Can ‘Liberals’ Be Educated?
An important question is given a humorous treatment by one of the greatest scholars and wits America has ever produced.
by Revilo P. Oliver (pictured)
Text of an address to the assembled Citizens’ Councils of America in Chattanooga on January 7, 1966. A recording of this speech is also available.
I HAVE BEEN ASKED to discuss with you tonight the grave social and biological problem presented by that noisy band of persons who currently call themselves “liberal intellectuals.” It is not a new problem. The contemporary specimens have inherited the whole of their little stock of phrases and notions, which they are pleased to call “ideas,” from their predecessors in the 18th Century, when they called themselves philosophes since France was the country in which they were then making the most noise. But they represent a biological tendency which you can trace back historically until you see that it is much older than civilization itself.
That there may be no misunderstanding, let me make it clear that tonight I shall consistently use the word “intellectual” within quotation marks as the designation that a group of persons have given themselves. I shall not use the word as a common noun with its correct English meaning. If we used the word in that sense, we could do little more than agree with Ayn Rand, who, in a recent book, says quite bluntly:
“Our present state of cultural disintegration is not maintained and prolonged by intellectuals as such, but by the fact that we haven’t any. The majority of those who pose as ‘intellectuals’ today are frightened zombies, posturing in a vacuum of their own making…. The key to their souls is their longing for the effortless, irresponsible, automatic consciousness of an animal. They dread the necessity, the risk, and the responsibility of rational cognition.”
So tonight we shall talk about “intellectuals.”
The problem, however, is particularly urgent today. It concerns all of us. As we all know, the Communist takeover of the United States, now in progress, would have been impossible, had not the self-styled “intellectuals” done so much of the Conspiracy’s work for it. But Bolshevism is a subject that we cannot consider tonight, for I must limit myself strictly to “liberal intellectuals” as distinct from members of the International Conspiracy, although I admit that in many cases it is very difficult to tell the difference.
We must all cope with “intellectuals’ every day, but I particularly hope that the suggestions that I am going to offer may be useful to those members of this audience who are most besieged and harassed.
One of the chief reasons why I permit myself to hope that our nation may yet survive and have a future is the fact that among the hordes that swarm over college campuses these days there is a considerable number — even a large number — of students …who, amid many obstacles and difficulties, are trying to ascertain for themselves the nature of the world in which they live. Every campus, of course, also has its rabble of young “liberals,” who are forever making a din as they “demonstrate” for “world peash,” “snivel rights,” and the like, and who, if we may judge from their appearance and their yammering, are as afraid of war as they are of soap.
I am sure that every student here present fully understands the importance of staying on the good side of the young “intellectuals” — I mean the windward side, of course.
The student’s real difficulty arises from the fact that the self-styled “liberal intellectuals,” by methods described in the two books (Keynes At Harvard and The Great Deceit) published by the Veritas Foundation, have attained a stranglehold on American education, and very few college students can escape the ministrations of the “liberal” professor, who urges or requires them to follow him down the rabbit hole or behind the looking glass into the Wonderland in which “intellectuals” live, and in which the hapless student must emulate the White Queen, who, you will remember, was able, with just a little practice, to believe six impossible things before breakfast every morning.
Now, a serious examination of the problem of “liberal intellectuals” must, I believe, begin with recognition of one fundamental fact — that we are dealing with the phenomenon that is know in biology as symbiosis. In other words, we are examining not one species, but two, that are interdependent, just as in the example of symbiosis that will come to everyone’s mind: Many species of ants maintain aphids in their nests, and in such an arrangement, the ants could not live without the aphids nor the aphids without the ants.
As I have said, I consider this symbiosis as the fundamental fact in our problem tonight, so let me illustrate it with two or three examples that will make it clear.
In the second half of the 19th Century lived a distinguished French mathematician, Professor Michel Chasles. He was the author of a number of treatises that you will find cited in any reasonably complete work on geometrical theory, prisms, or conic sections. He developed a method of analytical geometry independent of the calculus, and his treatise on the displacement of solids is regarded as a mathematical classic. He was a member of the French Academie des Sciences, which means that he was recognized as one of the 66 best scientific minds in all France, and he was furthermore the recipient of the highest honor that the Royal Society of London could bestow.
Now Professor Chasles was quite wealthy, and one day there came to him an enterprising young intellectual named Vrain-Lucas, who was — he said — a specialist in finding old documents, particularly autographs. He sold the good professor an original letter which proved that Descartes had anticipated all the discoveries of Newton. Professor Chasles was elated to be the possessor of a document of such vast significance in the history of science, and his appetite was whetted for more. So he made Vrain-Lucas promise to bring to him all his sensational finds. Vrain-Lucas did; he supplied remarkable documents, first, one at a time, then by the dozen, and then by the score.
In a few years, M. Chasles had a much smaller balance at his bankers, but he owned a collection of treasures unmatched in the world: unique documents, almost all of them autographs, written by the great figures of history. He had original letters by Pascal, by Montaigne, by Amerigo Vespucci, by Charlemagne, by St. Jerome, by Plato, by Socrates, and by many others. It would be hard to say which item in his collection of more than 600 letters was the most remarkable, but my favorite is the autographic love-letter written by Cleopatra to Julius Caesar — a letter that Cleopatra wrote with her own fair hand — with a steel pen — on rag paper — in 16th-Century French!
Now it may not be fair to single out the French mathematician from among the thousands of men like him, but just the same, if I had anything to do with running a college, I would see to it that a statue of Professor Chasles stood at the gates as a reminder of what education can do for a man.
If you ask which was the “intellectual,” Professor Chasles or Vrain-Lucas, the answer, of course, is both of them. They are complementary types, like the yin and yang in the Chinese monogram, and one could scarcely exist without the other. One, indeed, is to a large extent the cause of the other.
Our race always has been, and probably always will be, afflicted with well-meaning people, usually well-educated and sometimes brilliant, who simply cannot keep their imaginations under control. They are born to be the dupes of any scoundrel or adventurer who takes the trouble to put out a little bait for them, and they are often so generous that they do more than half his work for him and practically dupe themselves.
Many of you, I am sure, have read the Memoirs of Casanova, who was an intellectual in his day and wrote a Utopia, the Icosameron, in which he shows how easy it would be for us to have One World chock full of “social justice.” If you have read the Memoirs you will recall the once celebrated Madame d’Urfé, who was not the object of one of Casanova’s rather commonplace seductions, but instead the principal source of his income for a large part of his career.
Madame d’Urfé, whom Casanova met when she was fairly well along in years, was one of the wealthiest and most brilliant women in France. She was not only learned in the usual sense, but she was a chemist of some skill, had installed an elaborate laboratory in her home, and is credited with the invention of a laboratory furnace which would automatically maintain a relatively constant temperature for many days.
Now Casanova, who was skilled in cabalistic hocus-pocus, admits quite frankly that he set out to delude Mme. d’Urfé, justifying himself, you will remember, with the plea that if he hadn’t fleeced the old fool, someone else would have got her money. And I think he is telling the truth when he tells us that she herself dreamed up the project for which she lavished so much money on him and which involved him in a whole series of ludicrous adventures.
Mme. d’Urfé was tired of being a woman, and she insisted that Casanova make a man of her. She firmly believed that that was possible, because she had the same superstitious faith in the wonders of science that we see among our contemporaries, and, of course, she eventually killed herself with an overdose of the drugs intended to hasten the wondrous transformation.
We may think her a fool for having believed that — but was it, after all, much more fantastic, much more contrary to the ascertained and obvious facts of nature, much more irrational than the tommyrot about “noble savages,” brotherhood, equality, world courts, and the like that some of her contemporaries — Rousseau, Helvetius, Saint-Pierre, and their kind — were busily peddling to persons as credulous as she?
If Mme. d’Urfé in the 18th Century seems a little remote to you, let me give you another example, which will incidentally show how closely that period is linked to the present. When I was in my teens, I knew an amiable lady who was a graduate of one of the best-known women’s colleges and, at the time that I knew her, the director of a small library. She was, on the whole, well educated and quite rational, although from time to time her eyes would take on the glazed look that is typical of “liberals” and she would chatter about the “unity of mankind,” “world peace,” and similar pish-posh. I was really taken aback one day when she confided in me that she was a member of an international order of big-brained females headed by the Comte de Saint-Germain, who, she assured me, was still alive and directed the order from his chateau in Hungary, where he spent his time thinking Big Thoughts.
Let me remind you who the famous Comte de Saint-Germain was. Of course, his name was not Saint-Germain and he was not a count. His real identity is unknown; what little can be discovered of his back trail leads to Poland, Germany, and Portugal, but it is not known in which country he was born. Neither is it known precisely what his racket was, for, unlike Casanova, he was not an ordinary swindler. One theory is that he was an espionage agent in the pay of Catherine the Great of Russia.
At all events, he was supplied with evidently unlimited funds from some mysterious source, and when he turned up in Paris in 1748 as the Comte de Saint-Germain, he quickly became one of the most influential men in France, an adviser to Louis XV, and the darling of all the “intellectuals.”
He had many charms. He was, for example, the perfect dinner guest. For one thing, he never ate anything. He had, you see, made a great scientific discovery, and extracted the vital essence directly from the atmosphere. For another thing, he was such an interesting conversationalist he could, for example, tell you all about the Crucifixion of Christ, at which he had been present. He was, you see, 2,000 years old, and explained that he was so well preserved for his age because, in addition to living on air, he took every 20 years a spoonful of colorless liquid that rejuvenated him for another 20 years. Of course, the “intellectuals” had no difficulty believing such things.
The Comte de Saint-Germain had quite a career, but finally in 1784, presumably at the ripe old age of 2000-plus, he died and was buried in Schleswig.
So you will see why I was a little startled when the lady told me that her society was headed by an individual who for 150 years had been in the good earth of Schleswig sprouting — well, not daisies, I’m sure, but perhaps poison ivy. So I ventured to suggest that the Comte de Saint-Germain was probably in no condition to think Big Thoughts.
But the lady was most indignant at my crass skepticism, and proceeded to prove me wrong. Members of her society had the great privilege of sending $100 to the Count in Hungary and receiving in return a personal letter of advice concerning the care and feeding of their souls.
She had sent the $100 — which, of course, was the equivalent of about $400 or $500 today — and she had the letter. It was, as I remember, about 25 pages long. It had been produced by a process similar to mimeographing, with blank spaces on the first and last pages in which the name of the addressee was inserted with a matching typewriter.
The contents of the letter were, as one would expect, the old drivel about “awakening higher consciousness” and the sky-pie that would be available to everyone as soon as everyone “got in tune with the infinite.” But the envelope bore an Hungarian postmark, and the letter was signed, “Comte de Saint-Germain.” And that, you see, proved it. The old boy was still going strong and presumably good for another 2,000 years, at least.
I don’t know whether the good lady’s secret society of super-minds is still operating, but there are plenty like it. In 1943, for example, a committee of the California Legislature stumbled on a weird organization called Mankind United, which supported an even more wonderful subsidiary called the Universal Institute for Research and Administration.
Now Mankind United had the usual noble purposes: it was working for the “brotherhood of man,” “equal living conditions for all peoples,” “equality of all races and creeds,” “world government,” and “world peace.” It was working desperately to save the human race from annihilation by a horrible new instrument of warfare that could exterminate one billion people in the twinkling of an eye. And, to cap it all, Mankind United was going to conduct a “Crusade against Poverty.”
In other words, you see, Mankind United put out all the stale old sucker-bait that attracts do-gooders as infallibly as cheese brings a mouse to a trap. Mice never learn, of course, but then mice, so far as I know, never pose as “intellectuals” either.
Mankind United was remarkable in other ways. According to its official report, it had a membership of 176,000,000 men and women. Yes, 176,000,000 — but remember that that is their figure, not mine, and I cannot guarantee that there wasn’t a mistake in the arithmetic some place. But in addition to this large human membership, Mankind United, through the Universal Institute for Research, enlisted the cooperation of a race of little men with metal heads who live in the hollow center of the earth and produce earthquakes whenever they feel like shaking things up a bit on the surface.
The identifiable head of this great society was known to the Faithful as “The Voice.” He modestly claimed that he floated around the earth just by thinking himself wherever he wanted to be. Thus he could make if from an ocean liner in mid-Atlantic to San Francisco in just seven minutes flat, incidentally thinking his luggage through space along with himself to avoid a delay at Customs. When The Voice was located in a luxurious apartment in San Francisco, he gave the name of Arthur Lober Bell, but added that he had so many names he couldn’t be quite sure of that. On oath before the California Committee on Un-American Activities, he swore that he wasn’t all there. His organization, you see, had so much business in so many parts of the world that he just had to be in several places at the same time. Obviously, therefore, all of him couldn’t be in any one place at one time. Logical, you see; you can’t dispute that reasoning.
The California Committee was able to locate only a few thousand of Mankind United’s 176,000,000 members. But here is the really significant thing. The membership included a very considerable number of college professors, teachers, physicians, lawyers, and other individuals who had been certified as literate by what are politely called institutions of higher learning. One of the most dedicated members was a full professor at the University of California, who had evidently resolved to devote his life to promoting “One World” through Mankind United — in cooperation, of course, with the great race of little men with metal heads downstairs. He doubtless reasoned that a metal head must contain a perfect thinking machine, especially if it had ball-bearings in it.
Now I have not mentioned these four examples, out of the many hundreds that could be cited, merely to amuse you. I intended them to illustrate the principle of symbiosis. The phenomenon that is called “liberal intellectualism” depends on the conjunction of two distinct species, the intellectual sucker and the intellectual shyster. Of course, in all societies there is a copious supply of both species. The late P. T. Barnum used to utter the philosophic dictum that a sucker was born every minute, but, as we all know, since Barnum’s day the birth rate has increased enormously.
This symbiosis, as I have said, antedates civilization and all recorded history. Dr. Harry Wright, in his recent anthropological study of witchcraft among the lower forms of human life today, made a sagacious and telling observation. He studied the operations of the shamans, fetish-men, and witch-doctors among the sub-humans who now revel, on your money, in the big glass cage in New York City that is called the “United Nations.”
The witch-doctors, as you would expect, are brutish things. They make themselves impressive by smearing themselves with elephant dung or by wearing a human shinbone in their knotted and greasy hair. They are stupid, but not quite so stupid as the savages among whom they flourish.
A typical operation, as witnessed by Dr. Wright, is this: A savage who thinks he has an ache comes to the witch-doctor, who, after collecting his fee in advance, applies his mouth to the affected part and sucks out the evil spirit, which he then visibly spits out in the form of dead grasshoppers, pieces of wood, or something like that.
Of course, the witch-doctor places those oddments in his mouth before beginning the ceremony, and must therefore know what he is doing. Therefore, says Dr. Wright, in relation to the society in which he lives, the witch-doctor is “an intellectual living by his wits.”
Incidentally, we probably should not be so supercilious abut the ignorant savages who are swindled with dead grasshoppers. Not long ago the malodorous Department of Heath, Education, and Welfare, which siphons five billion dollars from the pockets of the Americans suckers every year, used some of that money to send one of its specialists to Africa to scatter the blossoms of “mental health” among the fuzzie-wuzzies. This expert held the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from a reputed American university, and he was a practitioner of one of our most lucrative forms of mumbo-jumbo, the kind invented by Sigmund Freud.
Now the only thing that is remarkable about that is that the Department of Heath, Education, and Welfare was so indiscreet as to print in its official publication, Public Heath Reports for July 1959, a report from its expert head-shrinker out in the Sudan, in which that expert boasted that he was working in harmonious cooperation with the local witch-doctors and that they were having fun referring “patients” back and forth. Well, why not? They were all running the same kind of racket. But really Dr. Freud’s apostle should have known better than to admit it in public.
But now let us return from this digression to the four random examples of symbiosis that I gave you a few minutes ago. You noted, I am sure, that lucrative swindles, covering two centuries in time, used the same kind of sucker-bait to trap educated nincompoops. That immediately raises the question of how it is possible for such antiquated frauds to be peddled even in academic communities, which still contain a very considerable number of scholars, who, defying the precepts and examples set by John Dewey and his kind, still believe in truth and intellectual integrity. The answer, of course, is the vast power that the “intellectuals” have attained and ruthlessly exert. Consider for a moment a typical example.
Eight or nine years ago, an American scholar, Mathurin Dondo, wrote, on the basis of a great deal of research in French archives, a biography of Henri de Saint-Simon, who is generally regarded as the founder of modern Socialism.
Now Professor Dondo conscientiously and accurately reported the evidence, and he showed us what kind of man Saint-Simon was. He was, to put it briefly, a pathological liar who seems never to have told the truth about anything when he could possibly avoid it. He was an unprincipled opportunist who lived under every government in France from the ancien régime to the Restoration and, more agile in conscience that the Vicar of Bray, he proclaimed that each new government was the realization of his long-cherished ideals — and went on proclaiming it so long as he had a prospect of getting regular handouts from the treasury.
He was a débauché, given to abuse of alcohol, narcotics, and women; and while we may pardon men for almost any sensuality, our stomachs must turn at the hypocrite who makes his vices odious by claiming that his debauches are the result of a high-minded urge to do sociological research.
Saint-Simon was from the first either a conscious fraud or subject to hallucinations, for he used to go into dark rooms and hold long conversations with Charlemagne, who, he said, was his ancestor. Saint-Simon had wonderful revelations in the dark room, reporting, among other things, that Charlemagne’s ghost had joyfully recognized in Saint-Simon the greatest philosopher of the modern world.
Saint-Simon was also a resourceful man with a fine sense of social values: After he had talked a wealthy business man into endowing him with an annual pension, he went on to seduce or compromise that man’s wife and so increase his income by levying secret blackmail on her.
All this — and more — Professor Dondo reports in his book. But at this point he comes up against the pet superstitions of our contemporary “intellectuals.” For 150 years ago Saint-Simon, while extracting fast bucks from boobs — pardon me, while extracting fast francs from humanitarians — put out a lot of bunk that is still fashionable stock-in-trade. He denounced “colonialism” and said that it was the duty of prosperous nations to provide technical and financial assistance to “underdeveloped countries” so as to industrialize the whole world and make everyone as happy as larks.
He proved how awfully simple it was to abolish poverty everywhere by applying “science” to the twin problems of raising everyone’s standard of living and organizing “social justice” everywhere to ensure world peace. He proved conclusively that by 1814 modern weapons had become so destructive that war was “unthinkable,” and he was a vociferous apostle of a “United Nations” to replace war with “world cooperation.” This stale old nonsense, of course, is still the stock-in-trade of the Liberal Establishment, which hasn’t had a new idea, just as it hasn’t learned anything, in 150 years. So what is a biographer of Saint-Simon to do? I quote verbatim from Professor Dondo’s conclusion:
“Saint-Simon, profligate, impulsive, irrational, a plaything of his sensuous whims, victim of his delusions…belonged to the class of eccentric, unbalanced, unstable individuals from whom are recruited poets, reformers, founders of religions. The world’s… salvation comes from the Saint-Simons.”
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. You have a serious scholar — who, I suspect, knows better — telling you by implication that ethical responsibility and simple honesty, reason and even the ability to distinguish between reality and hallucination, are merely the trammels of earthbound mortals, petty standards that must not be applied to anyone who has contracted — or says that he has contracted — a sanctifying itch to save the world. You have a responsible scholar telling you expressly that the world’s salvation comes from whims, irrationality, and delusions.
You also have an open confession of the intellectual bankruptcy of so-called “liberalism.” It is hard to take the peddlers of such trumpery seriously, so long as one regards them as the merchants of ideas. “Intellectuals” such as Professor Chasles and Mme. d’Urfé, such as Vrain-Lucas and Casanova and even Saint-Simon, seem, on the whole, harmless, and we may even feel grateful to them for supplying us with many of the funniest true stories in the world. If it were merely a question of ideas, we could afford to sit back and laugh at the motley carnival of freaks and charlatans that has been touring our world for two centuries and relieving the yokels of their pocket money. If it were merely a question of ideas, such mountebanks could not have seriously disturbed the order and stability of the Western world.
Obviously, we must look beyond the self-styled “intellectuals” so formidable, and here again we find our clearest illustration in the 18th Century. On the first of May, 1776, an elaborate criminal conspiracy was organized by a diseased degenerate named Adam Weishaupt, who was Professor of Law — Canon Law, if you please — in the University of Ingolstadt. The conspiracy was a secret society whose members were known as the Perfektibilisten although they are also called Illuminati — a term that we may use so long as we remember that it was also applied to other groups.
Weishaupt’s conspiracy is one about which we know a good deal, because in 1786 the Bavarian government raided one of the local headquarters, seized the files, and published them. The volumes of this publication are now rare, but there are several copies in North America, including one in the Library of Congress.
The purpose of Weishaupt’s conspiracy, as explicitly stated by himself in writing and accepted by his fellows in the inner circle of the organization, was, quite simply, conquest of the world by the destruction of civilization, including specifically in its program such items as the abolition of private property, the abolition of national governments, the abolition of all morality, and the abolition of Christianity and, indeed, of all religion.
Weishaupt’s organization, however, was modeled on the old order of Assassins, which gave to our language that significant word, and was accordingly divided into grades or degrees of initiation. All members were bound by stringent oaths and threats of death to both secrecy and blind obedience to all orders that came to them from above, but each grade or degree had its own doctrine. The real purposes of the order were concealed completely from neophytes, and revealed only to those who had ascended through the preparatory degrees to the inner circle — and promotion from one degree to another was, of course, available only to those who evinced a capacity for progressing at least a stage or two toward the insane nihilism of the inner circle. The rest were kept, of course, in lower grades proportionate to their capacities. As Weishaupt wrote to his colleagues, urging more intensive recruiting of neophytes:
“These good people swell our numbers and fill our money-box; set yourselves to work; these gentlemen must be made to nibble at the bait…. But this sort of people must always be made to believe that the grade they have reached is the last.”
Thus it was that a conspiracy for the destruction of all European nations was able to enlist among its members some of the reigning princes of Germany, and a conspiracy for the abolition of Christianity was able to enlist pious Christians. The latter Weishaupt regarded as the best joke of all. He wrote:
“The most wonderful thing of all is that the distinguished Lutheran and Calvinist theologians who belong to our Order really believe that they see in it the true and genuine mind of the Christian religion. Is there anything that you cannot make men believe?”
The Bavarian branch of the Illuminati was suppressed, at least temporarily, in 1786, but the Bavarian government naturally could do nothing about the branches in other countries, and these preserved their secrets intact.
I am not here concerned with any of the attempts that have been made to sketch the later history of the conspiracy. I am interested only in the ascertained facts attested by the published documents, and in these primarily as an illustration of phenomena that we may expect to find repeated many times in our own society. Weishaupt’s Illuminati provide us with a perfect working model of conspiratorial activity among “intellectuals,” show how easy it is for adroit criminals to enlist and manipulate educated suckers, and, above all, bring us face to face with the highly distasteful fact that mankind does produce criminals like Weishaupt and his confederates in the inner circle.
All of these are important points, and each would repay detailed examination. In the activities of our so-called “intellectuals” we see time after time clear indications of cohesiveness and a coordination of efforts that strongly suggests conspiratorial, that is to say central, direction. If, for example, you examine the carefully documented publication of the Veritas Foundation, Keynes At Harvard, you cannot escape the authors’ conclusion that “Keynesiansm is not an economic theory. It is a weapon of political conspiracy.” And you cannot fail to see that the Fabian Socialists have “used the [conspiratorial] techniques of the Communist Party…with the obvious intention of destroying…the [American] Constitution.”
Now without attempting to decide at this time whether the Fabian Socialists are a subsidiary of the Communist conspiracy or an independent group that happens to be working for virtually the same ends, we must note the important point that it operates as a conspiracy and ask ourselves whether this coordination of effort can be adequately explained in terms of some blind instinct, such as that which sets a colony of termites to work in harmonious cooperation for the destruction of a house, or whether it can be explained in terms of some preliminary training, such as that which enables a pack of well-trained collies to drive herds of sheep through complicated routes, or whether it presupposes conscious direction from day to day and therefore a secret organization of some kind, formal or informal.
This is an important question, for we see the same kind of phenomenon, less obvious, perhaps, but distinctly perceptible, in almost all areas of activity of our “intellectuals.” They are influential, not as individuals, but as gangs operating for the same general ends, usually with a high degree of coordination. And this coordination becomes really remarkable when it is observed in matters that do not affect an obvious common interest.
Under modern conditions, for example, it may be only natural for a swarm of so-called educators to cooperate perfectly in hunting down their common prey, the taxpayers, and to attack viciously anyone who disturbs them as they sink their probosces deeper and deeper, year after year — but what conceivable common interest could they have in abolishing the House Committee on Un-American Activities? What envisaged profit could cause a state-wide gang to turn like a wolf-pack on a superintendent of schools who sponsored a speaker who spoke unkindly of the Communist conspiracy? Why should one of these packs, as happened in Wisconsin last year, turn on a professor of education and hunt him out of the academic world because he spoke respectfully of the American Constitution and dared to suggest that teachers of American history really ought to read it sometime? How could such a view diminish their annual take from the exploited and enslaved taxpayers of Wisconsin?
I greatly fear that the “intellectuals” shysters are so well organized in their many branches that they, whether they all know it or not, are tentacles of a single octopus and therefore subject to a single central control. And, in any case, you can’t hope to educate the shysters; they already know what they are doing. They at least know that they are witch-doctors living by their wits and battening on the credulity of the American people.
But what about the “intellectual” suckers, the literate and well-meaning dopes like Professor Chasles and Mme. d’Urfé and the rest? Can they be educated? Is there anything that we can teach them from books or show them by reason and argument to make them less fatally gullible? Or, if that cannot be done, are they at least intelligent enough to learn from experience when they see that they have been hoaxed?
Some, no doubt. There have been several recent books, by John Dos Passos and Edmund Wilson, for example, by honest “liberal intellectuals” who give most encouraging indications that they are beginning to grow up, now that they are past 60 or 70. But the proportion, I am afraid, is small. I do wish that one of these busy-bodies who are forever making “statistical studies” about nonsense would make a statistical study that would mean something — a statistical study of the capacity of “intellectuals” to learn the obvious.
There is abundant material for dozens of studies of that kind. Here is just one example of what could be determined with some mathematical precision and by the expenditure of much less effort than goes into some learned university studies of, for example, the size of pancake preferred by men as distinct from the size preferred by women.
As we all know now, the international Communist conspiracy, coordinating the efforts of its divisional headquarters in New York, Washington, and Moscow, used your money to install in Cuba, in January, 1959, a notorious Communist agent named Fidel Castro, and started to work immediately to install military and naval bases, including submarine pens and ballistic missiles, 90 miles from our shores. Of course, the Conspiracy through its various outlets, such as the New York Times and other lie-papers, poured out hogwash about “agrarian reformers” and “the George Washington of Cuba.” And it was only to be expected that our “intellectuals,” who had swallowed exactly the same swill a few years before when the United States delivered China to the Communist conspiracy, lapped it up again with relish.
Now, I am not complaining about that. It is true that there was no possible doubt about the fact that Castro was a Communist agent carrying out a Communist operation: In a speech which some of you may have heard, it takes me a full hour to give a condensed résumé of the evidence that was available to everyone before 1959 — all of it on the public record and some of it in the files of every large newspaper — which proved, beyond all peradventure of doubt, that Castro and all of his lieutenants were Bolsheviks. But I not going to say that our “liberals” should have looked at the evidence. As we all know, “intellectuals” are equipped with oversize brains that perpetually fizz with “social ideals,” so perhaps it would not be fair to expect them to find out what they are talking about.
As soon as Castro came to power in Cuba, Mr. Robert Welch and Dr. J. B. Mathews in the pages of American Opinion and, if you will pardon me for mentioning, I, in speeches before the Daughters of the American Revolution and other organizations, pointed out the obvious facts about Castro and the Soviet takeover of Cuba. And you may remember how the “liberal intellectuals” began to shriek and spit at us. But I am not complaining about that.
We all know that “intellectuals” have mighty minds capable of remembering the phrases that the Communists teach them, and so, whenever they are disturbed by facts, they naturally start shrieking “reactionary,” “fascist,” “right-wing extremist,” “racist,” and the like. And one shouldn’t mind their spitting. After all, cats do that, you know. And for that matter, benevolent Nature has equipped another puny creature, the skunk, with a means of making itself important.
So I shall not be so extravagant as to suggest that our “intellectuals” should have learned the obvious in 1958 or 1959 or 1960 or most of 1961, although, of course, the evidence not only about Castro but about the Soviet installation of missiles and other weapons aimed at the United States accumulated day by day. Big minds shouldn’t be bothered with evidence. But here is the point that is worth considering.
During the summer and autumn of 1961 the Communist’s subsidiary called “Fair Play for Cuba,” which, of course, had been thoroughly exposed as a Communist front by that time, sent up smoke-screens for Comrade Fidel on a national scale, using, of course, a great many “liberal intellectuals” in the faculties of our colleges and universities. Those persons went on record publicly as endorsing Castro, guaranteeing that he was a sweet and lovely “democrat” and “social reformer,” and even demanding in some cases that he be given a pipeline direct to the Treasury in Washington. As I say, these people went on record publicly, signing manifestos and inserting full-page advertisements in newspapers. In some universities, as many as 300 individuals connected with the faculty or administration went on record in that way. The total throughout the country must be several thousand.
Now undoubtedly the organizers of those manifestos and some of the signers knew very well what they were doing. They said to one another, “We have got to keep those American boobs quiet until the Soviet bases are all completed; as soon as that is done, we’ll say “Oops, they’re Communists after all in Cuba,” and we’ll run out and scare the boobs by yelling “atomic holocaust,” “annihilation of mankind,” “negotiated peace,” and “better red than dead.”
But it is only charitable to suppose that the majority of the signers of those manifestos were just intellectual suckers who actually believed the tripe to which they affixed their names.
Now, as you may remember, in December 1961, sweet Fidel made monkeys out of those supermen by going on the radio and boasting that he had been a Bolshevik ever since he was a boy.
At that point, the intellectual suckers must have realized that they had been had. The whole list of signers stood exposed before the American public, including their own colleagues and the residents of the communities in which their diploma-mills were located — stood exposed as either traitors or jackasses. I don’t see how the suckers could have failed to feel embarrassed.
When a normally intelligent human being has been swindled, he sits down and reviews very carefully the sources of information on which he relied, the weaknesses in himself, and the tricks of the confidence men who took him in, and he tries to make sure that he will not be caught again in the same way. That’s what ordinarily intelligent and prudent people do, and I should think that that is not too much to expect of “intellectuals.”
But it is a curious and perhaps significant fact that, so far as I have been able to learn, not one peep was heard from all those thousands of super-brains the day after Castro made his announcement — or the week after — or the month after — or the year after — or down to the present time.
Now it’s possible, of course, that the poor suckers were so embarrassed that they kept quiet in the hope that their friends and neighbors would charitably forget their humiliation and disgrace.
So that is why I should like to see some investigator make the sociological study that I have suggested. All he would have to do is compile the names, which, as I have said, are all on record in print, and then ascertain how many of the signers are still out Communist-fronting and whooping it up for current and unmistakable Communist operations, such as “disarmament” or the race war now being waged against White Americans.
Until such a statistical investigation has been made, it would be a little venturesome to guess what percentage of “liberal intellectuals” are intelligent enough to learn from their own experience. And certainly those who cannot learn in that way could never be educated in any other way.
Without statistics, any opinion that may be offered must necessarily be a mere guess. Now I certainly do not want to seem discouraging, ladies and gentlemen, but my best guess, for what it may be worth, is that among the honest “intellectuals,” the percentage of recovery is comparatively small. They may mean well, but, like confirmed alcoholics, they have acquired the habit of escape from reality into the Wonderland Behind the Looking Glass.
If candid, they would have to say of themselves what one of their idols, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, admitted to Boswell in an unguarded moment: “I cannot tolerate the world as it is; I must live in a world of fantasies.”
Such habits, once acquired, are extremely hard to break. That is why I fear that many “liberal intellectuals,” like so many alcoholics, just can’t get along without their hooch.