The Hanssen Shocker
March 20, 2001
Liberals are rather pleased that
Robert Hanssen, the latest accused Soviet/Russian agent, was to all outward
appearances a strict, orthodox Catholic. The liberals fail to see that, far
from impugning Catholicism, the Hanssen case vindicates McCarthyism.
Hanssen is baffling, because he forces
us to ask: How could a man be so devout a Catholic and a Soviet
agent at the same time? After all, he had six children, sent them to
expensive Catholic schools, went out of his way to attend daily Mass, and was
an active opponent of abortion. This goes far beyond the need to establish a
credible disguise. At the same time, it didnt help him when he was
caught in illegal activities.
Put otherwise, Hanssen is an enigma
precisely because orthodox Catholicism is the most unlikely camouflage for
pro-Soviet activities. It requires a life of strenuous contradictions.
On the other hand, nobody was really
shocked when a liberal turned out to be a Communist. The case of Alger Hiss,
Franklin Roosevelts advisor and architect of the United Nations,
shocked us because an active Soviet agent had gotten so close to the
president (though, as it turns out, Hiss wasnt the only one). But even
Hisss defenders werent really puzzled by the possibility that
Hiss was secretly working for Joseph Stalin; nobody asked, How on
earth can you be a liberal and a Communist at the same time?
Why? Because liberalism was the most
hospitable camouflage for Communism. You could advance the Soviet cause
merely by pursuing a liberal agenda. The simplest proof is that William Z.
Foster, head of the U.S. Communist Party, also sat on the national board of
the liberal American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU saw no contradiction in
his working for civil liberties, as it defined them, and working
for Soviet goals, for the simple reason that there was no contradiction.
Communism had been approvingly
described as liberalism in a hurry, and liberals like Roosevelt
affectionately dubbed Stalin Uncle Joe. Even today, few
liberals blame Roosevelt for his abject truckling to Stalin. The wartime
alliance between the United States and the Soviet Union ended with ten
Christian countries falling to Communist tyranny, with persecution on a scale
Nero would have blanched at a persecution liberals didnt, and
still dont, care to talk about. Todays liberals also like to
forget that Roosevelt extended admiration and aid to Stalin long before
World War II. He knew a kindred spirit when he saw one.
After all, liberalism in a
hurry sought the same sort of social order American liberalism seeks
a secularist, materialist society in which power is centralized and the
state controls economic life. When Americans finally awoke to the evil of
Communism, liberals had harsher words for Joe McCarthy, who cost a few
people their government jobs, than for Joe Stalin, who cost tens of millions
of people their lives.
Liberals were eventually forced to
repudiate Stalin (and an honorable few did so before they had to). But they
found other Red heroes to replace him: Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro,
Che Guevara. In each case, violations of freedom and outright atrocities were
ignored, while the achievements of Communist regimes were
lauded: we heard endlessly about the provision of free medical care and
universal literacy (never mind that the regimes decided what the people could
read, banning classic authors and jailing or killing living voices of dissent).
The theme of liberal press agentry for
post-Stalin Communists was that each represented a new
Communism, untainted by the excesses of Stalinism. Other
regimes were judged by their records; Communist regimes were judged by
their promises. In 1958 the New York Times even reported
that Castro wasnt couldnt be a Communist,
just as it had a generation earlier reported, with equal veracity, that Stalin
wasnt starving Ukrainians.
If Communism was liberalism in a hurry,
liberalism is Communism in slow motion. Where Communism smashed,
liberalism erodes. The end result is the same: a soulless society in which
liberty perishes and tradition is forgotten.
There is ample testimony that
liberalism and Communism are essentially interchangeable, and much of that
testimony comes from liberals themselves. Hence their relief at discovering
a Catholic traitor for a change.
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