceptable” narrative.
The good news? This crisis of critical thinking can be solved, starting in our own homes. Teaching your children to question authority is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give them.
That’s where the Tuttle Twins team comes in: with books on foreign policy and peace, personal responsibility, economics, civics, and more, we have material for kids of all ages, whether toddlers, teenagers, or somewhere in between. We’re here to give your children a strong voice in a world full of people too scared to speak the truth.
The powers controlling our money, our information, and our personal liberties hate it when individuals and families think independently… But the choice is always ours.
Until next time,