Saturday, May 14, 2011
Studies in Prejudice: Prophets of Deceit (1 of 6)
Leo Löwenthal and Norbert Guterman, Prophets of Deceit: A Study of the Techniques of the American Agitator (1949)
The focus of this study by Leo Löwenthal and Norbert Guterman was on far-right sect leaders including Leon de Aryan, Court Asher, Charles Coughlin, Elizabeth Dilling, Charles Hudson, Carl Mote, William Dudley Pelley, Gerald L. K. Smith, and Gerald Winrod. Of that unsavory lot, Coughlin, Smith, Pelley and Winrod are often mentioned in referring to the Radical Right of the 1930s. So is Elizabeth Dilling, who achieved new currency recently when Glenn Beck discovered her book The Red Network (1934), gushing about it on-air. De Aryan, Asher, Hudson and Mote have pretty much sunk to the totally obscurity that all of them deserve.
When World War II began in 1939, Dilling was part of the national network of anti-Semitics, anti-Communists, and Nazi sympathizers such as Father Charles Coughlin, Reverend Gerald L. K. Smith, Reverend Gerald Winrod, and William Dudley Pelley. Material generated by Nazi organizations in Germany to inspire race hated and exploit dissatisfaction in the United States found its way into Dilling's publications. She spoke at rallies hosted by the leading U.S. Nazi organization, the German-American Bund, and had traveled to Germany, pronouncing the country as flourishing under Hitler.She lived until 1966:
Dilling spent the remainder of her life publishing broadsides against the north Atlantic Treaty Organization [Old Right isolationists opposed the treaty], foreign aid, the income tax, racial mixing, the fluoridation of water, the Vietnam War, and the war on poverty. She had long been dismissed as a crank before her death in 1966, although some of her literature continues to be cited in right-wing circles.Löwenthal and Gutermann use the term "agitator" in this book to refer specifically to far-right speakers and groups. That was the focus of their study. They didn't attempt to make comparisons to groups on the left outside the mainstream like the Communist Party. In this summary, I follow their usage of "agitator."
Continued in Part 2
Tags: anti-semitism, leo lowenthal, norbert guterman, prophets of deceit, radical right
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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