This post is dedicated to Steve Kangas, the obscure author of the website Liberalism Resurgent who died on this day 14 years ago. Why? Some of his articles contributed to my beliefs, and, despite not being a full-on liberal, those beliefs still persist today, 2 years after I first discovered his articles in 2011.
This post will talk about his life, his work, and the strange mystery surrounding his death in 1999. Now, this is not a biography, and I am not a biographer. This is just a way to spread the word of the late Steve Kangas, and his website. Without further ado, let the commentary begin.
Steve Kangas was born May 1961, as Steven Robert Esh, to a conservative Christian family. After graduating from high school in 1979, he joined the army, where he worked for military intelligence. During his time, he spent a year learning the Russian language, before eventually being shipped off to Grenada, after then-president Ronald Reagan ordered the invasion of the Central America nation in 1983.
He was eventually shipped off to Berlin on the following year in order to electronically eavesdrop on Soviet units in Eastern Europe. Whilst there, he learned that it would be impossible for the communist Soviet Union to invade Western Europe, because the Soviet soldiers lacked certain skills (according to Steve Kangas, they lacked driving skills). In spite of this, Western leaders were trying to convince us of the grave threat of a Soviet invasion of Europe.
Later, Kangas bore witness to the terrorist bombing of a discotheque in Berlin, which he said was a few blocks away from his living quarters. It was this terrorist act that led Ronald Reagan to order the bombing of Libya, in spite of the lack of evidence that Libya was responsible.
The moment which led him to abandon his conservative beliefs, he wrote, was the assassination of Major Arthur D. Nicholson, a fellow intelligence officer whose funeral was attended by Kangas. When talking about his beliefs, he wrote:
“The image of his 4-year old daughter clutching a Cabbage Patch doll throughout the entire service is one that is forever burned into my memory. This was a pivotal moment in my life, causing me to question my conservative beliefs and take a more serious look at the costs and benefits of the arms race.”
He also witnessed the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986, after which Berlin was bathed in nuclear radiation. In the same year, he flew back to California with an honorable discharge. Once there, he attended the University of California in Santa Cruz, a city in California which was a frequent target of Rush Limbaugh’s right-wing fury.
After some time, he created the Liberalism Resurgent website (dated 1996), which he made as “a response to the right”. The website itself is highly critical of business propaganda, the right-wing media, the American overclass (a powerful and privileged social class), and the CIA.
Since he’s done so much that I have yet to read, I’ll give you the links to the articles I’ve read and have been influenced by in some way:
- The myth of the liberal media
- ABC and the rise of Rush Limbaugh
- A timeline of CIA atrocities (which might sound a bit sketchy)
The website itself is very well done for something out of the 90’s. Kangas researched his arguments very well, almost like he was writing a thesis in university, which I guess is not surprising considering he went to college after leaving the army.
It was rumored that was planning on writing a book on CIA atrocities, when on February 8th 1999, he was found dead in the men’s bathroom on the 39th floor of the One Oxford Center, inside the office of one Richard Mellon Scaife, the political enemy of Steve Kangas.
The police ruled said death as a suicide, but since Scaife sent his own private investigator, Rex Armistead, to investigate the “suicide”, it became the subject of conspiracy. There are two theories as to how Steve Kangas died:
- Steve Kangas went to the One Oxford Center to try and kill Richard Mellon Scaife, but was himself apprehended by Scaife’s men, and then killed.
- Steve Kangas went to the One Oxford Center and killed himself in order to incite the authorities into launching an investigation of Scaife.
Let’s look at a few things. Richard Mellon Scaife is a staunchly conservative member of the wealthy elite who was known for being reclusive, and vindictive. He is quick to use lawsuits and private detectives against his critics, so when he got wind of Kangas’ website (which is scathingly critical towards Scaife), he hired his own private detective Rex Armistead to investigate Kangas and his website. Keep in mind that Rex Armistead is a private detective hired by Scaife and other anti-Democrats to smear Democrat politicians. Also keep in mind that Rex Armistead has an expertise in organized crime.
In the 60’s, Rex Armistead worked to enforce racial segregation laws. After a distinguished career in the 70’s, he was later hired by people like Richard Mellon Scaife to run smear campaigns against Democrats on behalf of the Republican party. Most famously, he ran a smear campaign against Democrat Bill Allain, in which Armistead spread rumors that Allain was having a homosexual relationship with three transvestites, until the plot was eventually uncovered by ABC’s 20/20.
With that in mind, I have come to the conclusion that Richard Mellon Scaife personally held a grudge against Steve Kangas, and therefore ordered his murder in order to eliminate him as a political enemy.
Of course, that’s just theory. But Armistead was a real private investigator, and Scaife definitely had something against Kangas, the perfect motive for murder. Then again, there has been no real answer. Why? Because if Scaife really was responsible, then he would use his wealth and power to cover up the incident, meaning there can be no answer until Scaife dies (he’s 80, so that shouldn’t be long).
I believe that Steve Kangas was wrongly killed, and that his death should be avenged, and properly investigated by an independent body. Kangas had a good website, with scholarly arguments that you can actually rely on. The good news is that his site still lives on. If you want to see it for yourself, click here.
I think that the whole thing actually makes for a great story. Now if only a Hollywood scriptwriter got a hold of it…