Here is the interview, in three parts:
Max's article at his blog, about President Eisenhower's 1958 letter to terminally ill World War II veteran, Robert Biggs, ran in yesterday's New York Times. In his letter, Eisenhower made a comment about dictatorships that sounds eerily familiar to those of us who are following the influence of fundamentalists, evangelicals and teabaggers on the health care debate. Here's how Blumenthal frames Eisenhower's written statement:
Though Eisenhower was criticized for lacking an intellectual framework or even an interest in ideas, he was drawn to Hoffer’s insights. He explained to Biggs that Hoffer “points out that dictatorial systems make one contribution to their people which leads them to tend to support such systems — freedom from the necessity of informing themselves and making up their own minds concerning these tremendous complex and difficult questions.” The authoritarian follower, Eisenhower suggested, desired nothing more than insulation from the pressures of a free society.
Alluding to Senator McCarthy and his allies, Eisenhower pointed out that cold war fears were distorted and exploited for political advantage. “It is difficult indeed to maintain a reasoned and accurately informed understanding of our defense situation on the part of our citizenry when many prominent officials, possessing no standing or expertness as they themselves claim it, attempt to further their own ideas or interests by resorting to statements more distinguished by stridency than by accuracy.”