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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/7322/world-war-ii-the-nadir-of-the-old-right/

World War II: The Nadir of the Old Right

October 19, 2007 by

The advent of World War II brought the Old Right to its darkest days. Harassed, reviled, persecuted, the intellectuals and agitators of the Old Right, the libertarians and the isolationists, folded their tents and disappeared from view. While it is true that the isolationist Republicans experienced a resurgence in the 1942 elections, they were no longer supported by an ideological vanguard. The America First Committee quickly dissolved after Pearl Harbor and went to war — despite the pleas of the bulk of its militants to continue being a focus of opposition to the nation’s course. Charles Lindbergh totally abandoned the ideological and political arena and joined the war effort. FULL ARTICLE


Zinzindor October 19, 2007 at 11:04 am

There was a very interesting article in today’s Washington _Post_, discussing how Vladimir Putin has been drawing comparisons between his ideology and that of FDR. His political consultants and propaganda machines have been putting out interviews and opinion pieces in the state media noting how FDR saved the country from the capitalist profiteers (just like Putin), implemented state planning to direct the economy (just like Putin), and saved a country under attack from “outside enemies.” (Ditto).

The writer of the piece portrayed this as empty (though clever) propaganda, and I’m sure many readers were angered by it. I wonder how many readers reacted as I did — “Yep, that’s a very apt comparison.”

William H. Stoddard October 19, 2007 at 11:08 am

One more cultural figure of the WWII era deserves mention in this discussion: The poet Robinson Jeffers. During the 1940s he brought out a volume, Be Angry at the Sun, largely devoted to condemnation of the war, and featuring a note by his publisher stating that they did not agree with Jeffers’s views but considered it important to maintain the freedom of the press that the United States was fighting for—which I take to be covering their asses, but they deserve respect for publishing the book at all.

In the title poem, Jefferson wrote

That public men publish falsehoods
Is nothing new. That America must accept
Like the historic republics corruption and empire
Has been known for years.

This is the same man who wrote, in another poem,

All Europe was hardly worth the precarious freedom
Of one of our states. What will her ashes fetch?

This volume has been almost entirely forgotten, and can be found only in a few university libraries. But it’s one that libertarians should be aware of. Jeffers was an intelligent man and his political sympathies were almost entirely along libertarian lines, however strange the metaphysic they grew out of, which Jeffers called “inhumanism” and which is like nothing so much as H. P. Lovecraft’s cosmic nihilism (but, happily, Jeffers did not share Lovecraft’s fascist tendencies).

DickF October 19, 2007 at 12:40 pm

I have noticed that the author of the lead story on the home page is now often omitted. Is it possible for you to return to giving the author credit on the home page? Thanks.

Tory October 19, 2007 at 2:26 pm

Socialism and freedom are not compatible. I’m for freedom.

If you theorize economics too much – if you search for a magical economical cure and convince people you have found one then you may inadvertantly create more central planning. Are you for freedom more than you are for forcing others to adopt pure capitalism ?

You will force us to start all over again and repeat the same mistakes we made in the beginning.

De-centralized sovereignty is as bad and detrimental to freedom as is excessive central control. The states refused to give up slavery – three amendments had to be added to the Bill of Rights to protect African/Americans against the advocates of a slave based economy.


Anthony October 19, 2007 at 6:36 pm

“If you theorize economics too much”

You can do no such thing. The only problem is when the theories are poorly thought out and logically inconsistent and not subjected to improvement. A lot of economic theory suffers from this.

TGGP October 20, 2007 at 1:38 am

I discussed Charles Lindbergh and the merits of isolationism here at my blog.

Tory, it is mighty funny that you denounce forcing people to adopt capitalism and then speak highly of the forced transformation of the southern economy.

Dan Mahoney October 20, 2007 at 7:26 pm


Which is it, African or American?

Anthony October 20, 2007 at 7:48 pm

Hah, I missed the bit on southern slavery… good observation TGGP.

Brett Celinski October 23, 2007 at 1:29 am

Ok, this is highly off-topic, but relevant in that the Old Right is being vilified again, mainly in the persona of Ron Paul.

Guys… the anti-Ron Paul stuff is getting pretty… um, histrionic again. Reading through some of these things on the net makes me feel like walking through a room full of bees in a hot summer night, drunk.

They’re saying he’s racist. His supporters spam. He hates Jews. He’s a socialist (ignoranceisstrengthihategoldstein)!!!!!!

Um… *whistles* Uh, Hot damn!. This is the most Left I’ve seen the GOP since, well, the Left was more Left than the GOP.

I just really, really want somebody to just rhetorically hammer some of the stuff LittleGreenFootballs and the like produce. There’s atleast 40 different repetitive, “damning exposes/conspiracies/IRREFUTABLE EVIDENCE LOOK HOW LONG THE POST IS IT MUST BE IRREFUTABLE BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO SCROLL DOWN IT FOR FIVE MINUTES” type posts on something Ron Paul has done.

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