U.S. Intellectual History Blog

Bias in Nash’s CIMA

Nash_CIMAIn a prior post, in comments to prior posts, and in other writings on George Nash’s Conservative Intellectual Movement in America: Since 1945, it has been noted that he is a conservative and that his political leanings have affected his book in some way. But we have not yet come to any consensus about whether Nash’s politics influenced CIMA in a positive or negative fashion. We also haven’t talked about specific examples from the book.

I’m not suggesting that we must come to any consensus about the direction of Nash’s bias, of his subjectivity. But I’d at least like explore wherein and how the book reveals his politics, or how his politics may have influenced his argument, use of evidence, word choice, analysis, and narrative style.

Some caveats: What follows is by no means exhaustive. I also will not present observations in the order that they appear in the text. Finally, I will offer page numbers when possible (from the 1996 ISI edition).

Here goes:

(1) William F. Buckley is presented as the glue that holds the movement together (“he performed an emblematic and ecumenical function,” p. 332), and therefore appears in almost every chapter. CIMA is no biography of Buckley, but he’s the central character. That said, to me he is treated with kid gloves in the text. His failings are minimalized.* Why? Should he have been explored more critically?

(2) The John Birch Society, founded in 1958 by Robert Welch, is mentioned in only four spots in the text (pp. 272, 275-276, 415, 442). The last two are in the notes, and p. 272 is only a passing reference. That means Nash reduced the Birchers to one real page (275) of coverage (p. 276 is a one-sentence wrap-up of the prior page). To me this minimization is, effectively, a denial of the dominant 1950s *perception* that conservatives were primarily about paranoid anti-communism. There are many points in the text were Nash notes that anti-communism was “the cement of the postwar conservative intellectual movement” (p. 298). Finally, this is important because, as Nash asserts in the text (p. 275, 442), conservative leaders had “tried to bury the Birch issue” in early 1962.

So why avoid an in-depth discussion of Robert Welch, his co-conspirators (e.g. Fred Koch, father of Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries fame), and Welch’s minions? Is this evidence of some sort of denial, or bias, on Nash’s part? Or is it simply another manifestation of the difference between studying intellectual history and the history of thought? At one point in the text Nash relays that Buckley “believed…Welch’s well-publicized activities were being exploited by a liberal press in order to ‘anathematize the entire American right wing'” (p. 275). Is this minimization of the Society, then, more evidence of Nash’s centering on Buckley, which might slant the book’s overall argument and selection criteria toward Buckley’s chief concerns? Does Nash believe in the 1960s accusation about liberal media bias?

(3) Sometimes Nash’s narrative flourish leads to questions. The flourish could be either about positives of the right or negatives of the left. For instance, in a discussion of various world crises of the 1950s, Nash offered the following:

Liberals, of course, might blind themselves to these unpleasant realities—so said conservatives. Liberals might prefer to hope—serenely, pathetically, endlessly, futilely—that maybe now, maybe this time, maybe soon, the Communists would change their spots, cease to be committed revolutionaries, and settle down. Perhaps we could then have peaceful coexistence at last. Meanwhile let us negotiate, “build bridges,” engage in cultural exchanges, climb to the summit. Come let us reason together.

Nonsense, said the conservatives. Fatuous delusions. …Would liberals ever recognize that the world was not, every day in every way, getting better and better? (p. 240)

This is admittedly an excerpt. There’s a textual context wherein this flourish makes some sense. But it’s still over the top. There’s another example on p. 273 where Nash notes that the movement “had certainly come a long way from the ghetto-like isolation of the early postwar years. …What a contrast with the era of Senator Taft!” What got me here was the exclamation point. Why? What drove that style choice?

(4) Much like Buckley, Nash’s presentation of Milton Friedman is fairly uncritical. Friedman rightfully receives a great deal of credit from Nash for offering both new ideas and specific policy proposals that helped make the conservative movement a legitimate political force (pp. 267-271). Those proposals are presented as being empirical, but there is no attempt to explore how Friedman’s proposals were more than ideas. Even though Nash provides evidence of Buckley’s skepticism of Friedman (p. 321), no criticism from liberal politicians or intellectuals is presented. I’m not saying that every presentation of a positive has to be “balanced” by criticism. But I am asserting that if (a) the person/idea is important enough, and (b) the criticism existed in context, then that criticism ought to be included. It’s absence, to me, is more than subjectivity—even in a text where the focus is conservatism.

(5) Lastly, race. This was the cause of the original long discussion (beginning with comments #4 and #6) of CIMA, instigated by Andrew Hartman’s question about whether intellectual historians still read Nash. The sum total of discussion about the Civil Rights Movement and race amounts to about five pages (pp. 260-265). In that discussion the work of Ernest van den Haag is presented uncritically—as if it’s persuasive. It felt like Nash was violating “show don’t tell” rule of historical narrative construction. Nash told us that van den Haag “was undermining the claim that integrated schools were a solution to racial problems” (p. 261) without proving it—without showing us how his work was persuasive with other conservatives like Buckley. Why, moreover, didn’t Nash cover the racism of southern Dixiecrats more thoroughly? Surely postwar conservative intellectuals gave some serious thought to Strom Thurmond and other racist conservatives? And race is only mentioned in passing (pp. 185-187) in Nash’s discussion of Southern Agrarians, Richard Weaver, and The South as a region exemplary of conservative ways. What influenced Nash to minimize the discussion of race when, perhaps, this could have been an opportunity to show nuance and empathy for African Americans in conservative thought?

I think this is enough to prompt some discussion. What have I missed? Where is my thinking wrongheaded? Has Nash addressed these questions elsewhere, at another time and in another venue? – TL


*I’m not finished with my reading. I’m on p. 302 of 341 total. So it’s possible that Nash will offer more on Buckley’s failings in the last 40 pages.

50 Thoughts on this Post

  1. I look at Nash’s work as largely explanatory and a first attempt to explain a huge body of ideas en masse. Obviously, he couldn’t touch every aspect of conservatism, even if it was a subject as seminal as race. Concerning your first point: from Nash’s perspective in the early to mid seventies, WB appeared to be THE glue for conservatives. However, I do believe we find a more critical Nash in *Reappraising the Right*.

    Good post. These are valuable questions.

    • SB: I don’t expect every historian to touch on all things relevant to their topic, or their chronological period of study. If we all did that, all of our books would be 600-700 pages long—or remain unfinished. I do expect us, however, to thoroughly explore our main topics, people, and ideas from many angles. With that, Nash could’ve done more on several fronts. Is this bias? Perhaps. Here’s one definition of bias:

      3a : bent, tendency
      3b : an inclination of temperament or outlook; especially : a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment : prejudice

      One can be subjective, partial, and even thesis driven without necessarily being “unreasoned.” To avoid bias we have to be explicit about our assumptions, prejudices, and choices. Our judgments have to be publicly reasoned. Some of Nash’s choices are not explained. – TL

  2. Historians are rarely “explicit” about their intentions and assumptions. Possibly, sympathetic is probably a better word to describe CIMA, but I’m not willing to call CIMA “biased.”

    I do believe it is worth exploring as to why Nash wrote a sympathetic account of conservative intellectuals. What other historians of that era would have written a history of conservative intellectuals without solely focusing on race or further pathologizing groups like the southern agrarians?

    • The general run of historians are probably not generally explicit about their intentions and assumptions. But, in my experience, USIH types generally are explicit.

      I didn’t mean to say all bias is based on poor intentions. Being over-sympathetic is a symptom, or kind, of bias, I think. But sympathy alone doesn’t create bias.

  3. Why, moreover, didn’t Nash cover the racism of southern Dixiecrats more thoroughly? Surely postwar conservative intellectuals gave some serious thought to Strom Thurmond and other racist conservatives?

    I reckon Nash objects to the reckless lumping of the Dixiecrats as “conservatives”*–exploiting an equivocality of movement conservatism ala Buckley and “conservative” as a catchall for all that’s wrong with the world.

    Of the 21 Democratic senators [there was one Republican who filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964, only one, Strom Thurmond, left for the GOP.

    The rest, such as former Klansman Robert Byrd, Watergate hero Sam Ervin, Bill Clinton’s mentor J. William Fulbright, and Al Gore Sr. all remained Democrats in good standing.

    See also


    A myth about conservatism is circulating in academia and journalism and has spread to the 2004 presidential campaign. It goes something like this: the Republican Party assembled a national majority by winning over Southern white voters; Southern white voters are racist; therefore, the GOP is racist. Sometimes the conclusion is softened, and Republicans are convicted merely of base opportunism: the GOP is the party that became willing to pander to racists. Either way, today’s Republican Party—and by extension the conservative movement at its heart—supposedly has revealed something terrible about itself.

    In study after study, authors say that “racial and economic conservatism” married white Southerners to the GOP after 1964. So whereas historically accidental events must have led racists to vote for good men like FDR, after 1964 racists voted their conscience. How convenient.


    * I.e., The Iranian mullahs are “conservatives,” as are 99.8% of all morons and oppressors in the world.



    • “Reckless lumping of Dixiecrats.” Nice. If they weren’t a racist-inflected form of Southern Agrarian, what were they? Perhaps we need Paul Murphy or some other Southern Agrarian expert to step in here.

      • Let’s try that again:

        [R]eckless lumping of the Dixiecrats* as “conservatives”–exploiting an equivocality of movement “conservatism” ala Buckley* and “conservative” as a catchall for “all that’s wrong with the world.”

        The counterargument is that once racist Southern voters lost the Democratic Party as the defender of institutional racism–after Brown and the CRA of 1964, there was no political safe haven anywhere for the segregationists–they chose the color-blind GOP for various other reasons, mainly [upwardly] economic and social as “repelled by the pro-amnesty, -acid, and -abortion stances of the McGovernites who came to take over the Democratic Party beginning in 1972.”

        *By the time movement conservatism had become a viable politics in the late ’60s and onto the Reagan era, it had corrected its “states rights” argument in defense of racial discrimination. The exception being Goldwater ’64, a sin [and worse, a blunder] for which the GOP continues to pay.

        On the other side, we recall the ritual of the scapegoat, where the town would assign all its sins to a goat, which they would chase out of town, bearing their sins away. So it was with Strom Thurmond, the only Dixiecrat senator among 21 who filibustered the Civil Rights Act to leave the party for the other, as though the Democratic Party’s century of racial sins went with him, all guilt absolved, the sins transferred to the other party.

        And, judging by the prevailing narrative, it worked. So it was, and is.

  4. While I rely on Nash’s 3-fold distinctions in my own work (I still think they make sense for the people he ACTUALLY covers but never the entire movement, which is now more corporate populist in orientation), I’ve always thought of Nash as someone writing from within the conservative movement and thus normatively biased. The remarkable thing to me is not his bias, but when and how he is critical of the movement.

    • Mark: I too admire, especially knowing Nash’s politics, the parts of the book where he is critical of the movement or its members. There’s no question that the book succeeds in some degree of critique. I raised the points above to show that it’s not terribly difficult to find passages in the last half of the book that show some bias. – TL

      • Hey, I said “remarkable,” not “admirable.” I’m not at all trying to defend the book as unbiased scholarship; quite the contrary. My point goes to LD’s: You have to know where a book and its author are coming from so you can know what it’s good for and what it’s not. I’ve only ever thought of CIMA as a primary source although its typology has served me well. Calling a movement historian biased is like saying all that politicians want are votes.

      • Mark: Gotcha. I think CIMA works as both a primary and a secondary source. In my case, in my mss, it’s a history I’m using to bolster some of my points. But in another context I totally see it as a primary source. Given that issue, is there not a point where subjectivity lapses into something less than critical? To me, “bias” is that point. But, as I said below to LD, I’m open to other names/terms/designations for this problem.

  5. I am dubious about your argument here, Tim, and my dubiety begins with the way you are using the word “biased.” I’m just trying to decide if I want to hash it out here in the comments or rack it up in a separate blog post. But I have something queued up already for Saturday, so I guess I’ll try to condense my objections into a comment-sized critique.

    I think it’s a mistake to deploy the term “biased” as a term of opprobrium — I’m thinking of undergrads who are dubious of “the historian’s bias,” or the Glenn Beck / David Barton crowd whinging about the “liberal bias” of academe — as if some kind of “unbiased” history or academy were possible or desirable.

    But the bigger (though related) mistake is the mistake you make in choosing to understand “bias” via the third definition you’ve linked to, rather than the first one.

    If we’re going to talk about “bias” in texts, I think we’d do well to consider “bias” in textiles. [edited: Wikipedia’s definition/explanation is more useful here — Bias (textiles).] The bias is not a fault of fabric, but a feature of it — a feature that can be worked around, but that can also be effectively used. It is only when someone is unaware of bias that it becomes problematic — and I’m still talking of sewing/tailoring here, but this also applies to historical writing. Someone who is “unreasoning” about the phenomenon of bias is going to put together one ill-fitting suit, or one ill-suited account of the past.

    It seems to me that subjectivity / bias / sensibility are interchangeable enough — and inevitable enough as well.

    In any case, a wishing away of bias is a wishing away of the fabric of texts — a wishing away of their “madeness,” and thus of their makers.

    • What then, LD, is your term for when an author takes her/his subjectivity too far—when she/he fails to be appropriately critical of the events/people/text/ideas in front of him/her? I chose ‘bias’ here, but I don’t deny that another term may be better. And choose you must, for we must identify the errors of analysis made by friend and foe when they’re insufficiently critical. – TL

    • I issue this challenge, LD, even though I agree that some right-wingers are careless in their use of the term bias. So let’s sort out the alternatives so that we’re not ensnared in their “dubiety.” 🙂

  6. “The remarkable thing to me is not his bias, but when and how he is critical of the movement.” Mark, I think you’re spot on there. I believe CIMA benefits from a close reading.

  7. Tim, you’re the taxonomist, not me.

    I would use whatever word(s) best described the particular instance — “too subjective,” “not self-critical enough,” “unexamined,” “polemical,” “propagandistic.”

    Those are all useful terms that can describe one or another weakness/excess in a particular piece of historical writing. I would use whatever term best applied. “Biased,” because it applies to all texts, is not very useful as a description of any particular one.

    • You got me on the love for taxonomies. I still think that “bias” can work. It’s more elegant, if explained properly. If not explained properly, it’s too blunt—as you note.

  8. Listen, you all know me as a leftist. So there’s my bias, subjectivity, propagandistic aim, call it whatever you want. But I love Nash’s book. Without it, where would the historiography of conservative intellectuals be? What non-conservative would have begun a massive project (CIMA began as as Nash’s dissertation) in the late 60s on a topic so anathema in the academy? Short answer: nobody.

    • I hope this post isn’t making me sound like a hater. I’m *loving* the book. I’ve mentioned in prior posts that it’s changing the narrative, a bit, for my great books idea mss. So my respect is a given. I just thought it seemed like a good exercise for us to not be blind to its (few) blemishes. I felt the word “bias” succinctly covered my thoughts on those few blemishes.

      Anyway, this is an excellent, still-useful secondary resource. I recommend it to anyone trying to tease out the conservative-liberal-moderate divide of postwar America. And it’s especially great for understanding the varieties of conservatism, then and even now.

    • great point, Andrew. Movement historians, or whatever you want to call them, are essential to “reluctant historians” (damn if I can’t get away from LD’s wonderful term!). Case in point: I’d never consider Lane Dennis’s biographies of Francis Schaeffer model scholarship, but I certainly needed their basic factual information when I was writing on Schaeffer.

    • Listen, you all know me as a leftist. So there’s my bias, subjectivity, propagandistic aim, call it whatever you want.

      I loved reading your autobio disclosure a bit back, Andrew—your parents being teachers and leftperson activists and all.

      A pink-diaper baby, as it were. 😉

      bias, subjectivity, propagandistic aim

      We all do what we can.

      Meself is a product of gross miscegenation, FDR Irish Catholic and a PB waiting for his own messiahs, Reagan and Limbaugh. Pleased to meet you.

      But I love Nash’s book. Without it, where would the historiography of conservative intellectuals be? What non-conservative would have begun a massive project (CIMA began as as Nash’s dissertation) in the late 60s on a topic so anathema in the academy? Short answer: nobody.

      He ascends the pulpit here


      but I’m still thinking he writes more for you and your fellows than for me and my dad, more apologist than preacher.

      My dad still doesn’t know who Buckley was. He was too busy working overtime to watch “Firing Line” or know what PBS channel it was on or even know it existed. His son voted for John Anderson in 1980, and never heard of National Review until he stumbled across one at the airport in ’82 or so. Such alien thoughts those people had.

      As far as United States Intellectual History goes, y’all have planted your flag on it and own the floor. You paid for this microphone. I thank you for every comment I post that you don’t delete.


  9. Tim and LD:

    Why can’t we just say Nash is a “movement historian” and leave it at that? He’s not “biased” or “subjective,” just “committed.” Why is Buckley the center and the Birchers are marginalized? Because, after the Goldwater defeat, there was a conscious decision by the right to push Buckley to the center and marginalize the Birchers. See Jonathan Schoenwald, A Time For Choosing, on this shift. Dochuk sees a similar shift at this time regarding Reagan and race in his book. In this light, Nash’s work can be seen as normalizing the right’s push to the center after 1964.

    • I’m hesitant to use the word “committed” because Nash is quite good at self-criticism *when* he does it. That’s *highly* unusual for what I think of as movement historians. I’ve only nicked him above for a few spots where I think he should’ve been even more self-critical (race, Buckley, Birchers, etc.).

      • One angle to take would be compare the work this book did to that of similar projects. For instance, Roderick Nash’s 1967 Wilderness and the American Mind, which seems a clear example of the work of a movement historian. In both cases, we could ponder what ‘bias’ might mean, how critical they can be of their subjects; and in what ways historians after them have productively challenged their analysis by covering other aspects of the movement.

  10. With respect to the Birch Society in particular and the conservative movement in general, our scholars have not paid much attention to the history of either until relatively recently.

    JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY: The JBS does not permit outside independent scholars to have access to its archives for historical research nor does it permit access to its membership so that scholars could develop a fact-based understanding about them and their beliefs. Consequently, whatever academic interest exists in the JBS, there is not a lot of new insights which can be developed — although there are some tantalizing questions. There has been only one master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation written during the past 10 years which addresses the JBS in any depth. Not even postgraduate students who are JBS members or JBS supporters have done any original research into the history of the Society!

    EXTREME RIGHT MOVEMENT: Significantly, there are academic journals devoted exclusively to the history of the communist movement in the U.S. [e.g. American Communist History] and many very well known and accomplished scholars have written articles for those journals. In fact, some of them have spent their entire academic careers specializing in radical left history.

    By contrast, there is no academic journal that I know of that is devoted exclusively to the history of the conservative and extreme right movements in the United States nor does there appear to be any well known scholar who intends to specialize in the persons, organizations, and events which comprise extreme right history — although there have been several very well-researched books on conservative movement history.

    One small example of my point:

    You can easily find books or major academic journal articles about most of the major figures in radical left history–including about key Communist Party officials.

    However, try finding books or academic journal articles within the past 10-20 years about major figures in extreme right-wing history who impacted the perceptions and beliefs of millions of Americans, such as:

    Billy James Hargis and Christian Crusade, Fred Schwarz and Christian Anti-Communism Crusade, Edgar Bundy and Church League of America, Myers Lowman and Circuit Riders, Inc., Robert Welch and John Birch Society or Dan Smoot and W. Cleon Skousen.

    Why is this the case? Academic ignorance and bias. It is a commonly held notion (although admittedly this changed somewhat after the Reagan years) that the history of the United States in the 20th century has been predominantly a history of left-wing ideas and proposals and the left-wing politicians and left wing organizations who brought those ideas and proposals to fruition.

    • Dear Ernie1241: You’ve made two contradictory points in the comment above.

      First you note that the papers of the John Birch Society, for instance, are closed to scholars. This is probably the case with many far-right-wing groups. But then you say that the reason certain figures and groups haven’t been studied is “academic ignorance and bias.”

      Even if I allow your assumption about there being “a commonly held notion” that “left-wing ideas” are dominant in U.S. history, how do you explain the contradiction? – TL

      • Tim – It is not really a major contradiction because even though JBS archives are not available, there are many other resources available which our academic community has generally ignored (with, admittedly, a few significant exceptions during the past 10-20 years).

        My major point is that our academic community has never organized itself to study the right-wing with the same interest as has been the case with the left-wing. That is why there are no academic journals in the U.S. devoted exclusively to right-wing history whereas, by contrast, there are academic journals devoted to left-wing history.

        Furthermore, here is something particularly significant:

        I have spent over 30 years making more than 9000 FOIA requests to the FBI and other agencies about hundreds of right-wing individuals, organizations, publications, and controversies. When I have asked the FBI to provide me with the name(s) of previous requesters for the subjects I have pursued, about 75% of the time I have been informed that I was the first and only requester! [By contrast, my FOIA requests on left-wing individuals, groups, publications, etc. are usually not the first and only requests received.]

        I created a webpage which lists many of the archives which contain primary source documents (including private papers of key figures in 20th century right-wing history)

        See my webpage here:

        If you search the bibliographic notes of books and articles about the right-wing published during the past 10-20 years, very few reflect any new research into existing archival sources pertaining to the right-wing.

        There is no reasonable explanation except disinterest and bias — which is also reflected in the paucity of new academic theses and dissertations pertaining to U.S. right-wing history

      • Ernie1241: You Google page is awesome! Thanks for noting it here. Do you mind if I publicize it at the S-USIH Facebook page? Perhaps that’s already been done before and I’ve missed it? – TL

      • You may post a link on Facebook or anywhere else to anything I have done.

        You might also be interested in my bibliography of academic theses and dissertations on right-wing history which the Center For Right Wing Studies posted online here:

        I am NOT an academic. In fact, I don’t even have a college degree.

        How does one explain why I seem to be the only person to have compiled such a listing?

        Starting in late May or early June, I will be donating DVD’s containing hundreds of FBI files to UC Berkeley, Marquette University, University of Kansas, and other institutions and organizations.

        I hope this might trigger some interest within the academic community because so much history re: right-wing individuals and groups is non-existent in our libraries. In fact, you cannot even find any biographies of prominent right-wing figures who helped shape public perceptions and political behavior during the 1950’s, 1960’s and thereafter.

      • The Center for Right Wing Studies. What makes me think it was named by left-wingers?

        The cast is hilarious–name a Garbage Pail Kid of the American Right and he’s there, front and center.

        Berkeley, of course.

        I’d be appalled that this passes for serious scholarship, but it’s way too late for that. Now I’m just amused.

      • Well, Tom Van Dyke, what research and writing have YOU done on right-wing history?

        And what colleges/universities do you recommend as serious repositories of scholarship?

        It is easy and risk-free to carp from the sidelines so please give us an idea what you have done.

        Incidentally, aside from UC Berkeley, other institutions which are receiving (or have received) material from me include New York University’s Tamiment Library, Marquette University and the University of Kansas.

        OK—now you can spew out some more venom

      • I’m with Ernie here. This is the place for evidence and arguments, Tom, not epithets and useless escalation.

  11. One more illustration of the point in my previous message:

    As I’m sure many readers here are aware, there is a Humanities and Social Sciences Discussion Network online where scholars post messages and research inquiries.
    Every imaginable subject area is covered. See list here:

    As one might suspect, there is a History of American Communism discussion network along with similar discussion networks. But there is no History of American Conservatism discussion group.

    However, there is a “History and Legacy of the 1960’s” discussion group — but if you search all the messages posted during the past 12 months you will not find anything pertaining to conservative movement history. There are messages about the New Left, Black Panthers, Women’s Lib, SDS and similar topics — but, apparently, in the academic world, conservative individuals and organizations were non-existent or of no historical interest during the 1960’s!

    • Ernie1241: I think you’ll find many conservative topics discussed within other lists besides the easy-pickings 1960s example. If you search H-Pol (on American Political History), for example, on ‘conservatism’ you’ll find 224 messages on that topic. – TL

      • Tim: You actually are providing evidence to (unintentionally) make my point.

        I suggest you review all of the messages posted in H-Pol for the past year (since March 2012).

        There is NOTHING re: right-wing-history related topics.

        In fact, there are entire months with no messages whatsoever or only one message posted.

        You will see subjects (or research inquiries) about such matters as Vietnam, White Collar and Corporate Crime, the 2012 election, and OAH conferences.

        2011 postings are not much different.

        But NOTHING pertaining to right-wing history.

        YES, there are various H-net postings which include an occasional research inquiry or discussion about right-wing history but compare those very infrequent postings to the voluminous debates, discussions, and research inquiries about left-wing history!

  12. Dear Ernie: Thanks a million for both links. I’ve added both to the S-USIH Facebook page. I guarantee they’ll find people interested in your years of hard work.

    On the H-Pol listings for conservatism, I admit that my search was quick and dirty. Still, I’d be surprised if thorough search of every year of the list came up with nothing (not to mention other lists where the topic might come up). You may be right about the lack of research, but I’d be surprised. – TL

      • Well, Tom, H-net is not a “shrine” to anything except continuous debate and discussion.

        The HOAC list features many of our nation’s most prominent and accomplished scholars such as Dr. John Earl Haynes — who has worked as a specialist in political history at the Library of Congress.

        In conjunction with co-author Harvey Klehr, Haynes has authored numerous books and articles about Soviet espionage, the Communist Party USA, and the anti-communist movement in the U.S. He also has compiled an enormous bibliography about the communist and anticommunist movements which is posted online here:

        On a few occasions, Dr. Haynes has posted messages on HOAC regarding material that I discovered in FBI files which our scholars have not previously known — such as the number of live informants inside the CPUSA. I discovered this statistical information by accident and posted it on my CPUSA webpage here:


      • I’m with Ernie again. H-Net is not immune from criticism, but forum is. I’ll never trash H-Net. It’s a now kind of a godmother to subsequent online scholarly ventures.

      • You need to follow your own links and references, Brother Ernie. The point is that the HOAC site yields a sympathetic treatment of the useful idiots of the Communist era, not a critical one.

        It was said the left wing hated McCarthy more than they hated Stalin. So it was and so it still is, apparently.

        But if you know of any university centers devoted to the tens of millions of victims of Communism, I thank you in advance for the pointer.

        If one does not exist, I trust it’s simply because they can’t find a building big enough to house it.

      • Tom: Your most recent message makes it obvious that you have never performed even the most cursory review of HOAC.

        I specifically mentioned Dr. John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr because their reputation for their reseach and writing is precisely what you claim is not represented in HOAC! Dr. Haynes is a prolific contributor to HOAC.

        HOAC has discussed everything from Venona docs, to Alger Hiss/Whittaker Chambers, to COMINTERN, to Jay Lovestone’s expulsion from the CP, as well as providing links to reviews of highly critical books on the communist movement in the U.S. (and elsewhere) and biographies of key figures within the communist movement. There also are frequent postings regarding seminars around the country at which our nation’s foremost scholars on the communist movement often participate.

        After Dr. Haynes posted messages on HOAC concerning material I brought to his attention, I received messages from such well known scholars as Ronald Radosh, Harvey Klehr, and David Garrow, along with many inquiries from researchers who asked me for copies of FBI files in my collection.

        I regret it is necessary to write this — but I don’t think you know what you are talking about!

  13. Oh — with respect to your inquiry about “any university centers devoted to the tens of millions of victims of Communism”, I suggest you check into Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and particularly its “Workshop on Totalitarian Regimes”

    You might also want to check Marquette University’s special collections which includes the FBI investigative file on the House Committee on Un-American Activities — which comprises more than 23,000 pages of material.

    And, of course, New York University’s Tamiment Library collections on the Communist Party USA and Communist Parties elsewhere in the world.

    • As one final suggestion for Tom:

      Check Dr. Haynes’ on-line bibliography on communism and anti-communism (link provided in one of my previous messages).

      There are voluminous references to books, articles, doctoral dissertations, conference papers etc. which pertain to such matters as:

      * The Gulag
      * Ukranian Famine
      * The Great Terror
      * Soviet Terrorism in the West
      * Stalin, Leninism and Soviet Communism

      If you check the bibliographies of the publications listed in Dr. Haynes’ bibliography, you will see thousands of references to documents and oral histories which exist in numerous special collections in U.S. colleges and universities which pertain to the communist movement’s history. And many researchers and scholars have relied upon those special collections to document the murders, repression, and crimes committed by adherents of Communist ideology.

      For more detail, see the 1999 book entitled, “The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression” published by Harvard University Press.

      Also see:

      • Thank you, Erinie. I’m certainly aware of the latter. The larger point is that the apologists for the murderous Communists regimes of the past century are not treated with the same moral opprobrium we reserve for Nazi sympathizers–or John Birchers.

        But as we know, Castro oppressed–killed!–far more people than Tail Gunner Joe McCarthy. Therein lies the rub–where Berkeley’s Center for Right Wing Studies appears to delight in the sins of the extreme right


        the left seems to receive a more “balanced” approach. But that could be my, um, bias showing.

        Thanks for the info.

  14. Tom: I agree with Ernie that you don’t know what you’re talking about with regards to HOAC. Back when I was writing my book on education and the Cold War, I regularly tuned into to HOAC. It was a great forum. If anything, there were more conservatives and anticommunists (like Haynes) who participated in that forum than there were liberals and leftists. In fact, I remember being frustrated with that fact. Surely that would certify it a bit in your eyes!

    • If anything, there were more conservatives and anticommunists (like Haynes) who participated in that forum than there were liberals and leftists. In fact, I remember being frustrated with that fact. Surely that would certify it a bit in your eyes!

      That’s plenty good enough for me, Andrew.


      Thx for the good news. All is not yet lost.

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