Death by Politician

A transcript of the Lew Rockwell Show episode 336 with Yuri Maltsev speaking at the 30th anniversary of the Mises Institute.

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ROCKWELL:  Recently, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Mises Institute, and Professor Yuri Maltsev, of Carthage College, formerly of the Soviet Union, talked to us about the Gang of Four: Hitler, Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill, and the destruction of Europe.

MALTSEV:  What I will be talking today would be kind of part two of David’s presentation on Murray Rothbard and other scholars of the von Mises Institute.  During the last 30 years, the von Mises Institute developed a very impressive body of knowledge on political economy of war.  And so without the works of Murray Rothbard or Ralph Raico or Robert Higgs, which I think that it kind of establishes the revisionist school, Austrian school of history, of history of political economy of these sad developments.  And definitely, we’re trying to complement each other.  As the Soviet dictator, Leonid Brezhnev, once said that — about political members, that “They develop an atmosphere of uncritical mutual admiration, which is appropriate only for a Capitalist society.”

(LAUGHTER)

So the alternative, the Socialists, usually would behave like spiders in a jar.  So I would say that the von Mises Institute, which is the most pro-Capitalist institution, research institution in the world — I think that it’s very nice that way — do peacefully cooperate with each other and like each other’s work.

Well, today, I will talk about this Gang of Four.  This is a picture actually which was posted near the Vilnius Airport in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Ludwig von Mises, he wrote that, “The characteristic feature of this age — and he was writing that exactly 1934 — “is the age of the destructive wars.  And social disintegration is the revolt against economics.”  Revolt against economics.  And that’s exactly what happened.  Von Mises wrote also in Human Action that there are two patterns of Socialism.  And these two patterns would be — one is a Russian pattern and another would be a German pattern of Socialism.  And the Russia pattern would be purely bureaucratic, when everything is owned by the state.  Everything is owned by the state.  So the whole economy is run like a huge poor-store-fest.

(LAUGHTER)

So that’s — (laughing) — that’s a Russian pattern.  And then there is a German pattern, which normally preserves private ownership of markets, prices, wages and interest rates.  They’re, however, no longer entrepreneurs but only shop managers.  “Betriebsfuhrer” in the terminology of the Nazi legislation.

So amazingly enough, usually we would think that, say, the Western countries, the so-called Western democracies would follow the German pattern.   And I remember that Murray Rothbard would talk about that, that we are not yet on the Russian path.  We are mostly following this German pattern of Socialism.

However, if you will look back, you will see that that Russian pattern is also very much around, with the Government Motors, with the government owning a lot of our economy, and nationalization of the health care industry, which is about 24% of our gross domestic product.  So it’s almost one-fourth of our economy if we will put health care, pharmaceuticals, industry of medical devices together.  So that’s quite a lot.

Amazingly enough that between the wars, which was this period of self destruction of Capitalism, even propaganda, even posters were very similar.  Very similar.  This is one of Roosevelt’s posters, that war promotes confidence.  In the Soviet Union, the poster would look exactly the same, with the same person even, and that would say “Work is owner.”  And you remember what — in Hitler’s concentration camps, they had “Arbeit macht frei.”  So “Work makes you free.”   So this is the —

(LAUGHTER)

Even thinking about that is more or less the same.

This also, if you were to replace “Capitol” with “Kremlin,” that would look like a typical Soviet poster about security, about Social Security: The government will take care of you.

And Murray Rothbard, he did a lot of work to expose this type of Zeitgeist, this period of time.  The 20th century was, for him, a century of evil that had to be repudiated.

Rothbard believed that history is not progressive.  It doesn’t all the time go only up and up and up.  History is erratic.  And the most tragic kind of dip it took in the 20th century, the century — the most bloodiest century in the history of human earth.

R.J. Rummel, a demographer from the University of Hawaii, he wrote 20 books about that.  One is a famous book, Death By Government, in which he believes that over 200 million people were murdered by Socialists of all kinds during the 20th century.  That’s more than in any other century in the history of human society.

And well, talking about Stalin, who was definitely the most evil out of the four, he created the real perfect killer state, the real perfect killer state.  And in the Soviet Union alone, they murdered anywhere from 43 to 61 million people.

Last Thursday, I was — just two days ago, was at Montclair State University in New Jersey.  And we had debated, and I presented the Libertarian point of view against a conservative and against a so-called liberal.  And the so-called liberal was not a liberal.  He was the most ardent Stalinist fanatic that I ever met.  I never met people like him even in the Soviet Union or Communist China for that matter.

(LAUGHTER)

And his name is Grover Furr.  If you would have time, just look him up on the Internet, Grover Furr, F-U-R-R.

David Horowitz was kind of a conservative or whatever, specialist in education.  He believed that he’s the worst professor in the world.  In the world.

(LAUGHTER)

And he’s been teaching since 1970 in that poor university; exposed to this.  He believed that Stalin didn’t kill enough.

(LAUGHTER)

Yeah, that Stalin didn’t kill enough.  That the worst thing — and so all of these un-killed people, they bad-mouthed him after he died.

(LAUGHTER)

And so that’s — (laughing) — and it was very difficult even to talk about that.  Yes.  For example, we discussed also the war on drugs.  And he said all drugs in the world are produced by the CIA and so we need just to abolish the CIA, which I agree with, and then the drug problem would disappear.  I don’t think the CIA is capable of anything like that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALTSEV:  Murray wrote also that private property under the regimes of this Gang of Four is eliminated.  Individualist goes by the board.  Individuality is flattened.  All property is owned and controlled communally.  And the individual units of the new collective organism are in some vague way equal to one another.

If would be like Mr. Furr.  If I would be — (laughing) — a present tenant of the White House, I would do exactly that.  That is what the problem is right here.  And I think that is exactly what is happening today.

So Rothbard, he focused, I think, his attention on the fact that there is not much — it’s only a quantitative not a qualitative difference between the welfare state and Socialism.  That’s what happens.  That the German pattern and the Russian pattern, I essentially complemented it to each other.  That when you go on the slippery slop, then you would end up — by the logical history, you will be drawn into gulags, into Stalinism, into mass murder.

And other members of the Gang of Four, they were trying to do that.  Some of them succeeded more than others.  But we will just talk a little bit about that.

Well, this is a little bit premature.  I hope that all of our Socialist idols would end up like that.

So there is a great analysis of the war and Great Depression which led to socialization in the United States.  For us to lose freedoms, that was associated with Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his New Deal, analyzed in the great book, Depression, War and Cold War: Studies in Political Economy.  I think the works of Bob Higgs are already classical works of our time.  Ralph Raico, Great Wars and Great Leaders: A Libertarian Rebuttal, another great work and published by the von Mises Institute.  Also, Ralph Raico published a lot of wonderful articles about Churchill on LewRockwell.com and on the Mises site as well.

So let’s look at them a little bit more attentively.  Who were these people and how did they interact with each other?

Well, Churchill, this is a quote from Ralph:  “That Churchill was a racist goes without saying, yet his racism went deeper than with most of his contemporaries.  It is curious how with this historic Darwinian outlook, his elevation of war to the central place in human history and his racism as well as his fixation on great leaders, Churchill’s world view resembled that of his antagonist, Hitler.”  And this is absolutely true because, if you look, that was Hitler and, to some extent, Stalin.

Well, Stalin won the Second World War.  I mean, if you would look for who won the Second World War, that was Stalin.  The Second World War was officially the war for independence and freedom of Poland.  So Poland was sacrificed first after the war.  It was given to Stalin on a plate with a silver lining.  And about 800,000 Poles were murdered just in the short period of time between 1946 and 1949 when Bolesław Bierut established his communist dictatorship in Poland.

Churchill adored Stalin.  It’s amazing that Churchill had this fascinating, I would say, idiotic idea that Stalin did not represent ideology, that Stalin was not a Socialist, that Stalin was fighting for Russian national interests, that Stalin was a Russian Nationalist in disguise, in disguise of Georgian Communists, which sounds bizarre.  Because, in Russia, national interests, did such a thing exist?  I think it doesn’t.  What is national interest?  But the interest of all Russians would be to get rid of Stalin right away because he destroyed Russian people more than anybody else in the national history.

Churchill used to say, “One may dislike Hitler’s system and yet admire his patriotic achievement.  If our country were defeated, I hope we should find a champion as admirable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations.”  This is a quote from Winston Spencer Leonard Churchill.  He talks about that.  In 1937, he published an article in “The Guardian.”  So here you can see that he admired Hitler also as a nationalist; admired Hitler, that Hitler is pursuing German national interests.

He, at that time — also, that was already 1939.  He said that — admitted to the British cabinet that, “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia.  It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.  But perhaps there is a key.  That key is Russian national interest.”  So before the war, Churchill embraced both dictators, Hitler and Stalin, alike, as promoters of their national interests, of which Churchill himself was envious.  In the first quote, you can see that he probably would be that champion admirable enough to restore our courage.

So thinking about his humanism — because he was presented as a humanist — he got a Nobel Prize for literature.  At that time, I think the Nobel Prize Committee had enough decency not to offer him a Nobel Prize for peace because —

(LAUGHTER)

— if there will be a Nobel Prize to the worst monger, then he can compete for that definitely, because Churchill — there was not a war that Churchill didn’t like.  And Churchill personally participated in all wars which happened during his lifetime.  In all wars.  He was either a war correspondent or an officer or a planner or a person who is responsible for mass murder of his own people.  He was first lord of Admiralty in 1917 during the Gallipoli disaster during which — and he should take all responsibility.  And many historians do blame him for engineering of this mass butchery of mostly British and New Zealand and Australian soldiers in Turkey.

Then, these three, they adored each other.  Especially Roosevelt, he loved Stalin.  His ambassador to Moscow, Davis, was writing to Roosevelt in 1938 that he is impressed by the courage with which Stalin is getting rid of “trash.”  And “trash” would be that people that — all the staged trials, all the staged show trials.  They just believed that all of them were true.  All of those people confessed.  All of those people confessed.

(LAUGHTER)

I’m working at the Library of Congress at the Volkogonov archives.  This is an amazing archive.  Soviet general, Volkogonov, he was a Soviet propaganda hitman.  And I would switch him off right away.  He was just a — I don’t know – worse than Rachel Maddow or whomever else.

(LAUGHTER)

And I didn’t know that since 1980, he was making highly illegal copies of secret Soviet documents.  He was a director of the Soviet Institute for Military History.  And then when the Soviet Union collapsed, he shipped them all to the Library of Congress.  The U.S. government insisted to ship them with the CIA and he resisted that.  Yeah, because the CIA would put it — on lid again.  That’s for sure.  So in the Library of Congress, we have these fascinating handwritten memos by all of these people.  And from this Volkogonov archive, it is obvious that, for example, this attitude — Churchill and Roosevelt, they would send telegrams to each other all the time.  There was no Internet, and so they were sending telegrams.  And these telegrams would be read by Stalin earlier than they would reach —

(LAUGHTER)

— the White House or the Downing Street 10.  So Stalin was monitoring all correspondence between these other two.

The major kind of, I would say, betrayal of Europe was at Yalta.  At Yalta.  In Yalta, they agreed that there would be three elections in the countries of Eastern Europe, that government of Poland would be both Communist and non-Communist.  I don’t know how that will come.

(LAUGHTER)

And they agreed also to set up the United Nations.  So this is absolutely ridiculous.  What really happened was, as you know, that Stalin got most of Europe, everything he wanted.  Everything he wanted.  And these people were doomed for their Communist slavery for a long time.

Then the outcome of this — and I see that my time is running out — the Soviets — ex-Soviets experienced a shortage of everything.

(LAUGHTER)

And —

(LAUGHTER)

Yeah.  Even my books already are gone and everything.  Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

Speaking about books, before I’ll (sic) forget, I just published this book.  It’s called The Tea Party and the American Counter-Revolution.  It will be reprinted because this is a pretty bad edition and you can’t see how awful it is.  It is written together with Roman Skaskiw, a great Libertarian who is a great friend of the von Mises Institute as well.

And so with our welfare state, what if we just go to what we’ll just face today.  And this is what we do.  And that’s what the (sic) Roosevelt and Churchill created in the West.

Some people will say –

(LAUGHTER)

Some people will say that, well, the guy is very good.  Well, Stalin was very good in 1915.  You can see —

(LAUGHTER)

You can see that.

(APPLAUSE)

(LAUGHTER)

And I would like to end with this.  A total collectivist Socialist utopia will end in a disaster, irrespective of difference in detail.  That’s Murray Rothbard’s dictum.  I think we see it unravel.  We see these welfare states unraveling before our eyes, the same way as the Soviet empire unraveled.  However, everybody thought it would grow; exist for another 10,000 years.

Well, thank you very much.  It looks like my time is gone.  But I will be around this weekend because I definitely have way more to say.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

ROCKWELL:  Well, thanks so much for listening to the Lew Rockwell Show today. Take a look at all the podcasts. There have been hundreds of them. There’s a link on the upper right-hand corner of the LRC front page. Thank you.

Podcast date, January 1, 2013

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