On Conrad Black, FDR, Dilettantes, And Farragos
Conrad Black is the latest personage on the Right to weigh-in on Diana West’s latest book, American Betrayal, and, like David Horowitz, Ron Radosh, and others, he emerges from the task with his reputation damaged.
Stacy McCain has posted a take down of Mr. Black over at The Other McCain that is well-worth a read, as it also shows Mr. Black’s opinion of FDR for what it is: naively foolish.
My parents were New Deal Democrats, but I grew up at a time and in a place when Republicans were extraordinarily rare. I’ve often said I never actually met a Republican until I went to college and, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t until my junior year. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-30s that I became an ex-Democrat, and so I completely understand the quasi-religious reverence that Democrats have for FDR, Harry Truman and JFK. What puzzles me nowadays is that some conservatives seem to share that attitude.
National Review has published a column by Conrad Black which calls Diana West’s new book American Betrayal a “farrago of lies,” [*] and I just don’t know what to say, except that (a) Black doesn’t seem to have read West’s book, and (b) is therefore attacking the straw man version of West’s argument, as presented by Ron Radosh.
One of the main reasons Mr. Black, I think, is so upset with Mrs. West’s well-researched work is that it strips away nearly all of the fake luster that has enveloped his grand hero, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
We cannot make progress against the progressive message when we refuse to regard its bearers with their due incivility.
FDR was an economic dilettante, the ultimate parlor pink who nattered on from the White House and his Hyde Park mansion about fixing the maximum American wage at $25K a year (“No one,” he said, “needed to earn more than that.”) and stuffing working-class Americans into managed ‘workers’ villages.’ He diddled around with draconian enforcement of wage and price controls on every aspect of commerce (one luckless dry cleaner was sent to Federal prison for charging a nickel too much to clean a suit). He drove millions onto soup lines while cattle were slaughtered, crops plowed under and milk poured into the gutters because price controls made it impossible for farmers and ranchers to sell them for a living price.
His pointless and inexpert meddling with the economy prolonged the Depression for years, and would have continued to but for the eruption of WWII. He was an unqualified disaster whose incompetence and abuse of the public trust were covered over by a willing or intimidated media and intelligentsia.
Dead solid perfect.
FDR was a dilettante in all things. And, like so many inheritors of unearned wealth, a Fascist who fancied himself, by his birth and schooling, to be one of the few people fit to run the world.
When Barack Hussein Obama has compared himself to FDR, I have not protested because the two are pretty damn close in their thinking of the world, of other people, and of themselves. They both share a worst-class temperament.
Diana West’s book is a needed contribution to the necessary debunking of FDR [and Truman] and of the Leftist version of history, which is pure fantasy.
A Final Word on Mr. Black: Some on the side of the angels in this argument have claimed that Conrad Black is not a conservative. To be fair, Mr. Black is a conservative — just not a very good one. Mark Steyn likes hims, so he must be a fellow worthy of having a few drinks with.
* The word ‘farrago’ comes from the Latin word that
means ‘a mash for feeding cattle’, which is appropriate
because, when it comes to Mr. Black’s worship of FDR,
he’s feeding us bull.