Skip to comments.Conservatives discuss anti-communism (Whittaker Chambers' 'Witness' on CSPAN2 Saturday)
Posted on 12/14/2012 6:07:24 PM PST by iowamark
Roughly 100 students, alumni and government officials gathered in Linsly-Chittenden Hall Friday to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Witness, an anti-communist manifesto written by conservative columnist Whittaker Chambers.
The event, hosted by the William F. Buckley Program, aimed to examine Witness from both historical and present-day perspectives through three panels and a dinner with Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. Panelists such as John Gaddis, a history professor, and Elliott Abrams, former assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs, discussed the books controversial history in sparking the beginning of the conservative movement.
Daniels said he agreed with the books message of freedom and anti-communism, but he criticized its pessimistic depiction of a Western world succumbing to communism. Instead of possessing a pessimistic view of modern-day Americans relying on the government, he said he thinks Americans can still become self-made people with economic freedom.
Changes must come to welfare state policies, and we must trust in our fellow citizens, Daniels said. The government is designed to encourage and enable individual freedom if we summon the best from Americans, we must assume the best about them. We must tell them, We believe in you and your ability to decide for yourself.
During the first panel, Gaddis, journalist M. Stanton Evans and historian of the conservative movement Lee Edwards discussed the life of Chambers, a former Soviet spy who testified in the 1948 espionage trial of then-United Nations official Alger Hiss. Hiss was accused of spying for the Soviet Union, and Chambers denounced his Communist allegiances and testified against Hiss.
Edwards said Witness, which details Chambers story, was the glue that held [the Republican Party] together in the 1950s because it helped differing conservative factions unite against the common enemy of communism. Evans commended Chambers as a man who realized the dangers behind communism and defended his conservative beliefs despite living in an atmosphere predominantly sympathetic to the Soviets.
The second panel, led by Abrams, Max Boot, a military historian and fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Jay Nordlinger, a senior editor of the National Review, examined whether Chambers anti-communist message remains relevant in present-day matters of foreign policy. Nordlinger said communism still causes problems in the world today through human rights violations such as Chinese labor camps.
Its hard to find people left of center who are willing to take up the cause [against human rights violations], he added. George W. Bush paid a lot of attention to political prisoners. Obamas more interested in having warm relations with these Communist regimes.
Boot and Abrams said they think the communist threat has been replaced by the jihadist movement in the Middle East, and they advocated for increased U.S. political involvement in the region.
The third panel included Norman Podhoretz, the former editor of Commentary magazine, Alfred Regnery, the former publisher of The American Spectator, and Peter Berkowitz, a senior fellow at Stanford University, who discussed ways that conservatives could define themselves without an immediate communist threat. Podhoretz said he thinks conservatism would remain united by a belief in economic freedom, while Regnery said the ideology is bound by its fundamental pillars, such as tradition and order. But Berkowitz said he believes in a new approach to conservatism that discourages politicians from seeking a smaller government in size and instead advocates for a government with limited abilities.
Buckley Program President Nathaniel Zelinsky 13, a staff columnist for the News, said he enjoyed the third panel because it addressed confusion about the identity of the conservative movement after the 2012 election.
The conservative movement doesnt know how to define itself right now, and the whole panel focused on what the movement needed to become, he said. Its something thats necessary for the University and for the country.
Ugonna Eze 16 said he thought Gaddis, who discussed Cold War personalities in contrast to one another, portrayed the clash between Hiss and Chambers well.
Dimitri Halikias 16 said he believed Berkowitz embodied the spirit of Buckley, who aimed to change the approach to the conservative movement without giving up on its core principles. Ken Bickford, who spoke at a Buckley Program event last February, said he disagreed with panelists on the final panel because he did not understand the distinction between a small government and one with limited powers.
The Buckley Program will host a lecture featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning political columnist George Will in January 2013.
Saturday Dec. 15 1:59PM ET:
""History of 'Witness'
"From a conference on the 60th anniversary of the publication of Whittaker Chambers' book, Witness, panelists talked about the history of the book. The panelists included Lee Edwards, Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought at The Heritage Foundation, John Lewis Gaddis, history professor at Yale University, and author and journalist M. Stanton Evans. The event was moderated by Danilo Petranovich, professor in the Department of Political Science, Yale University. The conference was held at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut."
Saturday Dec. 15 3:03PM ET:
""Foreign Policy of Whittaker Chambers"
"From a conference on the 60th anniversary of the publication of Whittaker Chambers' book, Witness, panelists talked about foreign policy and Whittaker Chambers, and whether Witness' message is relevant today. The panelists included, Max Boot, senior fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, Elliott Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Jay Nordlinger, senior editor of the National Review. The event was moderated by Charles Hill, diplomat in residence and lecturer in International Studies, Yale University. The conference was held at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.""
Saturday Dec. 15 4:13PM ET:
""What Defines Conservatives"
"From a conference on the 60th anniversary of the publication of Whittaker Chambers' book, Witness, panelists talked about the question, Without anti-communism what defines conservatives today? The panelists included Alfred Regnery, publisher of the American Spectator, Peter Berkowitz, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and Norman Podhoretz, editor-at-large of Commentary. The event was moderated by James Piereson, director, Center for the American University, Manhattan Institute. The conference was held at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.""
Books by and about Whittaker Chambers:
Even Wiki manages to get it better than CSPAN!
It was the Prothonotary Warbler that cooked Hiss’ goose!
November 8, 2007-"M. Stanton Evans talked about his book, Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against Americas Enemies, published by Crown Forum. The author argued that Senator Joseph McCarthy does not deserve the bad reputation he has been assigned by historians, and that Senator McCarthy was correct in his assessment of the threat posed by Communists in the United States during the so-called Red Scare and that his detractors knowingly cover up the extent of this threat. After his presentation he responded to audience members' questions."
Fool didn't know that conservatism demands both small, and limited!
Today we have a government of near 10 million sucking the blood out of the population - 8 million federal and near 2 million state government pukes that do little to nothing for their lavish salaries - and near a third of them are tax delinquent!
For those that wonder how many state workers you're supporting - here's a list that was for last year.
TOTAL GOVERNMENT 1,919,700
California 2,389,200 Texas 1,816,700 New York 1,489,400 Florida 1,090,900 Illinois 843,400 Ohio 769,900 Pennsylvania 728,800 Virginia 696,200 North Carolina 674,300 Georgia 649,700 New Jersey 621,100 Michigan 617,900 Washington 531,600 Maryland 497,800 Missouri 444,400 Tennessee 433,300 Massachusetts 431,500 Indiana 420,300 Arizona 415,300 Minnesota 414,600 Wisconsin 409,300 Colorado 389,900 Alabama 375,300 Louisiana 358,900 Oklahoma 339,300 South Carolina 334,900 Kentucky 325,800 Oregon 289,200 Kansas 258,800 Iowa 250,000 Mississippi 247,900 Connecticut 241,800 Arkansas 220,400 Utah 214,700 New Mexico 195,300 Nebraska 167,500 West Virginia 149,800 Nevada 148,000 Hawaii 124,700 Idaho 117,900 Maine 100,000 New Hampshire 95,400 Montana 91,100 Alaska 84,100 South Dakota 79,700 North Dakota 79,300 Wyoming 77,800 Delaware 63,200 Rhode Island 59,900 Vermont 53,500TOTAL GOVERNMENT 1,919,700
” - - - Without anti-communism what defines conservatives today? - - - “
Duh, today the Democrats have a Communist as their occupant in OUR White House. And yes, we are STILL anti-communist!
Point is - we're drowning under government workers that do little to nothing for us!
Prothonotary Warbler...don’t forget the old decrepit Ford, the expensive oriental rug, a typewriter, and a certain pumpkin on Chambers’ farm.
Over the past few month’s, I’ve read “Witness” by Chambers and “Communism: A History” by Richard Pipes, and “The Communist” by Paul Kengor. I’m currently working my way through “The Venona Secrets, Exposing Soviet Espionage and America’s Traitors” by Herbert Romerstein and Eric Breindel.
Earlier this year, I read several books about the depression and FDR which all touched on the communist infiltration of the government in the 1930s: “The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression” by Amity Shlaes; “FDR’s Folly: How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression” by Jim Powell; and “New Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR’s Economic Legacy Has Damaged America” by Burton W. Folsom Jr.
Next Up: “Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies” by M. Stanton Evans.
You sure can get an education about the dangers that our nation faces if you read a little. You learn things that were NEVER taught to you in school.
” - - - government workers that do little to nothing - - - “
If these “government workers” are Conservatives, then their doing nothing is just a tragic waste of our taxpayer dollars.
If these “government workers” are Liberals, then we are in deep cookies!!!!
Liberals are driven by a need to HELP.
Liberals believe that rich people do not need HELP.
Liberals believe that poor people do need HELP.
So the sooner the Liberals can make the rich people poor,
The sooner the Liberals can HELP them.
I just read Witness this summer. Our library system got me a copy, which was 60 years old.
It was 800 pages long, and it was fascinating.
It also shows the Commies have been at this a very long time.
Whittaker Chambers paid a trememndous price for being a winess, but he paid it, knowing how valuable freedom was.
I'm glad somebody on TV is talking about communism as a threat. It's like communism is some kind of dead subject. The Soviet Union fell, so communism is dead and gone. And oh yeah, remember that crazy McCarthy guy who runied so many lives with his crazy right-wing knee jerk accusations? Right. Communists have taken over our education system, our major media centers, and now our government. But the subject of communism as a threat to our democratic republic is a total nothingburger to the general American intelligencia. (or should I say, un-intelligencia)
We got a guy at work, a liberal, focused like a laser beam on the threat of an emgergence of right-wing Nazi-like facism in our government. Communists have taken over the nation right under his nose, but he's still focused like a laser beam on the big threat of right-wing facism. He says he's not worried about communists at all. Brilliant fellow.
I believe it was a Crosley,not a Ford.
LOL. Good memory, but you are mixing up communist Aliases and Cars. Alger Hiss testified in Congress that he knew Chambers as “George Crosley.”
I stand corrected.
All 3 programs at the CSPAN video library: