America’s so-called intellectual elites remain either smugly ignorant or in outright denial of the West’s struggle with communism that consumed much of the 20th Century and is still too much with us, late and soon. “Some historians cannot bring themselves to call Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot what they truly are,” writer and scholar Lee Edwards noted when accepting an award from the Fund for American Studies. “I refer you to the current edition of Webster’s New College Dictionary in which Hitler and Mussolini are described as ‘dictators’ while Lenin and Mao are called ‘leaders.’”
“Fidel Castro is given special status as ‘Cuban revolutionary premier.’” A prolific author and teacher, Edwards was also the recipient of Accuracy in Media’s Reed Irvine award for investigative journalism, named after AIM’s founder.
As if on cue, the Washington Post tabloid Express newspaper managed to mangle about 20 years worth of history in less than a paragraph in its ‘night out’ guide on August 27, 2008. “Dalton Trumbo is famous for two things: Johnny Got His Gun, the stunning anti-war novel about a young soldier living inside his own head after a devastating injury, and for not cooperating with McCarthy’s anti-communist tribunals and being summarily blacklisted,” the Express informs us. “After that, he could no longer work and there went his career.”
• Trumbo rushed Johnny into print during the Hitler-Stalin pact, when American communists followed the Soviet Union’s orders in protesting U. S. involvement in the fight against Nazi Germany;
• The “tribunal” that unfriendly Hollywood screenwriter Trumbo refused to cooperate with was the U. S. House Committee on UnAmerican Activities on which Senator Joseph McCarthy, R-Wisc., never served; and
• Trumbo continued to work under pseudonyms during the blacklist and under his own from the time that he wrote the screenplay for Spartacus in 1960 until his death in 1976.
Meanwhile, our putative best and brightest remain clueless about the barbarism of puppets of the former Soviet Union that still practice Marxism, such as the governments of Zimbabwe and, yes, the People’s Republic of China. “Maybe since 9/11, maybe as a result of the Cold War, we gradually put more importance on the coercive elements of power,” David M. Lampton of Johns Hopkins stated in the September issue of the university’s magazine. “Seeing the largest problem with China as its military is unwarranted.”
Lampton serves as director of China studies and dean of the faculty at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Hopkins. His latest book is entitled The Three Faces of Chinese Power: Might, Money and Minds.
“I think honesty requires that nobody can predict what something as large and rapidly changing as China is going to be like 20 or 30 years from now,” Lampton says. “But if we treat China as a threat today, we will create the reality we seek to avoid tomorrow.”
As we have noted in a previous dispatch, Lampton also defends a revered figure at JHU, the late Owen Lattimore, a consultant to the U. S. State Department at the time that Mao Tse Tung came to power. Lattimore actually was investigated by Senator McCarthy and his FBI file that runs to thousands of pages can be found in the Bureau’s electronic reading room.
On a visit to the Koyma mines in the Soviet Union, Lattimore found “extensive greenhouses growing tomatoes, cucumbers and melons to make sure the hardy miners get enough vitamins.” “This rendering of a Siberian slave camp as a sort of art colony cum health spa run by cultured esthetes suggests Lattimore was no piker in these matters but ranked with the most abject of Soviet hacks as an apologist for Stalin,” author M. Stanton Evans notes in his book Blacklisted By History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies.
In a footnote, Evans quotes historian Robert Conquest’s calculation of the death toll among the miners at Kolyma—“30 percent per annum.” “In one of the Kolyma penal camps, which had started the year with 3,000 inmates, 1,700 were dead at the end,” Conquest wrote in The Great Terror.
“Of course, without all the cucumbers and tomatoes, the death toll might have been even higher,” Evans observes wryly.
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.