Saturday, August 02, 2014

America First: right from the beginning

From Joshua Snyder: Still America First.
In September 1940, Bob Stuart and several Yale Law School classmates — including future President Gerald Ford and future Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart — founded the America First Committee, the largest antiwar organization in American history.
As Pat Buchanan might say, they were right from the beginning.

I knew some of this history, such as an admirable side of the Kennedys (Bobby working for Joe McCarthy's another). The Narrative of course glorifies the Sixties (1968-72) and its counterculture, basically claiming the boomers invented American peace politics. Actually, besides the dumb kids cheering for the other side in Vietnam - partying and/or slumming rich kids, many in college with draft deferments, while the Deer Hunter Catholic (including Orthodox) kids did what they were told, going over to try to fight Communism - it had a paramilitary wing, Weather Underground, who were terrorists; "elder statesman" Bill Ayers, for example. Thanks for apologizing, Hanoi Jane, but your damage's done. (By the way, the Democrats got us into Vietnam; a Republican got us out.) No, the peace position (I'm not a pacifist) wasn't just for the Amish and Quakers. (I live in what was the Quaker colony; in my former career I got to know a couple of Quaker schools - nice people but Unitarianish.) You might remember the FDR pro-World War II propaganda film Sergeant York, about World War I and its run-up; like many/most fundamentalist Protestants at the time, Alvin York was anti-war to begin with. As recently as 1936, so was the Southern Baptist Convention. No; the progressives, the anglophile mainliners (yes, the Episcopalians), wanted us in WWI (100 years ago: Christendom's death warrant) as a holy crusade against Catholic Europe. (Karl, unser Kaiser: would that the Central Powers won. The British government always wants a weak, divided continent, so Churchill was consistent, from WWII to Operation Unthinkable, like I think General Patton wanted.) And the lefty hawks are still with us. So in short, American conservatives and American conservative Christians should reach beyond the mainstream Republican Party (which lost my vote forever after 2000) to an older tradition in the U.S. (WWII: it was noble of us to privately volunteer for the British, our own people, defend our own people in Australia when the British couldn't anymore, and defend the Filipinos, whom by then we had an obligation to; other than that, we were saps, helping the USSR win. FDR's government was riddled with Communists like Henry Wallace.)

1 comment:

  1. I can't think of better example of the generational divide between the noble Old Left and the secular New Left than that of Henry and Jane Fonda.


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