Internationalist House of Pancakes: I.F. Stone and the KGB

Since historians John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev revealed that their forthcoming volume Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America (Yale University Press) would contain archival documentation linking journalist I.F. Stone to the Soviet intelligence apparatus (cover name: "Pancake"), many of Izzy's acolytes have intervened on behalf of their hero, arguing either that a) the evidence is inconclusive or that b) it really doesn't matter anyway, considering that the Soviets occasionally opposed Hitler. Writing at the Daily Beast, Eric Alterman argued that Stone couldn't have been a paid agent of the Russians because, during their friendship, "he never mentioned anything of this to me." FAIR, the lefty media watchdog website, offered the thinnest of gruel: There was no previous reference to the phrase "normal operational work"—which appeared in a KGB document related to Stone—in Nexis, a database that stores precious secret Russian documents.

Now along comes UC Berkeley economist Brad DeLong to claim that, while he might have worked with the Soviets, Stone should be considered a "premature anti-fascist," and that "helping Stalin against Hitler is a mitzvah."

First, let's understand that Spies recounts that the years of Stone's known employment by the KGB—the Russian intelligence archives are enormous and difficult to penetrate, as Jonathan Brent's new book demonstrates, and Vassiliev's notebooks are just a sampling of material, not a full accounting—were the year's of Stalin's great purges, during which hundreds of thousands were murdered. Nor does DeLong know if the only secret work Stone engaged in was anti-Nazi and never against his own government. Besides, if one wanted to be anti-Nazi why sidle up with a dictatorship that, by 1939, would ally with the fascist Germany and provide military and logistical support in their war on Poland? Was the Roosevelt administration not good enough? The point of the Stone documents is not to suggest that he was the journalistic equivalent to Alger Hiss, but that the ex-Soviet agents that previously fingered Stone as "one of ours" were, broadly speaking, telling the truth.

Second, the idea that, in the case of Stone or any ideologically-motivated agent, one can simply separate support for Stalinism from a supposedly naive anti-fascism is absurd. Why is it so difficult for his hagiographers to believe that Stone was actually a true-believing Stalinist? Recall that this is a man who wrote a ridiculous book accusing South Korea of invading North Korea in 1950, or whose first reaction to the 1953 Soviet massacre of workers in East Berlin was to write that "It is too early to tell whether the East German disorders represent a spontaneous worker uprising—it is difficult to associate spontaneity with the German character—or coordinated action exploiting labor grievances but carefully prepared by a military underground for some crucial moment?"

No, no. Not Izzy. He was a tough anti-Soviet and genuine anti-fascist! Which goes a long way towards explaining this 1953 encomium to Stalin, written immediately following his death and published in his eponymous newsletter:

"If Stalin was the aggressive monster painted in official propaganda, his death should have cheered Washington. Actually the unspoken premise of American policy has been that Stalin was so anxious for peace he would do nothing unless Soviet soil itself were violated. With his death, the baiting of the Russian bear-the favorite sport of American politics-suddenly seemed dangerous...The cold war claque was critical of Nehru for calling Stalin a man of peace, but Washington's own instinctive reactions said the same thing...Stalin was one of the giant figures of our time, and will rank with Ivan, Peter, Catherine and Lenin among the builders of that huge edifice which is Russia. Magnanimous salute was called for on such an occasion...It is difficult to pursue dignified and rational policy when official propaganda has built up so distorted a picture of Russia. Many Americans fed constantly on the notion that the Soviet Union is a vast slave labor camp must have wondered why the masses did not rise now that the oppressor had vanished.
 

And then there is this quibble, again from DeLong:

Second, there is something wrong with historians who write about how Stone worked "closely with the KGB"—the Committee for State Security—when the KGB was not organized until 1954. In the late 1930s the sinister and murderous people who worked in Dzherzhinsky Square were part of the NKVD.


Pedantic DeLong's got their number! Imagine, two historians who have devoted their lives to the study of Soviet espionage—Haynes alone has written 10 books on the subject—not knowing the difference between the NKVD and the KGB. I read the Haynes, Klehr, and Vassiliev book in galleys and can confirm that these three experts on Soviet intelligence do indeed understand the distinction. Right there in the book's introduction, we get this note on nomenclature: "This agency, while having a continuous organizational history, went through a variety of title changes and was at times part of a larger entity. For reasons of simplicity and to avoid confusion, the agency in most instances will be referred to as the 'KGB,' the Committee of State Security, its title from 1954 until the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991. But readers should keep in mind that its actual title prior to 1954 was as specified below."

And as the chart "specified below" shows, in the "late 1930s" the KGB forerunner was technically the GUGB, a section of the NKVD. But nevertheless, DeLong's point that working with Soviet intelligence (Stone, the KGB noted, had entered "normal operational work" in 1936 that consisted of, according to the authors, talent spotting and acting as a courier between agents) was simply premature anti-fascism that "not even Pat Buchanan" would object to is simply nonsense.

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  • Warty||

    Vere is next pancakes house?

  • Seward||

    Michael Moynihan,

    The Soviet-Nazi pact did not come into being until 1939.

  • Mister DNA||

    "In Soviet Russia, Pancake..."

    Fuck it, I've got nothing.

  • JP||

    You know, I remember seeing an adoring documentary on Stone on Public TV when I was a teenager. For a long time after that, I thought he was some sort of great muckraking enemy of corruption.

    Did the Feds have a file on him?

  • IanTheTerrible||

    There is a tendency on the Left to dismiss pre-1970's communist sympathies as simple naivety or chalk it up to a lack of knowledge about communism's true evil, as if it hadn't been manifested yet. The Soviet-adoring ranks included some of the smartest in each generation, and it's ridiculous to think that these folks simply did not see or hear of the atrocities committed around the world by Marxists. That's like the epically stupid argument that the German citizenry had no idea that Hitler could turn into such a monster...did none of them read ANYTHING he wrote?

  • IanTheTerrible||

    "In Soviet Russia, Pancake..."

    ...eats you!

    In Putin's Russia, pancake has radioactive isotopes if you don't watch your mouth!

  • ||

    That's like the epically stupid argument that the German citizenry had no idea that Hitler could turn into such a monster...did none of them read ANYTHING he wrote?

    I have a hard time believing anyone but the most villainous enemy of America voted for Obama knowing what he would do to this country. So I'm willing to concede German ignorance in the face of Hitler.

  • Seward||

    crimethink,

    When Germans objected to euthanasia programs that the Nazis were undertaking the Nazi state stopped them. There are a couple of incidents like that which happened.

    Furthermore, if you look at a map of the number of forced labor camps which were in Germany proper you will see that they dotted the country. You see an example of one of these camps in the TV series "Band of Brothers."

    While your average Germany may not have known the specific details of what was happening at Dachau, etc., they were well aware that lots of people had disappeared, that they were never heard from again, that there were small camps which they could see on the outskirts of their towns where people were clearly starving to death, etc.

    And that doesn't even get us into the bureaucracy of mass murder and war. Hundreds of thousands of German soldiers were involved in that at some level; indeed, the entire reason that gas chambers were recommended was not only because shooting people en masse was ineffecient (and this happened in most of Germany's campaigns) but that it was so bad for German military morale.

    You simply do not exteminate millions of people without millions of other people knowing about it. The notion that most Germans were ignorant of what was happening in broad strokes is a myth. Similarly most Soviet citizens were well aware of the Great Terror.

  • ||

    I have a hard time believing anyone but the most villainous enemy of America voted for Obama knowing what he would do to this country



    Obama could order the execution of every firstborn male child, and his supporters would not pause one second in their continual orgasmic worship of him.

  • ||

    Whatever the merits of the arguments, Moynihan's summation of Alterman's article is a pretty gross distortion. Reading his piece, what he actually says is that Stone was unlikely to have mentioned anything to him, because Stone knew Alterman was staunchly anti-Communist.

  • Fluffy||

    I have to confess to not really knowing much about who the heck IF Stone is or why we should care if he was an NKVD agent.

    Aside from writing one mildly diverting contrarian book claiming that Socrates actually deserved to be found guilty, who is this person? What else did I do that I should care about? If I have to google it, it can't be that important.

  • Mike H||

    Welcome to the "Reality Based Community" where spying for the Soviets and writing ballads of Stalin's heroic deeds during the purges are nothing more than a case of "premature fascism".

    The only thing premature was the speed at which guys like Stone ejaculated at the though of the United States transforming into another CCCP.

  • ||

    There is a tendency on the Left to dismiss pre-1970's communist sympathies as simple naivety or chalk it up to a lack of knowledge about communism's true evil, as if it hadn't been manifested yet.

    There is a tendency on the Left to simply deny it ever happened and assert that no Western leftists ever seriously supported Stalin or Soviet communism after 1945.

    Believe me, I've argued with these people a lot.
    They say the same shit about how nobody on the Left ever said the the US had it coming on 9/11. According to them, Ward Churchill is a bizarre anomaly who isn't representative of anyone or anything.

    Almost nobody under 30 knows about the extent to which western leftists supported the Soviet Union because it simply isn't taught at all. It's completely swept under the rug. You have to actually have a memory stretching back far enough to remember the BS on PBS in 1986.

  • ||

    I have to confess to not really knowing much about who the heck IF Stone is or why we should care if he was an NKVD agent.

    You should care because knowledge of the extent of collaboration between the Western Left and the USSR informs the history of the Cold War.

    When you read some of the shit that the Left was writing about US imperialism, yada yada, in the 50s and 60s, it helps to know that a lot of them were on the KGB payroll.

  • JB||

    Commie-scum. That includes shit like Alterman. Fuck them all. They will get theirs in this world or the next.

  • Michael P.||

    Pedantic DeLong's got their number! Imagine, two historians who have devoted their lives to the study of Soviet espionage-Haynes alone has written 10 books on the subject-not knowing the difference between the NKVD and the KGB.

    I picked up Solzhenitsyn's The First Circle (at a thrift store for a buck!) a while ago and just started reading it. The opening contains an index that details all of the various soviet agencies referenced throughout the book. It's an alphabet soup. Anybody that would make a point of criticizing a writer for using the most commonly known name as an umbrella term for the sake of simplicity obviously hasn't got much else in the way of a viable argument.

  • Jigga Wha?||

    Man, the "South Korea attacked North Korea" line is standard in a lot of places. In China, history books cite Stone as proof, "see? even Americans think the South attacked first!"

  • ||

    You simply do not exteminate millions of people without millions of other people knowing about it. The notion that most Germans were ignorant of what was happening in broad strokes is a myth.

    I believe the question was, not whether the Germans were aware of Hitler's mass murder when it was taking place, but whether they had any "idea that Hitler *could* turn into such a monster"--which is to say, whether they had any such idea at the time they were voting for him. IIRC, the last time they had an opportunity to do so was in March 1933, at which time Hitler was still only a run-of-the mill thug.

  • ||

    Oops, "Lavrenty Beria" was me.

  • ||

    It is so awesome to watch Moynihan completely destroy DeLong. If you read closely, you can actually hear DeLong biting the pillow to muffle the whimpering that betrays his agony. In eviscerating J. Bradford DeShort, Moynihan opens up the sort of rectal wound that does not heal for years, if ever.

    From the mountain to the sea, let everyone understand the new order of things:

    He is no longer Michael C. Moynihan.
    He is now Michael "Leave 'em bleedin" Moynihan.


    Go forth and carry the word to the others.

    http://reason.com/blog/show/133377.html

  • ||

    'Lavrenty Beria'?

    "Lavrenty bury you!"
    /Pounds table with shoe.

    //I know, wrong dictator.

  • John Markley||

    Almost nobody under 30 knows about the extent to which western leftists supported the Soviet Union because it simply isn't taught at all. It's completely swept under the rug.

    Quite correct, and the same is largely true for the crimes of the communist regimes themselves. Though to be fair to the Left, If I had spent decades as an apologist for famine, slavery, poverty, and mass murder in order to support the most monstrous evil in human history, I'd try to discourage people from bringing it up, too.

  • ||

    Michael Moynihan: Eric Alterman argued that Stone couldn't have been a paid agent of the Russians because, during their friendship, "he never mentioned anything of this to me."

    Not quite, Alterman says pretty much the very opposite: that some level of cooperation may have been true, and speculates that Stone kept it secret to not want to alienate his anti-commie leftie friends, and pronounces it forgiveable.

    Agree or disagree, he is not basing the skepticism of some charges on the absence of mention of it to him by Stone.

    Eric Alterman: I would not argue that what the authors have found . . . does not affect the historical record at all. Stone and I were close friends . . . and he never mentioned anything of this to me. He knew I was a strong anti-Communist and I assume he would have expected me to disapprove. . . he kept it secret from everyone, insofar as we are aware (and again, assuming it is accurate). I can understand and forgive this.

    Whatever his opinion, he is clearly NOT saying that Stone's silence is his basis for doubting the charge of "spy", he gives his fuller reasons in the article.

  • ||

    When you read some of the shit that the Left was writing about US imperialism, yada yada, in the 50s and 60s, it helps to know that a lot of them were on the KGB payroll.

    So, what's their excuse now?

  • Seward||

    Seamus,

    I'd argue that it was easy to predict what Hitler was up to; as many Germans and non-Germans did predict that prior to 1933. I'd also argue that Germans had plenty of opportunity from 1933 to at least 1939, given how obsessed the Nazi state was with pleasing public opinion.

  • Gene Berkman||

    Yale University Press has an excellent publishing program on the history of Communism, of which the book mentioned is part.

    I have read I.F. Stone where he writes of an attempt to recruit him by Soviet intelligence; Stone claims to have refused to go along.

    Whether he was an agent of Soviet intelligence or not, he was for many years an apologist for Soviet foreign policy as well as an explicit socialist. In 1950, when Henry Wallace denied being a socialist, and labeled himself a "progressive capitalist" Stone attacked him for it, saying there was no such thing as progressive capitalism.

    When the Red Army moved into East Europe, Stone wrote- with some truth - that the regimes in Humgary, Bulgaria & Romania had been aligned with Nazi Germany, and Communist takeovers in those countries were progressive. He claimed South Korea invaded North Korea to start the Korean War.

    When he visited Cuba in 1961, he found that the Cubans were free because their newspapers printed both the Soviet and the Red Chinese polemics - a limited view of freedom indeed.

  • Seward||

    Gene Berkman,

    What excuses did he make about Poland and Czechoslovakia? The irony about Poland being that the Soviets killed off almost the entire cadre of native Polish communists prior to the German ivasion of the USSR.

  • Gene Berkman||

    My source for Stone's attitude toward East Europe is "The Truman Era 1945-1952" a collection of columns by I.F. Stone.

    His only reference to Poland is to quote a British Labour Party MP who refers to "a terribly devastated country making great strides toward recovery in industry and agriculture" in a column written in 1947 titled "What Is Really Going On Behind the Iron Curtain."

    In the same column he suggests "...regional economic planning could create a new industrial power in Europe with Polish coal, Romanian oil, Czechoslovak factories, Yugoslav ores and timber,Hungarian wheat."

    This column was written before the coup in Prague of 1948, and before the Stalin-Tito split.

  • ||

    So, what's their excuse now?

    None really. The problem today is that the current crop of intellectuals were educated by the 50s and 60s crop. They ate up the propaganda produced by soviet sympathizers hook, line and sinker. To them this stuff is simply "historical fact" now. They have no clue that it was concocted by people who were effectively on the other side during the Cold War, and don't care.

  • ||

    Another historical nitpick: the Soviets did more than provide support for the German invasion of Poland. They invaded from the East 16 days later and annexed much of the country.

  • Paul||

    Did the Feds have a file on him?

    Apparently, the KGB did, along with all the cheque stubs.

  • Paul||

    When he visited Cuba in 1961, he found that the Cubans were free because their newspapers printed both the Soviet and the Red Chinese polemics - a limited view of freedom indeed.

    And access to healthcare. We can never forget that.

  • ||

    It was a typo. Sorry. According to Klehr, Stone was active in 38. Molotov-Ribbentrop was, of course, 39. Apologies.

  • Steven Smith||

    If that's all he's guilty of (and the FBI, which had Stone under surveillance for years, found nothing), then what Stone did in '38 was admirable. Sometimes you have to ally yourself with the devil to fight a greater evil.

  • ||

    As someone under 30 and aware of the crimes of communism am I still allowed to be unsure of just what difference western leftist support amounts to? I'm not surprised by the charge that western academics were on the payroll of soviet but what horrifying consequences are there of that? It speaks to the stupidity of said academics, but were Soviet governments really dependent on western approval to commit their worst crimes? I don't know why, but I get the impression that revulsion to western-communist-sympathizers is stronger than revulsion to actual communist governments.

  • Seward||

    Steven Smith,

    The regimes of Hitler and Stalin were equally evil. And of course in 1938 was it clear who would be the greatest immediate threat? Both states clearly had their eyes on expansion.

  • ||

    I put this quote of I.F. Stone on wikipedia and within 2 hours it was deleted and then all quotes were removed.


    Stalin was one of the giant figures of our time, and will rank with Ivan, Peter, Catherine and Lenin among the builders of that huge edifice which is Russia.

    Left wingers really love this guy.

  • Seward||

    Nelson,

    ...but were Soviet governments really dependent on western approval to commit their worst crimes?

    Those Westerners who did defend the Soviet government provided a lot of the cover for the 1930s show trials and centralized planning, and the Soviet government clearly appreciated that cover for a number of reasons.

  • ||

    My quick caveat as youngish libertarian (I'm 26) is that I'm always amazed at how fixated older libertarians and conservatives are on western leftist behavior during the Cold War. The topic of spying(an actual crime) seems to have gotten conflated with generic western support.
    While, I'm not particularly fond of shitty folk-singers or college kids protesting, I consider them annoying or boring, not a threat to society.

  • ||

    I know about the show trials and, again, I'm asking whether or not the show trials would have taken place whether or not someone at Harvard or what have you condoned them. It has not yet been made clear to me that it has. It could be and I'm not as well read as I think, but well...

  • ||

    but I get the impression that revulsion to western-communist-sympathizers is stronger than revulsion to actual communist governments.

    This is like saying people really don't hate Hitler they just hate Hitler sympathizers.

    Give me a fucking break....if people were trying to hide Nazi sympathizers you would be freaking the fuk out...as you should be.

    Why is it "OK" for the left to hide Stalin sympathizers?

  • ||

    b) it really doesn't matter anyway, considering that the Soviets occasionally opposed Hitler.

    But wait using that same logic would it not clear Nazi sympathizers because they were opposing the greater Soviet threat?

    Jesus Fucking Christ is Brad DeLong messed up.

  • Mr. Chartreuse||

    Another historical nitpick: the Soviets did more than provide support for the German invasion of Poland. They invaded from the East 16 days later and annexed much of the country.

    They also engaged in a bit of slaughter as well.

  • Morris||

    I.F Stone, it seems, was a Stalinist fanatic who was willing to accept all sorts of strocities as long as they were done in the name of his communism. People who make gods out of overarching ideologies tend to get that way. If the ideology clahses with reality--reality is wrong. Sound at all familiar to you market-worshiping "Marxists of the right"?

  • ||

    Sound at all familiar to you market-worshiping "Marxists of the right"?

    If only the "market" had the same body count as Stalin.

  • Sherlock||

    Seward | May 7, 2009, 4:37pm | #
    Michael Moynihan,

    The Soviet-Nazi pact did not come into being until 1939.


    May I please have my shit back?

  • Seward||

    Nelson,

    Yes, the show trials would have been more difficult to conduct without the approval of Westerners both inside and outside the government.

    While, I'm not particularly fond of shitty folk-singers or college kids protesting, I consider them annoying or boring, not a threat to society.

    Well, Western support (be it spying or simply open, public support) for the communist regimes came from members of Western governments as much as from folk singers.

  • ||

    @ Joshua Corning
    I didn't mean to accuse anyone of sympathizing or being worse than anything else. mis-worded that part. My contention is that people are bizarrely focused on meaningless gestures of Soviet support and equating the actual crimes of the soviets with said gestures. Yes, everyone here ought to realize that forced collectivization of farms and the resulting starvation were bad, but how bent out of shape can you honestly get over some naive or dishonest westerner minimizing collectivization and starvation?

  • Sherlock||

    Morris | May 7, 2009, 10:13pm | #
    I.F Stone, it seems, was a Stalinist fanatic who was willing to accept all sorts of strocities as long as they were done in the name of his communism. People who make gods out of overarching ideologies tend to get that way. If the ideology clahses with reality--reality is wrong. Sound at all familiar to you market-worshiping "Marxists of the right"?


    Oh, that was just so sophisticated. Did you acquire that wit from years of developing an erudite education, or is this a natural talent on your part to come up with these astute observations? We have never heard that one before. I beg of you, you must lavish us with more offerings of your thoughtful and original line of thinking. It would be ever so refreshing.

  • Gene Berkman||

    I.F. Stone was not a "Stalinist fanatic," He was a "progressive" who believed socialism was a progressive social system, and he stressed the positive aspects as he saw, and attacked the West for what he saw as negative aspects of capitalism and militarism.

    I don't state this to defend him, but to point out that Communism has relied on such people as a necessary adjunct to the "Stalinist fanatics" that did exist. If the Communists had only Stalinist fanatics to rely on, it would have been less a threat.

    And yes, it matters that Western Leftists defendes the Soviet Union, or China, or Cuba, because they would point to such societies as successful examples of the types of policies that these same Western Leftists advocated for the U.S. I am sure everyone has met an advocate of "single-payer" medical care who tells you how successful Cuba is in providing for the health needs of its people.

  • ||

    but how bent out of shape can you honestly get over some naive or dishonest westerner minimizing collectivization and starvation?

    Exactly as bent out of shape as I would over a naive or dishonest westerner minimizing Auschwitz.

    Plus you know it wasn't just collectivism and starvation he was minimizing....you forgot to mention the purges and the GULAG.

    Seriously WTF is wrong with you?

    I mean it is pretty easy to spot the crazy jew haters and other nut jobs but people like you are even scarier....you seem normal and post normal things then WAM!! out of the the blue:

    "Oh it is ok to be a Stalin-sympathizer."

    WTF!?!?!

  • ||

    I'll repeat what I posted on DeLong's site, since it will be deleted there soon

    So you're saying ... Stone hated the Nazis more than he loved the Soviets? I think you have grasped reality with at most one hand on this one.

  • IanTheTerrible||

    Just a semi-related anecdote:

    My father and I took my 85 year-old grandmother to visit her old workplace at one of the University of Texas gyms. She worked there in the 1940's and one of the few things she shared with us was that she remembers that her coworker's brother was caught spying for the Soviets while she was working there. What is the gym called now? Anna Hiss Gym.

  • ||

    We seem to have a choice:

    1. Helping Stalin against Hitler was a mitzvah, or
    2. Helping Hitler against Stalin was a mitzvah.

    I think (1)--and thus I think it very weird for Klehr et al. to say that Stone (a) spied on Hitler for Stalin, and that this (b) makes Stone a bad guy.

    Moynihan appears to think (2)--which carries the implication that we fought on the wrong side during WWII, and that we should have advised the British to make peace with the Nazis in 1940.

    I'm curious: how many people here agree with me that helping Stalin against Hitler was a mitzvah? How many agree with Moynihan that helping Stalin against Hitler was not a mitzvah?

  • ||

    Brad DeLong is a pompous arse! You might even call him a blowhard windbag!

  • ||

    Right Mr Delong.

    No mea culpas when your thin gruel was washed away. Instead we drag the conversation away to a false dichotomy between either helping stalin or hitler. Classy.

    But we cant let that happen.
    So lets back to the core of the issue: As Moynihan points out:

    Second, the idea that, in the case of Stone or any ideologically-motivated agent, one can simply separate support for Stalinism from a supposedly naive anti-fascism is absurd. Why is it so difficult for his hagiographers to believe that Stone was actually a true-believing Stalinist?

    So yes, do you accept he was a Stalinist? If yes, is the fact that he was a Stalinist even after WW2 condemn him to an equivalent of a neo-nazi or KKKer? If not, why not? Until and unless the crimes of communism are flaunted and all the leftist communist sympathizers are condemned and purged from the academy(equivalent to the nazi sympathizers), justice will not be done.

  • Paul||

    I'm curious: how many people here agree with me that helping Stalin against Hitler was a mitzvah? How many agree with Moynihan that helping Stalin against Hitler was not a mitzvah?

    I think perhaps you're asking the wrong question. You've compartmentalized Stone.

    The United States Government helped Stalin against Hitler...during World War II. That, sir was a mitzvah.

    The United States Government opposed Stalin post-World War II. That too was a mitzvah.

    The question might be better put: Was Stone's continual support for the Stalin regime a mitzvah?

  • Tim Starr||

    Rothbard also made comments to the effect that there was "evidence" that South Korea started the Korean War by invading North Korea. Ever since I first read that, I've wondered if Rothbard's "evidence" was IF Stone's Stalinist propaganda on the subject.

    So, Prof. DeLong: Was IF Stone's support for Kim Il Sung also a "mitzvah"?

    The role of propagandists like IF Stone in the Cold War was in providing protective camouflage for the spies and terrorists who did active harm to the Free World, as it was once rightly called.

  • megapotamus||

    Plenty of folks make the statement that there is basic equivalence between Sov and Nazi and I can endorse that more or less but you can't advance from that that helping one against the other is a good in and of itself unless you also admit that those who helped the Nazis against Stalin also had an arguable case. How about this, yes, they were both evil despotisms and we should have opposed BOTH in WWII and the decision of Roosevelt to get in bed with Stalin was another example of an American Leftist committing treason in favor of the Commies. And anyone favoring Commies over American liberty is justly labeled a Commie and a traitor. This tars a broad spectrum from Harriman to Eugene McCarthy (but not Truman, god love 'im) and it does so not only properly but as an absolute necessity. If you do not push back against the twisted depravity of Communism it has a nasty habit of getting elected.

  • ||

    "it really doesn't matter anyway, considering that the Soviets occasionally opposed Hitler . . . "

    After seeing this monumental speciosity, you really don't need to read any further. On top of such stupidity, however, there is then the utterly dishonest summary of Alterman. In this way, pity for MM turns into contempt.

  • Dennis ||

    I only know about Stone from a single book that I found in college, "The Trial of Socrates", in which he takes the great philosopher to task for his incipient encouragement of tyranny, that the Socratic method in the wrong hands tends to eat democracies alive, that the corruption of the youth of Athens might have been a just accusation.

    Could this book, written late in his life, a kind of mea culpa?

  • ||

    "While your average Germany may not have known the specific details of what was happening at Dachau, etc., they were well aware that lots of people had disappeared..."

    Or as my 10-year-old son so insightfully stated: "How could the Germans not know? Don't you think it'd be like (looks around, baffled), 'Hey, didn't there used to be 6 million Jews here?' "

  • dollarvandemos||

    try these pancakes papi http://tinyurl.com/dkzgln

  • Jesse Walker||

    I've wondered if Rothbard's "evidence" was IF Stone's Stalinist propaganda on the subject.

    While I'm pretty sure Rothbard recommended Stone's book at one point, his source for those statements was not Stone but Rep. Howard Buffett (R-Nebraska).

    There's a reprint of the Stone book in the Reason offices in L.A., by the way, with a warm introduction by Stephen "Band of Brothers" Ambrose.

  • Colin||

    It's been a great week for Moynihan.

    Wonderful stuff.

  • ||

    I mean it is pretty easy to spot the crazy jew haters and other nut jobs but people like you are even scarier....you seem normal and post normal things then WAM!! out of the the blue:

    "Oh it is ok to be a Stalin-sympathizer."

    At no point did I say it was okay to sympathize with Stalin, Hitler or anything else. I only don't understand the level of moral outrage surrounding it. All I asked is how the same indignation and moral outrage surrounds some guy saying great things about Stalin as people, like a spy like Stone, who tried to meaningfully abet the Soviets. Do you not get that either example speak to problems of character of different degrees? As I said earlier, this was a thread about a man ostensibly spying for the soviets and a few of his defenders. Somehow, Eric Alterman and I.F. Stone sunk to the same levels of depravity almost immediately.

  • ||

    Western sympathizers of communist regimes do great damage by inducing people to think that national wealth distribution can be effectively accomplished without oppressive government. This is particularly true when the sympathizer is a professor, judge or journalist. Such a person has a very influential platform, and is able to persuade many others that it is in their best interest to vote in a government that will soak the "rich" in an effort to solve poverty. This should be abhorrent to a libertarian, or to someone who simply loves liberty, which includes the liberty to speak, publish, worship, assemble, and own property.

  • ||

    The problem with disregarding the folk singers et al is that they grow up to be the educators of the future generations and next thing you know you get a totally warped education establishment which things teaching feelings is better than teaching facts and that the govt is your best resource for everything. Take a look at the education that is being handed out now to see what I mean. And the teachers were for the most part either folk singers themselves or groupies for the folk singers and acolytes. The result is a younger generation that is not taught to think for itself.

  • ||

    Wow, lots of stupid comments here. Can't read them all. I have a life. Apparently some people don't.

  • Billy Beck||

    "...but how bent out of shape can you honestly get over some naive or dishonest westerner minimizing collectivization and starvation?"

    You impertinent little shit. What do you think history is for?

  • TallDave||

    But the Soviets had free health care, so clearly they were a superior society to our evil capitalist system that oppresses the poor with off-brands and WalMart.

  • TallDave||

    Just remember kids: Communists bad, communism good.

  • a Nation of magazines||

    Anyone read Guttenplan's take?

  • Paul||

    Wow, lots of stupid comments here. Can't read them all. I have a life. Apparently some people don't.

    Tally: +1

  • ||

    I'm in middle of Brent's book. Its a great read. Vignettes from Stalin's time and from 1990s Russia and little charatcer sketches all done well

  • ||

    We seem to have a choice:

    1. Helping Stalin against Hitler was a mitzvah, or
    2. Helping Hitler against Stalin was a mitzvah.


    When did it become OK to defend (outside of protecting free speech a GULAG denier?

    Oh yeah and Moynihan demonstrated Stone was not a spy helping Stalin against Hitler....but in fact Stone was a spy helping Stalin against the USA.

    For a renowned economist you sure have reading comprehension problems.

  • ||

    Of course the real test of Stone's supposed anti-fascism is what he wrote in between the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939 and the Nazi invasion of the USSR in June 1941. In that period lots of anti-fascists broke with the Party for good, while the true Stalinists (e.g. Lillian Hellman, Dashiell Hammett, etc.) followed the Party line and spent those years making excuses for Hitler, attacking the bourgeois democracies, and trying to keep us out of the war.

    So, does anyone know how anti-fascist Stone was in those years?

  • mitchell freedman||

    Stone's record with left wing tyranny is a heck of alot better than Bill Buckley's record with right wing tyranny, yet I don't hear anyone calling Bill Buckley a fellow traveler of fascists and Nazis, or a fascist spy...

    My comment on the latest attack on Stone is here:

    http://mitchellfreedman.blogspot.com/2009/04/latest-pathetic-attack-on-if-stone.html

  • wizard of oz books||

    With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

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