What’s Wrong with the World

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more


I direct my readers' attention to an interesting interview with Paul Kengor, author of Dupes: How America's Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century . The interview is broken into four parts (here, here, here, and here), none of which is very long, so don't feel put off by the number of links. Kengor's remarks are all very interesting, but I was especially struck by what he said about the churches that harbored the SDS thugs and also about Frank Marshall Davis.

I have no other really profound analysis to offer, but I do have a provocative question: Is the duping of the religious left continuing, or can we comfortably regard this as a piece of over-and-done-with history of the Cold War?

Comments (14)

Interesting interview. I'd only say the duping by an external, monolithic foe is over, unless Radical Islam takes its place, which doesn't seem like it will ever be as attractive as Communism was among the elites. Maybe external foes aren't the main threat anymore.

I'd prefer the term "theological" rather than a "faith-based" understanding of the godlessness of Marxism-Leninism, assuming there is any truth to this thesis at all. It could be a totally abstract understanding. For example, if Woodrow Wilson's Christianity made him less susceptible to being a dupe for Communists, it didn't prevent him from being a dupe for neo-Confederates and promoting "Birth of a Nation" (originally titled "The Clansmen") as an accurate historical account of the CW and Reconstruction, the political myths of which (sans the racism) live on strong as ever.

"Interesting interview. I'd only say the duping by an external, monolithic foe is over"

Well, United Nations programs have good penetration in the churches of the country. That's a pretty monolithic union of bureaucrats, and to some extent they're a foe.

Who knows what the Russians are doing here now? I've taken a liking to RT.com, but who knows how many people read that stuff uncritically.

What Paul Kengor has to say is interesting but not surprising. What isn't explored in depth (during the interview though perhaps it is in the book) is why Protestant pastors, for example were such "suckers" for Soviet propaganda. Why was the religious left, in general, such willing dupes? How come "liberal Christians were trusting souls, who agreed with them on certain sympathies—workers rights, civil rights, wealth distribution".

Isn't the contemporary religious left happy to be deceived by the utopianism of home-grown liberal thought? There must be a coincidence of susceptibility and an explanation for it.

One way of thinking of the explanation is to say that contemporary liberalism is, in a sense, a Christian heresy. That is to say, it involves twisting passages of Scripture, quoting out of context, taking just some teachings of Christ and ignoring others, etc., as a heresy does. A good off-the-cuff example of this is the never-ending quoting of the story of the woman taken in adultery (leave aside the question of the the textual questions surrounding it) and arguing that this means we should not condemn sexual sin, when actually Jesus expressly tells the woman to go and sin no more. Pacifism is a similar use of this, and of course, ironically, thugs of all sorts are very good at using pacifists for their own ends by pretending to be on the side of peace, just as Kengor describes with the riot forces of the SDS.

It has always seemed (to me) that liberal attitudes are entirely secular. Liberal reforms - the progressive agenda - have goals which are supposed to be realized in this world. Isn't this a principle of liberalism, or Marxism for that matter, which is supposed to incur theological censure? It seems extraordinarily dense of some Christian pastors not to have noticed when they were pulling the rug from under their own feet.

"Isn't the contemporary religious left happy to be deceived by the utopianism of home-grown liberal thought? There must be a coincidence of susceptibility and an explanation for it."

They have their root in the same place -- what might be called a "Rousseauian" view of man: Humans are basically good; the Fall is either denied outright, or radically downplayed (i.e., it is manifested in human "systems" -- usually those developed in the West! -- but not in individuals), etc. All liberalism, of either the Right or Left, has a erroneous anthropology, which is due, usually, to flawed theology. It's difficult to get man right if you've got God wrong.

Lydia, I haven't read the article yet, but based on years of readng books and other articles about the religious left, I'll say these folks will contine to be suckered and duped by America's adversaries until the end of time. As long as these silly knuckleheads reject historical Christian doctrine concerning the fallen state of man, they will pursue the impossible utopias offered by the leftists. Rom 1:18-32 pretty much sums it up.

It has gotten to the point where it's hard to tell where the "duping" leaves off and the Religious Left just becomes part of the dupe-ers themselves. I'd say it has been rendered a continum.

As someone who's only real experience within organized religion from youth where my parents and thus I attended a Catholic Church on the University of Wisconsin Campus, to my teenage years after my parent's divorce where we attended a Lutheran Church that shared a facility with a United Church of Christ congregation, down through the present, the doctrine that Mainline Churches (I want to say "Protestant," but it goes for a lot of Catholic Churches) truly adhere to, believe, and practice is absolutely inseparable from their Left/Progressive poliical beliefs.

IF they were to come to believe that one set of beliefs conflicted with the other, it's hard to say which they would give up. But unfolding history throughout not only Europe but Mainline America suggests that they'd give up Christ and Christianity and God before these people would give up on American Malvern Super-Protestantism (to invoke an article sometimes linked to by certain people).

So, are they "dupes" or have they just exchanged their beliefs, in their hearts?

Here's a way to add clarity to my otherwise somewhat vague comment.

The Religious Left, ostensibly by their self-image one might think they'd be reliable opponents of any sort of violent, theocratic movement. But in the fight against Islamic Jihadism, they're more likely to be rationalizers, and even make common cause with, march arm-in-arm with (literally, at rallies) militant Moslems.

Is it because they are duped by Jihadist Islam? Or is it because they are, for their own reasons, co-belligerants who share the same enemies. The Religious Left, like the Left generally, has preferred enemies of their own and have internalized a variety of beliefs, adopted them as their own beliefs, in their ongoing fight.

So if they're "dupes," they're only dupes in a the deep sense, not of being marks, victims of someone's deception, but of being misguided, holding wrong beliefs themselves. They're (now) dupes in the same sense that a member of the ComIntern itself was a dupe: deeply convinced of things that are wrong, things that will produce the exact opposite of what they (sincerely) hope to produce.

Liberalism, per se, consumes the host. To form an admixture of Liberalism with Protestantism, you will end up with Liberalism; the same applies to Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, etc. Liberalism is the religion, the rest is just for show.

There is one exception to this, being Muhammadanism, which is rather proud of having its Liberals viciously killed to preserve itself. Of course, that doesn't mean they won't play coy with Liberal unbelievers if they can take advantage of their insipidity. I suppose the killings don't really matter since Liberalism has a tendency for butchery as well.

You may have been misinformed regarding Frank Marshall Davis. If you examine primary source evidence (e.g. Davis's own writings), you will find that he has been severely misrepresented by Dr. Kengor and others, such as AIM's Cliff Kincaid, in their revisionist "opposition research" reports. Davis NEVER advocated socialism, communism, Marxism, or collectivism. There is no evidence that Davis EVER discussed these topics with Obama, or that Obama was even aware of Davis's CPUSA connection. Misrepresenting Davis was collateral damage that enabled critics to more easily smear Barack Obama.

Analysis of Kengor’s “Dupes” suggests that Kengor himself is still "duping" his audience by falsifying evidence against Davis, as identified on National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/248877/obama%E2%80%99s-communist-mentor-paul-kengor?page=1. Such blatant misrepresentation cannot be condoned by any person of integrity.

Contrary to Davis’s actual 1950 “Frank-ly Speaking” column, which has been posted online for years (http://www.hawaii.edu/uhwo/clear/HonoluluRecord1/frankblog1950.html), Kengor indicates that Davis SUPPORTED socialism, when in fact Davis REJECTED socialism (i.e., letting “the government own and operate our major industries”). Davis said socialism was a “HORROR”!

Davis said that we didn’t have free enterprise any more. Davis supported small businessmen, which he considered a “casualty” of monopolies. He said they are the BACKBONE of free enterprise.” He said we had to decide to OUST the monopolies, which were driving us down the road to ruin, and restore a competing system of free enterprise. In the ACTUAL ”Free Enterprise or Socialism” column from which Kengor stacks his evidence, Davis wrote:

“As for free enterprise, it doesn’t live here any more. At the same time we have manufactured a national horror of socialism. Meanwhile, the dictatorship of the monopolies is driving us down the road to ruin. And so, with still rising unemployment and a mounting depression, the time draws nearer when we will have to decide to oust the monopolies and restore a competing system of free enterprise, or let the government own and operate our major industries.”

“Backbone of Free Enterprise Broken: In this control by monopoly, the small businessman, the backbone of free enterprise, has been a casualty. He cannot compete against the tremendous financial reserves of the huge monopolies, and thus we find more and more forced into bankruptcy or absorbed by the monopolies. Those small businessmen who supported the Marshall Plan have been unable to get but a pittance of orders, for here it’s the Big Boys Who, through their contacts with official Washington, walk off with the fat contracts.”

Oops! Isn't it clear that Davis supported small businesses? Conversely, it's clear that DOCTOR Kengor has a problem with reading comprehension, or else he is again intentionally misrepresenting empirical evidence. Considered with other Kengor misrepresentation, his intent is clear. In an ironic twist of fate, it appears that Dr. Kengor has been "duping" HIS audience with fraudulent opposition research!

“Truth is generally the best vindication against slander.”
– Abraham Lincoln

Oops! Isn't it clear that Davis supported small businesses?


No. Railing against unnamed, nonexistent "huge monopolies" while feigning sympathy for "small businesses" is common behavior for communist propagandists who operate in America.

In the absence of ANY evidence that he advocated collectivism, and in the face of primary source evidence that he supported small businesses, your unsubstantiated speculation to the contrary is frivolous and without merit. As they say on C.S.I.: "Follow the evidence!!"

"All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them."
- Galileo Galilei (1564 - 1642)

Does calling socialism a "horror" constitute "common behavior for communist propagandists who operate in America"?

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