I have been fascinated by the Alger Hiss case since I was a teenager. Reading Whittaker Chambers’ book “Witness” was one of the formative events of my early life and has stood out as a key event in modern history for me ever since. As this book shows quite well, it is a wonderful summary of the clash of facts with ideology. It taught me early on that the facts are what is important and the ideology is generally a distorting lens on those facts. As in this case, that lens can be completely blind.
The fact that Hiss was a traitor has been resisted by the Left for decades but the facts are all on the side of his guilt. His own children have finally come to accept that reality after years of resistance.
As usual, the numbers point to the page in the book…
1 – socialism vs the constitution. “It prompts the question of where does one stand on the relationship of power between the state and the individual, and where does one draw the line in that relationship in order to have a stable, rational constitutionalism governing society and to prevent concentration and centralization of power in the state, which always comes at a cost to individual liberty and freedom.”
In many ways, this is the core issue facing the USA today – for my part, I do not trust the concentration of power into the state.
3 – Quoting George Will: “Madison said rights pre-exist government. Wilson said government exists to dispense whatever agenda of rights suits its fancy, and to annihilate, regulate, attenuate, or dilute others.”
Do we have “unalienable rights” given to us by the creator or do we have just the rights that the government thinks we should have?
4 – A new word – “scotoma”…from the Greek word for blindness… from the online dictionary: “a mental blind spot; inability to understand or perceive certain matters”. Used herein to describe those who simply cannot see the facts that are in from of them. A typical case would be something like what the author uses: “If Hiss was wrong, then Nixon and McCarthy were right. And that could not be.”
55 – Franklin Roosevelt’s greeting: “Good morning, fellow socialists.”
58 – “Hiss felt that ‘We were entitled to think of ourselves-and we most certainly did-as a select few.’ This claim by Hiss reflects the recurring elitism of a higher wisdom that is thoroughly embedded in the ideologies of the left: the ‘enlightened’ know best; authoritative leadership is needed to direct the masses; a vanguard is required to advance the revolution…”
One sees this elitism almost everywhere you scratch below the surface of leftist thought. It is why they have such a bad time with the “common folk”…who “cling to their guns and religion”.
82 – “This anti-American view has not died; it is evident today, in the form of attacks on ‘American Exceptionalism.'”.
100 – “the core evilness of Marxism-Leninism, where any crime was acceptable in order for Communism to retain power.” (Passed along in the writings of Saul Alinsky to the leftist of today)
147 – “The result was the 1944 Warsaw uprising and massacre – in 63 days approximately 200,000 military and civilians were killed.” (a book by a survivor was one of the formative books of my childhood and changed me forever.)
195 – a quote from Chambers memoir: “In accusing Hiss of Communism, I had attacked an architect of the UN, and the partisans of peace fell upon me like combat troops. I had attacked an intellectual and a liberal…..”
Part of the Obama world view and agenda