0061 Lies The State Taught Me Part 1 MP3
(audio article below)
Lies The State Taught Me
by Ben Stone
FDR Played Us Like A Fiddle
Most American children suffer a prison sentence of 13 years in government schools, but fortunately I was able to graduate a year ahead so I only endured 12 years of indoctrination and institutionalized brainwashing. While in school, I consistently received my highest grades in classes involving history, geography, and civics. As weird as it sounds, in these subjects I would usually read my entire textbook within a few weeks of it being issued to me, so most of the school year I was simply reviewing what I had already covered on my own. Of course the class would almost never make it through the entire book during a school year, which means there were whole chapters the teachers rarely if ever saw. On more than one occasion this practice put me at odds with teachers who made statements that directly contradicted the textbook. When I was very young I would just make a mental note of such instances, but as I grew older I became more bold and began pointing out the teacher’s mistakes. By the time I finished serving the terms of my scholastic incarceration, I learned that there are three versions of history. There is the official one in the textbook, which is cartoonish and at times pure fantasy. There is the one that develops in the mind of people as they attempt to make sense of the textbook version. And there is that which actually happened, but must be discovered outside of the distortions of the first two types.
One lie that was pushed on me by both textbooks and teachers was that free market/laissez-faire policies have been tried and they failed over and over. In the 1800’s the free market caused monopolies and robber barons got rich at the expense of the workers. In the early 1900’s the failure of the free market caused the Great Depression. And I was told that the free market had caused the recession of the 1970’s and the ghettoes and crime of the American cities. It was only through benevolent government intervention that we have survived the ravishes of the greedy capitalists. In this twisted version of history, the State had tried to leave the economy alone, but every time the market would fail and like John Wayne bringing the cavalry in at the last moment, the State had to swoop in and save the day. All facts were pushed aside by the textbooks and my socialist teachers, as the familiar good guys/bad guys theme was given as the driving force of history. And as always, no matter who the good guys were or who the bad guys were, it was the All Mighty State that solved the problem in the end.
Another lie that was placed in such high regard that no one dared question it was the one where naive isolationism in the 1930’s lulled America to become vulnerable and look weak, thus leading to the attack at Pearl Harbor. For me, this one was the first of the big lies that I just couldn’t swallow. As a teen I was fascinated by battle tactics, both land and sea, and the actions of the US prior to December 1941, were clearly the actions of a strong navy baiting a weak navy into a first strike. If you read my article on Impossible Rules of Engagement you’ll see I grasped this tactic at an early age and, like the old saying goes, you can’t trick a trickster.
Let’s pause for a moment and question this sacred myth using only the information I had at hand in the late 1970’s.
If America was isolationist why did Roosevelt sign the Lend Lease Act prior to the attack at Pearl Harbor?
If America was isolationist why did Roosevelt release active duty pilots, technicians, and instructors along with a mini-air force of planes and support equipment to form the Flying Tigers and actively fight the Japanese in Burma prior to the attack at Pearl Harbor?
If America was isolationist why did Roosevelt break off oil and fuel sales to Japan prior to the attack at Pearl Harbor, then refuse to meet with the Japanese delegates on the matter?
If America was isolationist why did Roosevelt establish a separate wide sweeping embargo of Japan prior to the attack at Pearl Harbor?
If America was isolationist why did Roosevelt choose to garrison and fortify both Wake Island and Midway Island along with moving the Pacific Fleet from the relatively safe San Diego Harbor to the exposed, bottlenecked Pearl Harbor? (Each by itself, an act of aggression in the eyes of Japan.)
Wouldn’t any one of these acts by a US president indicate to Japan that the US was a threat and in fact preparing for war and that being the case, wouldn’t Japan fair better in the fight if it hit first and took out the Pacific Fleet?
When I took these questions and others to my high school history teacher back in 1977, he scoffed at me. He contended that thinking like this is backward and I will never understand history if I question the motives of the important leaders that have made America great. He refused to address even one of the central questions but simply asserted that we must trust our elected officials because they know things that the public is unaware of. Besides, looking back at history gives us perfect hindsight. We can’t judge the decisions of people who were dealing with the situation as it happened. If they made mistakes it was just that, mistakes. But I didn’t buy this excuse. Roosevelt’s actions were too close to the feigned innocence I utilized whenever I got in a fight. (Again, see this article.) And as I look back on it, this smacks of the “stupid or evil” argument I address in this article. However, if it is true that the very president who is consistently hailed as one of America’s greatest leaders, was so stupid as to unintentionally send what was clearly a series of messages to Japan that we were on the verge of engaging them in war, why do we need buffoons like this at the helm of the State? If Roosevelt or any other person could be this stupid, why would we hand them the ability to go to war?
As a final thought, I want to add a story an old sailor told not long after I was out of school. He wasn’t at Pearl when the attack took place because he was on a carrier support ship and all the carriers had been pulled out and were (conveniently) safe. According to him, “vacant sea” orders had been issued just prior to the attack. He claimed that, had routine patrols been continued, ships would have spotted the Japanese fleet in time to bring the big battleships out of Pearl. My first thought was that the battleships would’ve had a fighting chance if they had been at sea. But he corrected me. He said that without the carriers and their support ships the battleships would have been sitting ducks in the open ocean and there would have been a dramatically higher death count. His argument was that by having all the big battleships in the harbor most of the sailors were either safe on shore or could simply swim to shore when their ships went down, whereas if they had been at sea all hands on every battleship would have been lost. He also pointed out to me that almost all the ships “lost” at Pearl were actually only a few feet underwater and were pumped out and back in the war faster than replacements could have been built. Every time we talked about it he would get a little smile and say, “FDR played us like a fiddle.”