Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Standing with Sources and more FDR Criticism – PT One

Stalin-FDR sitting side-by-side

John R. Houk
© August 13, 2013

I have been on a general quest to examine the impeachable offenses of past Presidents from the 20th century to the present. So far I have posted on Theodore Roosevelt to Warren Harding followed by Calvin Coolidge to Franklin Roosevelt.

In looking at FDR I focused primarily on the impeachable potential related to the New Deal still hailed under the mythology as digging the USA out of the Great Depression. I showed that the numbers do not match the mythology. Most realistic Economists show that the American prosperity returned to the USA largely to the war production involved in building a military to confront a two-theater war against Nazi Germany (Europe and N. Africa) and Imperial Japan (Pacific and Asia).

I was thinking after I posted on FDR that there are other nefarious actions that I believe under the U.S. Constitution could have been impeachable. BUT I sincerely doubt such info was made public even by people who knew and even in the present Democrats would pooh-pooh the documented evidence as Conservative sour grapes meant to smear a man under hero worship in American history.

The nefarious actions I did not get to in writing of FDR potential impeachable offensives is the degree that Marxism had infiltrated his Administration. But before I get to the Marxist-FDR issue I feel the need to address one of the sources in the last post that looked at FDR.

I did allude that the Presidential powers enjoyed by FDR were near dictatorial. The primary source for the dictatorial accusation about FDR comes from Jonah Goldberg. As a Conservative I like Jonah Goldberg. Here is a short profile from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI):

Research Areas:

·         U.S. politics and culture

·         The Progressive movement

·         The Conservative movement

·        Media

A bestselling author and columnist, Jonah Goldberg's nationally syndicated column appears regularly in scores of newspapers across the United States. He is also a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, a member of the board of contributors to USA Today, a contributor to Fox News, a contributing editor to National Review, and the founding editor of National Review Online. He was named by the Atlantic magazine as one of the top 50 political commentators in America. In 2011 he was named the Robert J. Novak Journalist of the Year at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). He has written on politics, media, and culture for a wide variety of publications and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs. Prior to joining National Review, he was a founding producer for Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg on PBS and wrote and produced several other PBS documentaries. He is the recipient of the prestigious Lowell Thomas Award. He is the author of two New York Times bestsellers, The Tyranny of Clichés (Sentinel HC, 2012) and Liberal Fascism (Doubleday, 2008).  At AEI, Mr. Goldberg writes about political and cultural issues for and the Enterprise Blog.


·         Contributing editor, National Review, 1998 – present

·         Founding editor, editor-at-large, National Review Online, 1998 – present

·         Columnist, 1999-present

·         Senior Producer, Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg, 1994 – 98

·         Research assistant, American Enterprise Institute, 1992 – 94


B.A., Goucher College

All in all as a Conservative I find these credentials quite respectable. It would be even nicer if Goldberg was able to add a Masters and a Ph.D. to his résumé. Lacking the academic credentials it has been a boon for Progressives when they notice that either Goldberg or a publicist (or maybe both) have inflated his honors. The use of false honors admittedly tarnish books and articles in their credibility in scholarship.

Here are a couple examples from Left Wing online rags that have taken the full opportunity to impugn Jonah Goldberg:


On the dust jacket of his new book, "The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas," best-selling conservative author and commentator Jonah Goldberg is described as having "twice been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize."

In fact, as Goldberg acknowledged on Tuesday, he has never been a Pulitzer nominee, but is merely one of thousands of entrants.

When this bit of résumé inflation was pointed out by a reporter for, Goldberg said he hadn't meant to mislead anyone and removed the Pulitzer claim from his bio at National Review Online. …

His publisher, Penguin Group (USA), said the error was unintentional and it would remove the Pulitzer word from his book jacket when it's time for the first reprint, "just like any other innocent mistake brought to our attention." …

What's surprising in Goldberg's case is that he has been called out for the same résumé padding before, when his previous book was published.

There is more character destroying if you choose to read entirety (Conservative author Jonah Goldberg drops claim of two Pulitzer nominations; By Bill Dedman, Investigative Reporter; NBC News; 5/9/12 2:36 AM)

Then there is Slate in 2008 castigating Goldberg’s book, “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning”: 

Why did Jonah Goldberg write Liberal Fascism? To find out, you must wade through 391 pages of tendentious scholarship. A mighty jackbooted procession—Herbert Croly, John Dewey, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Herbert Marcuse, John F. Kennedy, Saul Alinsky, Ralph Nader, Hillary Clinton—goose-steps across the page to illustrate Goldberg's apparent belief that, with the exception of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations and everything published in National Review (where Goldberg is contributing editor), every word previously written or spoken in favor of mobilizing the citizenry was either proto-fascist, fascist, or heavily influenced by fascism. …

Liberal Fascism, then, is a howl of rage disguised as intellectual history. Some mean liberals called Goldberg hurtful names, so he's responding with 400 pages that boil down to: I know you are, but what am I?

Goldberg's argument begins with the observation that well into the 1930s, the American progressive movement had more admiration than scorn for Benito Mussolini, who coined the words fascist and totalitarian, and even for Adolf Hitler. This isn't news to anyone with even a glancing familiarity with American history. Goldberg further argues that fascism initially evolved from and positioned itself as a muscular brand of socialism (hence Nazi, an abbreviation for "National Socialist German Workers Party"). Also true, and also known to most educated people.

…  Here Goldberg is, for instance, trying very hard not to call Franklin Roosevelt a fascist:

This is not to say that the New Deal was evil or Hitlerian. But the New Deal was a product of the impulses and ideas of its era. And these ideas and impulses are impossible to separate from the fascist moment in Western civilization. … Franklin Rosevelt (sic) was no fascist, at least not in the sense that he thought of himself in this way. But many of his ideas and policies were indistinguishable from fascism. And today we live with the fruits of fascism, and we call them liberal.

Thirty-five pages later, Goldberg can hold back no longer. "[I]t seems impossible to deny that the New Deal was objectively fascistic," he crows, imposing without irony a Marxist analysis.

The rest of Goldberg's argument unfolds as follows: Wilson begat FDR, who begat contemporary liberalism. The only reason the United States didn't remain a fascist country like Italy or Germany or Spain was "American exceptionalism," i.e., the public's resistance to tyranny over the long term. But Democratic presidents from Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy to Lyndon Johnson to Bill Clinton continued either to impose fascism or to bring the country terrifyingly close to it. To demonstrate this, Goldberg is obliged to render an ever-more-flexible definition of the word fascist.

Was Bill Clinton a fascist president? Well, he certainly believed in the primacy of emotion and the supremacy of his own intellect. … But I think if we are going to call him a fascist, it must be in the sense that he was a sponge for the ideas and emotions of liberalism. To say that he was a fascist is to credit him with more ideology and principle than justified. He was the sort of president liberal fascism could only produce during unexciting times.

By this point, Goldberg's reasoning has progressed from unconvincing to incoherent. Modern liberalism, he argues, is linked to Nazism because both contain a cult of the organic (Hitler was a vegetarian) and both embrace sexual freedom (Himmler ordered his men "to father as many children as possible without marrying" in order to achieve the Aryan ideal). Eventually, Goldberg backs himself into asserting, in effect, that any government that does more than prevent abortions and provide for the common defense is inherently fascist. …

Character Assassination in entirety (Am I a Fascist? Jonah Goldberg's tendentious history of liberalism; By Timothy Noah; Slate; 1/28/08 7:49 AM)

Timothy Noah’s criticism isn’t based on dented credentials, but rather Left Wing rage about equating the history of American Liberalism with the seeds of fascism. Noah’s rage is exposed as mere character assassination by,

Goldberg's argument begins with the observation that well into the 1930s, the American progressive movement had more admiration than scorn for Benito Mussolini, who coined the words fascist and totalitarian, and even for Adolf Hitler. This isn't news to anyone with even a glancing familiarity with American history. Goldberg further argues that fascism initially evolved from and positioned itself as a muscular brand of socialism (hence Nazi, an abbreviation for "National Socialist German Workers Party"). Also true, and also known to most educated people.” (Bold Emphasis mine)

Out of Noah’s own mouth (or I guess keyboard): Noah is full of crap in criticizing Goldberg.

So Goldberg connected the dots to the historical phenomena of using fascist ideology as a global symptom to reverse global economic global depression. Just as fascism in its essence is connected to Socialism, it needs to be pointed out that at least influential people in the FDR Administration had an affinity to Soviet inspired Marxism as a utopian longer term solution for a transformed human society.

Check out this excerpt from the admittedly Conservative Human Events posting a book review to M. Stanton Evans and Herbert Romerstein’s book entitled, “Stalin’s Secret Agents: The Subversion of Roosevelt’s Government”.

How did this massive penetration and policy twisting occur? Deception, Evans mentioned at a recent lecture, succeeds best when people want to be deceived. Franklin Roosevelt’s willful blindness to Stalin’s malignant goals, aggravated by the President’s health problems, was clearly a major cause. FDR saw what he wanted to see: that Josef Stalin liked him and would cooperate in preserving a peaceful and just world. That mindset went hand-in-hand with a New Deal bureaucracy chock-a-block with Soviet agents, Communist party members and ardent Stalinist sympathizers, including two FDR confidants, Lauchlin Currie and Harry Hopkins, FDR’s most trusted friend who for several years lived at the White House. (INFILTRATION, INTRIGUE AND COMMUNISTS; By Wes Vernon; Human Events; 1/11/2013 02:10 PM)

Before I look at the Soviet agents and sympathizers this book review mentions, it is probably important to get ahead of the typical Leftist accusation of using Right Wing nut jobs as a credible source (as if Left Wing nut jobs are a credible source).

In writing “Stalin’s Secret Agents” Stanton used primary sources. Something Leftists won’t mention in criticizing Stanton. Rather than criticizing original source material Leftists typically fall back on vilifying one’s intellectual character if they are a part of the Conservative Right. In another book review of Evan’s book mentioned above Isabel Mittelstadt writes:

Evans stressed the importance of using primary sources, explaining to the audience that secondary sources – such as the Internet – are often just “recycled [information] that people have not researched themselves.”  The authors’ reliance on primary sources in developing the research for their book gives readers a strong sense of credibility.

The conclusions Evans reached from conducting this thorough research brought him to draw parallels between Communist infiltration during World War II and problems he sees in today’s politics. (Clear & Present Dangers; By Isabel Mittelstadt; Accuracy in Academia; 6/25/13)

Here is the typical criticism Evans receives at the hands of Left Wingers. In this case about his book “Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and his Fight Against America’s Enemies” written originally in 2007:

Ronald Radosh, a historian and expert on the Cold War spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, states that "rather than a biography, Evans has written a defense counsel’s brief for his client, whom he seeks to defend against all the slanders made about McCarthy by his political enemies." He praises Evans' "extensive research", and his exposure of the political agendas of McCarthy's main opponents and their unwillingness to look more closely into Soviet penetration. He also commends Evans for correcting the view that all of McCarthy's victims were innocent. Radosh severely criticises McCarthy's failure to distinguish between communists and anti-communist liberals, and between those expressing communist views and those working as Soviet agents, and criticises Evans for glossing over this. Radosh concludes:[3]

Evans’s book falls far short of what it might have done to correct the record about the era. His own exaggerations and unwarranted leaps parallel those made by McCarthy. It is unlikely that his hope to change history’s verdict will become a reality as a result of the publication of this book.

Reviewing the book for The New York Times, Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian David Oshinsky was harshly critical, calling Evans' primary thesis a "remarkable fantasy," asserting that Evans has uncovered no fresh evidence and arguing that the evidence supports the historical consensus that Communist spy networks in the United States had largely been dismantled by the time McCarthy started his campaign and that McCarthy was "a bit player in the battle against Communist subversion, a latecomer who turned a vital crusade into a political mud bath... The fiercely negative judgments of those who lived through the McCarthy era are widely accepted today for good reason: they ring true."[1]

Kirkus Reviews called the book "[a] revisionist biography", which although a "detailed account" is "marred by ideological blinders" and fit "[f]or true believers only",[2] Publishers Weekly describing Evans as "given to conspiracy thinking"[4] and Reason magazine describing it as "revisionist" and "a breathless defense of McCarthy."[5] (Blacklisted by HistoryReviews; from Wikipedia; last modified on 7/29/14 at 08:50)

In a book review for the same book Wes Vernon writes the Evans response to such criticism:

Generally, the media that trashed the Evans book did so either from a wealth of ignorance or willingness to gloss over the book’s irrefutable documentation.

As Evans tells AIM, “the negative reviews in almost all cases conform to a common pattern” of error on three points in particular:

1—“Failure to come to grips” with such issues as the bogus quote imputed to McCarthy of “205” communists in the State Department, the case of Annie Lee Moss, and the real security dangers at Fort Monmouth. Considering that Evans’ style in the 643-page book is to avoid name-calling while methodically laying out the evidence,  his description of critics as failing to “come to grips” with reality may be his polite way of saying (correctly in our judgment) that where the facts did not fit the critics’ biases, the facts were simply ignored. One cannot be a failure at something unless one first tries to succeed.

2—Misrepresenting what the author had to say about Owen Lattimore, McCarthy’s George Marshall speech, and the sources of McCarthy’s information. As Evans says, “Some of these distortions are so far afield from my actual views as to suggest the reviewer hasn’t read the book (the most charitable explanation that I can think of).”

3—In lieu of facts, there were those who resorted to the ad hominem attack. “By far the worst” of these was an “utterly false” accusation by Ronald Radosh. (Mainstream Media Try to Burn a Book; By Wes Vernon; Accuracy in Media; 6/24/08)

The lesson is read the original sources before engaging in vilification. On the other hand a few Conservatives notably of the background toward which I often gravitate toward (i.e. Neoconservatives) have been critical of M. Stanton Evans. Notably former Left Wingers turned Conservative Ronald Radosh and David Horowitz. Actually in Horowitz’s case the criticism lay in another journalist-writer Diana West who publish a similar indictment about Marxist infiltration into the U.S. Government (American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character). Radosh’s academic credentials are quite impressive. David Solway writing on PJMedia provides an even tempered outlook in the Diana West vs. Radosh-Horowitz disagreement on scholastic analysis:

It began when David Horowitz at FrontPage Magazine scrubbed Mark Tapson’s favorable account of the book and replaced it with Ron Radosh’s intemperate and distressingly ad hominem demolition masking as a “review.” Indeed, Radosh’s logomachic intervention read more like a personal vendetta than a scrupulous assessment. As a seasoned writer and veteran debater, Radosh should have known better. From that point on, a war of words was launched and the psychodrama shows no signs of tapering off. West published her Rebuttal and was heatedly defended by the notable historian Andrew Bostom and by many of the talkbackers to Horowitz’s own site. Meanwhile Horowitz and Radosh, and even the orotund Conrad Black, continued to pummel both book and author.

I can only say that Diana West’s thesis is surely deserving of scholarly consideration, whether pro or con. Whether one agrees with her conclusions or not, one must recognize that her argument is meticulously researched and abundantly footnoted. It seems to me that David Horowitz was wrong to remove a review that he had originally vetted and, furthermore, to substitute a largely personal imprecation in its stead rather than, say, to post a countervailing review and let the reader decide. Whatever his motive, the decision leaves an editorial stench that is not easily dissipated.

READ ENTIRETY (Revisiting the Diana West Controversy: The ongoing implosion of the conservative ethos; By David Solway; PJMedia; 9/16/13 12:01 am)

Since West’s book American Betrayal broaches the same subject matter that many of the well-researched and documented works of M. Stanton Evans, I had to include that here pertaining to source criticism.

End Part One

JRH 8/13/14

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