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Ed Driscoll

Truman Shrugs

July 28th, 2014 - 12:44 pm

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“Is Barack Obama John Galt?”,  John Hinderaker provocatively asked yesterday at Power Line:

Now, Barack Obama has decreed that the American Atlas should shrug. Weary of its burdens and tired of being blamed for the world’s problems, America is withdrawing from its global leadership role. And the result, as in Atlas Shrugged, is disaster. Everywhere one looks, there is turmoil and violence. Russia is resurgent; China threatens Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines; Iraq’s Christians are being wiped out; Iran’s nuclear weapons program proceeds apace; the Sunni Gulf states seek new alliances; the Taliban is retaking Afghanistan; American diplomatic personnel are withdrawn from Libya as that country descends into chaos; al Qaeda extends its influence in Africa. The list goes on and on. The United States has gone Galt–everywhere except Gaza, where we are playing a discreditable role in support of a terrorist regime–and the forces of evil and disorder are on the march.

Of course, the analogy ultimately breaks down. In Atlas Shrugged, the world’s producers go on strike in order to show that the Left is wrong. Barack Obama has withdrawn the United States from its leadership role, not in order to demonstrate that the Left’s critiques are wrong, but because he believes them to be right. Unlike the producers in Atlas Shrugged, Obama means for the U.S. to “go Galt” permanently.

It’s an interesting analogy, though perhaps not built around the right person. As John concedes, Barack “You didn’t build that” Obama is no John Galt. (And certainly no Howard Roark, to justify a rerun of the Photoshop I created in 2012.) But he can be seen in many ways to be something akin to Harry Truman. Both were machine hack Democrats, who assumed the office of the presidency deep into global struggles against anti-Semitic terror-based ideologies. Like Obama sitting in the pews of Trinity United rapturously drinking in the poisoned words of Rev. Wright, Harry Truman was raised in a crudely racialist environment:

Many who are aware of Harry Truman’s support for Israel and his desegregation of the armed forces are shocked by the anti-Semitic statements contained in his recently discovered 1947 diary. But Truman’s bigotry comes as little surprise to historians who have studied the man and his career.

Truman’s ugly comments about Jews being “very, very selfish” and, as such, not caring “how many Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks get murdered,” or his charge that “neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the underdog,” are distressingly consistent with his disparaging views about other racial and ethnic minorities. As a younger man, he wrote in a 1911 letter to his wife, Bess: “I think one man is as good as another so long as he’s honest and decent and not a n***er or a Chinaman.”

Even his reverential biographer, Merle Miller, admitted in the Truman biography “Plain Speaking” that later in life “privately Mr. Truman always said ‘n***er’; at least he always did when I talked to him.” He also often privately referred to Jews as “kikes.”

And like Obama’s Manichean demonization of his political enemies (and like his former boss, FDR), Truman was perfectly prepared to max out the Godwin meter if it suited his career, believing that the ends would justify the means and that such transgressions would largely be airbrushed out of history.

Top Rated Comments   
Truman will always have my respect for having the moral courage to use the Bomb.

His actions as president were largely progressive on racial relations, regardless of what personal animosity and bigotry he held.

Above all, along the same lines as Kennedy, I don't like a lot of what they did and what they stood for, but from their dealings with the outside world, it was clear that they loved America, and believed in it.

Someone's worth and quality is how well they serve in the positions they hold. Truman the man deserves no more or less judgment from me than any other man from the 40's. Truman the President does, and Truman the President passes muster.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
My favorite example of the transformation that may happen to someone ascending to the presidency is Chester A. Arthur. He was a Tammany Hall flunky whom Boss Tweed picked to be Vice-President as a reward for his long service to the political machine. When Garfield died, "Good Old Chet" became President and the Tammany Hall group celebrated their good fortune. But Good Old Chet, realizing the enormous responsibilities thrust upon him, "got religion" and turned into a reformer. Like Arthur, Truman was an afterthought but he rose to meet the circumstances thrust upon him.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Are none of you old enough to remember hearing ethnic jokes? It was only after WW II, in fact after civil rights actions in the '60s that American society as a whole gave any thought to using terms like wetback, spic, etc, to identify ethnic groups or individual. The fact that Truman used any ethnic term for various groups was a reflection of American language and general societal attitudes. Judge Truman by his actions, not his words.
Like understanding Shakespeare, the reader must understand the time in which the language was used. The same words used today would be very differently viewed.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (46)
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In 1956, Eisenhower joined with the USSR to force Israel to give back the Sinai Peninsula, which it had just won--with a bit of aerial assistance from Britain and France.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
The world has no right to demand America destroy itself for the world’s interests.

If disaster results when America can no longer ask or compel the world not be communists, tyrants, fascists, and anti-Semites, then the question we should be asking is not “what is the matter with America,” but “what is the matter with the world?”

Only the answer to the first question is the business of America, the shining city on the hill which is a friend of others’ liberty but a guardian only of her own.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Truman will always have my respect for having the moral courage to use the Bomb.

His actions as president were largely progressive on racial relations, regardless of what personal animosity and bigotry he held.

Above all, along the same lines as Kennedy, I don't like a lot of what they did and what they stood for, but from their dealings with the outside world, it was clear that they loved America, and believed in it.

Someone's worth and quality is how well they serve in the positions they hold. Truman the man deserves no more or less judgment from me than any other man from the 40's. Truman the President does, and Truman the President passes muster.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hold the presses! Hold the presses!!!

Discovered: the man who desegregated the armed forces, sent hundreds of thousands to defeat Japan and stop its conquest of China, and supported the founding of Israel, USED BAD WORDS ABOUT BLACKS, CHINESE, AND JEWS IN 1911!!! A southener known for his crude and direct language about everything, USED THE N-WORD IN THE 1940s!!!!

And to think America had such a moral monster in the White House.

Are Americans really this ridiculously oversensitive?

P.S.

I'd also give Truman (and LBJ) the benefit of doubt about the N-word even if their pro-black actions didn't speak louder than words. They were both southeners who grew up in the WWI era, and known for their crude language about *everything*. "N*****r" for them was not a serious insult, but at most a mild expletive.

For example, LBJ, when nominating Marshal to solicitor general, told him: "I want people to walk into the solicitor general's office and see a n*****r sitting there". Should Marshal have declined to work with such an evil racist?

Truman was even more notorious for his straight talk. One example of many (from Isaac Asimov): when a posh gathering of supporters happened to start talking about farming, he told them how his farm always had enough manure, that it was important to get a supply of manure in advance, how to spread the manure, etc.

His wife was taken aside by a shocked lady and asked to make him say "fertilizer". "You don't know how long it took us to make him say 'manure'", replied his wife.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, unfortunately.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah, and besides, I'm not even sure how the n-word is even that offensive of a word when I've noticed some black people actually calling each other that in casual conversation. One time during Track practice I even noted the inconsistency that they'd use it with each other, yet white people like me aren't, causing them to stop, at least while I was around.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb in Japan is estimated to have saved 250,000 American and countless Japanese lives;"

"Estimate" is the word. Every CDR in the Pacific opposed dropping the nukes on Japan. MacArthur's staff, at his direction, had prepared plans for a peaceful invasion of the home islands. Japan was finished. The Emperor wanted to surrender. Dropping the nukes was pushed by physicists and politicians. There was no military necessity for it and US military leadership in the Pacific opposed it. MacArthur was informed only at the last minute, probably because Truman/physicists knew he would argue against it. Japan was already defeated. Nuking Japan was moral disaster not since recovered from.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just for what they did in Pearl Harbor, Bataan and Nanking. They should have thought of the possibility of losing the war back then. If Truman would have been President on 9/12/2001 he would have wiped out Mecca and Medina.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
A peaceful invasion? What in the world is that? In truth it would've been the disaster that was Okinawa times 20, times 30. Why take those casualties when we can make them take them - all of them. And that's what we did. "Moral disaster." You gotta be kidding. They started the war, we finished it. Being better at insensate violence isn't immoral but called "winning."
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
"MacArthur's staff, at his direction, had prepared plans for a peaceful invasion of the home islands."

Your assertion is comically absurd. the undefeated Japanese Army had two million men under arms, and something like 10,000 kamikaze planes, and the pilots and gas to fly them, in the Home islands in June, 1945. Nimitz and General Arnold both opposed an invasion because it would have been incredibly bloody for both sides. If the invasion had gone ahead, at least a million Japanese civilians alone, would have starved to death in the winter of 1945-46.

All these figures can be verified in Richard B. Frank's book, "Downfall".
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
But is there an Ike or Reagan on the horizon to succeed him?

Even if there were, the MSM would be working double shifts to ensure and he/she be properly redacted, misrepresented, investigated and put on the defensive from Day 1 of the realization that here be someone with some moral horsepower and forward-looking ideas. Particularly if it were an evil Republican.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Truman was perfectly prepared to max out the Godwin meter if it suited his career..."

Truman had to deal with Hitler, and his aftermath. Any Godwinning he is accused of should first consider that fact.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Truman learned from experience, matured as he aged,
and did what he willed , not what he may have wished,
___as did the majority of those he governed.___

America has been withdrawing from its world leadership role
for decades, at least since Reagan's presidency, when the Pols
decided to stay in power by giving the people what they wanted
rather than what they needed. The rest of the world spent those
years slipping back into its old bad habits. Now the world order
is sagging under an unsupportable burden of debt made worse
by the power vacuum at its core, and will soon implode; The
current crises are merely the first stress cracks on the surface.

Look for a leader, pray for a messiah, or do the hokey-pokey;
The future will still arrive right on schedule.

9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Barack (Mr. Thompson) OZero
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ed, I was deeply disturbed by your quote from Peter Kuznick. Please correct it as follows.

Many who are aware of Harry Truman’s support for Israel and h* desegregation of the armed forces are shocked by the anti-Semitic statements contained in h* recently discovered 1947 diary. But Truman’s bigotry comes as little surprise to historians who have studied the **an and h* career.

Truman’s ugly comments about Jews being “very, very selfish” and, as such, not caring “how many Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks get murdered,” or h* charge that “neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the underdog,” are distressingly consistent with h* disparaging views about other racial and ethnic minorities. As a younger **an, he wrote in a 1911 letter to h* wife, Bess: “I think one **an is as good as another so long as *e’s honest and decent and not a n***er or a China**an.”

Even h* reverential biographer, Merle Miller, admitted in the Truman biography “Plain Speaking” that later in life “privately Mr. Truman always said ‘n***er’; at least *e always did when I talked to h*.” *e also often privately referred to Jews as “k**s.”

Thank you.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gotta hide that rampant heteronormative sexism, it's so unnatural.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
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