Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Paul Kengor, a professor of political science at Grove City College. His previous books include the bestsellers God and Ronald Reagan and The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism. His latest book is Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century, based on an unprecedented volume of declassified materials from Soviet archives, FBI files, presidential libraries, CPUSA holdings, and more.
FP: Paul Kengor, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Congratulations on your new book.
Tell us what you have uncovered about the Left yet again.
Kengor: I don’t know if congratulations are in order, Jamie. It can be rather depressing and tormenting to read through old archives from the Communist International, the Soviet Central Committee, the KGB, and Communist Party USA, and see how the communists so cynically and successfully duped liberals/progressives again and again and again. It’s even worse when, in turn, those same liberals/progressives attacked not the communists who used them and made them look like fools, but the anti-communists who repeatedly tried to warn the liberals/progressives that they were being exploited.
That bizarre, sad manipulation continues to this day, with communists from the grave still finding their suckers, especially in academia, where liberal professors continue to frame the anti-communists as the bad guys. Their Cold War demon is Joe McCarthy, not Joe Stalin. And most depressing of all, those professors generate new dupes among their gullible, wide-eyed students. To add insult to injury, those profs and their students elected as president a man (Barack Obama) who was mentored by one of those duping communists (Frank Marshall Davis), who liberals today refuse to dare acknowledge was a communist, and, naturally blast the anti-communists as Red-baiting reprobates for daring to even raise the question.
So, congratulations? I suppose. But it’s pretty damned depressing at times.
Imagine: After 100 million corpses produced by the communists, it’s still us anti-communists who are on the defensive, thanks to continued dupes on the American left. You know that Vladimir Lenin is howling from his tomb.
FP: I understand Prof. Kengor, I just wanted to give you credit for writing this priceless book.
Share with us a bit more on what exactly inspired you to write this book.
Kengor: That’s easy: the ideology of communism is the greatest killer in human history, and too many Americans have no idea that such is the case, especially today’s college students, who were born after the fall of the Berlin Wall. They are being educated by the disciples of John Dewey, who, incidentally, is one of the biggest dupes in my book. Liberals and progressives have been the unwitting handmaidens to the lies, deceptions, and advancement of this pernicious ideology. And now, even today, they continue to provide that service, primarily through education—or I should say through mis-education.
Dupes have been an integral part of American history since the founding of the republic. George Washington actually warned his countrymen about dupes in his classic “Farewell Address.” It was a word common during the American Revolution, and it never went away.
Once I started looking into communist archives, I saw the ugly upsurge in this process of duping, starting specifically with the launching of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in October 1917, the launching of the Comintern in Russia in March 1919, and the launching of the American Communist Party in Chicago in September 1919. Of course, communists excelled at propaganda. They were masters. They were outstanding liars—born liars, really. It’s in the DNA, the marrow of the bones. Lenin said that lying was moral as long as it advanced class interests. Vaclav Havel spoke of the “communist culture of the lie.”
Think about this, Jamie: At the height of its membership, in the 1930s, Communist Party USA never had more than about 100,000 members. They were truly a tiny, fringe minority. So, to get marchers at their rallies, signers for their petitions, foot soldiers for some protest, they needed to attract non-communists on the left—i.e., liberals/progressives. As was their nature, they typically lied to these liberals/progressives about their intentions and true loyalties. They were amazed, astonished at how the liberals/progressives repeatedly swallowed—hook, line, and sinker—the most outlandish lies.
So, what inspired me? All of the above. I already knew how bad the communists were—killers of civil liberties and people. I began looking in archives and saw how they cunningly manipulated liberals/progressives. I found material no one had ever seen before, or at least hadn’t published. And I realized I better get this information out there. Other “scholars” weren’t about to publish this material, or even look at it, given that most scholars are on the left, and this material is a scathing indictment of everything the liberal left has ever claimed.