Saturday, May 13, 2006

Our Collective Fate? Lies!

Victor Davis Hanson has decided to show us what it would be like if today's liberal media had been reporting during World War II.

In a fictional op-ed piece dated May 21, 1945 - so tantalizingly close to Hiroshima, and victory! - Hanson's imaginary America-hatin' editorialist gives FDR what for:

It is not out of “Roosevelt hating,” but out of the need for truth that requires this paper to remind the American people that Mr. Roosevelt, in whose hands our collective fate lies, has been untruthful to his wife about his liaisons, untruthful to the American people about the extent of his crippling illness, and thus, not surprisingly, untruthful to the United States Congress about the extent of our prewar involvement with the British Empire in its European war and the secret nature of our present commitments.
Emphasis added, for the simple reason that FDR died on April 12, 1945...which is something a renowned author writing in a high-profile magazine probably should've known, or looked up.

My suspicion is that Hanson wished to score propaganda points by mentioning certain events in his piece, but also wished to heap abuse on Roosevelt in a way that would've seemed particularly unrealistic after his death. Accordingly, he either gambled on the date and lost, or consciously picked one that looked "truthy."

The larger issue is that talk like that of Hanson's sock-puppet was heard very often in the thirties and forties, mainly from right-wing politicians and industrialists. Now would probably be a good time to reissue Rex Stout's The Illustrious Dunderheads, come to think of it:
The quotations in this book are only a sampling of the speeches delivered in the halls of Congress and elsewhere by U.S. Senators and Congressmen who have given currency to Nazi propaganda which is designed to bring about the defeat of the United States, the creation of a fascist America subservient to Hitler's Germany.
NOTE: Those who wish to read the childish, boorish, and sexually retarded version of this post may go here.


Anonymous said...

What's most interesting about the Hanson piece is that he is allegedly a historian, but the thing is riddled with historical errors.

Phila caught one in the date of FDR's death, but there are a lot more.

VDH's references to "the intelligence community" are anachronistic. "The intelligence community" began growing during WWII and was institutionalized after the war.

The "internment of thousands of American citizens in Western concentration camps" was really found to have been illegal. True, that was after the war, but he makes use of hindsight elsewhere.

We did coddle Franco while opposing Stalin. I guess what he's trying to get at in this paragraph is that his imaginary critics "thought" that this would be a bad thing.

(I'm having trouble with this one; so many things wrong it's hard to know where to start.) Poland and parts east probably would not have been referred to at the time as "Eastern Europe." We're still struggling with the politically correct terminology for the former Soviet republics and satellites. Not at all clear that the primary motives (whose?) in 1939 were "to ensure a free Eastern Europe and China." If he's talking about the motives of, say, England, they were more like survival against a voracious attempt at a new European empire. Same sort of thing for China. America didn't enter the war until it was attacked by Japan in 1941.

Well, there's more, but it's less blatant. I think that VDH has gotten carried away with the beauty of his own words and ideology, as he so often does. At that point, history and facts no longer matter.


Phila said...



You really are the greatest thing since sliced bread.