Advantage: Ayn! Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:
Rand shared with the fusionist conservatives of National Review a fear of socialism and a suspicion of the state, but her thought rested on a fundamentally different social basis. Her vision of society was atomistic, not organic. Rand’s ideal society was made up of traders, offering value for value, whose relationships spanned only the length of any given transaction.
[Rand’s 1964 book] The Virtue of Selfishness was the brainchild of Bennett Cerf at Random House, who was eager to add to the Rand franchise. She was a veritable golden goose for the house, which had published For the New Intellectual and the Brandens’ biography, Who Is Ayn Rand? Combined sales were well into the hundreds of thousands and showed no signs of leveling off. Cerf suggested that some of Rand’s speeches and articles from her newsletter could be repackaged as a stand-alone volume. In response Rand proposed a new book, titled The Fascist New Frontier, after her essay of the same name. Originally enthusiastic about the project, Cerf grew increasingly uncomfortable with the book’s title as he tried unsuccessfully to rouse the interest of his sales staff.
The title was intentionally provocative but also reflected Rand’s deep revulsion at the Kennedy administration. The famous line from Kennedy’s inaugural speech, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” inflamed Rand. (Milton Friedman also found this sentiment objectionable, attacking Kennedy’s statement in the very first sentence of Capitalism and Freedom.) In the title essay she juxtaposed excerpts from speeches by Kennedy and Hitler to demonstrate their similarity; to her, both were collectivists who demanded that men live for the state. Such a comparison was too much for Cerf, who requested that she delete the passages and select a new title. Rand angrily rejected both suggestions and accused Random House of breach of contract. She had chosen the publisher because they promised not to censor her work; from her perspective, Cerf’s request proved their agreement was a sham. She split from Random House and published the book instead with the New American Library, a division of Penguin.
— From Jennifer Burns’ 2009 biography, Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right.
A new book out in Germany reveals how President Kennedy was a secret admirer of the Nazis.
The news comes embarrassingly close to a visit being paid to Berlin next month by President Obama – one week before 50th anniversary commemorations of JFK’s memorable ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ speech pledging US solidarity with Europe during the Cold War.
President Kennedy’s travelogues and letters chronicling his wanderings through Germany before WWII, when Adolf Hitler was in power, have been unearthed and show him generally in favour of the movement that was to plunge the world into the greatest war in history.
‘Fascism?’ wrote the youthful president-to-be in one. ‘The right thing for Germany.’
In another; ‘What are the evils of fascism compared to communism?’
And on August 21, 1937 – two years before the war that would claim 50 million lives broke out – he wrote: ‘The Germans really are too good – therefore people have ganged up on them to protect themselves.’
And in a line which seems directly plugged into the racial superiority line plugged by the Third Reich he wrote after travelling through the Rhineland: ‘The Nordic races certainly seem to be superior to the Romans.’
The future president’s praise is now embarrassing in hindsight – a few years later he fought in War War Two against the Nazis and his elder brother Lt. Joseph Patrick ‘Joe’ Kennedy, Jr was killed.
Other musings concern how great the autobahns were – ‘the best roads in the world’ – and how, having visited Hitler’s Bavarian holiday home in Berchtesgaden and the tea house built on top of the mountain for him.
He declared; ‘Who has visited these two places can easily imagine how Hitler will emerge from the hatred currently surrounding him to emerge in a few years as one of the most important personalities that ever lived.’
Kennedy’s admiration for Nazi Germany is revealed in a book entitled ‘John F. Kennedy – Among the Germans. Travel diaries and letters 1937-1945.’
― From an article in the London Daily Mail yesterday headlined, “How JFK secretly ADMIRED Hitler: Explosive book reveals former President’s praise for the Nazis as he travelled through Germany before Second World War.”
As Jonah Goldberg quips in response at the NRO Corner, “Well, That’s Inconvenient — A young JFK thought the Nazis were really on to something. If only someone wrote a book that could explain how that’s even possible.” (Rand’s “Fascist New Frontier” essay and her distaste for the collectivism of the Kennedy administration were also explored in Liberal Fascism, incidentally.)
By the way, I didn’t intend to namecheck Rand in two posts in a row, but this was too much fun to ignore. For my 2010 video interview with Jennifer Burns discussing her then-recent Objectivist-themed biography, click here to watch.
Related: “Obama the Pseudo-Narcissist,” from Edward Cline of Capitalism magazine.