Important and Interesting Reading - EC192

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Lesson[edit]

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Important and Interesting Reading
Course: Course - Easy Chair Series
Subject: Subject:Conversations and Sermons
Lesson#: 17
Length: 0:55:47
TapeCode: ec192
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Easy Chair Series.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.


This is R. J. Rushdoony, Easy Chair number 192, April the fourth, 1989.

Tonight Otto Scott and I are going to deal with some of the reading we have been doing and share with you some books that are of varying importance, but all of interest.

Very briefly, I would like to start, first, with a recent book. Jack Newfield and Wayne Barrett, City for Sale: Ed Koch and the Betrayal of New York, published by Harper and Row in 1988, late last year.

It is a very factual and sometimes overly detailed account of the corruption in New York City under Mayor Koch. I am going to read only one particular item from this book. So many people were convicted who were party leaders in the Koch administration that it set a record for corruption. It was, perhaps, the most corrupt administration in all of American history, but let me quote Newfield and Barrett.

“The crime rate among ordinary people in the poorest neighborhoods of New York, the 79th precinct in Bedford Stuyvesant and the 48th precinct in the Bronx is one per hundred. Among the county leaders of the Democratic organization in this one party city, that rate had become 50 per hundred,” unquote.

So this tells us what the situation is in New York City and, I am afraid, increasingly in more and more of our metropolitan centers we are going to see something similar. And as candidates for that, let me suggest Chicago and Detroit for starters.

Well, now to go on to another book that we are both going to discuss. Paul Johnson’s book Intellectuals. Intellectuals was published by Harper and Row also in 1988.

Johnson wrote an excellent book a few years ago entitled Modern Times: The World from the 20s to the 80s. His History of Christianity and History of the Jews were rather inferior works, but Intellectuals is dramatically better.

In this book his whole point is that we have had approximately from the era of the French Revolution or just before a group of self styled leaders, intellectuals who have seen themselves as pace setters and leaders of society. These have been people marked by self righteousness. They have exploited the guilt of the privileged. They have been ready to speak about the wickedness and absurdity of chastity and much, much more. And as a class they set the temper and the media in the arts and literature and have a power that is essentially as Johnson says, undeserved. [00:04:19]

Well, with that very general statement, Otto, do you...[edit]

Well, with that very general statement, Otto, do you want to discuss it a little more?

[Scott] Yes. I think Johnson did a very interesting thing. He didn’t talk about intellectuals as a class. He didn’t fall into that pit. What he did is that he took what he considered to be a representative number or a specific individuals. We could always argue about who he selected, but... and the selections were interesting. And Karl Marx, various and sundry others. And he contrasted what their public image was with what their actual lives were, how they actually lived and behaved as contrasted to how their ideas made them appear to the world.

Ibsen, for instance, is a great playwright and always considered to be a tremendous spokesman for the rights of women and for society as against the predator and so forth. And yet when we look at Ibsen’s actual life he was a monster to women, a monster of selfishness and egotism. I wouldn’t say pride, because it was more conceit carried to an enormous extent. And in almost every since, a thoroughly unpleasant personal individual.

The same sort of thing about Karl Marx whose horrible personality is now fairly well known, but Johnson reveals things about Marx that shocked even me and I thought I knew all about that monster a long time ago.

And so the whole book is fascinating reading because—and I have read a review of it in the New York Times book review, a very recent edition in which a professor, a female professor says she poo poos the whole book. She says, “In the first place, it is all drawn from secondary sources,” which is a sort of an academic sin. And, secondly, she said, “What difference does it make whether Karl Marx took baths or not?”

[Rushdoony] It made a lot of difference if you were seated next to him.

[Scott] She just didn’t think that that sort of thing had anything to do with it. She said, “It isn’t the playwright, but the play that is important,” or words to that effect.

[Rushdoony] Interesting how many of these intellectuals Johnson deals with were averse to bathing.

[Scott] Several of them. [00:07:16]

[Rushdoony] Yes...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] Several.

[Rushdoony] He says this about Ibsen and I quote, “Ibsen was saying to humanity, ‘Be yourself,’ yet in this letter he was, in effect, admitting that to be one’s self involved the sacrifice of others. Personal liberation was at bottom self centered and heartless. At the center of Ibsen’s approach to his art was the doctrine of creative selfishness,” unquote.

[Scott] Well, this was true of all of them. They were all monsters of selfishness. Rousseau, of course, everybody knows about his children being delivered at the doorsteps of the church he despised to take care of. But his treatment of his common law wife is beneath contempt, horrible. He was a liar. They all seem to have been liars.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] Lying seems to be an intellectual propensity which I never knew realized before. I am going to have to be more wary of what I read here from intellectual ranks.

[Rushdoony] Yes. The new issue of Fidelity calls attention to Kinsey as a liar. He loved to state that the collection he had put together of pornography at the University of Indiana was, perhaps, only the second best at the world, that the Vatican had the major collection. And this was picked up and repeated endlessly and is in books now. And the Vatican has no such collection.

[Scott] Of course not. Of course not. And to even believe it...

[Rushdoony] Yes. But he loved to lie.

[Scott] Yes. And it is interesting how many lies take root.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] Lucius Beebe, do you remember?

[Rushdoony] Oh, yes.

[Scott] Lucius Beebe, Lucius, Lucius.

[Rushdoony] Luscious Lucius. [00:09:24]

[Scott] Luscious Lucius...[edit]

[Scott] Luscious Lucius

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] Yes. Well, terrible character, a flaming faggot with too much money, spread the lie that the first bathtub reached the western part of the United States well after the Civil War and that went into every book you could imagine.

[Rushdoony] That was...

[Scott] Or was it Mencken?

[Rushdoony] Mencken.

[Scott] It was Mencken. Ok.

[Rushdoony] Yes, that was Mencken.

[Scott] Ok. And Luscious Lucius kept repeating it.

[Rushdoony] Yes. And Mencken tried to correct encyclopedias and histories and got rebuked.

[Scott] Well, people believe encyclopedias.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] I remember on the James Book, I think it was, a friend of mine called me and said he had read it and he said he looked James up in the encyclopedia and he said the encyclopedia doesn’t agree with what you said. And I said, “Well, that is the reason I wrote the book.”

[Rushdoony] Well, of Rousseau he says he really was the father to the 20th century because he saw it the state as the Messiah.

[Scott] That is a very good phrase.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] That is very well put. And Rousseau was worshipped as a god, as an idol. [00:10:43]

[Rushdoony] Yes...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] ... by Robespierre and the others and what an ignoble, shameful individual he was.

[Rushdoony] Well, with Shelley he deals with the fact that he was a liar. He was a forger and at every point he was interested in something he believed was interested in incest. He was a Socialist.

[Scott] I didn’t realize that he was a noble.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Of course, I had a course on Shelley.

[Scott] You never recovered from it.

[Rushdoony] I have an undying hatred for Shelley.

[Scott] I know you do.

[Rushdoony] Yes, that was an experience.

[Scott] Well, very few of the intellectuals that Johnson has examined come out very well. And yet it seems to me that these are the... this is the sort of information which we should already know. But I ran into that phenomenon when I started the second full quartet, names that everyone recognizes and of people whom nobody knows anything about. We have this illusion of information, illusion of knowledge.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

I thought Johnson’s characterization of Tolstoy was particularly delightful. His section on Tolstoy is titled, “God’s Elder Brother.” And I think that fits quite a few intellectuals including Bertrand Russell.

[Scott] Bertrand Russell, of course, was a phenomenon because he lived forever and he got progressively sillier as he got older. But Tolstoy is a puzzle to me even after reading Johnson because it is difficult to ... for me to explain the high level of some of his writing with the individual himself. It is almost as though he was overtaken by a demon of some sort. You can see where the idea of the muses came in, because individuals, artists, writers, what not personally obnoxious whose work can be superlative occurs time and again. This is a puzzle.

[Rushdoony] I would agree. Of the men he considered Tolstoy was clearly the ablest and his perversity in ... in dealing with his own abilities was phenomenal and aggravating. [00:13:42]

[Scott] Punished himself, mistreated his wife, alternated...[edit]

[Scott] Punished himself, mistreated his wife, alternated between ... it was excesses of austerity or excess of dissipation, from youth onward and yet it is as though some disembodied spirit wrote some of those books. War and Peace I still feel is the greatest description of war I have ever read.

[Rushdoony] Well, I read through Tolstoy as a student. Then since have read any number of lives of Tolstoy. He is a baffling person.

[Scott] Yes.

[Rushdoony] So aggravating and yet so feeling.

[Scott] Yes.

[Rushdoony] His own picture of himself in Anna Karenina in which he is levying is a very appealing one. You recognize the bumbling, blundering character there. But he would so easily turn himself into a monster at so many points.

[Scott] Well, Johnson did a good job on that book and it reminds me if... if you are ready to leave it, of a book that I made notes on.

[Rushdoony] No, I think ...

[Scott] You want to go on with it for a while?

[Rushdoony] Well, yes, because there are some points that are very revelatory of the perversity of the intellectuals.

[Scott] Well, those intellectuals. We can’t fall into the...

[Rushdoony] Well, I would say of a class of intellectuals who are setting the temper in this country, the New York intellectuals.

[Scott] These are the ones who did.

[Rushdoony] Yes. But, for example, in dealing with Brecht, Brecht said, “As for them, the more innocent they are, the more they deserve to be shot.” [00:15:44]

Hook said, “What are you saying?...[edit]

Hook said, “What are you saying?”

Brecht, “The more innocent they are, the more they deserve to be shot.”

Now this was dealing with the purges in the Soviet Union.

[Scott] Yes. And if I remember the episode, Hook then got up, went in the next room and got his coat and hat and brought it out and showed him the door.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] Which was a very good thing and a good time to do it.

[Rushdoony] He looked surprised, however.

[Scott] Yes. Well, Brecht was one of those. It is very hard to find a redeeming feature in Brecht. And I don’t understand how these people all found partners in life, because Brecht was a particularly obnoxious man and another non bather as is weird business of...

[Rushdoony] Yes, well Sartre was a non bather, too.

[Scott] It is astonishing. And I don’t know... and, you know, personally I only saw one on... on shipboard and we dragged him over the side one time.

[Rushdoony] Well, I thought Sartre’s premises, hell is other people and so on, most revelatory.

[Scott] Well, now Sartre and Beauvoir, two very... people who, practically speaking would have been happy if they had lived in a store window where people could have watched them day and night because they strike me as a couple of insane exhibitionists. Do you realize that at the end of Sartre’s life when he was reduced to booze and incontinence and dying very slowly Beauvoir called on him nursed him and so forth and in the meantime made notes on his decline and then wrote a book about it?

[Rushdoony] Yes. But was angry when a priest was brought in, because Sartre dying began to talk about believing in God as he faced the end. And Beauvoir, the perversity there after their sexual attachment ended, she continued to act as a procurer or procuress for Sartre and was fired finally by the university from her teaching position in the philosophy department because she was talking girls into becoming Sartre’s mistresses. [00:18:24]

[Scott] Well, that was...[edit]

[Scott] Well, that was...

[Rushdoony] And then the one man who was good to her, Nelson Algren, she treated so contemptuously...

[Scott] Oh, she wrote a book about him.

[Rushdoony] Yes and he had a heart attack the night he read it.

[Scott] Well, he was talking about it he had a heart attack.

Well, that ... Caesar Augustus’ wife did the same service for him. Power has its attraction. I answered my own question as to how it was that these people had partners. They had partners because they attracted those who are attracted by prominence, by fame, by celebrity, by position. And I have forgotten. I think it was a cab driver, an Irish cab driver {?} in San Francisco who took a friend of mine and myself away from a very fancy funeral and we were talking about the man in the cab. He had been rich and we were talking about all the people that showed up and my friend said half of them hoped that they were in the will. And the cab driver turned around and said, “Well, they will never fight about ours, will they, boys?”

[Rushdoony] In his last chapter, as he deals with the post war intellectuals, I think he does a good analysis when he describes the three great themes of the 60s culture and since. First, the uninhibited exploitation of sex for pleasure; second, violence; and, third, drugs.

[Scott] Well, it is pretty hard to fault that.

[Rushdoony] No, an excellent analysis.

[Scott] The drugs lead to the violence.

[Rushdoony] However, he then goes on to say that there is possibly a fourth factor in modern culture: sex, violence and drugs and hatred.

[Scott] Well, that is a big point. That comes very close to the tape we made before on envy.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] Because envy is a form of hatred. It is an emotion of hatred. Why do you hate people? And.... and hatred, of course, is a terrible weakness. [00:20:49]

[Rushdoony] Yes...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] One can’t indulge that.

Well, the book that it reminded me of was written much earlier and I made notes when I would ... had an office in downtown San Diego which was about 12 years ago, 13 years ago, maybe longer, more like 18 years ago. And I dug this ... these notes out of this diary or intellectual diary which I was keeping at the time. A book by Jurgen Ruhle who was a German writer entitled Literature and Revolution. And I am not sure that it is available and I am sorry that I didn’t put down the publisher. But it brought up in my mind the whole question of why we read in the first place and, in the second place, what has happened to literature in our century.

Now the last time you and I discussed books we were discussing books we read as a boy and books that had great effect on us, personal... it had personal significance to us. But now I think we ought to look at the subject overall, a larger subject. Something has happened to literature in our century, in my opinion, similar to what has happened to painting, similar to what has happened to dance and to music. It has been an assault on literature.

Now Lenin thought literature was to be used as an instrument of the government. He also thought that men were to be used as instruments and under the system that the Soviets set up, first, of course, they picked up the socialist writers who had helped them to come into power, George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, Romain Rolland...

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] ...Anatole France. These were pre war people, pre World War I people, Thorstein Veblen, the American Marx, he used to be called. And then all the people that the revolution picked up and began to exploit after they succeeded in Russia. All the Russian writers, or many of the Russian writers—and I wrote down some of the names now people don't... no longer known: Alexander Glock...

[Rushdoony] Yes, I remember reading him.

[Scott] He... he... in 1918 he praised the Scythians.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] And then after the terror began and he saw what was happening he... he himself was cut down. [00:23:33]

Sergei Yesenin who married Isadora Duncan and a granddaughte...[edit]

Sergei Yesenin who married Isadora Duncan and a granddaughter of Tolstoy. He committed suicide in a hotel after writing a last poem in his own blood. Myakovsky, co signer of A Slap in the Face of Public Taste. He shot himself. Maxim Gorky who never finished his book 40 Years. The hero gradually loses his personality. Gorky, as you know was poisoned by the secret police in the end.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] ... because he wanted to get out. He asked the... he made the mistake of asking for an exit permit and Stalin said, “That is enough of that.”

Zamyatin who anticipated Orwell when he wrote We. We, 1925, showed a technocratic society in which there was no heart, no emotion and it anticipated 1984. It anticipated Orwell and Huxley both. It rolled around the world. They both knew the book very well. It is interesting they didn’t give him any credit.

Isaac Babel. He was shot.

[Rushdoony] You know, another book that anticipated 1984 goes back to the beginning of the century written by Dmitry Myaskovsky The Republic of the Southern Cross, really a novelette. It is a story about an underground country and city in the Antarctic, totally scientific, totally controlled where men are working, mining, manufacturing. Everything controlled and mechanized.

[Scott] Interesting.

[Rushdoony] And... and it suffers a breakdown. The people revolt against the mechanization. They are well treated, well fed, everything they want, but the routine, the mechanization and they rebel against and they destroy everything.

[Scott] Metropolis, the film made by Fritz Lang. Do you remember, had the same theme? And, of course, we might be talking about Scandinavia.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] Which realized it.

Then he went on, this fellow, to the Germans, Franz Wurfel, Kurt Eisner, Berthold Brecht, Ernst Toller. Toller committed suicide in New York. Eisner became a Bavarian revolutionary chief and was shot. Brecht, Wolfe became Communist. The Mann brothers, Thomas and Heinrich Mann, well, they were pre war types, you might say. [00:26:38]

Thomas Mann denied he was a Communist, but he was in...[edit]

Thomas Mann denied he was a Communist, but he was in favor of what he called mankind’s aspirations, world government, communo control of the earth and its resources, world peace. And even World War II didn’t cure them.

[Rushdoony] Not at all.

[Scott] They came out still for Socialism.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] Some of them went back to East Berlin. The Italians DeNungio, Moravia and we could... some of them are still around, Gunther Gass, Ken Drum, Duremat the physicist.

In the end he talks about Camus. He talks about Beauvoir and Sartre, of course, Kirstler called that pair demi-virgins. Andre Mollereau. There was a man, quote an adventurer. I remember reading Man’s Fate on Chinese Revolution and I came out in 1927, I think. And then in 35, Man’s Hope on the Spanish Civil War. Carlos Levy, another suicide. Alberto Moravia, an existentialist.

And the poets Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh both pets, Lorca the Spanish poet. Carl Sandberg smuggled Lenin’s letter to American workers into the United States in 1918.

Well all those great names and many others upon retrospective examination turn out to have been instruments of the revolution throughout this whole century. And, in effect, literature, which used to be the activity of independent intellects was turned into an instrument of the revolution and an entire generation, two generations of people have been led to admire men who had become propagandists against this civilization and the most interesting thing about the book is that every one of them wound up brain dead.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] Their creativity was destroyed by their surrender to these forces. And almost all of them came to tragic ends.

[Rushdoony] Yes. [00:29:17]

[Scott] I would include in that George Bernard Shaw...[edit]

[Scott] I would include in that George Bernard Shaw who left his money for a new alphabet. In other words, he turned into an imbecile and Earl Russell who became and elderly fanatic, sort of a living cartoon of himself and all the rest.

[Rushdoony] And those who wouldn’t join the revolution who were successful were treated as sell outs.

[Scott] Yes {?}, for instance.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] ... who came to his senses in Spain and was trashed thereafter.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

Well, degeneracy in one form or another has marked the artists in our century. For example, this is interesting with regard to Salvador Dali and Conroy Maddox’ book on Dali and I quote, “He, Dali, considered that the three cardinal images of life were excrement, blood and putrefaction,” unquote.

Now can you imagine what that says about our century when this is how you become successful?

[Scott] Well, this is one of the reasons why I have stopped reading fiction somewhere in the post Word War II period.

[Scott] It {?} also.

[Rushdoony] It began to become so distant from the world I knew and the people that I knew and ever the experiences that I knew and the history that I knew, it was the firs time that I realized that you have to thread your way through history very carefully.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] When I began to see histories of decades that I had experienced.

[Rushdoony] Well, now to go on to another subject, one, I think, Otto, that you and I have discussed more than once. I would like to cite two books, one by Nicolay Tolstoy, The Secret Betrayal, 1944-1947. This was published in 1977 and is out of print. And Nicholas Bethel, The Last Secret: The Delivery to Stalin of over Two Million Russians by Britain and the United States. This was published in 1974. Both are out of print, but both are important works and I think if anyone could locate them in a library they should read them. [00:32:07]

We talk about the evil, rightly, of Stalin and his...[edit]

We talk about the evil, rightly, of Stalin and his mass murder of Jews and also of Gypsies and a number of minority groups. But we forget that we agreed at Yalta to hand over Russians who had fled from Stalin. In fact, we went beyond the agreement and we have... well, for example, when the White Russian Cossacks were forcibly repatriated and their repatriation was not a part of the Yalta agreement, but was insisted upon by Anthony Egan and Churchill and the American authorities. Roosevelt, James Burns, Forestall and so on.

[Scott] The...

[Rushdoony] Even... we read here in Tolstoy’s book, “Even the Soviet authorities who received them were astonished that the British should have included these people in the consignment. At Judenberg the Red Army general Dalmatoff asked in surprise why the old émigrés had been handed over to. To his knowledge, the Soviet authorities had never demanded them. NKVD interrogators were, frankly, incredulous on learning that the Cossack officer before him had lived before the war in the Balkans. One explained, ‘Then you are an old émigré. You aren’t liable to repatriation. Comrade Stalin did not claim the old émigrés. Why are you here?’ A {?} lieutenant colonel burst out laughing at the apparent hypocrisy of the British in thus betraying their friends.”

The entire Cossack nation in exile was wiped out. Children who were born outside of Russia were handed over together with their parents.

[Scott] Well, it... very interesting background to Yalta.

The United States came into the war late, as you know, was catapulted into the war because the American people would never have gone to war unless Pearl Harbor had occurred and unless Hitler had declared war. If Hitler hadn't declared war on us, I doubt that we would have fought in Europe. We would only have fought in the Pacific.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] Because the American people don’t like to fight, don’t want to fight, don’t believe in it.

In any event, as our ... the number of our men and armaments and money and machinery and equipment began to overpower the English, we gradually took control of the war. We took it away from Churchill. We took it away from the English and we became the senior member of the triumvirate of England, Russia, or England, U.S.S.R. and the United States. And Mr. Roosevelt was very interesting. He never told the state department that he wanted to put England’s head under the water. He never told the state department that he wanted to turn over all Eastern Europe, but he smiled upon those who made the suggestions. And all he had to do—and he really was the king. All he had to do was to hint that he looked upon that with favor and it gradually became our policy. And Churchill, in my eyes, is a tragic figure, because he did preside over the dissolution of the empire. And in his surrender to Roosevelt he went all the way, all out. If the Soviets wanted some prisoners, he gave them everyone. He gave them everyone and allies or not. After all, England never did make a protestation about the occupation of Eastern Europe. We are told that they were reluctant. They didn’t like it. But they didn’t do anything. They didn’t say anything. They share the blame with Roosevelt. And you know that Tolstoy is going to court, the man who wrote the book, has been sued by an individual who worked with MacMillan in this transfer. [00:37:09]

[Rushdoony] Yes...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] And the matter is going to go to an English court, coming up very soon.

[Rushdoony] And Bethel is himself an Englishman. And while Roosevelt may have taken the initiative at Yalta, he then took the leadership in a ruthless way in handing over more than Stalin asked for. And the interesting thing is that in the Nuremburg trials we sentenced men to death for saying and subsequently also they were merely obeying orders. And yet as Bethel points out, the excuse given by all the English officers and men involved was they were obeying orders, doing exactly what the Nazis did.

[Scott] Well, the argument at Nuremberg... you know that at Nuremberg they were going to be found guilty.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] And you know that Nuremberg was a return to a very old and primitive situation where the victor destroys the enemy’s leaders. And it really boiled down to that.

[Rushdoony] And it established legal precedent so that hereafter any victor in a war...

[Scott] ... will kill the losers.

[Rushdoony] Yes, yes.

[Scott] Well, we have gone farther than that. We have now ... the United States has now officially said that it will kidnap and bring to the United States and punish anyone from any country in the world that has done anything against American citizens. This is a new rule. [00:39:01]

[Rushdoony] And at Yalta we conceded the principle...[edit]

[Rushdoony] And at Yalta we conceded the principle and thereafter that the winner could enslave those of the losers whom he chose. And in terms of that precedent, we have never fought against the men missing in action in Vietnam, but to try to bring justice to bear and to recover those men.

[Scott] Well Congress has ruled that we could not go back to Vietnam. Congress ruled that we could not go to the help of Angola when Cubans landed troops there. So that brings us back to this question of books. We are talking now about books that contain information. Whereas formerly we spoke about fiction and books that have influenced us in our boyhood and through our lives and so forth. I don’t know whether any such books are written anymore, because I now only read books to find out the truth of matters. And I try to cross check the books that I read, because the whole world of publishing is so permeated with special interests.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] ... that one has to tread his way through looking of the truth you have to go through a series of mine fields.

[Rushdoony] Yes. And the sad fact is that this type of book is not popular.

[Scott] Well, it is not publicized.

[Rushdoony] It is not publicized and it is not popular.

[Scott] It is not advertized.

[Rushdoony] It is...

[Scott] It is not reviewed.

[Rushdoony] What it tells us is that when the chips were down we had no more morality than Stalin or Hitler as far as our leadership was concerned.

[Scott] Well, we knew that because we saturated with bombs civilian areas.

[Rushdoony] Yes. [00:40:53]

[Scott] ... which a civilized country would not do.

[Rushdoony] So, in effect, we have to say whatever judgment has come upon these other powers will come upon Britain and ourselves for what we did.

[Scott] Well, Paul Kennedy has published a very interesting book called The Rise and Fall of Great Powers in which he talks about the overexpansion of previous empires which has led to their commitments to protect or to defend areas long after they had lost the ability to do it. Spain, for instance, spent a tremendous amount of its money trying to control other governments and other areas. And although the decline of the Spanish empire was much slower than most people realized, after all it retained its colonies in the Americas for centuries after the loss of the Armada and the Spanish Empire lasted, all tolled, roughly 400 years which is a very long time. The English Empire lasted about 150 years. Our empire seems to have lasted about 15.

[Rushdoony] There is one and one fact only in this book by Bethel, the English writer that was at all encouraging with almost no exceptions one or two minor ones, the English turned the refugees and the soldiers and all over to the Soviets. But the American soldiers, the common soldier disobeyed the orders whenever he could and he says after describing one incident, “This incident convinced senior American officers in Europe that it would be dangerous to continue the policy. Large numbers of American soldiers had disobeyed orders and allowed Russians to escape. To punish them was difficult for their defense at a court martial would inevitably be to attack the agreement as inhuman. There would be publicity and public opinion would be outraged. The result would be to strain even further the alliance of the Soviet Union. On August 25 the US Seventh Army requested further instructions from headquarters about forcible repatriation. The matter was thought important enough to be referred to Washington and in them meantime soldiers in the field were ordered to stop sending people back.”

Well, we still continued with it, but at least it created a crisis for a time because there were so many Americans that refused to go along with the policy.

[Scott] Yes.

Well, we are in the interesting period where the divide between the good books and the bad books is getting wider and wider. We used to ... publishers used to publish books for the middle brow, you might say. But before he retired, my former publisher, Pat Knopp from New York says, “You know, Otto, your... your work falls between the cracks.” He said, “It isn’t... it doesn’t have the academic high top shoe flavor and it doesn’t have the popular literary flavor.” He said, “It falls in between the two.”

I said, “Well, that is where most readers fall.” [00:44:54]

But he didn’t think so...[edit]

But he didn’t think so. And it is true that the academy is turning out more and more works. Of course, more and more on less and less, but very occasionally you run into a superior piece of work like Kennedy’s. And the popular level is getting courser and more graphic. I finally had to give up reading shoot ‘em ups on the plane, because you can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] And ... and they are just no good. They are trivial. By the time you read them you feel bad about yourself for having read them, for having wasted that amount of time. So I am now, to my horror, reading better and better books and they cost more and more money.

[Rushdoony] Well, now to go on to another book. Alan Forrerst, F O R R E S T, The French Revolution and the Poor, published by Saint Martin’s Press in New York in 1981.

It is a very interesting work because it points out the fact that before the French Revolution private charity or we would say, better, Christian charity prevailed. The Church was very active in this field and took care of the poor. And the revolution’s goal was to replace private charity with welfarism. So it began by, of course, seizing the private charities, barring the church and Christians from this activity and setting up state charity.

Well, it did not work. First they destroyed the habit of charity by Christians.

[Scott] Which they are doing here.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Then they found that the institutional care was deadly. There was none of the Christian love and grace that had marked the private charity. It was brutal. And it had a bad effect on both those who gave it and those who received it.

Then what happened was that when the state took it over that far back in the French Revolution, the concept of aid as a right began to appear among those who were receiving it.

[Scott] Well, yes, the government was doing it.

[Rushdoony] Yes. They both hated what was being done and they felt it was their right. Before that, it was given by Christians in love and it was received and there was a bond created, a social bond.

[Scott] Same as now. [00:47:56]

[Rushdoony] Yes...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] You know, I think I told you that I did an article for The Christian Herald on the Bowery Mission in New York. And I spent a couple of days at the Bowery Mission researching, as they say, today, the article. And the Bowery, I discovered is different today, it was different then. This goes back about 15 or so years, maybe more, maybe 20. The Bowery had changed. It wasn’t just white alcoholics. It was blacks and whites and the blacks were beating up the white alcoholics and robbing them. In some cases killing them. And when I put that in the article The Christian Herald refused to print it. It didn’t fit their editorial policy, but it was truthful. And the Bowery Mission was having... still doing a magnificent job. It was being helped mainly by Mennonites from Pennsylvania who would come up with truckloads of food and these very bright eyed young people would give testimony to the alcoholics who came in and, of course, the staff of the Bowery Mission was mainly those who had come in and stopped drinking and were working at the mission until they could move out and do something better.

All in all, though, the biggest problem the mission had was the city authorities who felt that it had no business being there helping these people off the streets. They wanted... they came in with inspections for sanitation and for this and for that every other minute. They were trying to put it out of business.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] Exactly what you are describing in the French Revolution.

[Rushdoony] Well, Alan Forrest says that the French Revolution’s welfare policy was efficient, if you can use the term, only in one sphere. They were doing a very poor job of caring for the poor, but they were doing something and were very proud of it that no private charity had ever done before. They were collecting statistics. So they could give you endless statistics about the ages, the number of people, their social condition and so on.

[Scott] Oh, haven’t you... have you looked at a book of sociology lately? It is all statistics.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] ... and it is all graphs. It is all curves.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Scott] It is all formula. [00:50:39]

[Rushdoony] The ability to collect statistics replaced...[edit]

[Rushdoony] The ability to collect statistics replaced charity.

[Scott] Interesting.

[Rushdoony] It replaced the reality of help. Things haven’t changed much since then.

[Scott] Haven’t changed at all. Buford Peterson ran something in New York called Fellowship Center. It was a halfway house. I tried to get him some government money and we weren’t able to, because he didn’t keep the right statistics, the right records. I said, “Well, if we bring in a couple of hundred people that would swear on oath that they have been helped would that convince you?”

And the fellow said, “No, of course not.”

[Rushdoony] Well, it was the French Revolution that taught the poor to treat what they received as a right. They said the word “charity” was demeaning. But they did more to demean the recipients than anything that had ever occurred before.

[Scott] I think our welfare system does the same.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

So the word “charity” was abolished in favor of a French word which meant that the man was receiving his right.

[Scott] I have the feeling that some of the people who asked to have us discuss books on this particular tape are looking for books that they can write down and get. And my feeling about that always is that it is better first to decide what it is you want to learn. Many of the books that I have read which have had a profound effect upon me, I have had to read in the course of doing research for some of the books I have written. And otherwise I would never of my own have wandered into a book store and picked them up.

On this the background of the Arminian and Calvinist situation I have had to read some books which I wouldn’t ordinarily read and I have found great pleasure in reading them. But reading, therefore, should not be an aimless thing. It can be an escape, a trap. You can to into... or used to go into a public library and see people getting out of the cold or just simply hiding out. And then I look around on the airplanes nowadays. I don’t see people reading as often as before, but most of the time they are reading books that are not much good. [00:53:23]

[Rushdoony] Yeah...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yeah.

[Scott] They are not reading genuine books. And, therefore, they are not in a real, true sense reading. And if you really feel, I think, that you are inadequately informed in a certain area, why, there is a world of books available. But you should really take some subject.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Our time is limited, but I want to deal with one book. Jack Katz, K A T Z, Seductions of Crime: Moral and Central Attractions in Doing Evil, published in ’88 by Basic Books.

It is not a very good book, but it is a very important book, because what Katz does with this book is to say that the usual attitude that people fall into crime through this or that environmental stress or bad companions is wrong. He says they enjoy it. They are attracted to it because that is what they want to do above all else. So they go into it with a zest. And our problem today is, he says, that we are unable to see what the criminal is like. We have surrounded him with all kinds of sociological and sentimental illusions and, as a result, we fail to see crime is a very alluring and seductive thing to those who are in the world of crime.

Well, I am encouraged to see someone coming to such a sensible conclusion. Not too much of a book, but a healthy book.

[Scott] The lure of sin.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

Well, our time is about up. Is there anything you want to say by way of conclusion, Otto?

[Scott] No, I am exhausted and I have talked too much.

[Rushdoony] No. It has been very good, Otto.

Well, thank you all for listening and God bless you.