The “uses” of Charles Lindbergh, Part II

“Lucky Lindy flies again”

Lindbergh’s famous “Des Moines speech”–delivered at a 1941 America First rally in the Iowa capital on the not-yet-infamous date of September 11th–is continually being re-discovered and re-deployed: by anti-Semites, anti-anti-Semites, neo-isolationists, white supremacists, and on and on.  In Its most often quoted line, Lindbergh called out the “three groups” that he believed were impelling America into the European war: the Roosevelt administration, and “the British and Jewish races.”



Now the Des Moines speech is back– and the news item is coming out of Iowa, site of today’s Republican caucuses.  The Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen writes about what he sees as the dangerous isolationism of libertarian candidate, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas.  Cohen sees Paul as espousing a foreign policy “drained of morality.”

His total indifference to what happens overseas is chilling and reminiscent of the old isolationism, best articulated in Des Moines — a world capital this election season — by Charles Lindbergh back in 1941. In that speech, Lindbergh identified three groups that wanted to take America to war against Germany: the Brits, the Jews and the Roosevelt administration. They all had their reasons, he acknowledged, but, “We cannot allow the natural passions and prejudices of other peoples to lead our country to destruction.” I can almost hear these very words coming out of the mouth of Paul.

Cohen writes that President Ron Paul would oppose all military interventions, even those more morally justifiable than the disastrous adventure in Iraq:  

He cannot for the life of him summon government’s authority or military might to have the right thing done. Still, the man himself is immaterial. His message, though, is a different matter. It has struck a chord, and others, more polished and with better-fitting shirts, will pick it up. Lucky Lindy flies again.

 (The illustration here–with a gas-masked Lindbergh on top of a “stink-wagon”–is by Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, one of his many anti-Lindbergh cartoons, published in the leftist newspaper PM in 1940-48.  It is reprinted in Dr. Seuss Goes to War: The World War II Editorial Cartoons of Theodor Seuss Geisel.)

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