The concept of Presidential Doctrine dates back to when James Monroe adopted a posture of anti-European colonialism in the western hemisphere. Since that time many presidents have come and gone without leaving a signature stamp on the attitude and behavior of our nation vis a vis foreign policy though many have at most sought to merely modify pre-existing positions. Theodore Roosevelt took Monroe’s doctrine and mutated it into the Roosevelt Corollary which would later be reversed by his fifth cousin, Franklin Roosevelt who adopted a Good Neighbor policy toward those nations in the Central and South America. In relatively short time, the neocon wing of the Republican Party hijacked our government and set about reinvigorating the interventionist ambitions of Teddy Roosevelt’s Big Stick Diplomacy. Under Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, America ceased speaking softly and carrying a big stick; it raised its voice and started actively using the stick in places like Grenada and Panama and various other Latin countries that failed to fall in line with…
Probably the most mocked of anti-Communist claims by anti-anti-Communists was that the American Communist Party of the 1930s and 40s was dedicated to the violent overthrow of the American government. Former Communist and blacklisted screenwriter Ring Lardner Jr. said that even though Communism had “taken a violent form in the Soviet Union” it did not mean the American Communist Party wanted to use the same Leninist methods of seizing the government. Rather, he asserted, the CPUSA sought to bring socialism about through democratic gradualism. But a generation later, in the 1960s, the New Left was committed to that very goal the Old Left was accused of. They didn’t want the U.S. to withdraw from Vietnam; they wanted the Vietcong to defeat “fascist America.” They didn’t want to make the U.S live up to its democratic principles; they wanted it overthrown a la the methods of Castro, Mao, and Ho Chi Minh, who many modeled their units after (New Leftist Tom Hayden called his violent Weathermen faction an “American Vietcong”).
As the credits to his wildly-conspiratorial JFK (1991) rolled, Oliver Stone, to buttress his argument that Kennedy was killed by a conspiracy and not Lee Harvey Oswald, listed the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations’ conclusion that the president was indeed the victim of some group. But in reality, this Congressional investigation did not exonerate Oswald; indeed, the Committee validated the Warren Commission’s conclusion but with one caveat: that, in addition to Oswald’s shots from the School Book Depository, someone might have fired from the Grassy Knoll. But this addition was last-minute, and today, the evidence for a fourth shot is rejected.
Seventy years ago, liberals were duped by the “victims” they formed a group around to defend. In 1947, The Committee for The First Amendment was organized by liberal Hollywood in response to Congress subpoenaing ten members of the film community to answer questions about their Communist affiliations.
By and large, British author George Orwell addressed his essays and novels to the English-speaking world. During the war, he wrote a “London Letter,” about the political situation in England, to the readers of the anti-Stalinist American journal, Partisan Review. Even his stint as a BBC broadcaster with programs designed for Indian consumption were to audiences who spoke English. But there was one instance in which Orwell wrote to a non-English-speaking audience, the Ukrainian readers of Animal Farm. Orwell wrote a preface to the Ukrainian edition that is remarkable in what he revealed about himself. Something about writing for a foreign audience, particularly one with Stalin’s boot on their throat, liberated Orwell, a notoriously private man, and the essay is invaluable because it contradicts what biographers would later write about him.
In the Vietnam era, when the “New Hollywood,” shorthand for sixties’ leftists taking charge of the movies, lionized the Old Left in films like The Way We Were and The Front, they did so with the script used by American Stalinists during the early days of the Cold War; that those blacklisted were merely innocent New Dealers in “a hurry,” who were unfortunately caught in a crunch when the political climate shifted from FDR liberalism to anti-New Deal rightism. An example of this was The Way We Were, a moist treatment of Hollywood Stalinists, and the vicious treatment afforded them by American “fascists.” In a genius of casting, Barbara Streisand played a hyperactive Communist who was more New Deal than Marxist. By turns, those who attacked her were Roosevelt haters (in one scene she is shell-shocked when Roosevelt dies, while a blue-blood for making crude jokes about him).
During his presidency, John F. Kennedy was accused by the far right of being a communist appeaser at best, a secret sympathizer at worst. Now, thanks to the release of his diaries from the 1930s, it may be more valid to accuse JFK of admiration of fascism, however youthful the passion. In a series of diary entries, the future president recorded complimentary references to Nazis during a 1937 visit to Nazi Germany. He found that fascism to be “the right thing for Germany,” and regarding its brutish features, he rhetorically stated, “what are the evils of fascism compared to communism?”
When his activist wife criticized FDR for not addressing the plight of blacks, the president always stated that to do so would lose him crucial Southern Congressional support for his New Deal measures. A perfect case in point for Roosevelt’s dilemma was personified by Congressman John E. Rankin of Mississippi. Rankin, who served for sixteen terms, from 1920-1952, was proof one could be both economically liberal and virulently racist; and his “Yellow Dog Democrat” constituency, who swore never to vote for Republicans because of Reconstruction, reflected both of Rankin’s political tendencies.
When Lucille Ball was accused of being a Communist at the height of her fame in the 1950s, she pleaded contextual circumstances. She cited her pressure by her Party-line uncle, but also noted that “in those days it was considered shameful to be a Republican.” And indeed it was, even in Hollywood, which was presided over by rock-ribbed studio heads. To subscribe to any type of anti-New Deal conservatism in Hollywood was to invite charges of fascism from Hollywood reds, who were at the high tide of their influence in the 1930s, and especially during World War II.
The closeted Roy Cohn called him less a homosexual and more a “voyeur,” getting his jollies by listening the sex tapes of political leaders he acquired through FBI wiretaps. Oliver Stone disagreed, having him in his laughable Nixon (1995) practically french-kissing the help. The wife of a mobster provided information of him in drag in a hotel room with Cohn present: “[He was] wearing a fluffy black dress, very fluffy, with flounces, and lace stockings and high heels, and a black curly wig. He had make-up on and false eyelashes. It was a very short skirt, and he was sitting there in the living room of the suite with his legs crossed. Roy introduced him to me as ‘Mary’”. Why, in our age of gay tolerance, does it matter whether the above-mentioned FBI director J.Edgar Hoover was gay? After all, shouldn’t right-wingers be allowed the same orientation? The easy answer lies in Hoover’s behavior to those he might have shared an orientation with. A lifelong bachelor who lived with…
One of the most insightful observations made by Sun Tzu in his seminal masterwork, The Art of War, is the following: “When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.” Tu Mu was more specific in his elaboration on the point; the ancient Chinese poet said the enemy must be made to think “that there is a road to safety, and thus prevent his fighting with the courage of despair.” The beauty of Sun Tzu’s tome is in its timelessness; the succinct profundity of his proverbs is as relevant today as it was in the 5th century BCE. In today’s world, there is no place where Sun Tzu’s wisdom is needed more than the Korean Peninsula, specifically the territory to the north of the 38th Parallel, the tiny nation-state of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. We in the west know it by a much shorter epithet, simply, North Korea. In 1950, North Korea’s Soviet-backed founder, Kim Il Sung, launched a…
From their plush apartments, over groaning dinner tables, pseudo-intellectuals have the luxury of depicting squalor and sickness as idyllic, primordially peaceful and harmonious. After all, when the affluent relinquish their earthly possessions to return to the simple life, it is always with aid of sophisticated technology and the option to be air-lifted to a hospital if the need arises. Is there any wonder, then, that “the stereotype of colonial history” has been perpetuated by the relatively well-to-do intellectual elite? Theories of exploitation, Marxism for one, originated with Western intellectuals, not with African peasants. It is this clique alone that could afford to pile myth upon myth about a system that had benefited ordinary people. What is meant by “benefited”? Naturally, the premise here is that development, so long as it’s not coerced, is desirable and material progress good. British colonists in Africa reduced the state of squalor, disease, and death associated with lack of development. To the extent that this is condemned, the Rousseauist myth of the noble, happy…
In one of those ironies history throws at us, Lee Harvey Oswald’s failed attempt on the life of the ultra-Rightist General Edwin Walker eight months before the Kennedy assassination ended Walker’s importance. Don Delillo caught Walker’s descent into mediocrity best in his JFK assassination novel, Libra. In the novel, one of the most bizarre suspects in the Kennedy assassination, the body-hairless, ultra-Rightist David Ferrie tells Oswald to forget about continuing his assassination attempts on Walker: “No one listens to Walker anymore. Your missed bullet finished him more surely than a clean hit. It left him hanging in the twilight. He is an embarrassment. He carries the stigma of having been shot at and missed.” But for a while, Walker was listened to intently by enraged deep Southerners who swooned and howled at his message that the internal Communist Conspiracy was operating out of the White House, and by the Kennedys themselves.
In the film Lawrence of Arabia (1962), a firm believer in the British Empire grudgingly compliments the decidedly anti-Colonial Lawrence on his military performance in capturing a previously impregnable Turkish port; it “doesn’t matter what his motives were; it was a brilliant bit of soldiering.” This phrase perfectly encapsulates the soldierly view of SS Special Forces leader Otto Skorzeny, although his motives were much more detestable than Lawrence’s – the former wanting to help the Arabs build their own government free of British control. By contrast, Skorzeny never gave up the Nazi dream, aiding in the escape of several SS men from Germany into Spain, and attempting to establish a “Fourth Reich” in Latin America.
In the 1920s to the late 1930s, Ernest Hemingway and leftist author John Dos Passos were the best of friends. But something happened toward the end of the Depression decade. Both men parted company, Hemingway angrily, and Dos Passos, shocked, and never regained their friendship. That “something” was Jose Robles.
In The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987), Tom Wolfe’s British journalist uses his accent and his British sense of humor to cadge meals from his spellbound American colleagues. By the 1960s to 1980s, being a spellbinding conversationalist was all actor/director Orson Welles had left. Because of his excesses (relying on style rather than substance in his films; an almost self-destructive refusal to tailor his films for mass audiences not leaning to the avant-garde; self-destructively taking on studio heads) no studio would touch him.
In the genre of film noir, the movie Laura (1944) looms large. In 1999, the Library of Congress chose the film for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant. The American Film Institute ranked Laura 73 on their 100 years…100 Thrills. As a film noir, it is ranked no. 4 on the best mysteries of all time. Despite the political orientation of its main stars, Dana Andrews (who was the lead in the radio series, I was a Communist for the FBI), and Gene Tierney (a Republican who campaigned for Nixon in 1960), the author who wrote the book the movie was based on, was a card-carrying Communist.
As with the Kennedy assassination documents still “classified” under “national security,” pundits have long believed that the sealed Nixon Watergate tapes contain the answers to historical mysteries; chief among them the true motive for the Watergate burglaries; whether Nixon ordered executive actions against foreign leaders (Camelot pundits have long blamed Nixon, and not JFK, for constructing a Mafia/CIA nexus to kill Castro). But they’ve also sought ammunition to confirm their worst impressions of Nixon as a paranoid, insecure totalitarian. On what’s available they zeroed in on the potty mouth (the biggest surprise for my Republican parents), the anti-Semitism, the enemies list (the work of a “fascist,” according to William F. Buckley), the payoffs, the disturbing plots against political enemies (for example, slipping LSD to hostile reporter Jack Anderson).
With its patriotism and lone-man-against-the-system theme, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939) is a popular favorite among conservatives. But, although directed by conservative populist Frank Capra, the script was in actuality penned by a then-member of the Communist Party named Sidney Buchman. It is difficult to believe in our era of flag-burning and bomb-throwing leftism that once upon a time American Communists promoted patriotism, which depending upon your point of view, was either authentic or a pose to meet the needs of Moscow. But Buchman may have been the real deal, as evidenced by his clashes with director Frank Capra and his later abandonment of Communism because it wouldn’t fit the democratic conditions of his country.
Eighty-four years ago, the Marx Brother’s film, Duck Soup (1933), premiered and despite being considered their masterpiece today, flopped. Its anti-war, anti-establishment, anti-politician message (if there can be a message in a Marx Brothers’ film), flew against the zeitgeist. Leader-worship was in vogue in 33, from Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany (both countries banned the film) to even FDR’s America. Satire and criticism, rampant in the 20s, which was really the Marx Brothers’ decade, was considered politically incorrect in “let’s pull together” ethos of New Deal America. Literally in Duck Soup, the Marx Brothers, un-plugged, un-policed, refuse to close ranks. There is no loyalty to any country. Chico only joins Groucho’s side because “the food is better over here.” Harpo switches sides constantly from spying on Groucho to recruiting soldiers for him. Groucho himself switches uniforms from scene to scene (Napoleonic one minute, Confederate General the next—there was no feverish debate of banning the Confederate flag in those days) as if to say it doesn’t matter who he represents.…
One of the oldest sayings is that there are “no atheists in foxholes.” But for those soldiers either wounded or hit with the body parts of their exploding friends, the more apt expressions were caught by Paul Fussell, forty-percent disabled World War II vet and the most articulate historian of war. Before combat, Fussell catches the mindset of the virgin soldier: “It can’t happen to me. I’m too clever/agile/well-trained/good-looking/beloved/tightly laced etc.” Then after combat, the realization hits: “It is going to happen to me, and only my not being there is going to prevent it.” Kurt Vonnegut, definitely “there,” amazingly, emerged from the war more optimistic and, although not believing in God, saw such faith as necessary.
During his lifetime, British writer George Orwell was characterized as a follower of exiled Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky. H.G Welles dismissed Orwell as “a Trotskyite with big feet.” On a more lethal note, the Spanish secret police, on orders from Moscow, hunted Orwell during the Spanish Civil War for the crime of”Trotskyism” because he fought in a Marxist military unit at odds with Stalin. His “Trotskyism” even affected his livelihood; Orwell’s submission of Animal Farm to the publisher Faber and Faber was rejected by poet and employee T.S. Eliot for expressing “Trotskyite” views. At first glance, the literary evidence seems to bear this out. In both novels, Animal Farm, and Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Trotsky figure is the victim of the Stalin one. In Animal Farm, Trotsky appears as the pig “Snowball,” who initially rules the animal republic with the Stalin pig, aptly named “Napoleon” (in real life, Trotsky, exiled by Stalin, labeled the Soviet dictator and his military-style methods as the “Napoleon” of the Bolshevik Revolution); but “Napoleon,” craving power,…
Robert Benchley, humorist and member of the famed Algonquin Round Table, once said of writing for the New Yorker in the 1920s, “you could write anything you liked, as long as you did it in evening clothes.” Benchley, no radical, was likely referring to the magazine’s toleration of him skewering everything and anything with his lethal wit.
A cliche so overused it is at ad nauseam level is the one where villains tell heroes that “we are not so different, you and I.” But occasionally this rings true. A prime example is Richard Nixon and Alger Hiss. Despite then-Congressman Nixon being the one who, probably more than any other figure at the time, exposed former State Department official Alger Hiss as a Soviet spy (later re-confirmed by declassified Soviet documents), Nixon and Hiss, as the years rolled by had more in common than not.
Attached to the Kennedy Assassination has always been what was lost when the President was murdered. For some, it was America’s innocence; for others, it was the center, which would no longer hold. Perhaps the most peddled of these answers comes from the Camelot camp. For them, what was lost when Kennedy died was the opportunity to end the Cold War, and thus, avoid the quagmire of Vietnam. In their history lesson, Kennedy, chastened by the Cuban Missile Crisis, became an American Gorbachev, attempting to normalize relations with Castro and withdraw troops from Vietnam.
Herman Mankiewicz, who, according to all evidence was the chief writer of the screen classic, Citizen Kane, was unusually well-informed politically for a Hollywood screenwriter in Golden Age Hollywood (and, given, the Meryl Streeps of the world, even more so, today). His huge library was composed almost primarily of political books, and his research on the thinly-veiled subject of Kane, William Randolph Hearst was impeccable. Although taking “progressive” stands, (he supported the ACLU, labor leader John L. Lewis, and despised conservative president Calvin Coolidge) Mankiewicz blasted born-again Communists in Hollywood as uninformed idiots, whose information came solely from The New Masses. A former member of the Algonquin Round Table (famed for its diners, George S. Kaufman and Dorothy Parker among them, trying to top each other in the wit category), the screenwriter/producer unleashed his lethal wit on them. Reds, he asserted, thought Woodrow Wilson “was someone who founded a high school in Glendale.” And four years before Reds “discovered” Hitler was a threat he was peddling a script attacking…
Asked before his death about his proudest achievement, liberal actor Paul Newman stated, “making Nixon’s enemies’ list.” And that is a view shared by many 70s-era liberals (their counterparts today are probably hoping that Trump keeps such a list and that they will soon be on it). But to my mind, the more dangerous list, given their penchant for overseas’ liquidations, at least during the 30s and 40s, would be that compiled by the Soviet Union. And the person who made the top of the list, a title he held from 1968 to 1989, from the Brezhnev era to the collapse of the Soviet Union, was not a Trotskyite, or a KGB defector but a British historian/poet.
In Oliver Stone’s wildly conspiratorial JFK, the chief plotter behind the Kennedy assassination, identified as “General Y,” is obscured by the shadows, and is identified with enough letters visible on his nameplate on the desk to reveal the identity of “Y.” “Y” is General Edward Lansdale, a counter-insurgency expert who, unfortunately for Stone’s thesis that Kennedy was killed by “Y” and his cohorts because the president was about to withdraw the American advisers from Vietnam, was actually less of a hawk on Vietnam than Kennedy; indeed, the more one looks at Lansdale the more apparent it is it that, among the hawkish Cold War establishment, he was a voice of reason.
Children of the blacklisted are usually associated with the Communist—if they bother to admit that—Left. From the undoubted suffering visited upon their parents by the red-hunting climate of the 1950s (but it should be noted that that their parents lost in effect their swimming pools, while the truly persecuted in the Soviet Union, the country the blacklisted defended, lost their lives), children like the late Christopher Trumbo, son of the Stalinist screenwriter who toppled the blacklist, strum the violin and attack all forms of anticommunists. But there were other children of the blacklisted, largely ignored by the mainstream media, because they and their parents don’t fit the Leftist agenda; indeed, they represent a danger to the standard liberal blacklist narrative by showing that their anti-communist parents were blacklisted by the very leftists who years later cloaked themselves in the Bill of Rights when it was their turn to be persecuted.
Historian Rick Perlstein has been criticized by historians and reviewers for using the internet for sources. But the real criticism ought to be directed at Perlstein’s method of editing out competing information, slanting the treatment toward a leftist agenda, and relying on dubious sources that bolster his side of the spectrum. This is never truer than with Perlstein’s treatment of Ronald Reagan.
Former Nation editor and anti-anti-Communist Victor Navasky may, with a few pathetic exceptions, be the last hold-out on the innocence of exposed Soviet spy Alger Hiss. Unconvinced to this day, despite the release of declassified Soviet documents from the 1940s describing Hiss in detail, Navasky has championed Hiss with a fervor bordering on the religious, and has used dated arguments, going back to the time of Hiss’ 1950s trial, that show a mindset trapped in the past.
Holocaust-Denying historian David Irving has been activated into a lecture tour by the new film, Denial, which depicts his 1996 lawsuit against U.S. historian Deborah E. Lipstadt for charging him with denying the Holocaust. Even though Irving lost the case when the judge agreed with Lipstadt and deemed him a “Holocaust denier,” the far-right historian is nevertheless embarking on a month-long lecture tour to once again combat this accusation. In the past, he has stated that the number of Jews murdered by the Nazis was greatly exaggerated, that Hitler was not involved in the Holocaust, and that Auschwitz did not employ gas chambers.
One of the reasons conservatives feel a kinship with British socialist writer George Orwell is that he was not afraid to embrace concepts of patriotism over cold empiricism or dialectical thinking. A good case in point was his taking to the woodshed Fabian Socialist writer H.G.Welles in a remarkable essay written while the Nazi bombs were blitzing England.
When I was a graduate student, my mentor of sorts, John Patrick Diggins, told me of an incident he had with blacklisted screenwriter Lester Cole, who along with nine others, testified before Congress 70 years ago, in 1947. Both were watching the Watergate hearings, when Cole exploded to Diggins, “See, it has to be done like Castro—democracy doesn’t work!” Whether true or not, this moment certainly fit Cole’s character. For, as the only member of the Hollywood Ten who remained a Stalinist, Cole hated till his dying day.
For 50 years, critics of the Warren Commission have usually been associated with the Left. From Khrushchev to Oliver Stone (hardly a leap) have obviously sought a more politically satisfying sniper than the grubby deadbeat Oswald. With regard to the Warren Commission, it is merely a cover job designed to misdirect attention from the true conspirators onto Oswald. But not all leftists attacked the conclusions of the Warren Commission. Two writers, a former Trotskyite, the other a former Communist supporter, came (sometimes reluctantly) to the conclusion that Oswald indeed acted alone.
Dwight MacDonald, defending the Warren Commission, once made the valid point that if rightists did kill Kennedy, the liberal Lyndon Johnson would have been delighted to expose them for political gain. Such an argument was ignored by Oliver Stone in his ultra-paranoid JFK, in which he accused “fanatical Cold Warriors” of killing JFK because he was seeking to end the Cold War; and of particular importance to the Vietnam-obsessed Stone, ending the U.S. commitment to South Vietnam.
Psychiatrists who deal with returning military veterans note that those who have seen almost constant combat have trouble switching off, and search for an outlet to satisfy their martial needs. This was never more true for Spanish Civil War veteran and Communist Party member Alvah Bessie. Whenever his Party needed a rigid enforcer of the Party line toward revisionist members, and a fighter against the “fascists,” represented by HUAC, Bessie was front and center.
John F. Kennedy’s 1957 book crediting a bi-partisan group of politicians who, as the title stated, exhibited “Profiles in Courage,” would later be revealed not to have been penned by the then-senator, but by his chief speechwriter (and later, Camelot spear-carrier Ted Sorenson). But that makes the inclusion of uber-conservative Republican Senator Robert Taft all the more remarkable. For Kennedy (actually more conservative than has been portrayed) was already strategizing how to garner support from the much-needed liberal groups in order to run for president. Taft was a hard swallow for liberals, who remembered the Senator’s initial support for Joseph McCarthy.
Liberals today smirk at American Cold War culture of the late 40s to early 60s with their typical moral vanity. Unable to avoid the failures and horrors of communism, they nevertheless try to salvage 1960s’ era views of American culture as hysterically misinformed about a superpower that had missiles pointing at the U.S. But upon examination, it is apparent that the Left has done considerable editing by halting history around 1970, thus skipping whole decades of Venona revelations, the Berlin Wall falling and workers in Red Square toppling Lenin’s statue, resuming it. Hence archaic terms like military industrial complex can seem fresh and applicable.
“I fear I am writing pornography.” So said former Communist and blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo about his on-again off-again attempt to address the Holocaust through the first-person narration of a concentration camp officer. When Auschwitz was liberated (ironically by the Red Army, which would soon institute a pogrom against Jews), a variety of writers tried to grapple with the Holocaust. Various interpretations of the Holocaust have been offered though out the years: Marxist (the Final Solution was the logical culmination of heartless capitalism and the fascism inherent in it); the banality of evil, the we-are-all-responsible school, etc.ect. ad nausaem.
Asked once toward the end of his life about what he was proudest of, liberal activist and actor Paul Newman cited his appearance on Nixon’s “enemies list.” The flip side to this occurred with conservative actor John Wayne making it onto Stalin’s enemies list, with much more lethal consequences than anything Nixon had at his disposal. According to those close to Wayne, Stalin ordered Wayne liquidated after learning of the outspoken conservative actor’s popularity and anticommunist beliefs from a Russian film-maker who visited New York in 1949.
Whenever the Grassy Knoll crowd needs a figure to represent the repellent seediness of JFK’s “actual” killers, they trot out David Ferrie. Dead for fifty years, the wigged, eyebrow glued macho homosexual has lived on in Kennedy conspiracy lore, memorably portrayed by a hyper-manic Joe Pesci in Oliver Stone’s laughable JFK, and is the pivotal figure that finally convinces Oswald to fire from the Texas School Book Depository at a president Oswald cannot muster up any feelings of hate toward in Don Delillo’s more sober Libra. Called in typically bombastic style by the headline grabbing, paranoid Jim Garrison, the District Attorney of New Orleans who brought the case to court, “the most important man in history,” Ferrie was in point of fact a rather pathetic figure, who, without Castro, and Oswald would have been only a locally important figure in the New Orleans Mafia and the city’s homosexual underworld.
Of all the events that triggered mass defections by communists from their party, the military partnership between Hitler and Stalin in 1939 may have been that caused the most. Hitler and Stalin’s joint invasion of democratic Poland registered shock waves among the communist faithful who joined the Party out of the perception that the Soviet Union was against Nazism. Arthur Koestler, Jr. spoke for many when he documented his disgust with the agreement: “I remained in that state of suspended animation until the day when the swastika was hoisted on Moscow airport in honor of Ribbentrop’s arrival and the Red Army band broke into the Horst Wessel Song. That was the end, from then onward I no longer cared whether Hitler’s allies called me a counter-revolutionary.”
One of Ronald Reagan’s more obvious fallacies was his location of the date “the Democratic Party left me” as 1948. For this was during the reign of Harry Truman, a liberal anticommunist par excellence; indeed, Reagan’s strategy for causing a Soviet implosion in 1989 was partly traceable to Truman’s containment policy begun in 1947 (Reagan did contribute to this policy the crucial strategy of forcing the Soviets to compete in a costly arms race that assured the implosion courtesy of their flawed economic system). One could trace the Cold War, at least on the American side, to Truman’s meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, 50 years ago, two weeks after he became President upon FDR’s death. At Yalta, Roosevelt believed that if he gave Soviet Premiere Josef Stalin everything he wanted–in effect, undisputed control over the Eastern Europe he “liberated” from the Nazis–then the Russian’s notorious paranoia would be appeased and he would honor his promise to hold democratic elections in Poland. American officials at Yalta were disgusted…
Groucho Marx, a reluctant petitioner for the Hollywood Ten, once lamented that the 1947 HUAC hearings into Communist influence in Hollywood, had not been used as source material for a Marx Brothers’ film. The brothers’ unique brand of surrealist comedy would, he believed, found an ideal setting in the question-answer format and the perfect set of foils with the career politicians of HUAC. In a sense, one of the brothers did participate, and there was comedy, but not from him, nor of the intentional kind.
One of the charges lodged at Hollywood communists who voluntarily revealed their politics to Congress during the blacklist period was that said volunteers did it to avoid jail or get back on the studio payroll, or both. Director Edward Dymytrk has always been hard for them to spin. Originally one of the Hollywood Ten, the first set of communists in 1947 to testify, or in their case, not to testify by refusing to answer direct questions from Congress, Dmytryk, although having left the Communist Party two years before, nevertheless went to jail with the other 9 in order to prove that his future cooperation with Congress would not be to avoid jail time. Although not agreeing with the Ten’s legal strategy of refusing to directly answer questions from Congress but appearing to, Dymtryk closed ranks with them.
We are now currently two months (or thereabouts) into the Trump administration. As you have probably noticed, the putsches and death squads and concentration camps and secret police that President Trump was supposed to enact have not really come around yet. And nor will they ever—for all of the “Literally Hitler” talk, bear in mind that Hitler’s goals were explicitly enumerated in Mein Kampf (in all of its 800+ page denseness), whereas Trump has never expressed any desire to be a fascist dictator (And you’d think he would have done so in the four New York Times Bestselling Books he’s written). Regardless of Trump failing to be Literally Hitler, the Left continues to howl about how “racist” and “xenophobic” the man allegedly is, saying that any control over America’s borders is “not who we are as a country”—with the implication there being that, of course, America is a “nation of immigrants”/”proposition nation”, and thus the very idea of even temporarily halting immigration from any nation on is a vast affront…
In many ways, the father of the Atomic Bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer, has long been portrayed by liberals as a figure horrified about what he unleashed on the world, particularly with regard to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However, in one film, Fat Man and Little Boy, he was portrayed as conscience-striken from the get-go. But the reality was different. Initially Oppenheimer approached the project as a purely technical problem. It was only after the experiment worked that he allowed the moral dimension in. His background in literature—the choice of “Trinity” was his, after a John Donne poem that he liked—made Oppenheimer recall a verse from the Hindu bible: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
H.L Mencken’s reputation as an independent-minded journalist rests on his lampooning of American politicians, his championship of, but not political sympathies with dissidents prosecuted and deported by the American government during World War I, and his public role as a defender of Scopes during the Evolution vs Bible Monkey Trial in 1925. Conservatives today claim him for his libertarian opposition to the New Deal, his fierce commitment to civil liberties, and his denouncement of collectivism in all forms. Liberals adopt him for his attacks on Christian fundamentalism, his faith in science, and his opposition to World War I. But what powered all of the above was his less attractive traits, all traceable to his fervent support of Germany. Despite being born in America, Mencken did not consider himself an American and regretted that this was his homeland: “My grandfather, I believe, made a mistake when he came to this country [from Germany]. I have spent all of my 62 years here, but I still find it impossible to fit…
In his last great battle in a lifetime of dust-ups, the late Christopher Hitchens in the aftermath of Sept. 11th, coined the term “Islamofascists” to describe and denounce the Muslim world. Linking it to 20th-century fascist movements, Hitchens elaborated: “The most obvious points of comparison would be these: Both movements are based on a cult of murderous violence that exalts death and destruction and despises the life of the mind. (“Death to the intellect! Long live death!” as Gen. Francisco Franco’s sidekick Gonzalo Queipo de Llano so pithily phrased it.) Both are hostile to modernity (except when it comes to the pursuit of weapons), and both are bitterly nostalgic for past empires and lost glories. Both are obsessed with real and imagined “humiliations” and thirsty for revenge. Both are chronically infected with the toxin of anti-Jewish paranoia (interestingly, also, with its milder cousin, anti-Freemason paranoia). Both are inclined to leader worship and to the exclusive stress on the power of one great book. Both have a strong commitment to…