Mon 9 Mar 2009
The title is “The Chickens of the Interventionist Liberals Have Come Home to Roost: The bitter fruits of globaloney,” originally published in 1953. This is described in James J. Martin’s A Beginner’s Manual for Apprentice Book Burners as a production certain to “induce a few cases of apoplexy.”
Indeed, more than a few, as it holds forth in behalf of a return to historical revisionism after a too long hiatus in the earlier part of the century it was written. Here are some random quotes from the 44 page document:
Indeed, while they have indulged in almost unlimited rhetorical dolorosity and indignation over the increased regimentation of thought and expression, the totalitarian liberals, as a whole, have done virtually nothing which could have any real effect in eliminating the conditions under which they now seem to writhe. To do anything really effective along such lines would be almost impossible for these totalitarian liberals, since the first, and almost the only important, step would have to be a confession that their program of intervention, war and globaloney since 1937 has been a gigantic fraud and a vastly expensive hoax which Soviet Russia has been only too happy to exploit.
The “flip-flop boys” were not, of course, limited to the liberals. There were a number of Socialists who deserted the proletarian cause of peace to which they were committed by tradition and ideology and joined the war-mongers. But, although their shift was more ludicrous, they were relatively unimportant in any practical sense, as compared with the liberals. The latter controlled the government of the United States, while the Socialists remained in a hopeless minority. Notable instances of Socialists who shifted their position were Upton Sinclair, Sidney Hook, Louis Hacker, Alfred Baker Lewis, and the majority of those Socialists who now operate the New Leader and bellow for action against Russia perhaps even more loudly than members of the Union League Club. They left Norman Thomas in the lurch in his valiant effort to put the Socialist party on record against interventionism.
As Captain Russell Grenfell has justly and aptly observed, the main lesson taught by the Korean War is that the worst possible disaster which can befall any nation today is to be defended against aggression by the United Nations. It is fair to suggest that, not since the Children’s Crusade of 1212, has there been a more glaring case of well-intentioned futility and ill-timed crusading than the strenuous effort to promote immediate world government, world citizenship, and the like, which is now sponsored by Stringfellow Barr, Norman Cousins, Owen J. Roberts, and others who share their program and crusading zeal.
All this stands out in remarkable contrast to the attitude of the liberals after the first World War. During that war, most of the liberals, except for a few like Randolph Bourne and Oswald Garrison Villard, were swept into the crusade for “the war to end all war,” as a result of the eloquence of Woodrow Wilson. After the war, however, the liberals, almost to a man, recognized their tragic mistake and became the leaders of Revisionism down to the mid-1930′s. As late as 1935, Walter Millis published his Road to War, the most scathing volume ever written criticizing American entry into the first World War. The liberals repudiated the thesis of unique German responsibility for the first World War and the nefarious treaty of Versailles, which was based upon this illusion. They logically denounced the failure to revise the postwar treaties, the absurd and disastrous attempt to collect astronomical reparations from Germany, and all the other outstanding international follies of the 1920′s.
The net result of the Revisionism carried on by the liberals after 1920 was highly beneficial: it temporarily discredited interventionism and foreign meddling; it encouraged disarmament; it added strength to the movement for neutrality; it notably promoted world peace down to the mid-1930′s; and it helped to restore public toleration.
The stock argument of the interventionist liberals in regard to their refusal to accept and promote Revisionism since 1941 is that there is no factual basis for it now, as there was after 1918. The outpourings of White House interventionist propaganda after 1937 and of the Office of War Information after 1941 are represented as being gospel truth on the diplomatic history of the United States and the world from 1937 to 1945. The reverse of this attitude is the real truth. Whatever the errors and exaggerations in interventionist propaganda from 1914 to 1918, they were trivial when compared with the mendacity and mythology that accompanied interventionism and war following 1937.
The totalitarian liberals of our time mourn the disappearance of the welfare state, whether of the New Deal or the Fair Deal, and lament the fact that the money which once went into public works is now being spent for armament and war. This lament was eloquently and forcefully expressed by Mrs. Agnes E. Meyer in an address before a Conference of the American Public Welfare Association in Washington on September 24, 1953. She held that: “The swing of reaction is so great that all liberal ideals are actually on the defensive today.” The most cogent comment on this is that it was the interventionist liberals who brought on the war system. They often reply that this was necessary in order to prevent the defeat of the Democrats and the New Deal in 1940.
This is, however, an evasive and shallow justification, in the light of liberal ideology and dialectic. Following the latter closely, the course of events should have been, in the event of a Republican victory in 1940: (1) reactionary and deflationary economic policies producing a worse depression than that which followed 1929; (2) the discrediting of the Republicans, the restoration of the Democrats with a greater majority than ever before, and the reinstitution of the welfare state on a scale surpassing anything envisaged by Mr. Roosevelt, while saving the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the war. Hence, if the totalitarian-liberal dialectic were sound, the liberals would today be basking in a welfare-state paradise or Utopia.
It is not argued here that events would actually have followed this pattern of development or that it would have been a blessing if they had. We are merely pointing out that, if the liberals had possessed both faith in their doctrines and statesmanlike patience, they would have preferred peace to war as the means of realizing their ideals.
The most aggressive leaders of the movement for world-meddling proclaim the necessity and obligation of American world leadership. Events from 1945 to the present have amply proved that this cannot be established and maintained by force and war. It might be achieved by demonstrating conspicuous success in peaceful activities at home-competent government, economic prosperity, and liberty for all. Even a little country like Sweden, as a result of its remarkable domestic achievements, came nearer to world leadership in the 1930′s than the United States has attained through vast expense and bloodshed since 1941. The United States will never achieve world leadership in the guise of “the Savior with the Sword.” After some eight years of lavish financing of globaloney and world-meddling, far from being enthusiastically accepted as a “world leader,” the United States is more universally hated and feared than at any other period of our national existence.