Ride the Thunder: Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph

A Review of Richard Botkin’s Recent Book: Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam Story of Honor and Triumph

By Peter Elias
One of the most cited and least understood wars in American history is Vietnam.  Due to these misunderstandings, it has become synonymous with the words quagmire and disaster.

Thus, opponents of current military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan decry our operations there saying that America is getting itself into “another Vietnam.”  However, were US military activities in Southeast Asia really so bad after all?

The answer is yes and no: Yes, they were certainly a worldwide embarrassment as our troops left the field of battle without victory.  However, judged by the performance of America’s military, the answer must be a resounding no.  Sadly, politicians, not warriors, decided the outcome.

Thus, the true story of the American soldiers’ valor must be told.  Such was the task of Richard Botkin in his recent 650-page tome, Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph.  In it, he successfully fulfills this task by doing exactly what his title suggests: telling the story of the Vietnam War in terms of honor and triumph.

The book primarily focuses on three Marine heroes: Colonel John W. Ripley, USMC, Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Turley, USMC and Vietnamese Lieutenant Colonel Le Ba Binh. In telling their stories, Mr. Botkin seamlessly intertwines a retelling of the history of the entire Vietnam War.  His work is painstakingly researched, yet highly readable.

Certain points stand out among the many details of the book.  First, the immense suffering that the Vietnamese people suffered at the hands of the Communists.  Mr. Botkin vividly demonstrates this with incidents of the North Vietnamese Army’s (NVA) intentional targeting of innocent civilians.

After the end of the war, more challenges awaited the devastated South, including persecution from their Northern captors. This included the creation of “reeducation” camps throughout the country.  Despite their inconspicuous label, these camps had nothing to do with regaining lost knowledge.  As Mr. Botkin points out, the installation of these camps “was nothing more than organized revenge on a massive scale.” (p. 548)

Ride the Thunder includes the story of how Lieutenant Colonel Le Ba Binh was forced to spend more than eight years in one such camp, during which time he was allowed less than two hours total visit time with his family.

Another important point Mr. Botkin highlights is the military success the American and South Vietnamese armies enjoyed throughout the war.  He convincingly dispels many media-created myths that Vietnam was a lost cause.

The fact is that American forces did not lose a single battle of any consequence in the entire war, in spite of their self-defeating policy that allowed the enemy free communications along the Ho Chi Minh trail and safe havens in Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam.  Even the oft-touted Tet Offensive of 1968 was a very real defeat for the NVA.

Despite the operation’s enormous scope, South Vietnamese and American forces had already regrouped and began a counterattack within hours of its first salvos.  They were so successful that other than continued fighting in Hue and Khe Sahn cities, the entire offensive was defeated within two weeks.  In Hue, expelling the Communists took twenty-seven days, while the enemy eventual abandoned Khe Sahn as well.

Therefore, the North Vietnamese did not gain any ground and loss an estimated 45-50 thousand troops KIA during the offensive.  Many more thousands were captured.  (American deaths during the entire war are estimated at around 58 thousand.)

All-in-all, military leadership classified the operation as a tremendous victory.  The only Communist victory of the campaign had been fought for America’s soul.  As Mr. Botkin described it: “the Communist offensive did achieve a public relations coup with the American public well beyond what a militarily defeated [NVA] could have possibly dreamed.” (pg. 146)

However, a Communist operation in March of 1972 dwarfed Tet in size, aggressiveness and overall danger to South Vietnam.  Dubbed the Easter Offensive, it began with a simultaneous attack on twelve bases that spanned the entire length of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).  From its very beginning, all known friendly artillery positions came under attack.

With American troops already largely withdrawn, the objective seemed obvious and frighteningly obtainable: break through the South’s weak defensive lines and drive southward to Saigon, thus winning the war and subjecting all of Vietnam to Communist domination.

Fortunately for the South, the Communist troops met unbelievable resistance that was greatly aided by the actions of three tough Marine officers who refused to give up.

The first was Vietnamese Lieutenant Colonel Binh, whose battalion (known as Soi Bien or “Wolves of the Sea”) held the ground defending a bridge across the Cua Viet River at the city of Dong Ha.  The bridge was highly strategic because it was the only crossing in the area sturdy enough to support the more than 200 tanks the NVA had assembled on the north side of the river.

Lieutenant Colonel Binh persistently held his ground in spite of overwhelming odds.  It was his training and leadership that kept the situation together in Dong Ha as his men faced the fight of their lives.

The Lieutenant Colonel’s determination is well demonstrated in a radio message he sent out to his commanders when rumors began to circulate that Dong Ha had fallen.  He said:

It is rumored that Dong Ha has fallen…My orders are to hold the enemy in Dong Ha.  We will fight in Dong Ha.  We will die in Dong Ha.  We will not leave.  As long as one Marine draws a breath of life, Dong Ha will belong to us. (pgs. 327-328)

While the desperation of the situation led scores of South Vietnamese troops throughout the DMZ to desert, not a man of the Soi Bien left his post.

Their efforts supported American Colonel John W. Ripley, then serving with Colonel Binh as an advisor.  He would need all the help he could get as he took on a mission to destroy the Dong Ha Bridge, in an endeavor so daring that it has become part of Marine Corps legend.

The bridge’s superstructure was a hulking construction that had been made by American Seabees.  It was supported by six enormous I-beams three feet tall.  To destroy it, Colonel Ripley would have to hand-walk and crawl 500 pounds of TNT and Plastic Explosives one hundred feet into its under belly.  All the while, he would be submitted to continual enemy fire.  His difficulties were multiplied by the sleep and food deprivation he had suffered throughout the previous days.

The feat was so difficult that no one believed survival, let alone successful completion, was possible.  Nevertheless, after hours of intense physical exertion, everything had been put in place, the charges were detonated and the bridge was no more.  Colonel Ripley was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions that day.

Some historians have argued that the destruction of that bridge was the single most important factor that postponed the defeat of South Vietnam until 1975.

However, there is another individual on whose shoulders the defense of South Vietnam during the Easter Offensive weighed heavily, but who has received insufficient historic recognition so far.  That is why Mr. Botkin’s description of the role played by Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Turley is of particular value.

When the Lieutenant Colonel chose to return to Vietnam in 1971, there were only about one thousand Marines still on the ground.  Since President Nixon’s policy of “Vietnamization” was fully underway, the brunt of the fighting was being born by Vietnamese soldiers.  That is why Lieutenant Colonel Turley fully expected to see little if any action during this, his second tour.

His role as assistant senior Marine advisor would consist in helping senior Marine advisor Colonel Josh Dorsey and perhaps filling in for him from time to time.  As such, he would live in Saigon, which, at the time, was far removed from combat.  The closest he imagined he would come to actual fighting was an occasional and uneventful visit to the frontlines.

His expectations were shattered when, on a four-day visit to I Corps Tactical Zone, the Easter Offensive broke out.  He happened to be at 3rd ARVN Division forward headquarters at Ai Tu when the Army officer in charge there began suffering nervous problems, abandoned his post and ordered Lieutenant Colonel Turley to take the helm.

Worse yet, communications with higher leadership in Saigon were practically nonexistent, meaning this change in command went unreported.  In addition to facing the largest Communist advance of the entire war, Lieutenant Colonel Turley also had to confront hostile and mistrustful leaders, who continually second guessed his decisions and attempted to countermand many of his orders.  The situation was so desperate, he was forced to take responsibility for disregarding some of the directives he received from higher-ups.

While other players in the offensive faced their predicament with the support of their leaders, expecting praise if they survived, Lieutenant Colonel Turley could only anticipate disciplinary action and perhaps court martial.

Even when he ordered Colonel Ripley to destroy the Dong Ha Bridge, he did so against the direct wishes of his commanders.  However, the reality of over two hundred tanks about to cross the Cua Viet River and invade South Vietnam was too dangerous for him to accept when he had the possibility to prevent it.

In spite of having no food, virtually no sleep and a severe case of dysentery, he faced the opposition of his superiors and stood by his post, directing air, naval and ground operations that salvaged a desperate situation.  He continued in this capacity for a full four days until he was ordered back to headquarters for questioning.  The physical, psychological and moral stress he faced during this time can hardly be imagined.

Nevertheless, he survived and immerged as one of the greatest examples of “honor and triumph” of the entire war.

The stories of these three heroes and much more are included in Rich Botkin’s Ride the Thunder.  This makes it a must-read for all military-buffs, American patriots and especially those who are interested in knowing the true history of the Vietnam War – one not tainted by politically correct historians intent on criticizing America and especially its military.

However, readers should be warned that Mr. Botkin’s book, while less offensive than many military volumes, does have its share of profanity, which he mostly limited to the contents of direct quotes from characters in the book.  Similarly, there are references, though not graphic, to those activities that have unfortunately been so closely linked with soldiers throughout history.

Nevertheless, Ride the Thunder is an exciting and highly informative read.  No one’s military library is complete without it.

Why We Whisper: Restoring Our Right to Say It Is Wrong

No Such Thing as Neutrality

A Review of Senator John DeMint and J. David Woodard, Pd.D.’s New Book: Why We Whisper: Restoring Our Right to Say It’s Wrong

By Peter Elias
With the advance of radical secularism into practically every sector of public life, America may seem doomed to an agnostic future that would further degenerate morality and undermine its economy and future position in the world.

Such is the danger pointed out in Why We Whisper: Restoring Our Right to Say It’s Wrong, a recent book authored by U.S. Senator John DeMint and Doctor J. David Woodard, holder of the Strom Thurmond Chair of Government at Clemson University.

Why We Whisper argues that in government there is no such thing as neutrality on religious matters. Rather, the secularists – or progressives – who continually challenge any public expression of faith adhere to their own godless religion that aims to “shake the culture from its Judeo-Christian foundations and replace the ideas of the Founders with a new ethic based on evolutionary humanism and historic progress.”

Two tenants of this “faith” are radical egalitarianism that seeks to impose, not just equality of opportunity, but equality of outcome, regardless of success, and radical individualism that demands any form of personal gratification without governmental interference.

To impose their beliefs, secular-progressives use different means, readily at their disposal. These include: media character assassination and lawsuits pushed by groups like the ACLU, dubbed “para-governmental” organizations. These use intimidation and often resort to continuing legal proceedings they know will lose, simply to exhaust their opponents’ resources. Fear of these wars of attrition bullies would be opponents into silence and retreat at the first threat of action.

Thus, the majority of America’s citizens are driven by religious convictions of right and wrong, but afraid to voice their opinions in any way other than a whisper.

Secular-progressives do not limit themselves to public policy and government institutions, but also want to limit the activities of private groups as well, such as: The Boy Scouts of America, private and parochial schools, businesses and even church groups.

Their efforts silence discussion about moral absolutes, the existence of which they adamantly deny. The secular-progressives wish to abolish the very notions of right and wrong, or good and evil, replacing them with a universal tolerance of all things except traditional beliefs and restrictions on behavior.

In addition to the negative effect this has on the moral structure of society, it also costs Americans dearly in dollars and cents. One chapter of Why We Whisper outlines the annual expenses caused by governmental penalization of marriage and promotion of extra-marital sex, cohabitation, unwed births, divorce, abortion, pornography, same-sex “marriage” and gambling. The direct cost of these policies is $500 billion, while inclusion of indirect costs caused by them tops out at $2 trillion! That likely exceeds the entire federal budget.

Nevertheless, the secular-progressives are intent on expanding these policies, rather than allow government groups and officials, or even individuals to practice their First Amendment right and call certain behaviors wrong.

The authors’ solutions include a list of governmental policy changes, but also measures that everyone can immediately put into practice.

For example, Americans need to refuse to be bullied by secular-progressives and publicly proclaim their beliefs with their words and their votes. This would inspire countless members of the “fearful majority” to break their silence and speak openly about their faith and against moral degeneration.

The argumentation and facts presented in Why We Whisper are invaluable and well documented. It is a must read for those who feel isolated and hopeless as the traditional America they love is dismantled before their eyes.

That is not to say that the TFP endorses all the book’s conclusions. The authors are highly critical of the Catholic Church’s actions regarding the sexual abuse scandals, which were in fact an example of the authors’ theories about media propaganda.

Their authors contention that the Catholic Church “allowed gay networks” to use “the priesthood as cover for their sexual acting out,” disregards the numerous Vatican documents that condemn homosexuality and the admittance of homosexuals into seminaries.

Also offensive was the blame the book puts on the Church for instilling treatment of the clergy, the authors call: “far too deferential.”

Furthermore, the book’s position that America’s faithful can coalesce around a vague, nondenominational agreement on the existence of God and morality is utopic.

Nevertheless, the TFP applauds Senator DeMint and Doctor Woodard for breaking the silence and decrying the secularist religion that is steadily growing in America. As they say, in religious matters there is no such thing as neutrality. This nation must decide to be for God, or against Him. May God help America to make the right choice.

Unlocking the Mystery of Life – DVD

Shattering Revolutionary Icons: The Evolution Debate Revisited

A Review of: Unlocking the Mystery of Life, by the Discovery Institute

By Peter Elias

The moral crisis engulfing the modern world is built upon several false icons. These icons provide it with a philosophical foundation and purport to contradict age-old Christian wisdom. The claim that freedom is an absolute value, is one such icon that has led to legal protection for abortion and blasphemy. If these icons are dismantled, a laundry list of false conclusions is toppled with them.

Darwin’s theory of evolution is one such icon. Revolutionary scientists use it to explain the limitless variety of creation, without admitting the existence of a Creator. Thus, God is effectively removed from the scientific world, and society feels justified in following suit.

However, Darwin’s theory is full of holes. Scientifically convinced of this fact, a number of scientists assembled in 1993 in Pajaro Dunes California to discuss the topic from their various fields. Their conclusions are presented in a fascinating documentary titled: Unlocking the Mystery of Life, recently released by Illustra Media.

Irreducible Complexity

One of the major contributors to the documentary is biochemist Michael Behe, whose theory of irreducible complexity demonstrates a flaw in Darwin’s concept of natural selection.

According to the theory of natural selection, life began from a primordial soup that covered the earth before living creatures did. Non-living molecules sprang forth from this soup, took on life and began replicating themselves.

As these life forms replicated, a small amount of them malfunctioned so that their offspring were different from themselves. This is commonly referred to as a mutation. Some of these mutants proved more suited for life, so they survived better, and lived to reproduce together with their fortunate malfunction. Through these minute changes, effected by random mutation, all the complexity and variety of creation purportedly sprang up without being directed by a Creator.

This theory hinges on the belief that every complex biological mechanism must have been developed by numerous small changes effected through mutation. This is true because a single mutation could never produce a fully functioning organ or system.

Thus, if any biological mechanism could be shown to be irreducibly complex, that is, arranged in such a way that it could not have developed through small incremental changes, it could not have developed through natural selection. Darwin affirmed this saying: “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”[1]

Too Complex to Have Evolved

According to Dr. Behe, there are numerous biological systems which are irreducibly complex, especially at a microscopic level. The bacterial flagellum is a case in point. This single-cell organism propels itself using a whip-like tail, called a flagellum, that it spins at high speed (around 100,000 rpm).

The mechanism it uses to spin this flagellum is extraordinarily complex, resembling a boat’s outboard motor, complete with a drive shaft, bearing and U-joint. All-in-all this biological motor requires 20 separate biological components to be assembled in perfect order for the motor to function and the organism to thrive.

Since it is absurd to imagine that one single mutation could have produced this complex mechanism and there would be no biological advantage to a partially constructed one, the bacterial flagellum could not have developed through natural selection. Thus, in Darwin’s own words, his theory absolutely breaks down.

Shattering Icons

Unlocking the Mystery of Life explains this and much more in a way that is easy-to-grasp, complete with diagrams, microscopic video footage and computer animation. Its presentation of the complex way in which proteins are constructed inside the cell is another fascinating highlight of the film.

Thus, I highly recommends Unlocking the Mystery of Life for audiences both young and old. It serves as an effective tool to shatter a Revolutionary icon. Toppling these icons one-by-one undermines the Revolution’s[2] very foundation and reestablishes the link to a Christian past, the future’s only true hope.



  1. As quoted by Michael Behe, “Evidence for Intelligent Design from Biochemistry,” August 10, 1996, http://www.arn.org/docs/behe/mb_idfrombiochemistry.htm.
  2. The word Revolution used here refers a 500 year-old crisis in Christian civilization as defined by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira in the book Revolution and Counter-revolution, http://www.tfp.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=691&Itemid=107.

Target: Patton

America in the Red

A Review of Robert Wilcox’s Recent Book: Target: Patton – The Plot to Assassinate General George S. Patton

target-pattonBy Peter Elias

With the current economic crisis, it is common to hear talk of America being a country “in the red.”  In light of Robert Wilcox’s new book, Target: Patton, this phrase takes on a different meaning.

In addition to arguing that Patton’s sudden death in December of 1945 was a planned assassination, it reveals a deep collusion between America and Communism that reached the highest levels of Government.  Since Patton was not only opposed to the totalitarian doctrine, but was also very vocal about his opposition, the American left and Soviet Union were intent on silencing him.  But were they so intent that they had him murdered?  This is the question that Mr. Wilcox’s book discusses in a fascinating and informative way.

The Facts

Target: Patton does not contain incontrovertible proof of a Patton assassination.  The author argues that such proof is currently impossible, “No one can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that General Patton was assassinated” he claims, “at least not currently with the evidence now available.”

Rather, Mr. Wilcox offers many pieces of evidence which, analyzed individually, are inconclusive.  However, taken as a whole, these pieces construct a case for assassination that hardly falls short of a smoking gun.

Among the facts he assembles are the mysterious disappearance of at least four official documents that would shed light on the circumstances of Patton’s accident; the confession of a reputable American spy that he was contracted as one of the general’s assassins; the testimony of an American military official who warned repeatedly before the accident that he had uncovered a plot to kill Patton; two failed assassination attempts in the weeks that led up to Patton’s death; and the mysterious disappearance of the Cadillac that carried Patton on his last ride.

Although the historic car is alleged to be on display at a Patton museum in Kentucky, this vehicle has been proven fraudulent.  Even the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) was scratched off the car’s frame!

As if that were not enough, Mr. Wilcox also raises suspicions about the official story that claimed the collision threw Patton several feet forward where his head hit something inside the limousine with enough force to nearly scalp him, break his neck and bounce him back onto the lap of General Gay who had been seated next to him.  However, the other passengers attest that the vehicle was traveling no more than 25 mph and the accident did not even have the force to remove anyone else from his seat.

Once in the hospital, Patton was recovering so well that doctors authorized him to return to the United States.  However, his plans were cut short when he took a radical turn for the worse and died the day before his flight home was scheduled.

While this worsening of Patton’s condition could be merely coincidental, suspicions of foul play are raised, as Mr. Wilcox describes other assassinations in which Soviet agents administered poisons specially formulated to imitate the symptoms of typical medical complications.

Favoring to the Reds

However the most convincing evidence regarding a possible Patton assassination is the motives to kill him.  These are neither lacking nor difficult to uncover.  As Mr. Wilcox puts it: “Of all the questions surrounding Patton’s mysterious death, why he might have been assassinated is the easiest to answer.”

However, the common thread that unites all these motives is certainly Communism.  American government and military officials shamelessly promoted Russia during and after the war, as evidenced by the decision to give the Soviets half of Europe at the Yalta conferences.  However, these well-known meetings are no more than a page in the history of US collaboration with the totalitarian regime.

Many of the tactical decisions made during World War II further collaborate this cooperation.  For example, Allied commanders left Berlin to be conquered by Russia, in spite of the fact that General Patton was in a much better position to take the German capital and more competent to do so.  The result was Marshall Zhukov’s massacre of Berlin’s inhabitants and the creation of Communist East Germany.

CIA co-founder William Donovan favored the Soviets even more blatantly.  He insisted that America’s spy network enter into close collaboration with the NKVD (precursor to the KGB). To convince the Soviets of his goodwill, he delivered mountains of American intelligence information to the Reds, with no strings attached.

Among the information he handed over was lists of all OSS (precursor to the CIA) agents in Bulgaria, Romania and Yugoslavia.  At another time, Donovan was offered a German anti-Soviet spy-network that wished to surrender itself and all its services to the US.  All it asked was liberty to continue its work against Communism for America.  This would have been especially valuable since the network was active in areas where the Russians had forbidden American agents to work.

In response, Donovan handed over all the information he had about the network to the Soviets, including the whereabouts of each agent.  He then offered American “assistance” in “eliminating” these spies.  He later received the reluctant authorization to do so by the Joint Chiefs of Staff!

Perhaps most shocking, was the decision of President Roosevelt and General Marshall to abandon an estimated 20,000 American POWs being held by the Russians rather than press the Soviets to release them.  President Harry Truman confirmed this decision after FDR’s death and the prisoners most likely finished their days in a Siberian gulag.

This is a mere sampling of the evidence of American-Soviet collusion during and after the war that Mr. Wilcox brings to light.  However, the question still remains: why would American collusion with Communism make Patton a target for an assassin’s bullet?

Target Patton

First of all, Patton was familiar with many of these facts and had publicly announced on several occasions his intentions to inform the public about them.  In a letter to his wife, the general stated: “I have been gagged all my life…America needs some honest men who dare to say what they think, not what they think people want them to think.”

Patton’s martial spirit is demonstrated later in the same letter.  Since he viewed publicizing the misconduct he witnessed as his duty to the American people, he planned to discharge this duty in the only way he knew how, as a military operation.  Thus, he wrote: “when I finish this job…I shall resign, not retire, because if I retire I will still have a gag in my mouth…I should not start a limited counter-attack…but should wait until I can start an all out offensive.”

Another factor that weighed heavily against Patton was his opinions about post-war Russia.  He adamantly opposed any alliance with the Reds.  He was convinced that America would eventually face a war with the Soviet Union which would cost more lives and money the longer it was delayed.

However, war with Russia was more than a belief for Patton, it was a burning desire.  On several occasions, he opined publicly that America should continue the war straight to Moscow and finish with the Communist threat.  Only then would the world be truly freed from tyranny and ready to embrace lasting peace.  “We have had a victory over Germany,” Patton declared, but “failed in the liberation of Europe; we have lost the war.”

He further clarified his desires for war in a telephone conversation with General McNarney.  The latter was terrified of the possible consequences of Patton’s anti-Soviet tirades and interjected: “This line may be tapped and you will be starting a war with your talking.”  Old Blood and Guts replied: “I would like to get it started in some way.  That is the best thing we can do now.”

Incidents like this pitted General Patton directly against President Truman, Generals Eisenhower and Marshall, and many other pro-Soviet governmental and military officials. Patton was a major obstacle to their intentions to build an American-Soviet alliance that would rule the post-War world.

Moreover, if the administration was willing to sacrifice 20,000 American soldiers to placate the Russians, is it likely they would balk at eliminating one general?


What is recounted here is a mere sampling of all the information contained in Robert Wilcox’s Target: Patton.  However, the author does not get bogged down in details.  Rather, Mr. Wilcox skillfully weaves the facts into a story that is both informative and interesting.

Target: Patton is a must-read for anyone enthusiastic with General Patton or interested in the politically incorrect truth about contemporary American history.  Furthermore, the great service Patton rendered to America demands that the truth of his death be made known.

However be forewarned.  Target: Patton contains graphic descriptions of vulgar and even immoral situations and language that make it unsuitable for younger readers and at best inconvenient for older ones.  This is especially egregious since these passages are inconsequential to the book’s theses.

Nevertheless, the book is full of information that every American should know.    It is time to face the facts.  World War II may have pulled the United States out of the depression, but America remained a nation deeply in the red.

Liberal Fascism

A Link with the Left

A Review of Jonah Goldberg’s Book, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning

by Peter Elias

liberal_fascismA War of Words

Words can a magical effect on people. Their simple usage can even change the way the public views people and positions. Long ago, the left figured this out and has taken full advantage of the fact.

Thus, when homosexuals became “gays” and pro-abortionists became “pro-choicers” their status somehow improved, in spite of the fact that there is nothing gay about the homosexual lifestyle and killing a pre-born child is not much of a choice at all. Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira explains masterfully how this technique is used in his 1965 study: Unperceived Ideological Transshipment and Dialogue.

It works because man is a logical being. Thus, if labels misrepresent reality, he tends to make that which is described fit the description.

However, this tactic is not only useful to improve one’s image before the public; it is an effective tool to demonize one’s opponents, as well. This is well illustrated when modern liberals dub anyone who disagrees with them a fascist.

At first glance, this may seem almost reasonable. Common understanding places communism on the extreme left and fascism and Nazism as its right-wing counterparts. Accordingly, the more one leans to the radical right, the closer he approaches fascism.

Fascism: A Leftist Ideology

However, this could not be further from the truth. Fascism and Nazism always were, are now and always will be ideologically leftist. Whether or not they have squabbled with communists, socialists or any other leftist movement throughout history cannot change this fundamental fact.

Furthermore, the foundation of modern leftist thought can be traced in an unbroken chain from Rousseau and Robespierre, who respectively led the thought and action of the French Revolution, to Mussolini, Hitler, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, the hippy movements of the sixties, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.

Such is the thesis of Jonah Goldberg’s recent book: Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning. It is a convincing and well-documented historical analysis that is certainly unique in its extent.

In it, Mr. Goldberg demonstrates how all those mentioned above shared essential convictions that molded their policy. These include: an emphasis on the common good over individual rights; a semi-deification of the state, which if properly managed and given limitless power, can overcome all man’s problems; a desire to establish absolute unity of thought and action; belief that everything, including religion, must be aligned with the objectives of the state; and the rejection of any differing identity.

Not surprisingly, communists and Nazis share these convictions as well. What, then, separates these three totalitarian systems? According to Goldberg, communism promotes worldwide revolution, thus, a universal icon, the proletariat, is deified. Mussolini, believing that general revolution was overly ambitious, localized his goals and idolized the nation. To the same end, Nazism deified the German race.

However, Mr. Goldberg is careful not to get carried away. He continuously admits that modern leftists, unlike their ideological ancestors, do not openly promote genocide or violence (although their suppression of Christianity is certainly approaching a state of persecution). Nevertheless, many of the foundations of fascist thought remain perfectly intact.

Left-wing Hysteria

Expectedly, liberals have responded violently to the book; but surprisingly, many critics are grossly uninformed about its contents. Some of their commentaries are so fraught with error, it seemed that they never read the work.

One review went so far as to complain that Mr. Goldberg never defined the term “fascism,” apparently not realizing that there is a definition on page 23 that is so extensive it occupies ten lines of text.

Others take sections out of context. For example, Mr. Goldberg comments how the Nazis were animal rights activists and organic food proponents. As a curiosity, he links this to the same ideas, which proliferate among today’s American left.

Although this takes up little space in the book’s more-than 400 pages, and is presented more as a curiosity than a substantive argument, critics present it as one of the book’s main themes.

From the Peanut Gallery

That is not to say that every point in the book is rock solid. Certain areas could, perhaps, use a little more research and explaining. Nevertheless, the book’s mass quantity of evidence and documentation certainly cannot be ignored. Furthermore, it is excusable in such a ground-breaking and comprehensive work, that some minor points lead readers to further research.

Nevertheless, the book’s conclusion is utterly disappointing, especially when Mr. Goldberg states that:

…it is impossible to drain entirely the fascist toxins from our culture. Truth be told, that’s not so worrisome. The lethality of a poison depends on the dosage, and a little fascism, like a little nationalism or a little paternalism, is something we can live with.

This is ridiculous. If a small dose of poison will not kill a person, it certainly will not promote his health either.

Furthermore, it is shocking that Mr. Goldberg is not opposed to homosexual “marriage,” even stating that the demand for these unnatural unions is: “a hopeful sign.” This is especially frustrating, since it does not follow from his opinions as expressed elsewhere in the book.

Also, some of his quotations, especially from recent films, contain vulgarities and improper sexual content.

Last, it is difficult to gauge Mr. Goldberg’s opinions of the Catholic Church, since he alternates between complaint against and support of the institution throughout the book.


In spite of these drawbacks, Liberal Fascism is a must-read for anyone who is sick and tired of the left throwing their own dirty laundry at those who disagree with them. It is thoroughly documented and a real eye-opener for anyone whose historic knowledge has been influenced by revisionist leftists, more concerned with promoting an agenda than revealing truth.

However, anyone seeking truth will find a good deal of it spelled out clearly in the book. Any intellectually honest leftist would also profit from reading it, as long as he is not afraid to learn true history without the filter of liberal fascist censorship.

Blue Planet in Green Shackles

A Lot of Hot Air

A Review of Václav Klaus’ Recent Book Blue Planet in Green Shackles

Written by Peter Elias

Czech Republic President, Václav Klaus knows first hand the horrors of Communism. Nevertheless, in a recent question-and-answer session in the US Congress Committee on Energy and Commerce, he stated:

As someone who lived under Communism for most of my life, I feel obliged to say that the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity at the beginning of the 21st Century, is not Communism or its various softer versions. It was replaced by the threat of ambitious environmentalism.

In his recent book: Blue Planet in Green Shackles, he gives strong evidence of this contention, by showing how those who promote what he calls: “the ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism” distort the facts on climate change – and man’s involvement in it – to promote what he calls “an anti-human ideology.”

A Political-Economic Approach

He refutes global warming hysteria, not so much from a scientific approach – which he admits is beyond his field of expertise – but rather from the standpoint of an accomplished economist and politician. While this may sound odd at first glance, it makes for a fascinating and utterly convincing read.

That is not to say that the book is void of all scientific data. President Klaus has included many references to accepted scientific studies to make his points. Thus, he is able to show that, despite all the fuss over global warming, average world-wide temperatures rose a mere 1.1 degree Fahrenheit in the entire Twentieth Century.

Similarly, he quotes statistician Bjørn Lomborg, to show that if the Kyoto Protocol were strictly enacted throughout the whole world, it would only slow the rise of global temperature by five years over the next hundred. Thus, mankind would experience the same temperatures in 2105 that he would have experienced in 2100 if none of the protocol’s provisions were even considered.

However, the book’s scientific content is not its strong point. Certainly, hundreds of books exist that debunk exaggerated theories on global warming in a more thorough and professional manner. The unique value of Blue Planet in Green Shackles is its analysis of the issue from a fresh new perspective.

While many may find it difficult to believe that any correlation exists between global warming, and economic and political theory, a summary of some of the book’s argumentation should demonstrate how intimately the two are connected.

Science or Ideology

For example, President Klaus concludes that the environmental movement is currently led more by ideology than true science. He affirms that environmentalism has become a quasi-religion that aims at destroying society as it is currently known.

He is not the only one who has come to this conclusion. In fact, some radical greens have admitted as much. For example, UN Chairman of the Council for the University for Peace, and architect of the Kyoto Protocol, stated: “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our duty to bring that about?”

President Klaus summarizes his views: “If we take the reasoning of the environmentalists seriously, we find that theirs is an anti-human ideology.” He agrees with Ivan Brezina, who rejects the notion that environmentalism is: “a rational and scientific answer to a genuine ecological crisis,” but rather a general rejection of “the current form of civilization.”

That environmentalism is an ideology divorced from data and scientific fact is also evidenced by the ecologists’ campaign against affluence. They disregard the fact that only after a country has surplus funds and citizens living with a large degree of economic security, can it begin to give attention to less imminent concerns like the environment. Such concerns increase together with the nation’s wealth.

Thus, if environmentalists were moved by fact, rather than prejudiced against wealth and developed societies, one of their greatest methods of action would be to promote development and stimulate rather than suffocate economic growth.

A Denial of Human Progress

Another of President Klaus’ observations shows that when predicting future crises, environmentalists ignore technological advancement, which continually develops more efficient and cleaner ways to produce energy and provide for society’s needs. By ignoring this fact, they are able to predict seemingly catastrophic risks that have no basis in reality.

For example, as agricultural methods improved, fewer farmers on smaller lands could feed more people. Common sense shows that any scientist or statistician, wanting to predict the amount of resources that will be necessary one hundred years from now to feed the world’s population, must suppose that one hundred years from now there will be better methods of farming than those that exist today, otherwise his predictions will be gravely inaccurate.

Modern ecological scaremongers refuse to consider these inevitable advancements in technology. Thus, they base their predictions on false future models.

Precautionary or Overcautionary?

Another means ecologists use is to exaggerate the so-called “precautionary principle,” according to which, any measure is advisable, regardless of costs, due to the catastrophic risks that are involved. In other words, they intimate that even if their predictions are exaggerated – or just plain wrong – their proposals should be accepted because of the consequences the world will suffer if they are correct. This thinking is fundamentally flawed, because dire measures alone often produce dire consequences.

Fred Singer expressed this reality in financial terms that anyone can understand, saying: “I am not a big believer in buying insurance if the risks are small and the premiums are high…We’re being asked to buy an insurance policy against a risk that is very small, if at all, and pay a very heavy premium.”

A perfect example of an exaggeration of the “precautionary principle” is the Kyoto Protocol. There is simply no proportion between the supposed risks it safeguards against and the costs it’s application would require.

First of all, there are no definitive studies showing that man’s behavior is a significant factor in global temperature increase, or even that this warming is a matter for concern.

For example, while estimates claim that higher summer temperatures could result in the deaths of an additional 2,000 people in Great Britain over the next fifty years, the same estimates predict that 20,000 cold-related deaths during winter could be avoided by the same increase in temperatures.

Furthermore, as mentioned above, the best-case scenario for the Kyoto Protocol would only push back climate change five years over the next one hundred.

To eliminate these so-called “risks,” the protocol suggests implementing measures whose costs would be astronomical.

The restrictions it demands would have a crippling effect on economies worldwide, but especially on poorer nations. Worse yet, some scientists are suggesting that the Kyoto Protocol does not go far enough and insist that we must eliminate 60%-80% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Another example of exaggeration of the “precautionary principle” is the stir about nuclear power. Although, nuclear power has proved to be one of the most, if not the most, safe and reliable sources of power, environmentalist regulations has greatly stifled their production and tried to close those already in existence.

To understand the cost of replacing nuclear power, it helps to consider that the Czech Republic’s nuclear power plant in Tremlín alone produces the same power as 4,750 windmills. The construction of these windmills would consume 8.6 million tons of material and, if placed in a line as close together as possible, would stretch 665 kilometers. This line would be 150 meters tall and reach from the current Tremlín plant to Brussels in Belgium!

That does not even consider the 20-30 thousand birds that would be killed annually in the windmill’s propellers. Is the cost of closing these plants proportional to the supposed risks of nuclear power?

Furthermore, securitarian thinking often leads one to jump to conclusions and miss the bigger picture. This can cause greater problems than the original difficulty one hoped to avert. For example: an estimated 20 people in the US die each year from cancer related to pesticide use. Following the exaggerated precautionary principle, one might be tempted to ban pesticides without considering that this would lead to a 10%-15% rise in vegetable costs.

This price hike would limit the amount of cancer-fighting vegetables American’s consume to such an extent that it would cause an annual increase of 26,000 cancer-related deaths.


The incontrovertible facts and fresh approach contained in Blue Planet in Green Shackles make it a must read for anyone fed up with environmentalist propaganda and scaremongering. It is rich with argumentation and an excellent resource, though some of the economic argumentation may be hard for a layman to follow.

It is also secular in its approach and favors theories on evolution and overpopulation that will not sit well with Catholic readers. Furthermore, President Klaus is an unabashed follower of Ludwig Von Mises and in particular his very secular work Human Action, which he calls “the greatest book Von Mises ever wrote.” However, this work, particularly chapter 8, is incompatible with Catholic teaching.

Nevertheless, Blue Planet in Green Shackles is full of solid argumentation against the rise of “enviro-dictatorships” that threaten modern society. It is an effective tool against the environmental pseudo-religion of the Twenty-First Century that strives to build a society that would be the antithesis of true Christian civilization.