Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Did Norman Thomas really say that America would not knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name of

I personally think the quote is unreliable, but see below - he's not alone. Norman Thomas is quoted as saying:
Yet the country has grown more and more socialistc and this soft-spoken kindly man of 82 years has planned it that way. "The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism' they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened."

The closest I can come to sourcing that is this article from a 1967 newspaper. The part that's italicized above does not appear to be Thomas' words, rather, this article is a puff piece. Now if this stand alone unsourced quote is good enough for you, have at it. It's not for me. This was all supposedly said in a 1944 speech, so if I don't have the speech itself, the whole thing, I'd say just find and use something else.

Like this for example.

In the organ for Fabian Socialists in the United States, the "American Fabian" magazine, the following is written about Edward Bellamy:(June, 1898)

In Bellamy, social science and imagination were combined at their best. He has given us a substantial revelation whose scientific deductions from economic phenomena are unassailable. In the work of speeding the light he has made the valued distinction between Nationalism and Socialism. Nations advance toward their destiny upon lines marked out by the temper of their peoples, the character of their institutions, the conditions of soil, climate, and surroundings. Consequently the forward movement must be by national rather than international pathways. Bellamy saw this clearly, and formulating his Socialism to a purely American applicability, named it Nationalism. What has been the result? We hear no more the philistine cry that Socialism is an alien product. The far-reaching influence of "Looking Backward" has given us a native development of this definite form of Socialism, and has made possible the realization of his dreams in the near future.

Now this is an interesting concept. Tyranny has been Americanized - even if it's largely in title only. For those of you who don't know who Edward Bellamy was, he was(besides the obvious mentions above in this glowing eulogy - a nationalist-socialist) the ideological head of so called 'Nationalist Clubs around the states, and he was also associated with the Fabians toward the end of his life.

This does in a way back up the Thomas quote, in that this is what socialists and progressives do, they always do it and they keep doing it. They re-name themselves and their efforts in order to be more palatable even though it's largely the same thing. They'll do full scale people laundering if they have to.

If anybody knows where to get the full 1944 Thomas speech, send it to me and I'll post it.(except for copyright issues, of course) Heck, being as it's this hard to find, you get it to me with verification and I'll read it and you tube it, so that it can't be hidden again.

Bellamy's book "Looking Backward" is available as an audiobook for those who don't have time or would prefer that than to read it.

As a final note, on page 163 of The Road to Serfdom, Friedrich Hayek points out how "most planners are militant nationalists". Even Van Jones started out as 'a rowdy nationalist'.


1 comment:

  1. You could search the Norman Thomas Paper Guide 1904-1967 in the NY Library Archives.

    Not being American, I cannot request access to the Norman Thomas papers:


    In any event, it's clear that real liberalism and socialism are opposites and that to call "liberals" people of the Left is highly inaccurate: