History

Suspicious Minds in the 1970s

Rick Perlstein's new book shows the strange '70s interplay of skepticism and nostalgia.

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The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan, by Rick Perlstein, Simon & Schuster, 856 pages, $37.50

As the Watergate scandal exploded and Richard Nixon's hold on the presidency started to slip, one group stood steadfast in its commitment to the man in the West Wing. Its members took to chanting "God needs Nixon" outside Congress' Rayburn Office Building. At the 1973 White House Christmas tree lighting ceremony, over a thousand of them showed up to pay their respects. When the president emerged to greet the throng, Garry Wills later reported in Harper's, "they knelt down to worship him."

They were Moonies.

The 1970s were a time of decay for traditional forms of authority, from the president in the White House to the parent in the home. In the resulting void, dozens of would-be alternatives offered substitute certainties, from a flurry of peculiar self-help movements to the strange new religions whose critics called them cults. The Moonies—a dismissive nickname for the followers of Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church—belonged to one of the most infamous young faiths. The fact that the president was leaning on them for support summed up just how jumbled American attitudes toward authority had become.

The Moonies' appearance at the White House is just one small but telling anecdote in a volume stuffed with such stories. The Invisible Bridge, the third entry in Rick Perlstein's absorbing series of books on recent American history, devotes over 800 pages to an interval of just three and a half years, beginning with Nixon's 1973 claim to have reached "peace with honor" in Vietnam and ending with Ronald Reagan falling just short of the Republican nomination in 1976. In between, it covers not just the obvious episodes—the Watergate scandal, the fall of Saigon—but smaller moments, deeper social trends, and illuminating cultural artifacts, from the early episodes of Saturday Night Live to the fiction of Judy Blume. It is probably the only book where a revolution in sexual mores is discussed in a chapter called "Sam Ervin," and it is surely the only book that makes that combination work. At times it feels less like a '70s history than a '70s movie: one of those Robert Altman pictures with an enormous cast, multiple interwoven storylines, overlapping dialogue, and a climax—in this case, the 1976 GOP convention—where petty personal squabbles and world-changing decisions share center stage.

In Perlstein's telling, the two great currents of the time were suspicion and nostalgia, a skepticism toward American institutions and a yearning for American innocence. "There were two tribes of Americans now," he writes. "One comprised the suspicious circles, which had once been small, but now were exceptionally broad, who considered the self-evident lesson of the 1960s and the low, dishonest war that defined the decade to be the imperative to question authority, unsettle ossified norms, and expose dissembling leaders." The other tribe "found another lesson to be self-evident: never break faith with God's chosen nation."

He's partly right. Americans in the 1970s were indeed torn between a drive to question authority and a longing for an authority they could believe in. But the evidence in Perlstein's own book shows how hard it is to divide those forces into two distinct tribes. Suspicion and nostalgia were woven up with one another, tangled so tightly that they might be inseparable. Even a nostalgist might need a suspicious story to explain how things had gone wrong. And even a skeptic might believe that the country had once been on the right path, that progress required us to turn back the clock.

* * *

…and we can't build our dreams/on suspicious miiiiinds…

Like many histories, Perlstein's book offers readers a sort of double vision. On one hand, he shows us the past through the eyes of the future, letting our hindsight reveal truths that contemporaries missed. One lesson of the book, for instance, is how frequently people underestimated Ronald Reagan. Time and again, we see someone pronouncing the man's career over, only to be surprised when he not only survives but leaps ahead. (In the book's very last line, quoting an article published four years and three months before Reagan was elected president, The New York Times pronounces him "too old to seriously consider another run at the Presidency.")

At the same time, the book lets us see the past through the eyes of the past, reminding us of the often enormous gulf between how an episode appears today and how it appeared as it was transpiring. Sometimes this is just a simple matter of reminding us that historical events that now seem like separate stories in fact happened simultaneously, and that they were experienced that way by the people who lived through them.

For example: Any good history of Watergate will tell you that Nixon's resistance to cooperating with Congress produced a constitutional crisis. Many will mention that there were prominent, mainstream Americans who seriously feared we were on the verge of a turn toward fascism. (Watergate "could serve as a dress rehearsal," one New York Times writer declared, "for an American fascist coup d'etat.") But they generally will not mention that, in the midst of those fears, Nixon made a televised speech that called for shared sacrifice, renewed national purpose, "the strength of self-sufficiency," and emergency legislation.

That is because he was speaking about the energy crisis, and we today think of oil and Watergate as separate subjects. But if you were a skeptical American in 1973, it was natural to suspect that the president was trying to distract you from his scandal—especially when, as Perlstein notes, the immediate situation wasn't as urgent as Nixon made it sound. And it was natural to be uneasy about calls to sacrifice and unity from a president who seemed to be teetering on the brink of breaking the constitutional compact. If you've wondered why not just many conservatives but some prominent progressives, such as the civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, declared the energy crisis a hoax, this is one place to start.

Again and again, Perlstein juxtaposes stories like this, sometimes spelling out the connections and sometimes just being suggestive. Periodically he'll simply break into a rapid montage of scary headlines. One paragraph leaps from the Patty Hearst kidnapping to the "Zebra" serial killings to the nearly simultaneous outbreak of six tornadoes; the paragraph after that swings through six more stories, peaking with a Playboy feature headlined "The Devil Made Us Do It: A Ten Page Pictorial on the Occult." Some of these events had a major social impact and some of them did not, but together they feel like an apocalyptic tide.

It is possible to complain—as Sam Tanenhaus did, reviewing the book in The Atlantic—that you could concoct such a storm with headlines culled from many periods of American history. But from the perspective of the people within that apocalyptic tide, that hardly matters. This was how it felt in the moment; just then, the world seemed to be a dangerous chaos. If it had seemed the same way in the past, well, those former feelings of dread were largely forgotten. Like I said, it was a time of nostalgia.

* * *

For Perlstein, Reagan embodies nostalgia, because Perlstein's Reagan is constantly rewriting his own history, revising his past to bring it into accord with the way he wanted the world to be. This isn't exactly unusual behavior for a politician. Indeed, The Invisible Bridge makes a good case that Jimmy Carter was guilty of the same thing. But Reagan did have a special talent for it.

Perlstein does a good job of undermining some of the legends that have attached themselves to Reagan. Reagan famously said, for instance, that he became a Republican because the Democratic Party had gotten too liberal—in his oft-quoted words, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me." Perlstein points out that Harry Truman's proposal for national health insurance was well to the left of John F. Kennedy's proposal for Medicare, yet Reagan happily backed Truman in the '40s before he condemned Medicare as socialized medicine a decade and a half later. Clearly the man's views had changed, even if he preferred to believe that he had stood still while the Democratic Party fell from grace. Perlstein offers a plausible account of how Reagan's opinions evolved, putting particular stress on the future president's stint in the 1950s and early '60s as "roving ambassador" for General Electric. In those days, Perlstein notes, G.E. devoted a lot of resources to making a moral case for capitalism.

Perlstein doesn't mention it, but the company had just gone through an ideological shift of its own. In the 1920s, G.E. President Gerard Swope unsuccessfully invited the American Federation of Labor to organize his company, hoping to establish a predictable relationship with a single industrial union rather than battling a wide array of craft unions that each had its own interests and demands. During the Depression, Swope devised an economic stabilization plan that helped inspire Franklin Roosevelt's National Industrial Recovery Act; he also advised Roosevelt while the president was developing his Social Security proposal. G.E.'s politics in this era were centered around the idea of state-corporate cooperation, with a secondary role for suitably submissive unions.

Then a wave of strikes in the '40s changed the corporate mood, souring its view of organized labor and at least certain sorts of government intervention. Under the guidance of Lemuel Boulware, the firm's new labor-relations man, G.E. was soon distributing literature ranging from a comic-book adaptation of F.A. Hayek's The Road to Serfdom to a conspiracy tract by the liberal-turned-McCarthyist muckraker John T. Flynn. Reagan the former Trumanite absorbed these influences, and their effects on his worldview were soon felt.

In a detail that says a lot about both G.E. and Reagan, the future president got in trouble with the company after he took to criticizing the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The agency bought its turbines from G.E., you see. After an awkward meeting with the company's CEO, Reagan agreed to drop the TVA references from his speeches. This quiet change had no impact on his reputation. Like many politicians, Reagan had a knack for appearing to be uncompromising as he compromised.

Perlstein argues that he also had "the gift of moral absolution": an ability to turn tales of trauma into tales of redemption, allowing Reagan to project a faith in American goodness at a time when many people were calling that goodness into question. This "blithe optimism in the face of what others called chaos," Perlstein writes, was "what made others feel so good in his presence—and what drove still others, those suspicious circles for whom doubt was the soul of civic wisdom, to annoyed bafflement at his success."

On one level, this is exactly right: Reagan did frequently frame his stories this way, and that does explain a part of his popular appeal. But on another level, it is incomplete. Reagan also found ways to tap into the very skeptical spirit that he was defying.

* * *

And that brings us back to the complex relationship between suspicion and nostalgia.

Those "suspicious circles" who despised Reagan were prone to nostalgia for past presidents, particularly JFK. Perlstein quotes a kindergartener contrasting Kennedy with Nixon—"There used to be a president who didn't lie, but he's dead!"—and he demonstrates that the boy's rosy view of the 35th president wasn't limited to schoolchildren. For many Americans, Perlstein writes, "'Kennedy' meant comfort, truth, trust, the calm before the storm."

That sentiment extended deep into otherwise skeptical segments of society, from countercultural filmmakers to anti-CIA crusaders. (Frank Church, the Idaho Democrat who headed the Senate's probe into the crimes of the intelligence community, tried hard to resist the conclusion that Kennedy had been complicit in much of the misbehavior.) The conspiracy theories that blamed the U.S. government for JFK's death may have been some of the most extreme expressions of the era's suspicious spirit, but they tended as well to be suffused with this nostalgic idea that there once was an innocent president whose death had put the country off track. The typical assassinologists believed, Perlstein writes, "that if they could simply expose the lies of the powerful who covered up the veritable regicide, they could bring redemption to a fallen land."

Meanwhile, the right wing absorbed a lot of the period's skeptical spirit. It's telling to compare the conservative movement's reaction to Watergate with the response among Washington's mandarin class. The Georgetown villagers fretted about the scandal's impact on how the public perceived the presidency; each time a new revelation emerged, they moved to contain it, just slightly expanding the size of the infection that would need to be excised before the establishment could return to business as usual. Conservatives, by contrast, adopted a slash-and-burn everybody-does-it defense of Nixon that rivaled the assassinologists' vision in its portrait of Washington as a fetid swamp—except the conservatives didn't have a soft spot for anyone named Kennedy. "If Nixon's guilty, then so were Johnson and Kennedy and Eisenhower and Truman," announced one of Nixon's most notorious last-ditch defenders, a retired rabbi named Baruch Korff. "And, my God, I could tell you things about Roosevelt!"

When people like Korff said things like this, it was a cynical exercise: not an attack on official corruption so much as a resentful whine that Nixon was being singled out. But even in those cases, that meant the faction most inclined to excuse abuses of power was now going out of its way to highlight abuses of power. The most prominent person to follow this script was the Nixon speechwriter turned New York Times columnist William Safire, who took a strong interest in Kennedy-era malfeasance. (Unlike Korff, Safire was capable of criticizing his old boss Nixon too, particularly when the president's abuses came close to home. In 1973, on learning that the FBI had tapped his phone on the White House's orders, he devoted a column to his "fury" at the "unconscionable invasion.")

The document that best encapsulates this attitude is probably Victor Lasky's 1977 book It Didn't Start with Watergate. Lasky's political sympathies may be inferred from the fact that he once received a grant of $20,000 from that fountainhead of Watergate crimes, the Committee for the Re-Election of the President. But as he took his reader on a tour through the misdeeds, some imagined and some very real, of Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson, he wound up painting a portrait of a deeply stained political establishment. At one point he approvingly quoted Noam Chomsky. Skepticism makes strange bedfellows.

More broadly, the right's rhetorical jabs at big government were custom-made for a skeptical age, even if some of those same conservatives turned around and defended big government when it manifested itself as the CIA, the FBI, or the Nixon White House. And social conservatives sometimes aimed their fury not just at the elites but at American society at large. (The rising anti-abortion movement, Perlstein notes, believed that "a society gone mad was sanctioning genocide." No innocence there.) They may have yearned for certainties, but so did the Kennedy nostalgists on the left. In both cases, the longing for innocence was embedded in the skepticism.

That skepticism and that yearning were affixed so tightly together that Perlstein occasionally errs when deciding which is which. He presents nuclear energy, correctly, as an institution that attracted popular suspicion in the '70s. Resistance to the metric system, meanwhile, appears here as an example of nostalgic Americans "hugging any excuse not to change." But one of the most prominent opponents of metric conversion was Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand, a hero for many in the more left-leaning suspicious circles. Doing a victory lap in New Scientist after it became clear that metric conversion was a flop, he compared metrification directly to nuclear power, declaring that both "sound terrific so long as you don't think about them for more than 30 seconds."

* * *

When suspicion and innocence are wound together, successful politicians learn to draw on both sentiments at once. Two figures were particularly adept at this: Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

When Carter and his all-things-to-all-people campaign emerged in the 1976 primaries, he regularly hit the evils of the '70s scandals in particular and government in general. But his rhetoric distinguished the citizens from the state. You were still innocent, he told the country, even if your leaders weren't. If you sent him to Washington, he said in a famous phrase, he'd give you "a government as good as its people."

Reagan, unlike Carter, wasn't prone to invoking Watergate as a sign of the state's misdeeds. He had, after all, stood by Nixon to the end. Yet he fed on people's distrust of power even as he reassured them. Entering the Republican primaries in late 1975, he condemned Washington's "buddy system" of corruption and privilege; the old G.E. spokesman even threw in a jab at "big business." His willingness to take this approach had its limits—at the same event, he dodged a question about the FBI's surveillance of Martin Luther King. But like Carter, he was attempting to appeal to both the public's skepticism and the public's nostalgia, its fear of the powerful and its desire to believe that the voters themselves, far from the Beltway, were untainted by the evil in D.C.

Neither Carter nor Reagan invented that synthesis. The idea of an essentially noble people facing a corrupt establishment has been the default narrative for more than a century's worth of populist crusades. Maybe more significantly, given Reagan's Hollywood background, it's the worldview you'll find in many Frank Capra films. People who invoke Mr. Smith Goes to Washington as a tribute to the American way forget how dark the movie's portrait of American political culture actually is; Jimmy Stewart, in the title role, is practically the only honest man in the city. Mr. Smith goes to Washington, finds it soiled with corruption, reaches back to Lincoln and Jefferson for inspiration, and wins a victory that redeems American democracy. It's an appealing script, and politicians love to let voters imagine that they're reenacting it.

Jimmy Stewart shows up a few times in The Invisible Bridge. In his final cameo, we see him stumping for Reagan on the campaign trail. (As endorsements go, that sure beats the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.) Perlstein notes that Stewart spoke in "his best aw-shucks Mr. Smith tones." A baton was being passed; a new actor was taking an old role.

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  1. Grew up in the 70’s. What I remember was how bad the cars started to suck, right into and through the 80’s. Worst American Cars EVER. Mid-70’s Fords with “road-hugging weight”. The Vega. The Pinto. The Chevette. The Dodge….most anything (excepting very-early 70’s musclecars for all the makers that were bitchin’ for ’70, ’71…then started to suck).

    *barf*

    Politics? I was a kid. Turned 18 in 1980 – all I knew was voting for Reagan was NOT gonna happen, cause he was a warmongering idiot. Voted for John Anderson.

    It’s all been downhill since then. Funny that…

    1. all I knew was voting for Reagan was NOT gonna happen, cause he was a warmongering idiot.

      Yet the war did not come, and the USSR fell. Good thing we didn’t elect an intellectual who desired peace, like say Wilson or FDR or Barack Obama.

      1. Oh yeah. No question. But I was 18, and I “KNEW” he was taking us into war.

        I voted for Reagan in ’84 🙂

        Still – steady decline since then. Funny that….

        1. Yeah Reagan was no prize, but he was better than all four of his successors.

          1. Whip Inflation Now. Ford’s slogan. Imagine running on that now. Fringe Austrians!

            1. As goofy as he often sounded, Ford may have been one of the better ones. People forget all of his vetoes of spending bills.

              Overall, he never really seemed like a power or popularity monger. That alone makes him a cut above.

              1. Well he never asked for or sought the power given to him, it just fell into his lap and he had to deal with the all the fallout generated by the hubris of his predecessors.

                I’ve always been sympathetic towards Ford. Pardoning Nixon took a lot of courage.

          2. and better than all four of his successors.

            1. This commenting thing is tricky.

    2. Most of what this article says rings true with my late-childhood recollections. The persistent mystery for me is how Reagan managed to shed a lot of that warmongering fear between ’76 and ’80. In ’76 it was chiefly that fear that kept him from beating Ford. By ’80 enough centrists’ fears had been eased that he went all the way to the White House, and I’m not sure what the key to that was. Perhaps he was just that little bit more tired, and slightly less vigor made him seem slightly less dangerous.

      1. In ’76 it was chiefly that fear that kept him from beating Ford.

        No what kept him from beating Ford was the GOP’s traditional deference toward the guy whose turn it was. Ford was a sitting US President, and the GOP could not imagine tossing POTUS for anyone else.

        What always amazes me about the American electorate in the 20th century is that not a single Republican President took the nation into war, yet somehow the Democrats got the Peace Party mantle.

        I mean, I get how post W. the GOP is going to have a hard time claiming to be the peace party for a while, but I’ve never understood how a voter in 1980 could look at the legacies of Wilson, FDR, Truman, and LBJ and somehow worry about the Republicans going to war.

        1. “They told me if I voted for Goldwater we’d be at war in Vietnam in six months – and I did and we were.”

    3. My parents had a Vega. I remember waiting in the gas lines in it.

      I was only in grade school in 1980, but even I remember how Reagan was gonna nuke the world.

      As for the article, I lol’d at the quotes from the Times. Have they ever been right about anything? I’d love to see some of their 1980 and 1984 editorials about Reagan.

      1. My dad specifically got a van that he retrofit so he could get commercial plates put on it.

    4. “Worst American Cars EVER. ”

      Also, the LAST American cars ever. Since then much production has been moved abroad.

  2. The 1970’s?The decade the brought forth the DEA,EPA and the department of education?

  3. Long time listener, first time caller. Enough about me, let’s talk about me. I am a minarchist because I passionately believe that minotaurs are the best leaders. If you debate me, I will run the fkn log fal gamut from one true Scotsman to straw man used in porn so weirdly that even Thailand outlawys it. Fkn Thailand, bro. Let that sink in like a split line bittom feeder hooker baited for a 20+ pound catfish. Also, I like hookers, unless they yell Dukes of Hazard quotes during the sex. I prefer board game roleplay. Instead of getting an MBA, I played Candy land. Don’t judge, I know there are better board games…

    Before you disagree with me, you should know I made a 144% on the libertarian purity test. That’s like a dozen bakers dozens minus like a dozen. Last time i got a bakers dozen i thought that rent seeking bastard could have thrown in a reach around. Why the fk else would I get that absurd amount of doughnuts.

    I think never having touched a female drove up my libertarian score. I judt hopeI can keep my streak going. #winning

    1. You should do fine here as long as you tow the lion, worship Lobster Girl, don’t let the Browns let you down again, and always wonder “you know who else…”

      1. And if you don’t let the Golden Girls turn you into a homosexual, and if you realize Suki is dead, and if you always call Palin’s Buttplug by his real name – David Weigel.

    2. that minotaurs are the best leaders

      Fair enough

  4. Bro, don’t bring up lions unless you want to see my post traumatic stress disorder somehow teleport to a future near you. I was supposed to be fishing the 9th ward (good fish habitat when flooded) with Bush after Katrina – then shit hits the fan. You can’t make this crappie up.

  5. Nicole seems like a nice girl.

  6. Dude the 70s was soooo cool! I miss the 70s.

    http://www.WentAnon.Tk

  7. Rape dungeons are against the NAP. Way to lose purity. After this colloidal silver enema gerbil I might hit 146%

  8. I am nice for a full 20 minutes a day. Schedule accordingly. Nap time.

  9. The 1970’s?The decade the brought forth the DEA,EPA and the department of education?

    Nixon was a visionary. He would make a great Democratic candidate for 2016.

    1. Nixon was a visionary. He would make a great Democratic candidate for 2016.

      2016? He had already won in 2008 and 2012.

  10. …BTW the book was substantially plagiarized

    1. No, it wasn’t.

      (OK, so that post is about the copyright claim, not the plagiarism claim, but you can see that there’s really only one sentence in The Invisible Bridge that arguably fits the charge. That’s not “substantially plagiarized.”)

  11. Hi, surely this experience with this brash young libertarian buck. (Age ascending the Presidency, 70) will end well. One thing, I ‘m a little worried since he was calling people that wanted to end the war in Vietnam “dirty bums” and led the enforcement of laws criminalizing LSD. That last point is maybe a bridge too far for me.

    I’d just hate it if this liberty-lover ended up deficit spending on SDI, the MX missile, and the B-1 bomber. Or ended up trumpeting tough-on-crime penalties that imprisoned hundreds of thousands. Or having the CIA bankroll a bunch of death squads in Central America and then using profits from these criminal activities to shuttle weapons to Islamic extremists in Iran. Or, for that matter, funding Islamic reactionaries in Afghanistan because no one could have predicted anywhere that those freedom fighters would turn those guns on America.

    At the very least I hope that Reagan, liberty-lover, won’t have his wife end up on my favorite day time sitcom, Diff’rent Strokes, and make a special appearance on an extra-special episode and tell all the good little children to stay away from marijuana, which everyone knows will turn you into an amotivated bum. Because while having a President who is an incompetent moron spouting ridiculous platitudes (it’s morning in America! Hoo-rah) over-the-top sanctimony on day time tv would be just too much.

  12. I first voted for Reagan in the California Republican primary in 1976. I remember the Ford camp being dismissive of Reagan and that Reagan vote was a wasted vote. In the presidential election I voted for Ford to no avail.
    Jimmy “Who” became the most incompetent person to that time to be president. I was working on the B-1 Bomber project constructing the 4th flight test aircraft when the “Peanut farmer” cancelled it. Jimmy had told the Local 887 UAW President Joel Bomgars personally that he would like his decision,,, he did not. It became the only UAW local to endorse Reagan in 1980 and the international union made sure Joel was thrown out.
    Reagan, in his current condition (deceased) would still make a better president than Obummer even now.

    1. Hi, you were in a labor union, worked on a bloated defense contract and are an obvious “Red Team” booster? Get ready for some beat down from Reason libertarians… Or maybe not. Let’s see how it goes.

    2. “Jimmy “Who” became the most incompetent person to that time to be president.”

      Conservatives underestimate Carter. He’s far more influential than they like to admit. He formulated the Carter doctrine, a policy which essentially annexed the Persian Gulf, a policy that no subsequent president from Reagan to Obama has repudiated.

  13. a conspiracy tract by the liberal-turned-McCarthyist muckraker John T. Flynn

    You should qualify that description of Flynn by noting that his liberalism was of the classical variety for the only part of his career that’s notable today. After early support for Roosevelt, Flynn became a die-hard critic of FDR and one of the usual suspects of what we now call the Old Right, though he’s been mostly forgotten compared to Mencken or Nock. Which is a shame, because As We Go Marching and Decline of the American Republic are important books for anyone interested in how FDR’s critics & contemporaries viewed the massive shifts that the US was undergoing.

    Calling him a muckraker is also not quite right. He supported McCarthy because Flynn was also rabidly anti-communist (and thus popular among JBSers for a time), but Flynn was always opposed to American militarism and interventionism, which is why he was alienated by WFB and the bien pensant, pro-war conservatives who came into their own as a political force in the 50s and 60s.

    He wasn’t a libertarian, but he also wasn’t just some hack cranking out propaganda for first FDR and then McCarthy.

    1. I’m not sure why you object to the word “muckraker.” That’s how Flynn made his reputation: as a reporter writing expos?s.

      Anyway. As We Go Marching is a pretty good book. Unfortunately, the book GE distributed was The Road Ahead, which came out later and is a lot kookier (and has a chapter on civil rights called “The War on the South,” which…well, you can pretty much figure out what it’s like from its title).

      1. I read the sentence as him first being a liberal, then in turn a McCarthyist muckraker. In the context of noting him as the author of conspiracy tracts, muckraker is pejorative, and the two books of Flynn’s that I’ve read led me to his defense, if only to get people to read his anti-FDR books, which are pretty good introductions.

        That’s all tertiary–it’s a good review.

        1. Turns out that several of Flynn’s books (all the ones mentioned here) are available on Mises, if anyone’s interested.

          I haven’t looked into the civil rights movement enough to know whether all its leaders were hardcore socialists, but its guiding light was certainly a socialist and an economic naif, so pillorying Flynn as a racist over a six-page chapter that views the CR movement as essentially Fabian is a mistake.

  14. Remarkably enough Roger Stone was right there in the White House with Nixon and would later work for Reagan. In his just released bombshell book “Nixon’s Secrets” Stone reveals things only he knows from his personal relationship with the enigmatic 37th president. These are amazing revelations that we’ve all been waiting 40 years to hear:
    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/…..1629146034

  15. Oddly enough the Moonies played a role in that too, through the Washington Times.

    1. Respected conspiracy journalist Robert Parry gives the UC major credit (or blame) for the fall of the USSR.

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