Thursday, August 4, 2011 59 Comments

The Reuther memorandum, 1961

Written by Walter and Victor Reuther in 1961, distributed around the Kennedy administration and indeed put into practice by the IRS, this is the classic strategy statement of how postwar American communism - aka ADA liberalism - in the mid-century era dealt with the ever-present threat of genuine political opposition. There was no clean copy of the Reuther memorandum on the net, so I thought I'd dig it out of hideous obscurity and repost it here. (I'm still looking for the related "Fulbright memorandum," aka "Propaganda Activities of Military Personnel Directed at the Public.")

Note the appearance of none other than Richard Nixon as a good team player on the Republican side. The "Katanga operation" is the US-supported UN assault on Katanga, then regarded by all responsible authorities as a crucial step in freeing the backward colonial despotism of the Belgian Congo to grow into a prosperous and independent democratic republic. It was critical to prevent ignorant Neanderthals from Mississippi from interfering with this sort of enlightened and progressive foreign policy - or any other policy for that matter.

Indeed it's interesting to note the abject failure and/or disappearance of almost all the dissident organizations mentioned in the memo, along with the rest of traditional American anticommunism. Harding College (now University) still exists, though I had to look it up, and the JBS keeps limping along. Meanwhile, William Ayers' office boy is President of the United States. It is also hilarious, even for the time, to note the juxtaposition of the breathless paranoia with the ridiculous shoestring funding of the dissidents - a million dollars a year! One million dollars!

There is also an interesting discussion of Eisenhower and American communism at Foseti's, which is what prompted me to post this document. Suffice it to say: unless you're over 78, America is a communist country and has been for your entire life. What is communism? Democracy without authentic political opposition. How does communism eliminate opposition while maintaining the appearance of a genuine political contest? See below.

(This is not to say America is a Stalinist country, except as an assignment of retrospective guilt for the "Mission to Moscow" era. Mainstream American liberalism of course broke with Russia after FDR's death. This "Anglo-Soviet split" produced the phenomenon known to our communist historians as "the Cold War." If communion with Moscow is your definition of "communism," there was no such thing as communism before 1917 or after 1989, and Mao Tse-tung (after 1961) was a staunch anti-communist. I hope there aren't any little boys in the room once you've finished raping the English language.)

What's nice about the Reuther memorandum is that, since it was written for insiders only, it is relatively transparent, though it still uses the propaganda language of the time. Thus "democracy" is American communism (ie, Cold War liberalism), "international Communism" is Soviet communism, and "domestic Communism" is Americans who are so dense they didn't get the message and are still working for Moscow. Since only true believers are meant to be reading, the memo doesn't work too hard to disguise this reality. "Although the radical right poses a far greater danger to the success of this country in the battle against international Communism than does the domestic Communist movement, the latter have been branded subversive by the Government and the former have not."

My sourcing is extremely tenuous but I believe I have basically the correct text. I've fixed some apparent typos, removed irrelevant front matter, and attempted interpolations in [brackets]. This certainly reads as an authentic internal document of the period. Here it is:

December 19, 1961
The Radical Right in America Today

President Kennedy's address to Seattle and Los Angeles on November 16 and 18 evidenced both a deep concern with, and a profound understanding of the serious problems injected into American life by the growning strength of the radical right. A spate of articles in responsible newspapers and periodicals reflect this same concern and understanding. Perhaps therefore this memorandum will prove but a repetition and restatement of suggestions already under consideration by the Administration. Since, however, the public discussion to date concerning the radical right has produced little in the line of suggested policies and programs for dealing with the serious problems raised, this memorandum may have some value in focusing attention upon possible Administration policies and programs to combat the radical right.

Initially, it needs to be said that far more is required in the struggle against the radical right then simply calling attention to present and potential dangers. If the Administration truly recognizes this as a serious problem, as it certainly appears to do, it is most important that President Kennedy's addresses in Seattle and Los Angeles be implemented. Speeches without action may well only mobilize the radical right instead of mobilizing the democratic forces within our nation. It is with this consideration in view that there is set forth below an estimate of the extent of the problem and suggested Administration policies and programs for dealing with the problem.

Extent of Problem

The radical right or extreme right-wing, or however it may be designated, includes an unknown number of millions of Americans of viewpoints bounded on the left by Senator Goldwater and on the right by Robert Welch. The active component of these radical right millions would, of course, be only a small fraction of the total. But, whatever may be the difficulty of ascertaining their numbers, these radical right groups are probably stronger and are almost certainly better organized than at any time in recent history. More significant yet, they are growing in strength and there is no reason to expect a turning of the tide in this regard during the foreseeable Cold War period ahead. And, possibly most significant of all, their relationship to and infiltration of the Armed Service adds a new dimension to the seriousness with which they must be viewed.

New radical right organizations have sprung up like weeds in the last few years; it is estimated by the Anti-Defamation League that almost a hundred such organizations have been organized in 1961 alone. Welch's Birch Society, Schwarz' Christian Anti-Communist Crusade, and Hargis' Christian Crusade, are among the most powerful of the new groups. Benson's Harding College and National Education Program and H.L. Hunt's Life Line have earlier histories, but they have expanded along with the growth of the new groups. But all of these groups together are only part of an even larger and constantly growing movement which is well manned and even better financed.

The Birch Society alone probably has a million dollars a year at its disposal; so does the Christian Crusade (which is just one of 3 Hargis ventures). The radical right as a whole -- and estimating conservatively -- must have twenty or more times this much on call. There are vast quantities of literature, films and records emanating from the radical right and even such things as radical right bookshops are beginning to spring up. (General Walker gave one of these bookshops, The Bookmailer in New York, a big plug on national television December 3rd).

The Birch Society may be the best known today. But others are equally strong and perhaps more influential. Take a look at Schwarz' Christian Anti-Communist Crusade, for example. In the Anti-Communist School he ran in St. Louis earlier this year he was backed by the St. Louis Globe Democrat and was sponsored by the Mayor and Chief of Police of St. Louis and both United States Senators. Governor John M. Dalton even officially proclaimed this "Anti-Communism week in Missouri." The New York Times eyewitness report from St. Louis asserted that one of the most striking things there was "the large proportion of younger people."

Schwarz' Hollywood rallies are even more disturbing than his St. Louis and other schools. His Crusade had a three-hour rally before some twelve to fifteen thousand persons in the Hollywood Bowl and an estimated four million more watched the program over television on 33 stations in six states. Actors John Wayne, James Stewart, Pat O'Brien, and George Murphy were there, as were such top "movie-makers" as Jack Warner of Warner Brothers and Y. Frank Freeman of Paramount. The gross take at the rally (plus the week's Hollywood Anti-Communist School) was $214,796.

Even more significant was the presence of C.D. Jackson, a top executive of Life Magazine. In early September Life had run a disparaging story about Schwarz. The kickback at Life was sufficient to induce Jackson to fly to Los Angeles to appear in the Hollywood Bowl and offer a public apology. Jackson told the audience, "I believe we were wrong and I am profoundly sorry. It's a great privilege to be here tonight and align Life Magazine with Senator Dodd, Representative Judd, Dr. Schwarz, and the rest of these implacable fighters against communism." Only recently the Los Angeles rallies were re-telecast in New York City for three full evening hours with the Schick Safety Razor Company picking up the tab. (Richfield Oil and Technicolor Corp., as well as Schick, appear to be regularly available to Schwarz as television sponsors).

Take a look, too, at another one of these groups -- Harding College and the National Education Program (both headed by Dr. George S. Benson). The propaganda operation, exclusive of the college, is budgeted at $200,000 a year. They produced some 30 movies of which "Communism on the Map" is the most famous and has been seen by 10 million persons. Dr. Benson's weekly column has wide distribution and one version is sent in bulk mail to a thousand business organizations. He has a monthly newsletter with 50 thousand subscribers, he has outlets in a great many Farm Bureau monthly state papers (the effect of which was seen at the recent Farm Bureau Convention). He has a series of high school study outlines in "American Citizenship Education" sent free to schools requesting them.

The Life Line Radio Program, now on about 200 radio stations (some run [the program] twice), is planning to branch out into television. Businessmen all over the Nation are sponsoring this program. H.L. Hunt, one of the richest oil men in the country and owner of Life Line, boasts that "the Free World cannot be saved at a profit."

All of these radical right organizations have the same general line. The danger to America is domestic Communism. While their particular traitor will vary from Harry Hopkins to George Marshall, from President Truman to President Eisenhower, from Senator Fullbright to some labor leader, there is no question that anybody even slightly to the left of Senator Goldwater is suspect. They traffic in fear. Treason in high places is their slogan and slander is their weapon. They undermine loyal Americans' confidence in each other and in their government.

Their appeal is for "total victory" (note that Goldwater is with them all the way on this) and they thrive on every defeat, retreat, concession, or even negotiations. Americans feel they are "losing" for the first time in history. Since Americans intuitively tend not to believe they ever lose fairly, the radical right's charges that we are "losing" (itself a dubious assumption) because of treason in high places falls on fertile soil. In Schwarz's Southern California meetings, as shown in the New York re-telecast a couple of weeks ago, Senator Dodd's and Representative Judd's heavy-handed foreign policy polemics received little applause, but when W. Claus Skousen (author of "The Naked Communist") charged treason in high places, the place went up in a roar of applause.

The suggestion is being made in some quarters (e.g., Reston in the Times of November 19, 1961) that the radical right is primarly a "Republican problem" because it utilizes money that might otherwise be available to Republican Party candidates. Former Vice President Nixon shares this view.

Yet on reflection, this would appear quite superficial. The growing strength of the radical right may indeed be an inconvenience to the Republican Party, but it is far worse than that for the Nation and the Democratic Party -- for it threatens the President's programs at home and abroad.

By the use of the twin propaganda weapons of fear and slander, the radical right moves the national political spectrum away from the Administration's proposed liberal programs at home and abroad. By vicious local pressure campaigns against teachers or preachers or any one else who supports anything from negotiation in foreign affairs to governmental programs in domestic affairs, they frighten off support for much-needed Administration programs. Pressure tactics on already-timid Congressmen are reinforced with fanaticism and funds. The pressure campaign against the Katanga operation is only one example of what is ahead. Any hard-boiled realistic appraisal of the situation evokes this conclusion: The growing strength, organization and financial resources of the radical right is not something that can be wished away or that can be confidently ignored as a Republican problem.

Action On The Problem

As the radical right cannot be wished away or ignored, likewise its demise is not something that can be readily accomplished. The struggle against the radical right is a long-term affair; total victory over the radical right is no more possible than total victory over the Communists. What are needed are deliberate Administration policies and programs to contain the radical right from further expansion and in the long run to reduce it to its historic role of the impotent lunatic fringe.*

[* Private agencies can do much too, to identify and expose the radical right. Indeed, in the long-run the extent of participation by private agencies in this struggle is more likely to determine its outcome than anything the Government can do. The press, television, church, labor, civic, political and other groups whose constitutional freedom is directly involved must carry the prime burden in this struggle. But the purpose of this memorandum is to consider possible Administration policies and programs rather than those of private groups. Furthermore, affirmative Administration policies and programs can set the backdrop against which private activity is most likely to succeed.]

As the radical right today feeds like a leech on the frustrations of the American people, so reducing these frustrations by accomplishments at home and abroad is the most important part of the long-range battle against the radical right. Indeed, in the long run, only democratic initiative in the world struggle against Communism will roll back the radical right to its traditional insignificance. But the Nation cannot look the other way and wait for this to happen. The radical right organizations threaten to render impossible the very steps (action and negotiation) that need to be taken by the Administration if our nation is to survive and succeed in the world struggle; they must never be permitted to become so strong as to obstruct action needed for democratic survival and success.

As we gird ourselves for a long struggle against world Communism, so we must grid ourselves for a long struggle against the radical right. But there are some steps which can and should be taken now to halt the growth of the radical right and possibly to turn the tide against it. There are other steps of a more long-range nature. Among the programs and policies of both types which the Administration might consider are the following:

1. The radical right inside the Armed Services presents an immediate and special problem requiring immediate and special measures.

The problem of radical right influence inside the Armed Services is an immediate one and made all the more so by the up-coming hearings of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee. But even if there were no hearings, this challenge to the basic American concept of separating military personnel from partisan politics must be met now. Tolerance of such a challenge can only embolden those who do the challenging.

It has been widely reported that General Walker's radical right viewpoint is shared by a substantial number of his colleagues. One observer, Louis J. Halle, has reported that Walker's position "represents the publicly unexpressed but privately outspoken view of an important part of our American officer corps in all three services" (New Republic, November 20, 1961). Drew Pearson has twice reported without contradiction that a Lieutenant General has leaked secret information to Senator Thurmond in support of the Walker position. The "American Seminars," espousing radical right doctrine and sponsored or co-sponsored by the Armed Services in various places, could only have been accomplished by radical right officer personnel within the armed forces; the spectacle of the U.S. Army sponsoring Skousen's reflection on the patriotism of Franklin Roosevelt and the loyalty of Harry Hopkins, could only have been achieved through the connivance of inside military personnel. Former top brass work with all the radical right groups. The recent experience in Algeria demonstrates that the soldiers of an army of a democratic nation may be tempted, out of frustration, to engage in anti-democratic operations; as reports from France make so abundantly clear, the radical right Generals and Admirals continue today to threaten the stability of France's democratic system.

What appears to support the position of widespread infiltration of the radical right into the Armed Services is the manner in which the Walker case was handled. Indeed, the shocking thing about the Walker case is not that his resignation was accepted in 1961, but that the Armed Services rejected his resignation in 1959 when he tried to resign because of "the fifth column conspiracy and influence in the United States" and the "conspiracy and its influences on the home front." Whether the resignation was rejected because Walker's superiors agreed with his views or simply were not shocked by them is not known; but in either event, the failure to accept his resignation constituted a dangerous tolerance of the radical right inside the Armed Services. Even worse was the action towards Walker in 1960 and early in 1961; the Army failed to act against Walker's [insubordination] and illegal acts of "radical right politics" until public notice of Walker's offenses (brought about by a newspaper exposé) forced the Pentagon's hand. Again, it is not important why this happened; what is important is the degree of tolerance of the radical right inside the Armed Services.

It also appears to have been widespread pressure from right wing Generals and Admirals in the Pentagon which brought about the recall to duty of General Van Fleet. It is common knowledge that General Van Fleet has himself been a member of the extreme right wing (Board member of "For America"; endorser of the Florida Coalition of Patriotic Societies; Board of Advisors of H. L. Hunt's Life Line). Not only does the Pentagon pressure for the recall of General Van Fleet evidence radical right influence inside the military establishment, but it demonstrates the absolute unappeasability of this group. All that the recall has accomplished is to embarrass the Administration when Van Fleet irresponsibly attacked the Administration's Ambassador to the United Nations.

Once it is recognized that there is a serious problem of radical right infiltration of the military and that appeasement is not the answer, the indicated course of action becomes clear. The Administration must get off the defensive in the Walker case; it must shift the battleground from the defensive posture of justifying the "muzzling of Walker" to an offensive posture supporting the basic American concept of separation of military personnel from partisan politics. To shift the posture from defense to offense, consideration should be given to requesting Senator Russell to broaden the hearings to cover the problem of radical right infiltration of the Armed Services. As the Washington Post said on November 28th, the hearings "ought to be aimed not to determining whether General Walker and his imitators were improperly silenced by civilian authorities, but at determining how widely the infection they represent is spread in the armed services."

An alternate to getting Senator Russell to broaden the hearings would be for Secretary McNamara to start his own investigation of radical right Generals and Admirals. Those Generals and Admirals who have lost confidence in democracy and who feel that the danger to our country is treason at home rather than the strength of the International Communist movement abroad, should be warned against political activity in any way, shape or form. This might have the effect of causing the resignation of some of these Generals and Admirals which would certainly be in the national interest. At any rate, political activity after such warnings would be grounds for dismissal from the service. Above all, the suggested investigation would give courage to the officers, old and young, who believe in democracy and in a non-political democratic Army.

Then, too, Secretary McNamara should try to take the offensive at the forthcoming hearings. Secretary McNamara certainly has the right to be the first witness at the hearings. Instead of being on the defensive concerning his muzzling of Walker, he should take the offensive by telling how action against Walker was too long delayed and how there is a serious problem in the Armed Services concerning persons who no longer believe in democracy. If, as suggested in the previous paragraph, Secretary McNamara has by that time instituted his own investigation of radical right Generals and Admirals, he should give his report of his plans in this regard. Whether or not he has instituted an investigation, he should make clear that the Defense Department's policy rejects these extreme right-wing organizations and rejects the views of those who participate in them. He should have those of the real top brass who share his views get right up behind him at the hearing and back him up. He should get the full support of the President. In this way, the hearings could be turned against those who presently plan to use them to help the right wing embarrass Secretary McNamara.

The strong posture against radical right Generals and Admirals suggested in this memorandum would go far to answer Soviet propaganda that American foreign policy is not in responsible hands and that there is a substantial "preventive war" group in the Pentagon which may ultimately get the upper hand. This strong posture would not only reassure our own allies, but might give support to factions within the Soviet Union that [argue] for a more flexible position on the Soviet's part.

2. The radical right and the Attorney General's subversive list.

The Attorney General's list of subversive organizations is lending aid and comfort to the radical right. Although the radical right poses a far greater danger to the success of this country in the battle against international Communism than does the domestic Communist movement, the latter have been branded subversive by the Government and the former have not. No one loses his job or is subjected to public obloquy because he joins one of these radical right groups; yet these groups can use the subversive list to get at liberals and moderates who twenty years earlier had joined some Communist "front" organization which looked patriotic and socially desirable. The list today is almost like a Good Housekeeping seal for the radical right. Whatever one's views may be toward the list, as long as it exists it should not remain one-sided and be permitted to work in favor of the radical right.

Under existing regulations, the Attorney General can only put an organization on the Attorney General's list if he finds, after notice and hearing, that it meets the standards of the list -- i.e., that the organization is "totalitarian, fascist, communist or subversive, or as having adopted a policy of advocating or approving the commission of acts of force or violence to deny others their rights under the Constitution..., or as seeking to alter the form of government of the United States by unconstitutional means." Certain of the radical right organizations may well meet one or more of these criteria.

For example, the Birch Society appears to advocate the denial of constitutional rights by force and openly seeks to substitute some other form of society for existing democratic forms; to it democracy is "merely a deceptive phrase, a weapon of demagoguery, and a perpetual fraud." Three of the best known radical right groups are predicated on secrecy: the Birch Society keeps its members secret; Hargis, head of the Christian Crusade, has announced plans for a secret fraternity with Greek letters; and the Minutemen which conduct guerilla warfare maneuvers also keeps its members secret. Then, too, Birch operates on a monolithic or totalitarian system within the organization and other radical right groups may also so operate. These organizations have succeeded in promoting disaffection and, as in the case of General Walker, outright rebellion in the Army. There would thus appear to be adequate grounds for holding a hearing on one or more of these organizations to determine whether they should be listed.

It might therefore be advisable for the Attorney General to announce at this time that he is going to investigate one or more of these organizations with a view to determining whether charges will be filed and hearings held on the questions of listing one or more of these organizations. The mere act of indicating that an investigation will be made will certainly bring home to many people something they have never considered -- the subversive character of these organizations and their similarity to the listed groups on the left. To make this announcement before the hearings of the Armed Services Committee on the muzzling of General Walker might well be an additional way to take the offensive against Senator Thurmond and the radical right.

It is not known the extent to which the Federal Bureau of Investigation has planted undercover agents inside the radical right movement as it has inside the Communist Party and its allied organizations. If it has already done so, the information would be readily available upon which to draw up charges for a hearing against one or more of the radical right groups. If the Bureau has not as yet infiltrated these organizations, a longer time will of course be necessary to obtain the information for the charges, although much of the needed information for the charges is available through public sources.

In any event, the announcement of the investigation would have an immediate salutary effect and the later announcement of the hearing or hearings might have an even greater one. It is not unlikely that these groups will refuse information and otherwise act towards the Attorney General's procedures just exactly as the Communists have acted in the past. Nothing could better reveal to the public the true nature of these groups than defiant resistance to their government.

3. The flow of big money to the radical right should be damned to the extent possible.

The growing power of radical right propagandists and groups is directly related to their expanind ability to secure large sums of money. As funds are a source of power to the radical right, action to dam up these funds may be the quickest way to turn the tide now running in their favor.

Benson's National Education Program, Schwarz' Christian Anti-Communist Crusade, Hargis' Christian Crusade and William Volker Fund, Inc. are among the radical right groups which are reported to have federal tax exemptions. It would appear highly doubtful, to say the least, that any or all these groups properly qualifies for a federal tax exemption. Prompt revocation in a few cases might scare off a substantial part of the big money now flowing into these tax exempt organizations.*

[* An additional suggestion in this regard might be considered. This would be the feasibility of including in the publicly available files of these tax-exempt organizations, their annual receipts and expenditures reports which can now be obtained only with great difficulty. Appropriately organized files available to the public would tend to create a little self-enforcement.]

Then, too, corporate funds are used to put radical right views on the air for political rather than business reasons; propaganda is peddled far and wide under the guise of advertising. H. L. Hunt openly urges big business not to rely on contributions to finance the radical right but to use their advertising funds. The Internal Revenue Service sometime ago banned certain propaganda ads by electrical utilities as deductible expenses. Consideration might be given to the question whether the broadcast and rebroadcast of Schwarz' Christian Anti-Communist Crusade rallies and similar rallies and propaganda of other groups is not in the same category.

A related question is that of free radio and television time for the radical right. Hargis Christian Crusade has its messages reproduced by 70 radio stations across the country as public service features, and Mutual Broadcasting System apparently gave him a special rate for network broadcasts. In Washington, D.C. radio station WEAM currently offers the "Know Your Enemy" program at 8:25 pm., six days a week as a public service; in program No. 97 of this series the commentator advised listeners that Gus Hall of the Communist Party had evoked a plan for staffing the Kennedy Administration with his followers and that the plan was being carried out with success. Certainly the Federal Communications Commission might consider examining the extent of the practice of giving free time to the radical right and could take measures to encourage stations to assign comparable time for an opposing point of view on a free basis. Incidentally, in the area of commercial (not free) broadcasting, there is now pending before the FCC, Cincinnati Station WLW's conduct in selling time to Life Line but refusing to sell time for the UAW program, "Eye Opener."

In addition to possible misuse of federal tax exemptions and the misuse of corporate funds for propaganda advertising, it seems not unlikely that corporation funds are flowing into the radical right in other and covert ways. The President of Schick Razor Company, for example, has made it clear that "Dr. Schwarz will not lack for money while I'm around." And, finally, there is the big question whether Schwarz, Hargis, etc. are themselves complying with the tax laws.

Adequate information on the financing of the radical right can only come from the inside of these organizations. As already indicated, it is not known whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation has undercover agents inside these organizations in the same manner and to the same degree as the Bureau has inside the Communist Party and other left-wing groups. Similarly, it is not known what the Treasury Department has done in the way of undercover operations to get at tax violations in the financing of these organizations. Likewise, it is not known whether the Federal Communications Commission has ever assembled information on the degree to which the radical right is getting free time without comparable expression of the opposing point of view. Certainly, there is sufficient public information indicating possible tax violations in this area and possible violations of FCC policies to justify the most complete check on these various means of financing the radical right.

4. The Administration should take steps to end the Minutemen.

Free speech is the essence of democracy, but armed bands are not the exercise of free speech. There is no warrant for permitting groups to organize into military cadres for the purpose of taking the law into their own hands.

It is not known whether the Minutemen will grow or whether they will fade out of the picture. They do, however, represent a dangerous precedent in our democracy. Consideration should be given to the question whether they are presently violating any federal laws and, if not, to the Federal Government calling a conference of States where the Minutemen exist to see what action could be taken under state laws. There is, of course, the additional possibility, as indicated earlier, that the Minutemen might fall within the terms of the Attorney General's list of subversive organizations.

5. The domestic Communist problem should be put in proper perspective for the American people, thus exposing the basic fallacy of the radical right.

The radical right feeds on charges of treason, traitors and treachery. It has its roots in a very real sense in the belief of the American people that domestic Communism has succeeded in betraying America and threatens its very survival. Putting the domestic Communist problem in proper perspective would do much to expose the basic fallacy of the radical right.

The Administration has inherited an extremely difficult problem and posture in this area. Executive and legislative speech writers have automatically maximized the domestic Communist menace ever since World War II. The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mr. Hoover, although he made an admirable recent statement concerning the radical right, exaggerates the domestic Communist menace at every turn and this contributes to the public's frame of mind upon which the radical right feeds. Assistant Attorney General J. Walter Yeagley, who continues in charge of internal security matters, has always maximized the domestic Communist menace. There is grave danger that the upcoming legal battle between the Department of Justice and the Communist Party over registration (particularly if there are additional indictments of individuals) will itself fan these same flames.

Each Administration since World War II has mazimized the Communist problems. It will therefore be no easy task for the Administration to turn the corner and take a different attitude. But action along this line is necessary to contain and in the long-run to roll back the radical right. Without minimizing the Communist Party strength or potential in the thirties and forties, it has no capacity today to endanger our national security or defeat our national policies. There is no need for a further effort to dramatize the domestic Communist issue; the need now is to rein in those who have created the unreasoned fear of the domestic Communist movement in the minds of the American people and slowly to develop a more rational attitude toward the strength of this movement. Without forbidding dissenting officials from expressing a contrary viewpoint (and thus evoking charges of muzzling Hoover, etc.), an effort to take a more realistic view of domestic Communism by the leaders of the Administration would probably cause most of the Administration officials to fall into line and even some legislators might be affected thereby. Fifteen years of overstating a problem cannot be reversed overnight, but thoughtful handling can reduce tensions and misconceptions in this area, too.

It would be the easier course to look the other way and say that the radical right will disappear when we solve our problems at home and abroad. But the radical right may, if it is not contained, make it more difficult, if not impossible, to solve our problems at home and abroad.

Efforts to deal with radical right Generals and Admirals and Minutemen, investigation to determine whether to list radical right organizations, efforts to dam the illegal flow of money in their direction, efforts to set the domestic Communist problem in perspective -- all will evoke immediate charges of softness on Communism. But this is not a problem that can be swept under the rug. The Administration can no more combat the radical right by being "tough on domestic Communism" or appeasing radical right Generals than the Republican Administration was able to fight McCarthyism by its own excesses in this area. It is very late in the day to start dealing with these problems, but it will never get earlier.


Anonymous Gool said...

What is communism? Democracy without authentic political opposition.


Lack of authentic political opposition is a characteristic of communism, but it's not the only characteristic of communism. Just because these clowns tolerated actual genuine communists in the state department doesn't mean they were presiding over a system that was actually communist.

August 4, 2011 at 7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whatever gool, the map isn't ever the territory, definitions are not the point ...

August 4, 2011 at 7:45 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Which communist countries were democracies? Mencius has mentioned the "toy opposition" in East Germany, but people couldn't even choose to vote for them. The only slate available was the "National Front", which pre-allocated seats. Walter Block likes to say "If you can't tell the difference between a toilet and a carpet, I'm not going to invite you to my house". Similarly, if you can't tell the difference between the U.S, even at its worst, and a communist country, why should anybody bother listening to you other than on the assumption that you don't really mean what you say?

August 4, 2011 at 8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the difference between the U.S, even at its worst, and a communist country

Communist countries were brutal in their own way, some more than others, but did any actively seek to replace their own populations wholesale?

This document reads as foundation-laying for the Civil Rights bills, the 1965 immigraion act and everythign else followed, including "diss whitey" TV commercials. One gets a sense in reading it that it's not really alarmism about the Birch Society, but about American population as a whole.

August 4, 2011 at 8:42 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Anonymous (get a handle), you have just argued that the U.S is bad in its own particular way, but still not the same as a communist country!

One of the "radical right" authors of yesteryear was Willard Cleon Skousen. Herbert Gintis, who was a prominent "New Left" radical economist in the 60s, gives a positive review to his book "The Five Thousand Year Leap".

August 4, 2011 at 8:50 PM  
Anonymous Thrasymachus said...

>>This is not to say America is a Stalinist country<<

There you are wrong. Stalinism is not a method of governing, or even a philosophy, it is a rhetorical system. A rhetorical system that has different results when connected to a secret police system than when not, but not different in its functioning and goals.

This memo illustrates that; the basic concept of Stalinism is that opposition is not, and cannot, be honest and legitimate, but is always a sinister plot aimed at undermining and overthrowing the system. Welch and Goldwater can't just be, you know, wrong, they are a threat to all decent persons.

August 4, 2011 at 9:14 PM  
Blogger Lester Hunt said...

This Reuther memorandum is so nakedly evil, I wonder if it might be a hoax.

August 4, 2011 at 9:32 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Walter Block likes to say "If you can't tell the difference between a toilet and a carpet, I'm not going to invite you to my house". Similarly, if you can't tell the difference between the U.S, even at its worst, and a communist country, why should anybody bother listening to you other than on the assumption that you don't really mean what you say?

As far as I can tell, Moldbug sometimes enjoys throwing ludicrous ideas around just to get a debate going.

But regardless of how seriously M does or does not take his own bullshit, I have every intention of kicking his ass (again) tomorrow for equating Anglo-Protestant nanny state leftism with the continental Catholic/Orthodox European "Hard" Left.

For the last time, Moldberg:

1) Protestantism = Prohibition, bicycle helmet laws, Gaianism, etc.

2) Hard Socialist Left = anarchist assassinations, labor union riots/strikes, executing Bourbon royals, etc.

3) Gavin Newsom != Vladimir Lenin.

August 4, 2011 at 10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MM; if you carry on in this vein, I don't see how you can ever, ever be invited to a bar mitzvah again.
Gilbert P.

August 5, 2011 at 3:04 AM  
Anonymous Ron Potato said...

TUJ: Those are methods, not ideology.

When the "Hard Socialist Left" is out of power, or seeking revolution, their methods are assassinations and riots.

When the "Nanny State Left" is in power, or seeking incremental subversion, their methods are regulations and legal maneuvers.

But what they believe defines who they are, even if they are confused. Of course they are confused, they're 20th-century communists.

August 5, 2011 at 5:24 AM  
Anonymous josh said...


I direct you to the observations of Mr. John Hazard on behalf of Charles Crane's Institute of Current World Affairs. 1934-1939.

I don't have time to dig out anything in particular and I am typing with one hand due to a sleeping 2-month old in the other. In any case, a patriotic establishment up-and-comer couldn't tell the difference even during the terror (they apparently also had a problem with the "radical right"). He continued to describe and explain Soviet "democracy."

all available at the institute's site.

August 5, 2011 at 5:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All these terms come with immense historical baggage, so applying them to the US runs the risk of folk confusing historical implementations of the concept with the essential characteristics of the concept itself.

In any case, it seems to me that the US runs along a hybrid model - anarchy for the elite, fascism for the productive classes, and communism for the parasites.

August 5, 2011 at 5:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

General Walker is the one who suffered an assassination attempt by Lee Harvey Oswald. I am confident that no more details are necessary, since people will look it up.

August 5, 2011 at 8:58 AM  
Anonymous RS said...

> When the "Nanny State Left" is in power, or seeking incremental subversion, their methods are regulations and legal maneuvers.

When you call it a method or means you are saying its not the actual end. Most people would say that the hallmarks TUJ lists -- helmet laws, gaianism, and Prohibition -- are ends in themselves. If they aren't, then what is the end?

Since you side with MM against TUJ on whether FDR = communism = Eisenhower, I suppose you are going to say "the abolition of private capital" - ? But I don't see what that has to do with booze or helmets.

Of course I don't deny that lots of men in government wanted to abolish private property, and take a soft line on Soviet activities abroad. As Gool says in comment #1, that's not the same as having a communist regime. It could be called a regime where communists and softline views on USSR were well-represented. Nonetheless, USSR tried to take over Turkey and Greece using domestic proxies, and USA quashed this in 1947-8 by "massive military and economic aid" to these governments. Clearly the softliners in USA-gov did not dictate policy (not in 1947 at least), even if they did have considerable clout.

Apparently Eisenhower 'helped' (wikipedia) quash McCarthy, so he didn't want the communists in USA-gov to be quashed. Why? Because abolition of private capital, or a soft line on USSR, were among his ends? That may be jumping to conclusions; it's possible he thought McCarthy's program was a waste of political capital, was fated to fail, etc. It's possible he was secretly working on a deal with the center to get rid of the worst 2/3 of the communists, and McCarthy was a liability to this effort. You never know.

August 5, 2011 at 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Mike in Boston said...

An original of the Reuther memo is available in Box 119, Folder 16 of the Page H. Belcher Collection within the Carl Albert Center Congressional Archives at the University of Oklahoma. It looks like they will email you a scan for ten bucks.

The Fulbright memo seems quite likely to be included in "Series 90: Right Wing Materials, 1959-1969" in the second accession of Fulbright's papers, Manuscript Collection MS/F956/144-B at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

August 5, 2011 at 9:53 AM  
Anonymous RS said...

> Apparently Eisenhower 'helped' (wikipedia) quash McCarthy, so he didn't want the communists in USA-gov to be quashed.

Well, didn't want McCarthy to go on /trying/ to quash them, that is. Its possible he did want them quashed, but feared McCarthy would almost certainly fail to accomplish that even after spending much political capital.

August 5, 2011 at 9:56 AM  
Anonymous Mike in Boston said...

I have also seen the claim that the Fulbright memo was published in the Congressional Record for August 2, 1961, pp. 13434 - 13437.

August 5, 2011 at 10:09 AM  
Anonymous RS said...

Whew, I finished it. Boooooring...

So the plan was to (grandstandingly) interrogate, secretly investigate, and legally harass the far right and all their little friends. I was reminded of claims like this one via Radley Balko:

"In his most recent book, the civil libertarian and defense attorney Harvey Silverglate argues that most Americans now unknowingly commit about three felonies per day."

If this sort of thing is really true and was at least somewhat true back then too, then you can always find lots of illegal things that some organization - any organization you don't like - is doing.

I wonder if these 1961 Minutemen and the others were nailed on legal technicalities that other organizations were also violating without repercussion.

August 5, 2011 at 10:34 AM  
Anonymous Alrenous said...

All the UK's papers gleefully wiretap, except Murdoch's actually got dinged for it.


August 5, 2011 at 12:57 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

The John Birch Society was (and is) much derided for supposedly having said that Eisenhower was a communist. Of course, put as such a simple and bald assertion, it seemed and still seems ridiculous on its face.

But if we examine at how uniformly deferential Eisenhower was to the Soviets during WWII; how, after the war's end he willingly cooperated in "Operation Keelhaul," returning (against their will) to the Soviet Union its POWs who had been captured by the Germans; how he pulled the rug from under the British during the Suez crisis, a big favor to the Soviet-backed Nasser regime - we must begin to wonder what his motivations for this consistent pattern of action were.

Stan Evans's new book "Blacklisted by History" sheds valuable light on the career of Joseph McCarthy. Much of what is "received knowledge" about McCarthy is just a repetition of the propaganda of his enemies at the time of his political prominence, and has never been checked for accuracy until now. The degree to which American public opinion has been manipulated by communists, since the time of Munzenberg, is astonishing.

As for the distinction between communists and American liberals, back in the 1930s the anti-anti-communists used to say that a communist was just a liberal in a hurry. The converse, then, must be that a liberal is just a phlegmatic communist; one who prefers gradualism to violent and rapid change through revolution.

There were, and still are, plenty of Americans who never carried a CPUSA card and self-identify as liberals, who believed or believe in socialism as an ideal and of any new communist state as utopia a-borning. After the bloom was off rose for them with the Soviet Union, their affection was transferred in turn to Mao's China, Castro's Cuba, Allende's Chile, Ortega's Nicaragua, Chavez's Venezuela, or Zelaya's Honduras. The inevitable political prisoners and firing squads were always brushed off as mere bagatelles, eggs that had to be broken to make omelettes; the refugees fleeing these places derided as greedy capitalist class-enemies of the oppressed coolie or campesino. There is always some place, somewhere, in which their eternally springing hope is that the dream won't fail this time.

August 5, 2011 at 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Ron Potato said...

The "Hard Socialist Left" and the "Nanny State Left" can have the same fundamental ideology, except the instinct for violent revolution. Though, there was still some leftist violence in the 1960s, or with animal rights groups for example.

Pacifism and incrementalism restricts their ability to impose their goals immediately, but it has several advantages:

- It avoids failure and backlash. Anti-Nazism and Anti-Communism are still strong. Revolution is risky and deadly, both in potentially destroying the movement and for individual proponents dying. In the U.S., there is a large patriotic, gun-wielding, freedom-loving, Anglo-Saxon-law-abiding population, who are not on board with Communism proper, or post-1933/USG IV policies, even after heavy education.

- The number of die-hard communists is small. They succeed by pulling the heart-strings of the people, and capitalizing on classical liberalism and universalism. Feed the Poor Children! Equality For All! Scientific Utopia! It fits right into human compassion, Unitarian ethics, American egalitarianism, and belief in science and education. The voters and the bureaucrats are not reading and comparing Marx to Carlyle. They believe what they believe, they are not aware that their beliefs and actions are a warped version of humanity, Christianity, science, and America.

- It works, and it works comfortably. The post-modern communist prefers the slow, natural march of progress. Instead of Lenin, he prefers Marx, and the techniques of Ghandi and Thoreau. ("First they ignore,...Then you win.") He takes what he can get to push it forward faster. Yes, there are many foot-soldiers, whether true-believers or warped half-wits, but he is happy in his cushy well-paid job at a university or think tank, and he sees he is winning.

Maybe these post-modern communists are just the lame descendants of "true" communists. Maybe even there are no remaining die-hard communists today, 20 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, 50 years after this Reuther memo, and 80 years after WWII.

But ultimately, there is an influential population who are reading the communist authors, assigning them in their classrooms, and we still do see the techniques of endless struggle, of over-turning and discrediting the past, of the revolutionary vanguard in the government.

Even if the "Nanny State Left" has been enervated by nihilism, or side-tracked by material pleasures, or they are the small-thinking children of now-dead Communists, who don't care enough to endanger their lives or think bigger than helmet and tax laws. Even if they are truly inhibited by American conservatism or popular humanitarian pacifism; or if the ideology has been confused and covered up by a thousand modern and post-modern innovations. The beliefs are still International Communism, the source of those beliefs is still Communist literature and Communist mentors; and the effect is still to promote communism.

We will see in the next few years, if this is the end of 20th-Century Communism, or a new, bolder beginning.

August 5, 2011 at 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But if we examine at how uniformly deferential Eisenhower was to the Soviets during WWII; how, after the war's end he willingly cooperated in "Operation Keelhaul," returning (against their will) to the Soviet Union its POWs who had been captured by the Germans;

If we examine this we would conclude that Ike was, quite properly, following the political direction of his civilian superiors.

how he pulled the rug from under the British during the Suez crisis, a big favor to the Soviet-backed Nasser regime - we must begin to wonder what his motivations for this consistent pattern of action were.

You are leaving a few things out, like: building a massive military and political containment structure around the USSR; building a crapload of nukes aimed at the USSR; overthrowing what he thought were Soviet stooges in Guatemala and Iran, and trying to do so in Cuba and Congo; sending lots of spyplanes over the USSR; and facing off against the Reds in the Berlin Crisis and Taiwan Straits Crisis. Pretty aggressive for a closet Red.

If you read any of the White House discussions involving Ike, the idea that he was a secret ComSymp will be revealed to you as completely asinine. The Ike White House thought it was fighting a real Cold War against a serious enemy.

August 5, 2011 at 7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Defining the American Cold War progressive as a communist sure is much more brief than describing him as an "anti-anti-communist"

August 5, 2011 at 11:52 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

There is no doubt that Eisenhower's civilian superiors during World War II were shot through with communist infiltrators.

The president of the United States is, needless to say, not in sole charge of government. The origin of measures against the Soviets in the Cold War lay before Eisenhower's election, and had support both from Republicans and southern Democrats in Congress. The interventions against the communists Arbenz Guzman in Guatemala and Mossadegh in Iran took place when
Republicans controlled Congress and were able to exert pressure on the administration. Mossadegh fell in December 1953, Arbenz Guzman in June 1954. In the 1954 elections, Republicans lost control of Congress. McCarthy lost his committee chairmanship and was shortly thereafter censured by the Senate.

It was congressional conservatives like McCarthy that forced the hand of the administration in case after case (e.g., that of Robert Oppenheimer) where Ike and his lieutenants knew that McCarthy was on the trail, impelling them to move before he did so. After the Republican loss of Congress and McCarthy's humiliation (a goal ardently sought by the administration), effective measures to thwart the Soviets were few and far between. While Arbenz Guzman and Mossadegh had been successfully removed during the period of McCarthy's ascendancy, the administration's indifferent support for Batista and ineffectual effort to remove Castro were more typical of its achievements once McCarthy ceased to be a thorn in its side.

As for the "Berlin crisis," the great airlift that guaranteed West Berlin's freedom took place in 1948-9, which was before Eisenhower was elected. You need to get your dates straight.

Ike probably was not a communist, but he had a serious blind spot towards communism, particularly on the domestic front, as evidenced by his hostility to McCarthy. This enabled him to be manipulated, and once the pressure applied by McCarthy and other conservatives in the Republican party was removed, Ike proved to be remarkably ineffectual in combating it. How do you explain his actions in the matter of Suez? Was it an intelligence failure? The memory of personal difficulties with the British during his WWII experience? Did he genuinely believe that the Soviet client Nasser's friendship could be cultivated by the U.S.?

A firm punitive response to Nasser might have nipped Arab nationalism in the bud. History shows that the only medicine for the Islamic world is a periodic harsh beating, as delivered in the past by Charles Martel, Godfrey of Bouillon, Don John of Austria, Jan Sobieski, or Eugene of Savoy. Following every such episode, it retreated into its traditional squalor and backwardness.

However, after the West backed down at Suez, thanks to Ike, we were seen as "the weak horse" - and Arab impudence has burgeoned ever since. Egypt, Syria, and Iraq all came under increasing Soviet influence, setting the stage for conflict in the region that is still going on long after the Cold War's end.

August 6, 2011 at 12:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

History shows that the only medicine for the Islamic world is a periodic harsh beating, as delivered in the past by Charles Martel, Godfrey of Bouillon, Don John of Austria, Jan Sobieski, or Eugene of Savoy. Following every such episode, it retreated into its traditional squalor and backwardness.

Michael, do you happen to be writing from Israel?

August 6, 2011 at 4:59 AM  
Anonymous I-RIGHT-I said...

From Texas would be my guess. At least I hope so.

August 6, 2011 at 5:15 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

No, I do not happen to be writing from Israel. Indeed, my ancestry is Judenrein enough to have satisfied Heinrich Himmler's standards for admission to the SS, and then some.

The West, which Muslims still think of rather quaintly as Christendom, would be engaged in ongoing conflict with the Islamic world even if Israel had never existed. Hilaire Belloc, in "The Great Heresies," predicted that Islam would be an enemy to the West long after Bolshevism was just a bad memory. Considering that the book was written before World War II, when the Western intelligentsia was still hailing the Soviet Union in such terms as "I have seen the future, and it works," Belloc seems well nigh prophetic.

August 6, 2011 at 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for the "Berlin crisis," the great airlift that guaranteed West Berlin's freedom took place in 1948-9, which was before Eisenhower was elected. You need to get your dates straight.

I'm talking about the Berlin Crisis of November 1958, you ignorant halfwit, so you need to learn some history before you accuse people of not getting their dates straight.

How do you explain his actions in the matter of Suez?

What's to explain? He had no obligation to side with the Brits and French and Israelis against the Egyptians. The idea that this "demonstrated weakness" and that the West has been the "weak horse" ever since is asinine. Egypt left the Soviet camp in 1973 and never returned.

August 6, 2011 at 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm talking about the Berlin Crisis of November 1958,

Not a crisis, just Mr. K. mouthing off. This was the guy who once took off his shoe and banged on the lectern at the U.N.

August 6, 2011 at 8:00 PM  
Blogger James A. Donald said...

Communists implement a government owned command economy. The US government aims at a nominally private command economy, akin to that of the German Nazi Party.

Communists imprison or shoot their opponents. The US government blights the careers of its opponents and destroys their good name.

Communists implement tyranny, where every commissar is even more terrorized than those he terrorizes. The US government seeks to implement anarcho tyranny, where government employees have vast power over non government employees, but the president cannot fire a bureaucrat, let alone shut down a department, no matter how spectacularly that bureaucrat messes up.

August 6, 2011 at 8:22 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

TUJ: Those are methods, not ideology.

When the "Hard Socialist Left" is out of power, or seeking revolution, their methods are assassinations and riots.

When the "Nanny State Left" is in power, or seeking incremental subversion, their methods are regulations and legal maneuvers.

But what they believe defines who they are, even if they are confused. Of course they are confused, they're 20th-century communists.

The members of the American reactionary right (who often fancy themselves to be experts in political ideologies) are in grave trouble if they can't see that there are obvious fundamental differences between Protestant leftism (Nanny Statism) and Catholic leftism (Revolutionary Socialism of the 19th and 20th century flavors).

The Nanny State and Revolutionary Left qualify as distinct phenomena because their actions are motivated by two different views of human nature.

The Nanny State's view of human nature (and, thus, how the state should govern man) originates from Protestantism. According to early Protestants, man can be perfected in the temporal world via material influence.

The Nanny State left, despite Protestant Northern Europe being an atheist/agnostic stronghold, has retained faith in the perfectible nature of man and, consistent with this belief, have sought to perfect him with Nanny State policies.

The Hard Left, however, operated from the perspective of the Catholic view of human nature which argues man has, through the temptation of material well being, fallen away from an Eden-like state of harmony with the creation and is now inherently flawed and corrupted.

The Catholic remedy for man's fallen nature was, err, well they have argued (and still do) that nothing can be done by man to de-corrupt man. Only Christ can save mankind from his fallen nature by returning to earth and doing away with the sinful material world during the judgement. In the meantime, man can only try to manage himself as an inherently flawed being.

The revolutionary left - despite being not just atheist/agnostic but often violently hostile to Christianity and religion in general - agreed with the Catholic Church that man had fallen away from an originally peaceful and harmonious existence with nature because of material pleasures, hence, the Noble Savage Myth and everything related to this myth.

But the Hard Left could not agree with the Catholic Church's remedy, which was to wait for Christ to return to abolish the sinful material world.

The Hard Left does not believe Jesus is divine, and therefore can't come back to right the ship and return man to being one with nature.

So the Hard Left took it upon themselves to play the role of Christ and smash the material world to pieces because they associated the corrupt material world with aristocracy and capitalism.

Only after the common worker had been liberated from material concerns by Hard Leftism could "Eden" be restored.

The Protestant and Catholic views of human nature are where all actions of the Nanny State left and the Hard Left originate, respectively and that is why Gavin Newsom is not the same as Joseph Stalin (even Stalin was not sadistic and nerdy enough to ban smoking in restaurants).

Why shouldn't someone who believes man's nature can be perfected through government regulations not want Prohibition, and seatbelt laws?

And if you are a Hard Leftist who thinks man has been corrupted by money and materialism, why wouldn't you want to take Christ's role in your own hands and smash capitalism and the ancien regime?

He who has iron has bread, indeed.

What else is Nanny Statism but Protestantism without Christ and Sola Scriptura, and what is the Hard Left but Catholicism without the Pope and the Final Judgement?

August 6, 2011 at 9:30 PM  
Anonymous josh said...


Which was Daniel DeLeon? Did you know Lenin claimed to have received his interpretation of Marxism from DeLeon? Did you know Lenin's personal secretary ran for Lt. Gov. of NY on the same party ticket as DeLeon for Gov? Did you know DeLeon was part of the Bellamyite Nationalist movement (even wiki knows that) as was, say, Teddy Roosevelt? And that he was the founder of the *American* IWW?
Here's some DeLeon:

and some Bellamy:

Maybe different means. Definitely same ends.

August 7, 2011 at 3:45 AM  
Anonymous RS said...

> What else is Nanny Statism but Protestantism without Christ and Sola Scriptura, and what is the Hard Left but Catholicism without the Pope and the Final Judgement?

Eh, this seems pretty loose. You were more enlightening on US v Euro leftism in the past.

Every last religion and tradition on earth tries to /improve/ you. It makes no difference whether you can actually be perfected or not, because the thing for you to do is the same, regardless: strive to improve. I guess you can stop striving in the unlikely event of reaching perfection, but that's a footnote.

I don't radically reject the idea of holdover influence from religion. As Josh emphasized, sola scriptura with each man his own priest is basically an anarchic idea. This isn't found in all religions worldwide and it has to have had at least a mild deleterious effect. It may also interact harmfully with the universalist notions already present in the religion 1500 years before Luther. Europe would have been better off copying Judaism more closely, like Islam did, or sticking to its own stuff. The Orthodox church does sound pretty sublime though. But Slavs are much less self-abnegating so they are less harmed when they adopt universalist ideas.

August 7, 2011 at 4:37 AM  
Blogger Thomas Fink said...

Undiscovered Jew,
your theory is interesting, but I think you are on the wrong track. The Nanny State Socialist and the Revolutionary Left Socialist don´t have two different views of human nature. They both basically believe in the possible godlike perfection of men. The Nanny State came into being where the Reformation was successful and could prepare society through centuries for the nightmare that is now appearing. The Revolutionary Left has their strongholds where the Lutheran/Calvinist uprising was defeated by the Counterreformation of the Catholic Church or where the Protestant view was stamped out from the very beginning as in Orthodox Russia. The Revolutionary Left is not a culturally catholic or orthodox force but the hateful remnant of a many defeated heresies finally coming partially into power with the help of Nanny State Socialism. Both share the same roots, and this they can feel. That is why they are so friendly towards each other, despite their striking different outward appearance.

Michael has already mentioned Hilaire Bellocs, „The Great Heresies“, which is really a great book (available online) that can prepare you for an Orthodox Catholic Moldbug reactionary view of life.

The worldview of many conservatives in Protestant cultures is based on the internal strength of a Protestant culture retained on into modern times which has only recently begun to lose it, through the gradually disintegrating effect of a false philosophy. 
When I told Auster „that the old ways, the `real´ conservatism you cherish, rests on the same foundations as the Eloi culture (you abhor)“, he told me: „Clearly, you have some world view, a complex, highly worked out world view, and because I don't share it, or haven't gone into it, that, to you, makes me intellectually dishonest. This is not a basis for any possible discussion between us.“
That was the end of discussion.

August 7, 2011 at 5:09 AM  
Blogger Thomas Fink said...

Some quotes from „The Great Heresies“:

„Protestant culture decayed from within from a number of causes, all probably connected, although it is difficult to trace the connection; all probably proceeding from what physicists call the auto-toxic condition of the Protestant culture. We say that an organism has become auto-toxic when it is beginning to poison itself, when it loses vigour in its vital processes and accumulates secretions which continually lessen its energies.

„Though the iron Calvinist affirmations (the core of which was an admission of evil into the Divine nature by the permission of but One Will in the universe) have rusted away, yet his vision of a Moloch God remains; and the coincident Calvinist devotion to material success, the Calvinist antagonism to poverty and humility, survive in full strength. Usury would not be eating up the modern world but for Calvin nor, but for Calvin, would men debase themselves to accept inevitable doom; nor, but for Calvin, would Communism be with us as it is today, nor, but for Calvin, would Scientific Monism dominate as it (till recently) did the modern world, killing the doctrine of miracle and paralysing Free Will.

„A man going uphill may be at the same level as another man going down hill; but they are facing different ways and have different destinies. Our world, passing out of the old Paganism of Greece and Rome towards the consummation of Christendom and a Catholic civilization from which we all derive, is the very negation of the same world leaving the light of its ancestral religion and sliding back into the dark.

„Being Atheist, it is characteristic of the advancing wave that it repudiates the human reason. Such an attitude would seem again to be a contradiction in terms; for if you deny the value of human reason, if you say that we cannot through our reason arrive at any truth, then not even the affirmation so made can be true. Nothing can be true, and nothing is worth saying. But that great Modern Attack (which is more than a heresy) is indifferent to self-contradiction. It merely affirms. It advances like an animal, counting on strength alone. Indeed, it may be remarked in passing that this may well be the cause of its final defeat; for hitherto reason has always overcome its opponents; and man is the master of the beast through reason.

„But there is (as the greatest of the ancient Greeks discovered) a certain indissoluble Trinity of Truth, Beauty and Goodness. You cannot deny or attack one of these three without at the same time denying or attacking both the others. Therefore with the advance of this new and terrible enemy against the Faith and all that civilization which the Faith produces, there is coming not only a contempt for beauty but a hatred of it; and immediately upon the heels of this there appears a contempt and hatred for virtue.

August 7, 2011 at 5:10 AM  
Blogger Thomas Fink said...

Some more quotes from „The Great Heresies“:

„We came, before the Church was founded, out of a pagan social system in which slavery was everywhere, in which the whole structure of society reposed upon the institution of slavery. With the loss of the Faith we return to that institution 
First, we are witnessing a revival of slavery, the necessary result of denying free will when that denial goes one step beyond Calvin and denies responsibility to God as well as lack of power in man. The two forms of slavery which are gradually appearing and will as time goes on be more and more matured under the effect of the modern attack upon the Faith, are slavery to the State and slavery to private corporations and individuals.

„What we chiefly discover is this:- That in the realm of morals one thing stands out, the unquestioned prevalence of cruelty in the unbaptized world. Cruelty will be the chief fruit in the moral field of the Modern Attack, just as the revival of slavery will be the chief fruit in the social field. Here the critic may ask whether cruelty were not more the note of Christian men in the past than it is today. Is not all the history of our two thousand years a history of armed conflict, massacre, judicial tortures and horrible executions, the sack of towns, and all the rest of it? The reply to this objection is that there is a capital distinction between cruelty exceptional, and cruelty the rule. When men apply cruel punishments, depend on physical power to obtain effects, let loose violence in the passions of war, if all this is done in violation of their own accepted morals, it is one thing; if it is done as part of a whole mental attitude taken for granted, it is another. Therein lies the radical distinction between this new, modern, cruelty and the sporadic cruelty of earlier Christian times. Not cruel vengeance, nor cruelty in excitement, nor cruelty in punishment against acknowledged evil, nor cruelty in repression of what admittedly must be repressed, is the fruit of an evil philosophy; though such things are excesses or sins they do not come from false doctrine. But the cruelty which accompanies the modern abandonment of our ancestral religion is a cruelty native to the Modern Attack; a cruelty which is part of its philosophy. The proof lies in this: that men are not shocked at cruelty but indifferent to it. The abominations of the revolution in Russia, extended to those in Spain, are an example in point. Not only did people on the spot receive the horror with indifference, but distant observers do so. There is no universal cry of indignation, there is no sufficient protest, because there is no longer in force the conception that man as man is something sacred. That same force which ignores human dignity also ignores human suffering.

„But the Faith and the use of the intelligence are inextricably bound up. The use of reason is a main part-or rather the foundation-of all inquiry into the highest things. It was precisely because reason was given this divine authority that the Church proclaimed mystery-that is, admitted reason to have its limits. It had to be so, lest the absolute powers ascribed to reason should lead to the exclusion of truths which the reason might accept but could not demonstrate. Reason was limited by mystery only more to enhance the sovereignty of reason in its own sphere. When reason is dethroned, not only is Faith dethroned (the two subversions go together) but every moral and legitimate activity of the human soul is dethroned at the same time. 
In the absence of reason, political authority reposing on mere force is boundless. And reason is thus made a victim because Humanity itself is what the Modern Attack is destroying in its false religion of humanity. Reason being the crown of man and at the same time his distinguishing mark, the Anarchs march against reason as their principle enemy.

„The future to envisage is a pagan future, and a future pagan with a new and repulsive form of paganism, but none the less powerful and omnipresent for all its repulsiveness.“

August 7, 2011 at 5:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They both seem like Gnostic Materialists to me.

August 7, 2011 at 5:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you guys following the ongoing flame war in the progressive blogosphere about left neoliberalism?

August 7, 2011 at 5:54 AM  
Blogger Thomas Fink said...

"They both seem like Gnostic Materialists to me."

Gnostic materialism appears in the process of burning out the messianic fire of gnostic/jewish heresies and their transformation in the austere doctrine of progress in the eighteenth century. A process you can indeed observe inside some families of revolutionaries, father taborite or follower of Sabbatai Zwi, son Mason and/or Jakobite. Superstition and enlightenment go allways hand in hand.

August 7, 2011 at 5:56 AM  
Blogger George Weinberg said...

Please don't fix "apparent typos", especially not when leaving in things like this:

The flow of big money to the radical right should be damned to the extent possible.

This seems more like a Freudian slip than a typo, but I'm curious as to who introduced it.

August 7, 2011 at 9:08 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Did you know Lenin claimed to have received his interpretation of Marxism from DeLeon?

So what?

August 7, 2011 at 7:08 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Every last religion and tradition on earth tries to /improve/ you. It makes no difference whether you can actually be perfected or not, because the thing for you to do is the same, regardless: strive to improve. I guess you can stop striving in the unlikely event of reaching perfection, but that's a footnote.

It makes all the difference in the world because it dictates HOW man is to achieve perfection.

And the "How" is the only reason I care about the theological differences between Protestantism and Catholicism as concerns how their views of human nature bled over to the two major forms of Western leftism.

I classify politics based on functionality, not deep philosophy minutiae.

Anyway, nanny state "Protestant" liberals operate differently than the hard "Catholic" left because the nanny state liberals basically think material measures and interventions brought down on high from educated doogooders can perfect man.

And this assumption about how to solve man's fallen status and bring him back into harmony with nature/Gaia/Al Gore inevitably guides the social policies of Protestant doogooders.

Atheist Harvard does (and always has since they abandoned classical Purtanism) believe material manipulations handed down on stone tablets from the likes of the Brookings Institute, John Dewey (and all his descendents) Peace Corps adventures to the blessed Third World, The New Deal, The Great Society, Medicare, Social Security, Slut Walks, Department of Education Reports, UN Security Council Resolutions, etc, will really perfect man.

It is here, regarding the cause of man's fallen state, that the "Catholic" left differs with the "Protestant" left in terms of the solution.

The "Catholic" left doesn't think donating money to think tanks and related "Protestant" measures will perfect man because the "Catholic" left argues (in agreement with all Popes, except, maybe, the Borgia Popes) that it is the material itself that has corrupted mankind and turned him away from Paradise.

Both the Hard Left and the Pope agree the material temptations and vices of modernity are the root of man's fall and only by abolishing the material world can man be restored to Paradise.

Where the "Catholic Left" and the Pope differ, is on the small matter of Jesus Christ's role.

The Popes say Christ is the only one who can overturn the sinful, material world and that government's not run by Angels will have to wait until Christ returns to create a new world.

But the Hard Left, obviously, deviates from the Pope on this point because the Hard Left doesn't believe in God (Bakunin: "If God existed it would be necessary to destroy Him!") and thus can't wait for Jesus to return (because he's not coming back).

So the Hard Left (beginning in 1789) vows to take the role of Christ into their own hands and sledghammer the material world (corporations, global capitalism, aristocrats, the Catholic Church, European royalty) because they think (unlike the Protestant Left) that the material world itself is the corrupter of man and therefore no amount Protestant material interventions such Prohibition Laws, bicycle helmets, and EPA regulations will be able to restore man to Eden.

That's why (ironically) even thought the Hard Left's death toll (for now...) since 1789 is greater than softer "Think Tank"/Haahhvaahhd Left's death toll, the Hard Left had a more realistic view of human nature.

The Hard Left at least didn't think man could be restored to Glory with second hand smoke regulations because they recognized material interventions would not lead to perfection due to the inherently corrupting nature of material itself and all the vices that go with it.

For the Protestant left, however, it's not possible to invest too much material (in the form of donations to non-profits) into reforming mankind with Nanny Statism.

August 7, 2011 at 7:52 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

That's why (ironically) even thought the Hard Left's death toll (for now...) since 1789 is greater than softer "Think Tank"/Haahhvaahhd Left's death toll, the Hard Left had a more realistic view of human nature.

To illustrate my point about how the Hard Left was* arguably, look at the how the Hard Left (in the form of the USSR) handled occupying Afghanistan versus how the State Department/Harvard handled "invading" and occupying Afghanistan.

Putting aside whether either the Soviet or American invasions were good ideas, it's useful to compare HOW the Hard Left and Protestant Left went about the war fighting business.

The Soviets (not being naive for a second about the true nature of sexually repressed Muslim tribal warlords and their taste for young, nubile, catamites) invaded the way you would expect hard nosed realists to invade; with Russian rednecks who bear a striking resemblance to Ivan Drago flying attack helicopters, Rambo style, and bombing the shit out of the Afghanis, civilian and military alike.

The US/Harvard/State Department, by contrast, "invaded" with the sincere desire to "Teach the Afghanis to elect good Brookings Institute Fellows" just as naively as old Woodrow Wilson invaded Mexico with the intent of "Teaching the Mexicans to elect good Brookings Institute Fellows".

To anyone with a realistic understanding of the true nature of Islam, the Soviet/Rambo style invasion is the correct way to invade a barbarian state, and not the State Department method of invading to the make the Pashtun tribal warzone safe for Slut Walks.

The Soviets, whatever their faults, were at in tune with reality enough to know the Muslim warlords were never going to buy into Richard Dawkins style atheism, homosexual rights, and the other Protestant doo-gooder nonsense we've been trying to impose on this hopeless "society".

* I refer to the Hard Left in the past tense because the Hard Left of the Jacobin/Anarchist/Communist/General Socialist type has largely been extinguished from the earth save for two heroic, if a bit ossified and fossilized, Stalinist dead-enders in North Korea and Cuba.

August 7, 2011 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger Thomas Fink said...

Undiscovered jew, what you present here as the Catholic point of view (material world evil - transcendental world good) is in fact just the gnostic transcendentalism of countless cults like the bogomils, the cathars etc. As this heretic movements switched during history from on extreme (being extremely violent) to the other (being extremely peaceful) and back again, they finally went from gnostic transcendentalism to gnostic materialism (success in the material world as sign for godliness). The hard left is just mixing a good portion of bloody gnostic transcendentalism into their atheistic fervor.
The Catholic point of view was always fighting this extremes but on the other hand this extremes developed inside the Catholic world. The Catholic world could deal with this as long as there was just a Catholic world. But Protestantism was not a heresy like the others. Protestantism could build its own world. And today Protestantism has taken over even large parts of the Catholic Church and the Catholic world.

August 8, 2011 at 9:05 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

The Catholic point of view was always fighting this extremes

The Catholic view of the material world's temptations wasn't as extreme as the Gnostic one, and I never implied it was such.

I was merely pointing out how Catholics, in general, tend to take a darker view of human nature and are more skeptical about perfecting man than the Protestants have been.

You can see this divide in how the Catholic nations ran their colonies in the New World. The Spanish and French (when they had territory in North America) never tried to fully civilize the savage natives the way the Protestant Angl-Saxon colonialists did.

The French and Spanish mostly just managed their native populations from getting too unruly, there is no French or Spaniard equivalent of John Dewey and other Progressive do-gooders.

August 8, 2011 at 7:51 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Regarding Eisenhower, Nikita Kruschev certainly didn't view Ike as a Communist agent.

One of the reasons Kruschev was willing to go nose to nose against JFK was to test whether the playboy president was as tough an anti-Communist as Ike was.

Kruschev wouldn't have tested JFK like that if he thought Eisenhower was a pushover.

August 8, 2011 at 7:54 PM  
Blogger Mitchell said...

But Dr TUJ, what about "mission civilisatrice"?

August 9, 2011 at 12:19 AM  
Anonymous B said...

>The Soviets, whatever their faults, were at in tune with reality enough to know the Muslim warlords were never going to buy into Richard Dawkins style atheism, homosexual rights, and the other Protestant doo-gooder nonsense we've been trying to impose on this hopeless "society".

Undiscovered Jew, you're talking out of your ass. One of the constant sources of discontent for the Afghans with the Soviets, right from the jump, was that they were trying to impose Soviet social norms-girls' schools, land reforms, marriage law reforms and atheism. This kind of shit actually pre-dated the Soviet overt invasion, and started with the Soviet puppet revolutionary govenments. This is what really got the insurrection going, and the Soviets didn't stop it even after their invasion, pursuing a retarded two-faced policy of carpet bombing cities while continuing to build girls' schools (of course, they hyped the latter in their newspapers and didn't say shit about the former.)

August 9, 2011 at 12:49 AM  
Blogger This Machine Kills Communists said...

This is unrelated to the post, but why haven't you ever mentioned the excellent 'A Fire in the Minds of Men' by James H. Billington. From a 'mainstream' historian, it is imaculately foot-noted and referenced; and its basic theory is that modern political movements stem from left-wing journalists and intellectual cliques and 'secret societies'. It doesn't quite mention that the democratic movements have the same origin, but it all follows naturally enough.

August 9, 2011 at 12:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I somewhat disagree with a lot of what TUJ says, but I kinda wish he had a blog to read, as it makes for good fodder and discussion.

When are you going to get your own blog TUJ?

August 9, 2011 at 1:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For anyone interested in apocalyptic movements, the blogger Charles Cameron (a former researcher in millennial movements) is blogging over at Zenpundit's:

He has recent discussions on ABB.

August 9, 2011 at 2:09 AM  
Anonymous Gabe Ruth said...

TUJ, also look into the Reducciones. Your conceptions of Protestant and Catholic ideas on human nature are pretty close to reversed, although they both took a pretty dim view. Catholicism has mostly kept it, Protestantism has not except on the irrelevant fringe; one of the themes this blog returns to again and again is how the Protestants achieved power by jettisoning theology, while the Catholic church is a laughing stock politically, when it's not cast as a pariah.

August 9, 2011 at 6:03 AM  
Blogger Aaron Davies said...

The growing strength of the radical right may indeed be an inconvenience to the Republican Party, but it is far worse than that for the Nation and the Democratic Party -- for it threatens the President's programs at home and abroad.

One wonders whether they speak of the Nation or the Nation....

August 9, 2011 at 6:05 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

To say that Khrushchev didn't view Eisenhower or Kennedy as Communists is about the same as saying that Stalin didn't view Trotsky as a Communist. These differences, like the purported ones between "Protestant" nanny-state soft leftism and "Catholic" revolutionary leftism, are minute differences between relatively similar points of view.

Ike didn't do anything of significance to repeal the New Deal, which he'd have done if he had been a real conservative/reactionary trying to restore the pre-1933 order. Similarly, he sought to discredit McCarthy, who was beginning to get somewhere in combatting domestic communism. He exhibited a curious passivity when the Hungarians tried to throw off the Soviet yoke. Even Khruschchev sarcastically remarked that the support the U.S. gave the Hungarians was of the same nature that rope gives to a hanged man.

The first Civil Rights Act, that of 1957, was passed under Eisenhower's presidency. This and the later Civil Rights Acts constituted perhaps the most effective and sustained attack on the remaining rights of private property since the New Deal, and they also attacked the rights of free association, which the New Deal had not touched. The "civil rights movement" was from the time of W.E.B. DuBois forward a Communist project. Martin Luther King, now the object of universal secular hagiolatry, was the creature of his Communist handlers, Stanley Levison and Hunter Pitts O'Dell. Any true anti-communist would have recognized these facts and sought to discourage the movement's activities in every possible way.

We cannot know the secrets of a man's heart, but all his actions show that Ike, like other "wet" Republicans of the era (e.g., Nelson Rockefeller), was at best indifferent to the residues of the traditional Western order, and looked forward to a future in which civil society was firmly subordinated to the state.

August 9, 2011 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Don't have time to discuss other stuff, but the Civil Rights Act of 1957 was about voting rather than private property. Barry Goldwater, who famously opposed the 1964 act because it unconstitutionally stretched federal authority, strongly supported both the 1957 and 1960 bills.

August 9, 2011 at 9:47 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

So it may have been, but as the linked article notes, it "opened the door" to later legislation, such as the 1964 Act, which did abridge the rights of private property and free association. One who picks the lock that enables another to enter and steal from a house is as guilty of burglary as the person who actually did the stealing.

Goldwater may not have foreseen the consequences when he voted for the Act of 1957; Thurmond much more clearly foresaw them. The theme of unintended consequences in politics is perennial, and even those of generally sound judgment occasionally fail to anticipate them.

August 10, 2011 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

What do those metaphors of "opening doors" even mean in this context? What is the mechanism by which it occurred? Our minds are prone to imposing narratives when no causal relation exists. I'm not an expert on the period, but Eisenhower's acts are generally not seen as having had much effect on voting.

August 10, 2011 at 5:00 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

If you actually read the article to which you linked, you'd note the passage that stated:

"By 1960 slightly fewer blacks were voting in the South than had been in 1956. It did however open the door to later legislation... that was effective in securing voting rights..."

The article goes on to mention that the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1960 expanded the authority of Federal judges to act in voting-rights cases and that the 1965 Voting Rights Act was still more effective.

The impression the article gives is that the 1957 Act's failure to produce the desired result "opened the door" because its lack of efficacy after passage invited further Congressional actions along similar lines. Thus, it began the slide down the slippery slope.

Had, of course, the bill failed to pass in the first place, there would have been no cause to complain that it didn't work as expected. There would then have been no reason to pass further acts that, inter alia, abridged our rights of private property and free association in the name of the golden calf of racial equality. From such a small spark, many a great conflagration starts - as, again, Ike's betrayal of our British and French allies in Suez arguably empowered the Muslim defiance of the civilized world. Had these things not happened, blacks in this country might be a servile rather than a criminal class, and the Muslim world might still exhibit the quaint passivity that characterized it throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The great majority of Americans would have been better off.

August 11, 2011 at 3:55 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

The lack of efficacy is precisely why I don't assign much impact to passage of the bill. Some politicians favored a C.R bill passed one that was ineffective, then passed another ineffective one, and finally under Johnson passed the V.R.A. Under what theory of politics do they give up because Eisenhower vetoed rather than trying again under Johnson? I suppose they might not have realized how ineffective the initial C.R language was going to be, and so maybe you buy a few years. And the delay that really gives you is for the V.R.A (which effectively gerrymanders in favor of Republicans and fringe minority candidates). The 1964 C.R.A really just shares a name with Eisenhower's bills.

August 13, 2011 at 8:07 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home