The Grotesquely Stalinist FDR
Ilana Mercer debunks a still iconic President
Franklin Delano Roosevelt is not the man to quote in support of the market economy. He was, after all, the president who gave America the assault on free-market capitalism known as the New Deal. He also capitulated to communism at Yalta, 70 years ago. There, in February of 1945, he and Winston Churchill met with Joseph Stalin, a genocidal butcher who dwarfed Adolf Hitler, to divvy up the world.
By the time the “Big Three” convened in the Crimean city, the region had long been subdued and decimated by the Bolsheviks. In November and December of 1920 alone, Crimea had been the site of a massacre of 50,000 souls. Kulaks, Cossacks, Ukrainians; priests, White Guards, socialists, nobles, Mensheviks and bourgeoisie: entire groups had been branded as counterrevolutionaries-by-class, designated as sub-humans worthy of extermination. That is if the Reds’ revolutionary utopia was to come into being, which it did.
For simply being who they were or if caught talking out of turn, anyone in communist Russia could be made “a head shorter,” in Trotsky’s “delightful” turn-of-phrase.
Why, Roosevelt and Churchill had just missed the deportation, in 1944, of the Crimean Tartars. According to The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression that “800-page compendium of the crimes of communist regimes worldwide”— “of the 228,392 people deported from the Crimea, 44,887 had died after four years.” Still, the Anglo-American leaders saw fit to sit down with Stalin to “map out the postwar world,” ceding Eastern Europe to “Uncle Joe,” FDR’s affectionate moniker for the communist mass murderer.
In fairness, Churchill does not deserve to be lumped with FDR as an appeaser and enabler of ultimate evil. Churchill was avowedly anti-communist. He detested Stalin. For this very reason, FDR considered Churchill a “reactionary … an old incorrigible imperialist, incapable of understanding [Stalin’s] ideological idealism.” Against the wishes of Winston Churchill, Roosevelt agreed to “give Stalin what was not his to give,” noted historian Paul Johnson, in his History of the American People. Churchill went along with FDR because he was desperate for American financial support.
The greatest president of the 20th century? Au contraire, says the author of “FDR Folly: How Roosevelt and his New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression”.
Like many pseudo-intellectuals of his time, explained Johnson, Franklin Roosevelt was “grotesquely Stalinist.” Against all evidence to the contrary, he regarded the Soviet Union as a “peace loving democracy, with an earnest desire to better the conditions of the working peoples of the world.” As to FDR’s advisers in Moscow: they considered Stalin a benevolent, genial democrat. Indeed, “this monster, who was responsible for the death of 30 million of his own people,” was regarded by the American administration as “exceedingly wise and gentle.”
One can well understand why the medieval blood ties that tethered some Ukrainians to the Russians would have been severed by the criminal communist regime, which targeted the Ukrainian breadbasket with a vengeance. The communists robbed the Ukrainian peasants of their fertile farms, forced them into slave labor by corralling them into state-owned, collective farms, and systematically starved them by requisitioning most of their grain. The peasants had been left with a fraction of the amount of grain required to sustain life.
Yet these heroic, individualistic farmers rose up against the Reds.
The slogans of the Ukrainian peasantry, in 1919, were “Ukraine for the Ukrainians, down with the Bolsheviks and the Jews (whom they associated with the Bolsheviks), free enterprise, free trade.” Besides the standard mass executions, in order to wipe out this class of people, Stalin devised a diabolical man-made famine which killed up to 10 million.
Fast forward to Kiev, circa 2013, where Ukrainians tore down the statue of the founding father of Bolshevism and a mass murderer in his own right. But that man, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin still reposes in a mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square.
Why, pray tell?
President Roosevelt had his lucid moments. Or moment, rather.
According to Johnson, “When asked what single book he would put into the hands of a Russian communist, Roosevelt replied: The Sears, Roebuck catalog.” Sears, Roebuck was one of the great American companies which, through mass production and mass marketing, made available to America’s own Kulaks the luxuries that were previously enjoyed only by her rich.
Today, libertarians will often favor Russia in its dispute with Ukraine and the West. So where are those tell tale signs of liberty we libertarians look for, when we throw our support behind this or the other side? And where, pray tell, are those “made in Russia” labels? Other than crude and commodities; Kalashnikovs (AK-47s) and Vodka —what does post-communist Russia peddle?
Ilana Mercer is a paleolibertarian writer, based in the U.S. She is a contributor to Junge Freiheit, Germany’s finest weekly, and is a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies. Her latest book is Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa. Her website is www.IlanaMercer.com. Follow her on Twitter. “Friend” her on Facebook.