Principles First

It’s hardly a bombshell to report that labels can be misleading. But trying to pin one on John T. Flynn must have been a daunting exercise. Flynn considered himself a “liberal” throughout his entire life. Yet, when his fellow liberals cast aside the principles of limited government and a noninterventionist foreign policy in favor of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s socialistic New Deal and America’s entry into World War II, Flynn refused to go along with the pack. He used his influential pen as a “liberal” journalist to warn against the totalitarian implications of both the Welfare State and the Warfare State, and for this he became anathema to America’s power elite. FDR so feared Flynn’s powerful pen that he personally tried to blacklist him and drive him into obscurity.

As he began his journalistic career, Flynn focused on economic topics and regularly targeted big business, particularly monopolies. But by the time he retired in 1960, he had become the ultimate “Old Right” conservative – the ardent foe of the total state represented by Rooseveltian liberalism, Fabian socialism, Italian and German fascism, and Soviet Communism.

In her 1976 study, An American First: John T. Flynn and the America First Committee, Flynn’s daughter, Michele Flynn Stenehjem, offered a definition of what her father’s brand of liberalism entailed:

John Flynn and other America Firsters believed that government should regulate business by preventing monopolies and cartels from controlling large sectors of the economy. However, Flynn and his colleagues did not think that government itself should become a large economic power. This condition would restrict individual freedom, which was the essence of their definition of liberalism…. Flynn and his colleagues rejected Franklin D. Roosevelt’s brand of liberalism, in which government entered the economic community as a large employer and customer.

John T. Flynn was born on October 25, 1882 in Bladensburg, Maryland, near the nation’s capital. He never attended college but graduated from Georgetown Law School a few years after the turn of the century. Even though he was the son of an attorney, he never practiced law but worked as a clerk in his father’s office. He passionately wanted to be a writer, and in 1916 he began his journalism career by accepting a post at Connecticut’s New Haven Register. By 1920, he went to New York where he was hired as financial editor and soon became managing editor of the New York Globe. When that newspaper went under in 1923, he turned to freelance writing.

While never ceasing his criticism of unrestrained big business, Flynn soon began criticizing big government as well. In 1932, he eagerly supported the candidacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Like many others, he was lured to do so by a belief that the candidate would adhere to the promises in the Democratic Party’s Platform, which called for: an end to the extravagant spending of the Republicans under Herbert Hoover; a balanced budget; and the elimination of an array of federal bureaus, agencies, and commissions. He was also impressed by Roosevelt’s campaign oratory against welfare and his demands for across-the-board cuts in federal spending.

After he took office in March 1933, FDR quickly abandoned his campaign promises in favor of greater spending, a huge boost in the federal deficit, and far more bureaus, agencies, and commissions than before. More courageous than others, Flynn spoke out against this betrayal.

Flynn began achieving national attention in 1933 with a column entitled “Other People’s Money” in the very liberal New Republic. He also wrote for Harper’s and Collier’s, supplied a syndicated column for the Scripps-Howard chain, and provided a series of articles he labeled “Plain Economics” for newspapers in New York and Washington.

In the mid-1930s, America was mired in the Great Depression. The major element of Roosevelt’s New Deal, the National Recovery Administration (NRA), created a maze of regulation over practically every aspect of business and industry. Flynn wasted little time in calling the NRA, enacted in 1933, a grave attack on fundamental American principles. Writing in the September 1934 issue of Harper’s, he thundered: “Regimentation of American life means forming society into regiments, subjecting it to orders, drills, commanders.”

At the time, Flynn expected some of his liberal colleagues to assist in slaying the NRA monster. At the close of his Harper’s article, he forecast grave consequences for the nation “unless liberals maintain a more effective vigilance than they have in the past.” But he soon found that most of his liberal friends succumbed to the power wielded by the White House and supported FDR’s every wish. Nevertheless, he must have enjoyed some consolation when the Supreme Court declared the NRA unconstitutional.

By the mid-1930s, Flynn realized that his defense of true liberalism had become a lonely endeavor. Yet, he fought on with characteristic courage and integrity. His column in New Republic lashed out at FDR’s escalating deficits, faulted the newly created Securities and Exchange Commission as a toothless compromise with Wall Street, and described the Social Security Act as laudable in principle but potentially dangerous because of the way it would be financed.

By 1936, his illusions about FDR long gone, he stated in a speech broadcast by radio that the president was “a born militarist.” With great foresight, he worried that FDR would “do his best to entangle us” in an eventual European war and that he was “engaged in a desperate attempt to break down the democratic system in America.”

In a September 1937 Collier’s article, Flynn targeted the government’s fraudulent practice of lending money it had created out of thin air. In a bow to the Constitution’s separation of powers, he pointed out that various government bureaus were “supplying one another with money as part of this new system of eliminating Congress from its historic role of controlling the purse strings.”

After several years of watching government programs shovel freshly created money at farmers and home owners, Flynn noted that “the government today holds twice as many home mortgages as all the commercial banks in the country put together, more than all life insurance companies or more than all the savings banks, and more, even, than the 8,000 building and loan associations combined.” He targeted the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) as “the biggest and most sensational of all the government lending plants.” But he also made the point that the RFC had been created during the Hoover administration, adding the telling point that it was “roundly criticized by Candidate Roosevelt, and then adopted and enlarged by him” after taking office.

In 1939, Flynn was stunned when FDR tapped Harry Hopkins, his Works Progress Administration head, for Secretary of Commerce. Flynn’s attitude about Hopkins was that he was “an able welfare worker wandering in a couple of strange jungles – a babe lost in two woods – business and politics.” His “Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Roosevelt” column in the Yale Review, however, was much more an attack on the president than on Hopkins.

FDR, who was aware of Flynn’s attacks on his policies, was enraged by this column. He fired off a letter to the Yale Review’s editor claiming that Flynn was “a destructive rather than a constructive force” whose work “should be barred from … any presentable daily paper, monthly magazine or national quarterly.” Before too long, that is precisely what happened. Historian Harry Elmer Barnes would write years later: “Probably the most extreme job of smearing ever turned in on a liberal who attacked the foreign policy of Roosevelt was done on John T. Flynn.” Barnes also made the point that Flynn’s “erstwhile liberal admirers, who had taken to warmongering, turned on him savagely.”

As signs multiplied that Roosevelt was preparing to take the nation into war, Flynn and several other “noninterventionists,” a term they always preferred to “isolationists,” gathered in mid-1938 to form the Keep America Out of War Committee (KAOWC) with Flynn as its national chairman. Unlike the soon-to-be-formed America First Committee (AFC), KAOWC wasn’t a membership organization but a small circle of prestigious individuals who would coordinate the activities of several smaller groups. In 1940, when Roosevelt proposed sending 50 destroyers to England for her use in the ongoing war with Germany, Flynn not only objected but labeled the move a grave usurpation of power and called for impeachment of the president.

Hammering away at what he contended were the inevitably destructive fruits of war, Flynn wrote in 1940: “The real peril of war lies not in military defeat. It lies in war itself, whether we win or lose.” And he repeatedly identified its chief fruits as a controlled society and enormous national debt. He also accused the president of turning to war and the preparations for war as one way of pulling the nation out of the still-existing depression.

Perhaps the greatest example of his foresight during this period was his concern that the American people were being led to believe that, no matter what problem they faced, the answer was government intervention. He wrote: “Thus the young and the old, the manufacturer, the farmer, the laborer, the little merchant and the big merchant, all swell the chorus of demand for order, law, regulation, rule – control.” He warned against subjecting the capitalist system to “extensive controls,” and he pointed out that those controls could be made to succeed “only when backed up by a grim and ruthless authoritarian government which enforces compliance with an iron hand.”

America, he contended, was headed in the direction of fascism. Nations don’t succumb to fascism “at one fell dive,” he wrote in 1940, but through a series of steps that few recognize for the harm they do. Combining his intense abhorrence of war with a growing fear that America would adopt the fascism of Italy or Germany, he summarized: “We seem to be a long way off from the kind of Fascism which we behold in Italy today, but we are not so far from the kind of Fascism which Mussolini preached in Italy before he assumed power, and we are slowly approaching the conditions which made Fascism there possible. All that is needed to set us definitely on the road to a Fascist society is war. It will of course be a modified form of Fascism at first. But Fascism cannot continue in a modified form…. Thus, though Hitler will never come here to impose his Fascist abomination upon us, we may go to him to impose it upon ourselves.”

Continuing his warnings about growing fascism in America, he wrote in 1941 that it should not be associated with “such grotesque and futile excrescences as the Bunds, Christian fronts, and the like.” He wanted the docile American people to realize that our nation was being undermined from within to accept a despotic ideology. Taking aim at the “self-appointed” intellectuals on whom he blamed the transformation, he wrote: “They think that to be a Fascist you must have some sort of shirt uniform, must drill and goose-step, must have a demonstrative salute, must hate the Jews, and believe in dictatorship. Fascism is not the result of dictatorship. Fascism is the consequence of economic jam and dictatorship is the product of Fascism, for Fascism cannot be managed save by a dictator.”

In August 1940, Flynn and retired Army General Robert Wood, the head of Sears, Roebuck and Company, gathered with several others to form the non-interventionist America First Committee (AFC). Differing markedly from KAOWC’s intellectual approach and its distance from the people, AFC was to be a mass movement formed to unite large numbers of citizens around the issue of keeping the nation out of war. Almost immediately, chapters were established all over America. In time, AFC grew to include 800,000 members.

During late 1940 as Roosevelt campaigned for a third term, Flynn became convinced of the need for a vigorous AFC chapter in New York, the “interventionist capital city.” Flynn initially declined the chairmanship of this chapter because of his writing commitments and his desire to serve the effort mostly as a journalist, but he accepted the post in January 1941 and devoted great energy to the task. In time, Flynn’s jurisdiction extended to 84 separate chapters in greater New York, and he maintained an advisory role over chapters in several surrounding states.

Ever the journalist, Flynn took a major role in the organization’s publicity campaigns. Beyond writing or editing all of the chapter’s literature, he delivered a public speech or a radio address every five days. The pamphlets he produced were adopted and used by the national AFC. He also created several advertisements to focus attention on the many horrible consequences of war. Stenehjem reported that one ad, reprinted by the AFC nationwide, posed the frightening thought: “The Last War Brought: Communism to Russia, Fascism to Italy, Nazism to Germany. What Will Another War Bring To America?”

When members badgered NYC-AFC’s executive board for more dramatic programs, Flynn agreed to hold huge rallies, six of which the group eventually sponsored. The largest of these, held at Madison Square Garden, attracted approximately 50,000 people. But he vetoed several proposals, including the call for a march on Washington, out of fear that participants might become disorderly and harm the group’s reputation.

Flynn contended that a conspiracy involving the mass media and the motion picture industry was assisting the forces of intervention and dishonestly smearing AFC as pro-fascist and anti-Semitic. Stenehjem related Flynn’s statements at a December 1940 Chicago AFC rally: “The plain and terrifying fact is that this great and peaceful nation is in the grip of one of the most subtle and successful conspiracies … to embroil us in a foreign war.”

Ever the researcher, Flynn examined the most prominent pro-intervention organization, the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, and found that this group had been cooperating with several prominent interventionist journalists and motion picture producers. He then discovered links between these various pro-war elements and both the Roosevelt administration and the British government. He pointed to “great sums of money … being spent on [interventionist] literature and advertisements, frequently by persons or organizations which could hardly be supposed to have such funds at their disposal.”

Flynn’s research efforts also uncovered plots to infiltrate NYC-AFC for the purpose of disrupting its proceedings and discrediting the organization with outrageous outbursts. When an unknown individual shouted “Hang Roosevelt” at an AFC Madison Square Garden rally, there was little doubt that the intent was to invite condemnation of the entire movement.

NYC-AFC commissioned polls to counter the Gallup and Roper surveys that its own research had determined were biased in favor of war. One AFC poll, questioning every voter in a New York-area congressional district, found 90 percent of respondents opposed to entry into a war. A New York Daily News poll, paid for by Flynn out of his own pocket, contacted ten percent of New York State’s voters and found 70 percent opposed.

But Pearl Harbor changed everything. The America First Committee disbanded immediately, and many of its young members volunteered for military duty. Flynn himself completely supported the war effort. Stenehjem noted, however, that her father’s opponents in the great debate over entry into the war didn’t cease their campaign against him. She reported: “However, when attacks against America First continued for years after the committee dissolved, Flynn became angry and renewed his investigations. His discoveries were to shock him deeply and to have a seminal effect on his later view of life in the United States.”

Fighting against militarism and exposing the plans of FDR proved costly to John Flynn. At New Republic, editors had begun appending comments to his “Other People’s Money” column claiming that his anti-militarism attitude was “nonsense” and that he was guilty of “blindness” and “prejudice.” So it came as no surprise in the fall of 1940 when the magazine dropped him as a contributor. In late 1941, Flynn confided to General Wood that one consequence of his efforts “has been that I have sacrificed all of my own personal income and even the connection out of which I made that income.”

Even though he was denied access to many of his former readers and increasingly isolated in the journalistic world, Flynn still lashed out at FDR’s treachery whenever he could get a hearing. Even prior to the end of the war, his uneasiness about FDR’s every move led him to investigate the events that led to Japan’s December 7, 1941 attack at Pearl Harbor. Flynn published his findings in a 32-page October 1944 pamphlet entitled The Truth About Pearl Harbor. There was no shortage of criticism aimed at Flynn for questioning the nation’s president while men were still fighting and dying. Opponents charged him with disloyalty; Flynn obviously felt otherwise.

Flynn reported that, by mid-1941, our nation was supplying arms, ammunition, planes, and naval vessels to the British and had sent troops to Iceland to join in the British occupation of the island. In addition, FDR had ordered our naval vessels to patrol the Atlantic for the purpose of locating German submarines and reporting those findings to the British, and directed other vessels to convoy British shipping. These were warlike acts, intended to provoke Germany to attack the United States. In September 1941, the president announced that the USS Greer had been attacked while hunting a German sub.

As Flynn stated, “To say that we were not at war with Germany … is to close our eyes to the truth.” He pointed to a speech given in 1943 by New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger wherein that pro-FDR partisan concluded: “I am not one of those who believed we entered the war because we were attacked at Pearl Harbor, but that we were attacked at Pearl Harbor because we were already at war.”

By early 1941, claimed Flynn, the president had decided that war with Japan (an ally of Nazi Germany) would accomplish his goal. Hoping to provoke the Japanese to fire the first shot, he froze Japanese assets in the U.S., sent American pilots and planes to aid China in her war with Japan, ignored Japan’s plans to leave China and terminate that war, and rejected an offer by Japanese Premier Konoye to meet with him in Hawaii to defuse escalating tensions between the two nations. As Flynn reported, Konoye’s lack of success with FDR resulted in the downfall of Konoye’s government and the rise to power of the far more militant Tojo. Finally, on November 26, Secretary of State Cordell Hull presented the Japanese with an ultimatum they could not accept. War was now a certainty, and FDR and his top advisors knew it was.

During those fateful days just prior to the Pearl Harbor attack, the American commanders in Hawaii – Admiral Husband Kimmel and General Walter Short – were dependent on Washington for intelligence information. Based on what they received, including the specific mention of “the Philippines or Guam” as likely Japanese targets, they ordered minimum alert conditions. They were, in fact, told not to exceed minimum alert status so as not to frighten the local population or tip off Japanese in Hawaii of the deteriorating diplomacy between our two nations. Minimum alert was designed mainly to prevent sabotage, not to respond to military action. Flynn noted that “had General Short gone further than [minimum alert], he would have exceeded his orders from Washington and would undoubtedly have been reprimanded.” Moreover, Flynn wrote, “had Admiral Kimmel taken his naval force outside of Pearl Harbor, he would probably have been court-martialed for violating the orders of the government.” Yet Kimmel and Short were accused of being unready for the attack and were made scapegoats for the Pearl Harbor debacle.

When the war in the Pacific ended in August 1945, more information about Pearl Harbor became available, and most of the restrictions on publishing this information evaporated. So Flynn let loose again with 16 more pages entitled The Final Secret of Pearl Harbor. Published initially by both the Chicago Tribune and the Washington Times-Herald, and then reprinted for wider distribution, he pointed to FDR’s desire to have the Japanese fire the first shot and the goading of Japan that finally culminated in the attack at Pearl Harbor. If the president could succeed in provoking Japan to retaliate militarily, Flynn said, “his problem would be solved.” This sensational charge came when American families from coast to coast were still grieving for lost sons and brothers. But there was no denying the truth of what Flynn had written.

He then told of the U.S. having access to the Japanese code from early November 1941. Toward the end of that month, one week before the bombs rained down on Pearl Harbor, our leaders had Japan’s message to her German ally announcing that war with the U.S. was inevitable. Another message in U.S. possession indicated that Japanese carriers had left their home ports. Moreover, the actual text of Japan’s formal announcement breaking off diplomatic relations with the U.S. was in the president’s hands the night of December 6, more than half a day before Japan’s diplomats would present it in Washington. Roosevelt shared it with Secretary of State Cordell Hull, Secretary of War Henry Stimson, and Secretary of the Navy Franklin Knox. What did they do with this sensational information? Flynn reported: “The old gentlemen called a conference among themselves for the next day and went home for slumbers so essential in their advanced years.”

According to Flynn, at 11:25 a.m. Washington time on December 7, Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall was given the information possessed by FDR and his three cabinet officers the night before. It was still an hour and 45 minutes before bombs would be dropping. Marshall declined to use the “scrambler phone” (which would have reached Hawaii instantly) or the short-wave radio (which would have reached Hawaii in a matter of minutes). Instead, he sent a message by commercial radio; by the time it arrived in Hawaii, was decoded, and was then delivered to General Short, it was too late.

During the war, Flynn endured great difficulty finding publishing outlets for his work. His attitude, however, was that he had a responsibility to continue speaking out against the “particularly poisonous system of politics and government known as the New Deal, which I believe is a prelude to fascism.” But attacks leveled against the now-defunct America First Committee continued. These reached a peak in 1943 with the publication of UnderCover, a thorough smear job directed at AFC written by Avedis Derounian using the alias John Roy Carlson. The book attacked all AFC leaders and characterized Flynn as their dupe. It claimed that fascism was their ultimate goal and concluded that the organization was “a spearhead aimed at the heart of democracy.”

Widely disseminated, UnderCover had to be answered. Senators Burton Wheeler and Gerald Nye, both AFC supporters and both smeared along with the others, arranged a congressional investigation of the author and his backers. Flynn did much of the investigatory work and discovered that Communist journals had published some of Derounian’s articles and that several leaders of the interventionist movement had ties to the Communist Party. He concluded that the Party was behind an “effort to create disunity among Americans” and that the smears against him and his AFC associates were part of a plot to bring the United States under Communist domination.

His work with this investigation led to the publication of his article entitled “Uncovering UnderCover: The Real Facts About the Smear Book’s Odd Author” in the Washington Times Herald in April 1944. When Congressman Martin Dies, a Democrat from Texas, read this article, he contacted Flynn and suggested that he write a more complete exposé that could be issued under the Dies name. Flynn went to work on the project, but pressure from FDR’s cronies in the Democratic Party forced Dies to retire from Congress and withdraw his commitment to Flynn. The small book Flynn had already assembled, Wake Up America!, was never published.

Flynn’s concern that wartime indebtedness and the shift of power to Washington were leading the nation toward fascism led to his 1944 book As We Go Marching. Therein he warned that “Fascism will come at the hands of perfectly authentic Americans” who have been working “to commit this country to the rule of the bureaucratic state; interfering in the affairs of the states and cities; taking part in the management of industry and finance and agriculture; assuming the role of great national banker and investor, borrowing billions every year and spending them on all sorts of projects through which such a government can paralyze opposition and command public support; marshalling great armies and navies at crushing costs to support the industry of war and preparation for war which will become our nation’s greatest industry; and adding to all this the most romantic adventures in global planning, regeneration, and domination, all to be done under the authority of a powerfully centralized government in which the executive will hold in effect all the powers, with Congress reduced to the role of a debating society.”

In December 1944, Flynn joined with several other anti-FDR notables to launch the Foundation for Foreign Affairs, an endeavor designed to “re-educate the American mind away from collectivism and toward Constitutional government.” Unfortunately, lack of funding, partially the result of the smears that continued to be aimed at all of these men, consigned the venture to an early death.

By now, Stenehjem claimed, her father had become convinced that Roosevelt’s two greatest crimes were “his delivery of the nation to the poisonous sustenance of militarism and debt, and his collusion with communism.” But Flynn never believed Roosevelt to be a Communist even though he wouldn’t hesitate to point out that he allowed extensive Communist penetration of the New Deal “for political expediency.”

When the war ended and he had difficulty finding a publisher for his views, Flynn traveled the nation giving speeches and he began delivering radio commentaries. He wrote an article entitled “Why the Americans Did Not Take Berlin” accusing the president of secretly promising Stalin at the February 1945 Yalta Conference that our forces would be held back on the march into Germany so that the Russians could capture Berlin and eventually control Eastern Europe. It was never published.

By 1948, however, Flynn’s thoroughly detailed survey of the Roosevelt presidency entitled The Roosevelt Myth found a publisher in Devin Garrity and his small Devin-Adair Publishing Company. Not a biography of the president, Flynn limited his work to a critical analysis of the 1932-1945 New Deal – with great emphasis paid to the Communist penetration of the U.S. government. More than passively aware of the propaganda informing the American people that Roosevelt had astutely rescued them from the Great Depression and led our forces to victory in the war, he wrote The Roosevelt Myth to disclose what the president had actually done to America.

Although Flynn was an ardent anti-Communist, he recognized that America’s gravest internal danger was not a sudden Communist takeover but creeping collectivism. As he put it in his 1949 book The Road Ahead: America’s Creeping Revolution: “Most people in this country believe that the American Communist Party and its dupes are the chief internal enemy of our economic system and our form of government. This is a serious mistake. The Communists are a traitorous bloc in our midst, but if every Communist in America were rounded up and liquidated, the greatest menace to our form of social organization would still be among us. This most dangerous enemy is the American counterpart of the British Fabian Socialist, who denies that he is a Socialist and operates behind a mask which he calls National Planning…. Unless they are recognized for what they are, and are stopped, they will destroy this country.” The Road Ahead enjoyed remarkable sales and was helped to prominence when Reader’s Digest issued it in condensed form.

After China had fallen into Mao Tse-tung’s hands, Flynn told how it happened in his 1951 book While You Slept. He attributed the American people’s somnolence to a conspiracy of misinformation supplied in books, newspapers, magazines, radio broadcasts, and movies that had the people believing the Chinese Communists were noble and the Nationalist Chinese evil. On the diplomatic side, he targeted the Red-favoring Institute of Pacific Relations, showed that our government had been penetrated by Communist agents, and provided the first glimpse of treachery that led to the Korean War and the counterproductive way it was being conducted.

As his study about Communism’s triumphs in Asia deepened, Flynn wrote a small book about one of the chief traitors. He claimed to have written The Lattimore Story (1953) to expose “a conspiracy involving over four dozen writers, journalists, educators and high-ranking government officials – almost all Americans – to force the American State Department to betray China and Korea into the hands of the Communists.” Chief among those he indicted, obviously, was Owen Lattimore, the man Senator Joseph McCarthy had earlier branded as a top Communist and the man the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security had labeled “a conscious, articulate instrument of the Soviet conspiracy.”

Flynn sprang to the defense of McCarthy with an article entitled “What is Senator McCarthy Really Trying to Do?” Answering his own question, Flynn wrote that McCarthy “is opposed to admitting Americans who are enemies of our American system of government – Communists or Socialists – into the Government of the United States.” And he added, “I should like to inquire, what is wrong about it?”

In a separate article that same year, Flynn committed the unforgivable sin of exposing President Dwight Eisenhower’s “Phoney War on Communism.” Noting that the president had exhibited great concern about the threat of Communism in Europe, Asia, and Africa, he found it revealing that there wasn’t any such concern about the threat in the United States. Not only was Eisenhower uninterested in domestic communist subversion, Flynn wrote, he “actually takes assaults on American Communists as a personal affront. In the war on world Communism, he is a roaring lion. In the war on Communism at home, he is a critical and muttering lamb.”

Calling the United Nations a “racket” in a 1955 piece, Flynn insisted that it was “not an instrument for preserving peace in the world.” His recommendation was unequivocal: “We must rid this nation of the United Nations, which provides the communist conspiracy with a headquarters here on our own shores, and which actually makes it impossible for the United States to form its own decisions about its conduct and policies in Europe and Asia.”

In 1956, when William F. Buckley, Jr. solicited an article for publication in his brand new National Review, Flynn jumped at the opportunity and sent one likening the Eisenhower administration to its New Deal predecessors. He argued that Eisenhower was continuing the militarism that formed the basis for “one of the oldest rackets in history … the use of government money, acquired through taxation and created by debt, to buy the votes of numerous minorities and thus remain in power.” Buckley rejected the article, sent the author a check for $100 (which Flynn returned), and in a letter chided Flynn for failing to appreciate the Buckley view of the Cold War. Previously spurned by liberals, then embraced by the Old Right, Flynn would henceforth be rejected by the New Right led by Buckley.

Flynn’s health began to decline in 1958 and he retired from writing in 1960. He died peacefully in 1964.

John T. Flynn paid repeatedly for his commitment to freedom. His efforts surely bought time for those who came later and continued his fight for America. No greater honor could be paid him than achieving victory in the monumental struggle to which he devoted his life.

Republished with permission from: The New American