On June 19th, the Washington Times ran Frank Csongo's review of Diana West's book, American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on American Character. It was a supercilious review that ignored West's chief themes, labored under inaccuracies and fallacies, and generally was meant to discredit West and her book. I was so startled by its inherent injustice that I wrote the editor asking if the paper would be willing to run a counter-review. As of this date, I have not received a reply. Consequently, I address some of Csongo's errors and assertions here.
For a discussion of issues covered in West's book, see "Our Enemy Inside The Gates," many of them overlooked by Csongo in his review.
First, Csongo insinuates that the causes of the Great Depression were a mystery. However, it was caused and perpetuated by government intervention in the economy. Real economists such as Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises, among others, have demonstrated that it was the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank and the passage of numerous regulatory laws that allowed the government to "redirect" the economy in the direction which Wilsonite and other Progressives wished it to go – which was socialism by stealth. The New Deal simply aggravated and prolonged an already skewed and injured economy. But for Roosevelt's policies, it would have recovered.
No, the government didn't pay "the salaries of many artists and photographers," as Csongo asserts. It took money from millions of impoverished Pauls to give to a passel of socialistic Peters or "artists" – or hasn't Csongo ever read or seen the work of these artists? One notable example is the murals in the ground floor of the former RCA building in Rockefeller Center (now the G.E. Building), which were originally done by a Mexican communist, Diego Rivera; what replaced some of them (by José Maria Sert) aren't much better; it's all "socialist realism."
As for writers, many who are now famous had their start in the WPA writers' program and have since then been elevated to the broken-down sharecropper's shack that otherwise passes for the pantheon of American literature, including John Cheever, Kenneth Rexroth, Studs Terkel, and Saul Bellow.
Csongo attempts to make a distinction between Soviet-style "socialism" and the Roosevelt brand. He fails because Roosevelt, who didn't actually want to "save" capitalism – his saying he did was just rhetorical taqiyya to throw off those who feared he wanted to abolish it – adopted a fascist policy of regimenting everything he could lay his hands on. Remember that before Hitler could impose National Socialism on Germany, the socialism had to exist first; that was the work of Otto von Bismarck. If fascism comes to the U.S., it will be because a long line of socialist (liberal) and Republican presidents and compliant Congresses have prepared the way. That line extends back to Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.
In spite of Roosevelt's economic policies, the U.S. was on the way to recovery before its entry into WWII. The war didn't take the country out of the Depression; it prolonged it until years after the war's conclusion. Militarizing the economy and drafting millions of men into the armed services was not "recovery"; it was again redirecting the economy to a command economy, complete with price controls and rationing. Or does Csongo agree with Big Brother that "war is peace"? Orwell, a socialist, had a better grasp of economics than does Csongo.
Whether or not Roosevelt was "naïve" about Stalin and the totalitarian nature of Soviet Russia doesn't relieve him of the responsibility of having surrendered half of Europe to the looting, raping, and destructive Soviets. Csongo does not even touch on West's main point of contention: that our foreign and domestic policies were established and enforced by fellow traveling communists in the government, who numbered in the hundreds, and by Soviet espionage, which began immediately after Roosevelt's diplomatic recognition of the Soviet Union in 1933. Our pre-war and wartime foreign policies, as West documents and argues, were guided and dictated by Stalin's ideological proxies in our government.
Yes, Europe was betrayed by Roosevelt, Harry Hopkins, Alger Hiss and a bevy of other Soviet and pro-Communists operating within the government – none of whom Csongo deigns to discuss. What was Roosevelt's attitude about the fate of Europe? He more or less said that the Europeans would just have to get used to the Soviet occupation. Does Csongo delve into Roosevelt's first priority, to save the Soviets from the Nazi onslaught? No. But Roosevelt said he'd rather hamstring our own military (even before we got into the war) and surrender Australia, Singapore and the Philippines than delay military aid to the Soviets. You would think that Csongo would be so startled by this revelation that he would at least have highlighted it. But, he remained silent.
His review is a puerile essay that could have been written by a brainwashed public high school student who has been taught by his teachers that FDR saved the day.
Quite the contrary. FDR left us a combined political, economic, and cultural legacy that poisons us to this day.
This is the lesson that Diana West imparts in her book, but which Csongo failed or refused to see. West began her project in an attempt to understand why our government is currently white-washing Islam – and, in fact, aiding and abetting its depredations and spread. She learned that this white-washing had a precedent in the white-washing of Soviet Russia.