Photo: The UNZ Review. Edited by Opulens.
EXTREMISM. What did the head of FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, and the future leader of the American Nazi Party, George Lincoln Rockwell, have in common 1957? The answer is the magazine ”The American Mercury”. Rockwell was employed by and published articles in the magazine, an important megaphone of the ”alt-Right” of its time, led by the vivid anti-Semite Russell Maguire. The then head of FBI, J. Edgar Hoover wrote articles for the magazine.
In the USA of the 1950s, the far-right viewed atheists and socialists as they view Muslims and Islam today. ”Atheistic immigration” was viewed as a threat to national security, atheists were vilified as potential Soviet agents, and were regarded as having ”dangerous morals”, and being prone to child abuse, ”free sex”, ”homosexuality” and other things that were viewed as ”un-American” and evil.
You have all heard about McCarthyism. When the FBI and American authorities wanted to stop communism in the 1950s and in that process violated the most fundamental human rights in existence. In the name of ”fighting for God and Liberty” hearings were arranged by the House Un-American Activities Committee”, where several artists and celebrities were attacked for being ”unamerican”, ”Marxists”, ”communists”, or… Atheists. Like Frank Capra who directed the classic American Christmas movie ”It’s a Wonderful Life”. Back then FBI regarded it as atheistic and communist propaganda. Yes, atheism. If you read the hearings, you will see that communism and atheism were regarded as basically two sides of the same coin.
McCarthyism worked very similarly to the way that the alt-right, and islamophobia-industry functions today. To some degree, the enemies are still the same, but if the enemies back then were communists and atheists, and of course immigrants and for many also the liberals and the Jews, the enemies today are ”cultural Marxists” and Muslims, and still of course, the immigrants and, for some, the liberals and the Jews.
The problem with McCarthyism was never that they were against communists, as the problem of the alt-right today is not that they oppose radical Islamism. Stalin or Mao were no nice guys! Communists butchered millions at the time. The problem was that the McCarthyists were ready to violate human rights in the attempt to crush communism and that they widened the definition of communism to groups and people that had nothing to do with totalitarianism, like socialists, like liberals, as well as immigrants and of course atheists.
The propaganda of that time in the US declared that atheists lacked morals, since they did not have a God, and consequently they were evil. The best proof that atheism was evil was Communism. Furthermore, since communists were evil, that meant that atheists were evil too.
That might sound ridiculous for many of our time. Nevertheless, it is no different from the present-day islamophobia. All Muslims are regarded as inherently evil because Islam is regarded as evil because there are radical Islamists like ISIS and Al-Qaeda that CLAIM to be ”real Muslims” and who butcher people just as atheists were regarded as evil because the communists were atheists and communists in Soviet and China butchered people.
Negative generalization. A group is judged by its worst representatives. The American Mercury is interesting to study in this sense. In 1956 the editor of the magazine, Russell Maguire, employed George Lincoln Rockwell as assistant. He would go on to found the American Nazi Party in 1959 but was already at that time, 1956-1957, a Nazi. He wrote three articles for the magazine in 1957.
That same year the director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, also wrote for the magazine. The title of the article by J Edgar Hoover, then director of the FBI, in December 1957 was ”God and Country or Communism”. In it he wrote about the atheists (here: materialists):
”These materialists deny the existence of God. They deny the existence of the soul, of immortality, and values derived from unchanging moral principles. Reality, the materialists maintain, consists only of matter. These people, as I stated, are not communists; yet they are preparing mental soil for the seeds of communism. Their pernicious doctrine of materialism, fed to young Americans as something new and modern, readies the minds of our youth to accept the immoral, atheistic system of thought we know as communism.”
As head of FBI Hoover was the head of the fight against ”un-American activities”. In the hearings about ”Un-American activities,” many speakers made the point that atheism in many regards was MORE evil than communism, since it was the ”fundament of communism”.
If you read the propaganda of the alt-right of the time, like The American Mercury, or read the testimonies in the House Un-American Activities Committee, you will see that even immigration was vilified. After the Hungarian uprising in 1956, about 4000 Hungarian refugees came to the USA. They were all regarded as potential communists and thereby a threat. They were probably all atheists, therefore communists in disguise, therefore evil, it was claimed.
The enemy – the Zionist!
The American Mercury went a few steps further and claimed that the communists and atheists were a part of a Zionist conspiracy against humankind, led by influential Jews like the Rothschilds.
If J. Edgar Hoover shared this antisemitic worldview, I do not know. Nevertheless, as head of the FBI at the time he MUST have known what the magazine stood for. The American Mercury is “the single most important anti-Semitic publication at present”, ADL, The American Anti-Defamation League, wrote in 1958. Why? Because they spread myths about Jewish conspiracies.
Russell Maguire of the American Mercury, wrote articles about this ”conspiracy”. There is one article in January 1959 article about that linked this conspiracy to atheism. The Zionists would establish an atheistic world government, led by the Rothschilds, in Jerusalem, the editorial claimed.
”The great Conspiracy aims at establishing in Jerusalem a one-world super-government to rule over a confused and DISINTEGRATED humanity… National spirit, religious spirit, family life, private property and personal initiative are to be overthrown.”
That is what J. Edgar Hoover and the Nazi Lincoln Rockwell had in common. One may wonder what on earth the leaders of the US at that time thought when even the head of the FBI wrote articles in magazines that promoted a Nazi worldview.
There is a saying that you might have heard, that ”those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.” Seen in retrospect, we were all lucky that the USA survived. However, the spirit of McCarthyism is still alive, although with a slightly different image of the ”enemy” than back then. Moreover, it is up to us to step up and stop it!