Revilo Oliver: Autobiographical Note
I WAS BORN near Corpus Christi, Texas, on 7th July, 1908. (ILLUSTRATION: Revilo Oliver in 1938)
My first name, an obvious palindrome, has been the burden of the eldest or only son for six generations.
I was sent to a high school in Illinois. After two years of it, including an extraordinarily severe winter that landed me in a hospital for one of the first mastoidectomies performed as more than a daring experiment, I decided that the one insoluble historical problem was why anyone had taken the Midwest away from the Indians, and so I went to California. There I entered what everyone knew was the best high school in the country because the equipment for dramatic productions on the stage cost more than had been spent for such essentials elsewhere. The “educators” there had already made great progress in sabotaging education, so, just to have something to occupy my mind, I began the study of Sanskrit, using Max Müller’s handbooks and Monier Williams’ grammar. I did feel the need for some tuition, however, and by the most extraordinary good luck I found a Hindu who really knew Sanskrit. He was a missionary who, although he never quite admitted as much to me, had come to the United States to ease the financial burdens of dowagers who had more money than they could spend. He told them that, with proper care and nourishment of their beautiful souls, they would, in their next incarnation, certainly become as lithe as, and certainly even more fetching than, Greta Garbo, so I am sure he gave them their money’s worth. At this period in my adolescence, I also amused myself in my spare time by going around to watch the holy men and holier females pitch the woo at the simple-minded, and I learned much from the many performances I attended, from Aimee Semple McPherson’s shows for the masses in the theatre called Angelus Temple to Katherine Tingley’s select entertainments for high-brow suckers on her then elegant estate near San Diego.
I entered Pomona College in Claremont, California, when I was sixteen.
I married Grace Needham in 1930. Whatever I may have achieved, I owe entirely to the sustaining power through all subsequent years of an unfailing devotion for which I cannot rationally account.
As a result of the preparations, begun in the late autumn of 1929, for the election of Roosevelt in 1932, I spent several years in a small publishing business, learning that I was not destined to become a financial giant.
I began graduate study at the University of Illinois under Professor William Abbott Oldfather, whom many considered the most distinguished Classical Philologist in this country. My first book was a parergon, a critical and annotated translation from the Sanskrit of The Little Clay Cart, published in 1938.
I received the degree of Philosophiae Doctor in 1940. I may add that, given the great fear of “inbreeding,” I am the only person to receive the degree in Classics at the University of Illinois whom the Department determined to retain permanently. I began teaching graduate classes immediately after receiving the degree. For a considerable number of years I also gave graduate courses in the Renaissance, which put me also in the Department of Spanish and Italian, of which my good friend, Professor John Van Horne, was the head.
At the suggestion of a military friend, I agreed, sometime in 1941, to join a secret subsidiary of the War Department, and did so as soon as my academic responsibilities would permit, in 1942, remaining there until the autumn of 1945. By good luck, I found myself in charge of a rapidly expanding department, and soon advanced from Analyst to Director of Research, finding myself responsible for the work of c. 175 persons. The work was harrowing, for various reasons, but extremely instructive. I learned, for example, the ultimate secret of Pearl Harbor, which was evidently unknown to Admiral Theobald and which was not disclosed in print until 1981 (in my America’s Decline, page 7).
I returned to the University in 1945 as an Assistant Professor, became an Associate Professor in 1947, and Professor in 1953. I held a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1946-47, and a Fulbright (Italy), 1953-54. I retired as Emeritus in 1977. (Two days after my retirement, I was amazed to discover from events that then began that the Administration, which has hated me cordially, was also sufficiently afraid of me to defer an attack on the Department’s scholarly standing until after my retirement. I don’t mean that I had been able to keep it near the distinction it had under Oldfather — I knew that couldn’t be done when I resigned in disgust as departmental office boy — and thought it had sadly deteriorated; that was because I had not estimated how much worse things could become.)
Strange as it must now seem, I left the District of Corruption in 1945 with the firm conviction that the unbearable stench of that vast cesspool could not long be confined, and that when the facts of the Crusade to Save the Soviet and other operations became known, as they inevitably must, the indignation of the American people would produce a reaction of such vehemence and violence that it could never be forgotten in history. That confidence was not shaken until 1954. In the following year, my friend, Professor Willmoore Kendall, who had long desiderated a “conservative” antidote to the New Republic, etc., and had had among his pupils at Yale a bright and wealthy young man, William F. Buckley, Jr., discussed with me plans for the journal, which was eventually called National Review and was then intended to be approximately what Instauration now is, with, however, the significant difference that Instauration was not able to start with the expectation of losing $2,000 a week for three years. When Kendall told me that he had not been able to find a single university professor who dared to join him in writing for the projected weekly, I accepted the challenge. That is how I began to write on political subjects. That was certainly a grave mistake from the standpoint of my career and the comfort of my wife; whether it was from other standpoints, I have never quite decided. What happened to National Review after it began publication, and particularly after Kendall was shouldered out by a gang of “professionals” who assured young Buckley that he was the Messiah, would be a long and depressing story.
In 1958 Robert Welch convinced me of his bona fides and induced me to join in founding the John Birch Society. I have never quite been able to make up my mind as to whether he cozened me from the first (which my vanity makes me reluctant to admit) or sold out later.
In 1958 I still believed that there was a significant intellectual difference between the American bourgeoisie and the cattle that one sees peering between the slats of large trucks as they contentedly munch hay on their way to the abattoir. Since severing my connections with the Birch hoax, I have chosen to write with utter frankness on the dire plight of our race and the civilization we created. The reader has been warned.
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Source: The Jewish Strategy, published by Kevin Alfred Strom, 2002