I’ve only finished about half of Diana West’s American Betrayal. Hardly know what to say, what to write. I can’t claim to have been taken entirely by surprise: I read the suppressed memoir of Herbert Hoover, Freedom Betrayed, when it finally slipped past the academic security guards of our society’s Temple to FDR (after a mere fifty-year delay). The single most shocking revelation in that work—largely a compilation of communiqués from inside sources, with Former-President Hoover scarcely doing more than setting the scenes—was that Roosevelt had blurted out his resolve to force Japan into “unconditional surrender” at Casablanca because… because he was tired, and Ulysses S. Grant had popped into his empty head. Old “Unconditional Surrender” Grant. Yes, that’s documented by a Roosevelt aide.
After reading what West has to say about the tight circle of Soviet agents around FDR, I now have to wonder if the Casablanca gaffe wasn’t planned all along. That vignette about doing a sleepy waltz with Grant’s initials… could that have been no more than a cover-story for a deliberate misstep that left Churchill aghast? I recall hearing on some PBS documentary years ago that Stalin’s people, just before the Bombs were dropped, deliberately sabotaged an attempt on Truman’s part to arrange Japan’s capitulation. Obviously, Stalin wanted the Empire of the Rising Sun entirely out of the picture as he contemplated his personal conquest of the world—and, just as obviously, he wouldn’t have minded if we’d lost another million men in an invasion of the islands. As for the A-Bomb, Uncle Joe may also have known that its deployment was the more likely next move: maybe he just wanted to see if the thing worked. Thanks to Harry Hopkins, the “brains” behind FDR’s administration, the Soviets already possessed tons and tons of heavy water, Canadian Uranium, and other essential hardware (along with all necessary top-secret plans and manuals) to create their own Armageddon Arsenal. West reveals that Hopkins had been using Lend-Lease for years to pass Stalin every high-tech instrument of death our war machine could grind out, even when our own troops were in grave need of supplies and materiel. Roosevelt repeatedly rubber-stamped all such ventures aimed at making the USSR a First World power.
Roosevelt was the premier pompous idiot ever to occupy the White House, Stalin the most ravenously insane mass-murderer ever to get his hands on a weapon, Churchill the most tragically obsessed luminary ever to set loose ten monsters in his pursuit of one… and Harry Hopkins the most lethal spy ever to slip under the radar. One might add Joe McCarthy as the most dedicated patriot ever to be crucified by his countrymen and their posterity. These are my own conclusions, but a mere half of American Betrayal validates all of them except my judgment of Churchill (whose “appeasement” of Stalin—Winnie’s own word—is adequately chronicled by Hoover).
West notes that Truman seemed to have a particular interest in discrediting McCarthy (just as he actively explored prosecuting Whittaker Chambers): a reflection, she speculates, of his “promote the Democrat Party above all else” ethical system. As I’ve tried to note along the way, not everything in the previous paragraphs is drawn from her book—a fact which renders her verdict much more credible to me, though I don’t know why she never cites Hoover. I have no doubt, having seen several of Diana’s talks and interviews on YouTube, that she’s fully, even painfully aware of the impression her work leaves upon people like me: people, that is, who want to believe—who grew up believing—that their nation was the world’s beacon of freedom until the Sixties and the Vietnam debacle toppled the lighthouse. Now we have to face the horrid truth, not only that our Greatest Generation was exploited to clear the way for the communist takeover of half the planet (a thesis long ago hatched by Pat Buchanan—and shouted down from all directions), but that Stalin’s butchery of somewhere between twenty and forty million of his own people was fueled by Lend-Lease.
FDR, that Peerless Idiot, facilitated the gruesome murders of approximately one hundred million human beings, if we toss in Mao’s carnage as a “ripple effect”. (And, of course, we know without West’s reminding us how effectively Truman slapped down MacArthur’s bid to snuff out Chairman Mao.)
It all puts the slogan, “Make America great again,” in a whole new light. It inclines me, even, to agree with the slavering hounds of ideology who bay safely from their ivory-tower kennels that the USA was never so very great. Instead, we’ve been a constant patsy for the likes of them: those brainless, baying hounds, and especially their billionaire masters hiding at the far end of the leash. We’ve borne the gonfalon of evil through both hemispheres—not when our ancestors came looking for wood and furs and found native peoples eager to involve them in bitter local rivalries, but… but, you know, those other times: the time we let Stalin steer us into war with Japan, the time we supplied Stalin with tens of thousands of tanks to overrun Eastern Europe, the time we underwrote the railroads that would transport millions of Stalin’s own footsoldiers to Siberia (if they retreated too soon or not soon enough), the time our own CIA let Castro’s thugs nest deeply at our back door rather than crush them at the outset… some beacon we’ve been. Some hope—thanks to our irrepressible leftwing elite.
Yet I find that this very general, very brooding reflection carries me, in the oddest way, toward… well, yes, toward a kind of hope. Before now, I had believed that the Sixties undid us, with a little ground-clearing in the Fifties (a preparation West considers in The Death of the Grown-Up). I had supposed, as well, that our cultural death-spiral had a distinctly accelerating quality, such that the hedonistic Eighties look downright gilded and homely as we watch our lobotomized youth today puzzling over which restroom to enter. But no, wait: the illness has been incubating for much, much longer. It’s been around for over a century, if one traces it back to Woodrow Wilson’s rabid progressivism. It crops up even in the late nineteenth century, in places like the Pledge of Allegiance authored by “Christian socialist minister” (as Wikipedia is pleased to call him) Francis Bellamy—a bit of statist brainwash whose intent was to immunize schoolchildren against the Tenth Amendment. Some wild man on Parler hurled names at me for days when I volunteered that information: an excellent example of how insidiously this pathogen works its way into our national sinew. Evidence of subversion, sanitized by a complicit Establishment, becomes an occasion for patriotism within a few short decades.
If you were a doctor and you were told that an accident victim had lost a pint of blood in five minutes, you’d figure that death was imminent without immediate action; but if you learned, instead, that the same blood had needed more than an hour to spill out, you’d be much more optimistic. Our nation, it turns out, has been getting drained by ideological vampires for a good five or six generations now, not just a couple. It’s a miracle that we still have any vital signs… but maybe we’re stronger than I tend to think.
Our educational institutions, for one thing (as Bellamy’s case shows) have been under assault for a very long time. As a career educator myself, I have been inclined to believe that classroom propagandists were not, on the whole, carrying out some kind of secret subversion for which teacher colleges or grad school had primed them. I’m more of the opinion that there’s a self-selecting anti-conservatism in any profession devoted to “training minds”—for why wouldn’t you want to “train” young minds to run a little better (where “better” is never clearly defined) than minds of the past? In the same way, few people who commit their lives to reporting news, probably, hold the view that there’s nothing very new under the sun. If the day’s little events matter, it can only be because, once again, reacting to them properly may make the human condition “better”.
Without entirely surrendering my “self-selection” theory, I admit now that such progressivist predispositions can exist side by side with deliberate conspiracies to subvert the social order. (Yes, I wrote “conspiracy”: the disqualification of the word from having any serious real-world value is itself the successful outcome of a propagandistic conspiracy.) The good news is that specific groups have indeed been executing a specific plan to turn our free society into a hive. The news here is good because it offers us the possibility of isolating and criminalizing these destructive influences: we’re not looking at some sort of suicidal impulse hard-wired into our socio-cultural DNA. The bad news… well, the bad news is that the body politic is very, very sick.
My present ramble isn’t the proper platform for uplifting certain recommendations, but I will finish with a single one. We must save free speech. Our right to state our view is guaranteed first of all among the Bill of Rights’ original ten. Those who abuse a teaching position to advocate refusing that right to any individual or group should lose their job. Those who operate media dedicated to public discussion should be stiffly punished for censoring opinions. Whether the school or medium is publicly or privately funded should be considered irrelevant: my home was not paid for with taxes, but certain features of it are still required to meet safety codes. No one whose job is to instruct impressionable minds should seek to impress upon them the permissibility of stifling adversarial views. No one whose service is to facilitate the free flow of ideas should seek to channel or filter that flow. Lawbreakers should be identified according to explicit guidelines (it’s not hard to tell when A is trying to shut B up forcibly), and they should pay a stiff penalty for attempting to sabotage one of the primary values upon which American society—or any society that views people as autonomous individuals, not insects—is founded.
We haven’t been as great in the past as we’d thought; and as a nursery for window-smashing stormtroopers who wield “hate speech” restrictions like a nightstick, we have become the very opposite of great. Let’s forget about “progress” for the moment. Let’s try to get back to where we were when our general moral outlook was good.