You didn’t read the book and that’s all there is to it

From its very title – The post–WWII presidents made mistakes, but they were not pro-Soviet – I knew the article was about Diana West. And I also knew that its author, Ron Capshaw, despite what he says, has never read the book. Because whatever else West did or did not say, she never accused any American president of being pro-Soviet. And she most assuredly did not say it about FDR.

But what she did say was that Harry Hopkins, Roosevelt’s closest advisor, the man who constructed and oversaw the lend-lease program, almost certainly was. It’s a big difference, and if he had read the book he would have known this perfectly well.

But someone among the editorial staff at National Review must know, so the question really is why this latest shaft at West was let go.

If he or Radosh would like to deal with the accusations against Harry Hopkins and the mass of evidence West brings up, then get on with it. In the meantime, I do not believe they have read this book, or if they have, they must be the two persons least capable of reading for meaning I have ever come across in my life.

The bigger question that remains is why National Review will not let this issue go.

Beyond Betrayal

No book has ever frightened me as much as this. The only thing wrong with reading it is that you find yourself so surrounded by impossible odds that it seems there is no way you can go that isn’t in the wrong direction. Trying to fix things is as bad as just leaving them alone. If I were to write this up, these are the elements that would go into the story.

1) Ronald Radosh’s review of American Betrayal was so scathing I knew it had to be worth reading. He is a leftist plant who is so patently not on our side that the only wonder is that he is not universally recognised for who and what he is.

2) My own background living with my father who was a lifelong dedicated communist. I grew up understanding that the international communist conspiracy does not require everyone to receive a set of instructions to tell them what to do. They merely have to understand what the rules are and from then on they can be left on their own to play their part as they interpret it.

3) Reading the book which has been a dispiriting experience. Maybe I should just stop reading long books since they take so long but I do think it was the content.

4) What’s the content? When we were in New Orleans in 2010 I found for $3 a book titled The Politician by Robert Welch. Welch was the central figure in the John Birch Society which was this ultra-looney group on the far right when I was growing up. If you wanted preposterous then they would supply it. But between then and now my politics have moved from the left where they were then to the right where they are now. But even as I picked it up, my expectation would be that I am dealing with beyond the pale. Instead, I found Welch to be as moderate and reasonable as one could want, fully understanding who he was and how he would be viewed by others and portrayed by his enemies. He just took up the fight because he knew what he knew and could see no alternative but to try to do what he could to fix things. For what it’s worth, I still think Welch is looney and his views extreme but that he saw communism as a mortal enemy of freedom is to his credit.

5) And what Diana West writes across 400 pages might be summed up in a single sentence from The Politician.

The American people have not yet waked up to the clear evidence that Harry Hopkins, instead of being the fumbling half-mystical dogooder for which they took him, was one of the most successful Communist agents the Kremlin has ever found already planted in the American government, and then developed to top-level usefulness.” (217-218)

Diana West’s book is about Harry Hopkins, his role as a Stalinist agent and the influence he had over Roosevelt. It’s much more than that but on its own that is more than enough to make you see the world in a very different way. Weird even to write this down but it is the very implausibility that makes this an idea worth pondering. Radosh certainly had no arguments that would counter what West wrote.

6) In a nutshell, with Hopkins literally (as in actually, he really was) living in the White House during World War II, virtually the whole of American policy and strategy was designed with one purpose in mind – to allow the Russians to expand their grip on the rest of the world. Both the tyrannies of Eastern Europe after the war and the communist takeover in China were caused by these agents of influence who set American foreign policy and determined the allied war strategy. She may be wrong but she does tell an incredibly plausible story that fits with everything I already know. And if it is true, you can hardly see how an enemy this powerful can ever lose. I take the same view as Whittaker Chambers, we are on the losing side.

7) All of which West ties to the present struggle with Islamic jihad where those within our political elites who you would think ought to be alerting us to the dangers of letting down our guard are instead conspiring with the Islamists to create a world in which the rest of us will come under their sway. I cannot understand why they would do it but there seems too little evidence of resistance and plenty of evidence of collaboration.

8) As with Communism, the only saving grace in the end is just how repulsive the Islamic enemy is. But if the fifth column is as relentless and as well placed as the communists were (and are) I do not see how this can be overcome. Hence depressing but I do not wish to be so defeatist. But it’s a war that now that I see the dimensions of makes me tired and fearful. It also makes everything else seem so minimal.

Maybe I’ll be more rested tomorrow but tonight it has gotten right on top of me.