WFB, Slipping Scholasticism into a Thriller

“He apparently speaks with a quiet eloquence that leaves people…consecrated.  Leaves them hungry for sacrifice, for a national effort– to free East Germany and unite the German people.  He tells them only an act of will can bring this about.  That history and ‘right thinking’–I asked Father Avery what that meant, and he said it comes from ‘recta ratio,’ medieval Catholic abracadabra for the basis for doing the right thing–“

–William F. Buckley, Jr., Stained Glass, p. 64.  The year is 1953; the speaker is Allan Dulles, who is drying dishes and discussing whether or not to assassinate the leader of a German anticommunist political party, a 31-year-old German count who spent the war fighting for the Allies.

One interesting aspect to this book is the way it addresses the intrinsic PR problems involved being a German anticommunist in the postwar period, wanting all of Germany to be democratic rather than being okay with half of it being Communist.  No matter what you did, this position carried the danger of the taint of Nazism.  No matter what reality was, some people in the West would still nod knowingly and assume any German anti-Communist was a crypto-Nazi.

What a propaganda coup it was for the Communists that the Nazis were anti-Communist.  Like a political annuity that kept on paying throughout the whole rest of the century.


One response to “WFB, Slipping Scholasticism into a Thriller

  1. Yea that’s a tough spot to be in. Paton did actually have a point in wanting to immediately go after the Communists after WWII.

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