January 6th was part of something larger — that we must confront now

Dave Troy
5 min readJan 6, 2022
Leah Mills/Reuters

In 2009, Peter Thiel said, “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.” There exists today a coordinated effort to eliminate democracy, driven by libertarian billionaires like Thiel, a global network of anti-tax advocates, white supremacists, oil interests, and organized crime, all aligned in common purpose. This is incompatible with this country’s founding principles and must be countered forcefully.

The January 6th insurrection was an attack on American democracy and the peaceful transfer of power. A broader view of history reveals that this was just one facet of a much larger effort by the fossil fuel industry to destroy governments in its way using psychological warfare (including movement infiltration, targeting lawmakers with sophisticated influence campaigns, and fake front groups), and pushing for changes in monetary policy.

We are at a crossroads. The global fossil fuel industry thinks in terms of decades and centuries. American democracy operates on two and four year cycles. The two are simply no match. Oil revenues can purchase influence and astroturfing cheaply, totally overwhelming our democracy. And once American democracy falls, others are not far behind.

We must, before it’s too late, bring the influence of the carbon fuel industry under control, and curb cryptocurrencies through strong regulation and taxation. As weather disasters become increasingly dire, we must confront the fact that attacks on democracy and monetary policy are in fact attacks on the planet. And we must stand up against the international fascist network seeking to use America’s collapse as a blueprint.

The current assault is a culmination of about 100 years of effort. In 1933, a network associated with the National Association of Manufacturers and the petroleum industry attempted to recruit Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler to overthrow the government, leading an army of “500,000 veteran super-soldiers” to capture or kill FDR, and reinstate the gold standard he had abandoned to fund the New Deal. They studied emerging fascism in Italy and France to plan their attack; Butler turned the plotters in to Congress.

The far right Council for National Policy, one network whose members planned and executed the January 6th attack, was created in 1981 with funding from the Hunt Brothers — oil billionaires whose net worth was sufficiently threatened by inflation that they attempted to corner the global silver market the year before. The idea of “sound money,” out of reach of central banks like the Federal Reserve, has long been a fixation of oil barons.

Koch Industries, through its network of affiliates such as Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, ALEC and the Federalist Society, has funded multiple efforts to obstruct the transition from carbon fuels, including the 5–4 capture of the Supreme Court. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has documented this Koch operation in a series of 10 speeches on the Senate Floor.

Today’s GOP agenda has been so overtaken by the Koch brand of libertarianism, powered by Austrian-school economics and funding from the Mercer, Scaife, Bradley, and Olin families, as to be indistinguishable from the 1980 libertarian party platform in which Vice Presidential candidate David Koch proposed nothing less than the dismantling of the administrative state — a concept later echoed by Steve Bannon and his Council for National Policy (CNP) counterparts.

Dr. Robert Brulle, a visiting scholar at Brown University, found that in recent decades, the oil and gas industry has increasingly shifted its focus from funding relatively ineffective and inexpensive “climate denial science” to spending hundreds of millions of dollars per year on population-centered psychological warfare and influence campaigns focused on “climate obstruction.”

Another key front in the effort to obstruct climate regulation is a renewed assault on monetary policy through the promotion of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which have assumed the place of gold and silver. The concept was foreshadowed in the 1997 book “The Sovereign Individual” by libertarian ideologues James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg, which heavily influenced the founders of PayPal — specifically Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, and Rod D. Martin, who intended to fully replace the financial system with digital currency. Thiel later supplied a foreword for the book and funded the creation of Ethereum, a popular cryptocurrency underlying the current NFT (non-fungible token) craze. Musk manipulates markets at his whim. Martin is a member of the Arlington Group, an influential inner-circle network within the CNP.

A common feature of influence campaigns is that the rank and file are unaware of the full goals of those at the top. Indeed, few January 6th Capitol rioters or day-trader crypto fans have any idea about these broader long-standing goals. Young men in particular, unenthused with the job market and feeling left out of the financial system, see cryptocurrencies as an exciting opportunity to finally get ahead, while also sticking it to the “woke” elites they abhor. Mussolini first developed this concept of “class collaboration,” drawing the working class into his plan to “liberate” the common man, weaving him into the narrative of Italy’s return to greatness.

The assaults on democratic institutions and monetary policy represent a coordinated effort by the oil and gas industry and aligned corporate interests to maximize “economic liberty” — that is, allow corporations to do whatever they like on whatever timeline they choose, without interference from what they perceive as “mob rule” — or what most of us would identify as democratic governance.

For not only does pursuit of “sound money” ensure that those with the most money retain it, diminishing the power of fiat currency and central banks limits the ability for any government to initiate and fund a successful “Manhattan Project”-type challenge to the carbon fuel industry and its continued dominance.

Many have correctly noted that January 6th was but a practice run. The obstacles that prevented a full fascist coup a year ago are being systematically removed, state by state. Preserving our democracy requires that we confront oil and gas influence, the ongoing threat to monetary policy, and looming international fascism.

Our belief is that we have badly misunderstood the scope and nature of our predicament, and we must reassess it with fresh eyes, fully informed by history.

David Troy, Technologist, Historian, Disinformation Researcher
Steven Hassan, PhD, Cult Expert, Author
Monique Camarra, Warfare Expert and Instructor, University of Siena, Italy
Wesley Clark, Jr., US Army Veteran, Climate Activist
Jack Bryan, Filmmaker (Active Measures, 2018)

This opinion piece was prepared in December for the anniversary of the January 6th attacks. Unfortunately, it was not selected for publication, but we wanted to share this important and timely message with you now.



Dave Troy

Investigative journalist addressing threats to democracy. Public speaker, writer, podcaster. @davetroy on Twitter. See davetroy.com for contact info.