An Interview With Dr. Lucien Von Pyre of the SFBAB or Society of Former Buchmanites Against Bamboozling
by Hugo N. Miweh for CPW News Service
Dr. Lucien Von Pyre joined the conservative religious Oxford Group led by Frank Buchman, a graduate of Allentown, Pennsylvania's Muhlenberg College. Von Pyre traveled to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and was, for the last four years of the 1930's and until Reinhold Niebuhr wrote in 1940 the book Christianity and Power Politics which included a chapter titled "Hitler and the Buchmanites", an avid supporter of the Buchmanites' Oxford Group. Von Pyre believed Frank Buchman's philosophy...."Convert to Christianity the chieftain and you will get all the little indians," but that all changed. After Niebuhr's book was published Von Pyre "saw the light" and created, along with a dozen former Buchmanites from all over the United States the group SFBAB, Society of Former Buchmanites Against Bamboozling.
The following interview with Von Pyre occurred at the Newtree Coffee Shop, 311 California Street, San Francisco, the Robert Dollar Building, on two days, April 25 and 26, 2016. Walking with a cane and wearing black trousers and a hounds tooth wool sports jacket, blue shirt and black tie, the 100-year-old, Von Pyre, was only twenty years old when he witnessed Jesse Owens win an Olympic Gold Medal for the 100 meter, 200 meter, 400 meter relay and long jump. "Up until I witnessed Owens' superb performance in Berlin I was a racist, but oddly, way ahead of my time as an environmentalist. We were believing that Hitler was much like us and wanting to clean up the world. Hitler was just starting to clean up Germany and Europe first. We thought he was about good stewardship of the environment. I would carry signs to Buchman rallies that read "Black lives matter. I compost black people," said Von Pyre.
|Dr. Lucien Von Pyre|
VP: Well, certainly Owen's performance began to eat away at my biases, but there were other forces, too. When Joseph P. Kennedy, our Ambassador to the Court of St. James, Britain, said that he sided with Neville Chamberlain in support of German Socialism, better known as Nazism, I was already beginning to see that there was a weird disconnect with my Lutheran Protestant roots in my own religious experience. Muhlenberg College where I attended classes as an auditor was a Lutheran school. Buchman was a firm believer in the fact that if you could win over Adolf Hitler to a fuller form of Christianity, the world would be a better place. Martin Luther, on the other hand, seemed to know that you had to draw a line somewhere and that the Pope, for example, was NOT going to join Luther's Protestant movement after he nailed his 95 thesis to the Wittenberg church door. That was a big red flag that entered my thinking about the time that I saw Owens flying above the sand pit during the broad jump in the stadium in Berlin and as the look of disbelief hit Hitler's face as he shouted "schwarze manner sprigen konnen!" That was just after he had been told by Hermann Goring about the problems they were having with the new Nazi super dogs for which both Adolf and Goring had high hopes in fulfilling critical new roles in German society and on which they had been secretly working for years.
Peta Lee, Handri Walters and Dr. D.F. Du Toit reported on the apparent phony science connections between Planck's Berlin institute and Stellenbosch. I was, by then, seriously weary of phony this and phony that. I was finding that the truth is a rare commodity and that the energy it takes to maintain the myth of my worldview was, well, a sham....a pretense. It was at that point that I met and married my first wife, a third cousin of a famous Ugandan shaman. Her name was Whatusubono.
VP: No. Wha....tusu....bono. That was before I met my second wife, Li Wu Wong and my third and fourth, Dee Dee Kleevuge and Anna Roginous Zohne.....wonderful years together, but that's ancient history now.
HM: Joseph P. Kennedy was recalled from London after making that assertion about Hitler's importance.
VP: Yes, that is right. Winston Churchill and FDR said, "oops, we've got a rotten egg in the hen house. A Vorwerk got in among the Sussexs."
HM: U.S. Democratic President, John F. Kennedy and his brother Bobby Kennedy.....they obviously didn't share their father's right-winged sentiments.
VP: No. That may have gotten JFK and....well, let's not go there. It does not appear that they did. Plus we know that the Roman Catholic Church participated in the export of Germany's leading war criminals after WWII and that Nazi "rat lines" that led through the French Alps to Italy and on to South America and elsewhere were supported to a large degree by the U.S. clandestine services that were wanting to use the Nazi scientists and other leaders to provide a source of intelligence and transfer of technical advances for the West. I think it was called "Operation Staple Gun". Werhner Von Braun and that occultist like Hess and Himmler, the one who blew himself up. What was his name?
HM: Jack Parsons? The American jet propulsion scientist? He was an occultist, but he wasn't a former Nazi transplant.
VP: No, you're right. Guess he was just trying to fit in with Germans before he blew himself up. Hey, I'm a hundred. I can't remember things as clearly as I use to. Back to "Operation Staple Gun".....
HM: Operation Paperclip.
VP: Right. Paperclip. Anyway, that was Alan Dulles' little baby along with Reinhard Gehlen's ....the head of Nazi Intelligence for Eastern Europe....the guy who fed Dulles the important names. Dulles' cousin, Avery Dulles, would convert to Roman Catholicism and become the first priest to bypass the office of Bishop to become a Cardinal. In church circles this is called a "blessing". It helps when the shoes of the fisherman have walked through the halls of the right houses.
HM: Back to your membership in Buchman's Oxford Group. Can you tell us about other events that helped you to bow out of the Oxford Group to form SFBAB?
VP: Surely. Well, there was the 1941 Yale Political Union debate a year after Niebuhr's book Christianity and Power Politics was published. That was a hottie! You had all these Ivy League college student who were the sons and daughters of America's most powerful industrialists....many having made their fortunes....hell, like FDR's family....in the China Trade.....opium from the Middle East and traded in China for spices, silk, trinkets and what-not, saying that we needed to stay out of WWII while Louis Nizer and others were making the West aware of the atrocities being carried out in Germany against the Jews. The historic opium route from the Golden Crescent....Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq....dumped for huge profits in China by the Brits and then by us....created as a backlash the Golden Triangle and eventually in the mountains of South America a later source of competition to the Golden Crescent that always had the highest quality opium. It was in the late 1980's that the most decorated Marine in Vietnam, Col. Bo Gritz, traveled to the Golden Triangle looking for POW-MIA's and found, instead, Kung Sa, the head of the Golden Triangle's opium production who wanted to go legitimate and offered to curtail shipments to the U.S.. Gritz aligned with Ross Perot and brought back a letter and video...appeared on the Morton Downey Show with his findings, but that all went back to the drug trade and the unspoken reasons for why were were there. It's not hard, then, to understand why we are in the poppy rich Helmand Province of Afghanistan, today.
Right there in that bastion of "China trade" history at Yale, there was William Gardner White who organized that 1941 debate about Germany and Japan. White, a couple of years ahead of George H.W. Bush at Yale, later became the unlikely tail gunner for GHWB's plane Barbara II over Chi Chi Jima. White had opposed isolationism like that supported by Joseph P. Kennedy who was aligned with the U.S. "Business Plotters" and White believed that the U.S. needed to take Buchman's trump card, Hitler, the big man on the European campus and shove a gun barrel up his bottom. Chester Mazurski, a tail gunner in another Avenger over Chi Chi Jima thought maybe White got "whited-out" and dropped hard into the war he had supported against the wishes of many at Yale. On the other side were, I suspect, the same Yale power elites who had historically paid someone else to fight even in the Civil War like Joseph P. Kennedy's poor Irish Bostonian brethren who were paid as fill-ins a hundred years before JFK's PT-109.
In the 19th Century the rich kids just sat out the U.S. Civil War, many making their war profits in lead, brass shell casings, canon balls, gunpowder, uniforms and such. White and others pushed back at Yale 1940 and '41...and if Pearl Harbor hadn't happened? Who knows? Would the"Business Plotters" have reasserted themselves and to what end? "Heil Hitler"? The former Hoover Institute member, Anthony Sutton, has claimed that the wars that Smedley Butler said are a racket are like any feud.... initiated on some high moral principle for the basest and boorish of reasons and often engineered for maximum profit for the benefit of the power-broking fight-promoters. Sutton argued quite convincingly that Soviet technology was exported into the USSR beginning in 1917 and a similar transfer of technology occurred with Germany....as evidenced by tank track technology that was patented in the U.S.. Zbigniew Brzezinski affirmed this assertion by Sutton who would write National Suicide and The Best Enemy Money Can Buy and Edwin Black's book, War Against the Weak further developed this amazingly illuminating factoid of untaught history in copious detail.
Winsip Custer's article, Cain Cushing and Abel Brown, unpacks the Anthony Sutton and Zbigniew Brzezinski nexus when he wrote:
Anthony Sutton who was forced out of the Hoover Institute when he exposed through extensive research and documentation how during the initial years of the Soviet Communist Revolution the Communists were dependent on U.S. and Western technology and funding in the same way that the Nazi's were dependent on Union Bank of New York and Fritz Thyssen's connections to the U.S. power elites. Sutton showed in his book America's Secret Establishment how the power elites play both sides, left and right, against each other for profit in a Hegelian dialectic that always keeps them on top and society stabilized and destabilized in ways profitable to them. Sutton's work was affirmed by U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, whose daughter is a co-host with former U.S. Congressman, Joe Scarborough on MSNBC's morning television show Morning Joe. Brzezinski states in his book Between Two Ages: America's Role in the Technetronic Era (1970):
- For impressive evidence of Western participation in the early phase of Soviet economic growth, see Antony C. Sutton's Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development: 1917–1930, which argues that 'Soviet economic development for 1917–1930 was essentially dependent on Western technological aid' (p.283), and that 'at least 95 per cent of the industrial structure received this assistance.' (p. 348).
Anyway, the America First Committee....and I saw a black man speaking at Donald Trump's recent meeting shouting "America First! America First!"....by golly.....shows us that history is, indeed, repeating itself. A black man yelling "America First" without defining America or knowing that, for example, the York Rite Masonry of Washington and Franklin was taken over by Scottish Rite founder Albert Pike, the Indian Agent for the Confederacy and the future chief legal mind for the KKK that even informed the America First Committee in the 1930's is shocking. That those black students at the University of Missouri who supported Melissa Click when she was joined by "Concerned Student 1950" the pudgy blonde who didn't want to be identified by her real name....was a clear throwback to the Ozzie and Harriet Nelson era of dumbed-downed bimbology when contrary to the MAD theory of "mutually assured destruction" the U.S. Civil Defense film "The House In the Middle" encouraged Americans to paint their houses with white, lead-based, house paint to prevent ignition during a nuclear bomb attack. Lead had been banned in Europe fifty years before it was banned in the U.S.. Drink up Flint! That was also when Yamasaki's Pruitt-Igoe housing project, built by Minoru Yamasaki, the favorite Saudi Royal and Bin Laden architect, who had built the World Trade Center, found the residents of the St. Louis Pruitt-Igoe project the subjects of an undisclosed radiation experiment conducted on the predominantly black residents, but ultimately on all of St. Louis and the Mid-West.
Any black college student supporting "Concerned Student 1950" should be flunked out of school on principle! The really concerned students didn't come along until the 1960's though there have always been a core real freedom fighters! They need to go and read the article "Ivy League Woes In Depth: Yale, Yale, the Gangs All Here!" by Bard Willett Williamson and that one on Melissa Click's battle with Mark Schierbecker at the University of Missouri, Walter Cronkite's alma mater. It wouldn't hurt them to read Winsip Custer's article "No Painting Over A National Bamboozle" about Joseph F. Battley and Michael Melville Wood, George W. Bush's fraternity brother and Yale classmate. They'll learn about their own history with the government's radiation experiment at Minoru Yamasaki's Pruitt-Igoe Project about which most Americans are totally clueless though one Missouri professor wrote a nearly 900-page dissertation on this Tuskegee-like malfeasance, Lisa Martino-Taylor.
Most Americans of any color have never heard of Henri de Man, who with his nephew, Paul de Man, were seminal academics at Yale, with Henri being a leading Nazi collaborator in Belgium. Oddly enough, Henri de Man explained why democracies can gravitate toward an Adolf....perhaps even a Trump.
With the "parliamentary democracy" of bamboozling that we faced with the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999 the last year of Clinton's Presidency when he was essentially silent in his failure to keep the wolves of Wall Street out of the hen house of Main Street's minions letting in unchecked the Bush ball-busting of basic common sense leading to the 2000-2008 financial meltdown and de Man's understanding of the rise of fascism is understandable. Trump, of course, in saying that Bill Clinton "pulled off the worst trade deal in history....NAFTA" didn't bother to mention Glass-Steagall, or the fact that George H.W. Bush had been a big NAFTA proponent, too, but it was all part of the picture that led us to where we are. There is little doubt in my mind that Rafael Edward "Ted" Cruz, Jr. discovered that his father was, indeed, part of the Cuban community in America that were part of the Bay of Pigs, that was clearly another bamboozle. The failed Bay of Pigs was move valuable to the U.S. war machinery as a consent-builder for Cold War spending than a victory which would have been easily obtainable. The threat of a nuclear holocaust was, therefore, exaggerated. In the early months of the 2015 Presidential campaigning Ted Cruz goes to Houston where he had owned a penthouse apartment not far from George Herbert Walker Bush and kissed "Molloch's"....or is his Yale nickname "Magog's" ring. Everybody knows that the Bay of Pigs, Operation Zapata, was named for GHWB's oil company, Zapata Petroleum. Ross Perot called NAFTA the "giant sucking" sound of U.S. jobs going away, but he had also looked much deeper into the U.S. sociological, economic and historical mythology. The housing bubble may have been meant as a diversion to take American's eyes off of the giant sucking sound. Perot knew what was going on and was right on the money.... and Trump is essentially playing Perot's trump card against his own party which Perot was not savvy enough to do, but to what end, given that Chris Christy who did what he did with that New Jersey bridge closing? A retooling of the U.S. into a facsimile of Germany in the 1930's? We are already the leading military supplier for planet earth. I wrote a song about it after that drone strike that went bad.
HM: A song about U.S. drones?
VP: It's called Drone On......
The eye in the sky is watching you.
It sees every little thing you do.
It's drone, droning on.
It's drone, drone, drone, drone, drone, drone, droning on.....and on and on.
There's no place where you can hide.
There's no place you can't get fried.
It's drone, droning on.
It'd drone, drone, drone, drone, drone, drone, droning on.
Predator comes whizzing by.
Reaper comes and my, oh my.
They're drone, droning on.
They're drone, drone, drone, drone, drone, drone, droning on.
Thank you Mr. Linden Blue.
Thank you and your brother, too.
For drone, droning on.
For drone, drone, drone, drone, drone, drone, droning on.
Michael Hayden loves his drone.
He and drones really get it on.
They're drone, droning on.
They're drone, drone, drone, drone, drone, drone, droning on.
Tomorrow we'll be diggin' deep.
To find a place where we can sleep.
'Cause they're drone, droning on.
HM: Okay, okay, okay. So the military complex of Germany was eclipsed by the U.S..
VP: Yes, and in tooling up Germany what did Hitler plan on feeding into the new German machinery? In the end it was the Germans as much as the Jews, Gypsies, the handicapped, pacifists and Christians like Bonhoeffer, the Scholls and other. You see why war is a racket? Linden and Neal Blue's company, General Atomic, makes the Predator and Reaper drones and Linden is GHWB's and GWB's S&B brother from Yale. They were also Anastosio Samoza's business partners in Nicaragua when Bill Stewart, the NBC newsman covering the war in Nicaragua returned from Iran just before Iran-Contra went into full swing. That was in 1980 and we know what happened to poor Bill Stewart and Iran-Contra? Why it was proved beyond a shadow of a doubt to be a U.S.-secret-government-backed conspiracy. The racket of war drones on.
|"The operative terms here are 'authoritarian' and 'responsible'|
used in the same sentence. The Founding Fathers
were so skeptical of the possibility that they crafted
a government that limited 'authoritaranism' by design."
-Lucien Von Pyre
HM: In 1940 and 1941 Louis Nizer was calling attention to the crisis for Jews in Germany was he not?
VP: Yes, he was. There were others. If you have not read Edwin Black's books, The Transfer Agreement and War Against the Weak, these are a must read for understanding that time. We are still in that time. I would also read Dietrick Bonhoeffer's Cost of Discipleship and Ethics to get a handle on it. By all means read Reinhold Niebuhr's book on Buchmanism and Hitler, Christianity and Power Politics. Oh, that book was published by Scribner's & Sons in 1940 and was definitely a turning point for me, but of course the Swiss theologian, Karl Barth, and many German nationals did not do as Dietrick Bonhoeffer did and ride out the storm in Germany or elsewhere in Europe. Well, Bonhoeffer didn't exactly ride it out, he reaped a whirlwind along with others, some Roman Catholics like Hans and Sophie Scholl of the White Rose. Others hightailed it to the relative security in the U.S.. Niebuhr was U.S.-born, so I give him a big pass. Bonhoeffer, was killed in Germany for "daring to change the things" that he could change, but some have said not "having the wisdom to know the difference." Martyrdom is complicated.
HM: You are accusing Bonhoeffer of being a 'willing martyr'? Absorbed in self-importance?
VP: I make no such claim. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for what he believed, but let me tell you that Bonhoeffer is NOT the patron saint of the U.S. "Business Plotters" that were outed by General Smedley Darlington Butler in the 30's....which would have included the close friends of Joseph P. Kennedy back in the States. If Kennedy was wooing Hitler's Germany in the 1930's in London he was playing music to the ears Germany's supporters back home in the U.S.. I knew a minister in Texas who, long after the war, provided a book study on Bonhoeffer to the University of Texas Club and among the group were some of the big chieftains....University of Texas regents, who by the way are now led by UT Chancellor Admiral William McRaven of JSOC and head of SEAL Team Six. There was the President of Texas Commerce Bank which was owned at the time primarily by Secretary of State James A. Baker whose family had been lawyers for the Union Pacific Railroad and they didn't like Bonhoeffer's message at all. They looked at him as some kind of anti-free-market do-gooder.
HM: So you are saying that the "business plotters" were close friends of Joseph P. Kennedy?
VP: Yes. Look way back and come forward. As part of the Irish Catholics who opposed Queen Elizabeth in her defeat of their fellow Catholics' Spanish Armada, they rebelled against English rule with the IRA, likely liked seeing Rudolf Hess fly his Messerschmidt to the estate of Lord Hamilton in Scotland to try to forge a Jacobite-Anglo-German alliance given Himmler's passion for his SS which was based on a Jesuit model with the Jesuits in charge of the Spanish Inquisition. Like the Jesuits the SS were grand inquisitors. Kennedy was in deep yogurt though with Churchill from Kent....an early Puritan stronghold! The New England Puritan Protestants, well, purity is in the eye of the beholder, but they ran things in the U.S. since sailing from Plymouth, England to Plymouth Rock and were in this New World as an evolving type of Oliver Cromwell....less than they were like King Charles or King George or the Jacobite's Bonnie Prince Charlie who is buried in the Vatican. Where Cromwell couldn't envision a way to share power and provide for reasoned succession, the Americans had, but the "Business Plotters" were uncomfortable at their core with the new legacy. Hitler and his ally at Yale, Henri de Man, spoke to their bias for supporting a dictator....their dictator. The strongest of the American....the anti-Tories in America.....would not have wanted to see the Nazis succeed in their exploits. Not the stronger ones. And don't forget that the British monarchy to this day is German more than British....the Coburg-Saxe-Gothas, renamed Windsors, whose fortunes have grown from about $500 million to $14 billion since they came into power....mostly from uranium...like that sold and processed as fuel and weaponry by General Atomic. Winston Churchill was on a tightrope with respect to the British monarchy and there was Joseph P. Kennedy in the middle of it all and drilling oil wells in Texas where Hitler's oil agent was William Rhodes Davis, grandfather of California Governor Gray Davis who was recalled in California after the Enron debacle. They replaced Gray Davis with the Austrian Kennedy-interloper-terminator.....of his marriage to Maria Shriver.....Arnold Schwarzenegger....whose father was a member of the Waffen SS.
HM: When you were running with Buchman's Oxford Group were you aware of the Kennedy connection to Texas and Hitler's oil agent there? I have read Dale Harrington's book William Rhodes Davis: Nazi Agent of Influence and had no idea that running around in Texas was Hitler's oil man, but then I didn't know that Fred Koch who was a founder of the John Birch Society was building Hitler's refineries....nor as Edwin Black has so meticulously laid out about the IBM and Mary Harriman connections to Fascist Germany in his books.
VP: The family of Kennedy's oil drilling partner in Texas would help with the economic attack on California during the wide-open-de-regulated Bush era bamboozle that was akin to the S&L crisis and the 2008 global financial meltdown based on a phony housing bubble and the fossil-fuel-energy-rape of California by Enron. These same people that were drilling oil for Kennedy's oil company, Mokeen Oil Co., in Texas were running Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for the U.S. which we acquired, thank you Teddy Roosevelt, after San Juan Hill. That's how long this thing has been going on. In the 1930's and 40's we knew that there was a powerful group of U.S. businessmen who were attempting to overthrow FDR for what they felt was FDR's betrayal by "socializing" worker's retirement. We knew that it was called the "Business Plot" and that it was the subject of the McCormack-Dickstein Committee investigation. We knew that O. John Rogge was investigating for the Justice Department the Nazi penetration into U.S. culture. General Smedley Darlington Butler had indicated to various sources outside this committee that the group included Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Charlie Lindberg, some....most... say Prescott Bush whose relationship to Fritz Thyssen, Hitler's banker, would have put him on anyone's no-fly list today. He was censured as part of the Union Bank's legal woes.
HM: Was John D. Rockefeller on that list?
VP: Well, that's hard to say. The records weren't published. Of course the forerunner of the CIA, the OSS, met at 30 Rock in New York, Rockefeller Center. Dulles tapped the Operation Paper Clip gang for service to the U.S. after the war and John D. Rockefeller's connections to Humble Oil in Texas, Standard Oil of New Jersey, Exxon, are all clear connections.
H.M.: I remember that Exxon's top geologist was a Texan from Hutto, Texas and that his brother's wife's father, maybe his own father-in-law, I can't remember exactly, was the chauffeur for both Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone. That's pretty connected if you ask me. I believe that he attended the same church in Austin, Texas as the Old Testament professor who had been a parishioner of Rev. Niebuhr in Michigan.
VP: See how closely the leading figures are to each other. Kevin Bacon's six degrees of separation minus about 5.5 degrees! That was A.G. Collin, who was the personal chauffeur of Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison, John Burroughs and others implicated in the plot. His son-in-law Harvey Olander from Hutto, died in 2006, but the Collin story, written for the Hutto Heritage Foundation, begins...."My wife's father was chauffeur of Henry Ford. It all started because A.G. Collin and Milton Bryant were the best of friends. Milton Bryant was the brother of Mrs. Henry Ford."
H.M.: So the 1930's fascist business plot in the U.S. was real and included these figures?
VP: Oh, it was real. That was what I was going to tell you earlier. Not only did Jesse Owen's performance open my eyes to the Nazi threat, but so did Reinhold Niebuhr's 1940 book in which he names the two leading "Business Plot" personalities. It has to do with the "get the Indian chieftain and you get the whole tribe for Jesus." Niebuhr put it this way in his chapter on Buchman and Hitler:
This philosophy has been implicit in Buchmanite strategy from the beginning. It explains the particular attention which is paid by Mr. Buchman and his followers to big men, leaders, in industry and politics. The idea is that if the man of power can be converted, God will be able to control a larger area of human life through his power than if a little man were converted. This is the logic which has filled the Buchmanites with touching solicitude for the souls of such men as Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone and prompted them to whisper confidently from time to time that these men were on the very threshold of the kingdom of God. It is this strategy which prompts or justifies the first-class travel of all the Oxford teams. They hope to make contact with big men in the luxurious first-class quarters of ocean liners.
H.M.: This is dangerous in your eyes that have now been opened? Did you feel that these "big men" were being forced by FDR through the McCormick-Dickstein Committee to oppose Hitler for their support of his New Deal or he'd take them to Congress and disgrace them as has been so widely reported?
VP: It's a strange bed we've made isn't it? FDR is a New England Brahmin insider married to his cousin from Savannah, Georgia where William Tecumseh Sherman essentially ends the Civil War by destroying the South's railroads and there is FDR holding a gun to the head of these leading right-wingers of the U.S. power politics, but was Henry Ford really a self-made man who was not dependent on the collective will of his car buyers who supported tax-paid roads that guaranteed that his buyers' fillings didn't pop out of their teeth as they jockeyed their new Model-T's? Was Harvey Firestone self-made? Henry Ford, who clearly supported Hitler, had given people what he said they didn't know that they really wanted, yet, and if he had asked them what they wanted they would have said "a faster horse", but hey, if he had given them a flying mechanical, energy efficient, high-speed, pollution-free, faster horse that fits in your back yard or on your rooftop and does not need any roads at all.... Harvey Firestone's fortunes from rubber and all that self-made stuff? Poof! The rubber never would have hit the road! That is what led, I believe, Niebuhr, to write:
Does Mr. Buchman really believe that the dictators of the modern world created their dictatorships out of whole cloth? He does not know that, evidently, they are the creatures more than the creators of vast social movements in modern history. The particular social forces which created dictatorships are on the whole the decadent forces of a very sick society. The sickness of that society is called sin; and if a word of God is to be spoken in such an hour as this as it should be the woe of Christ upon his Jerusalem or the prophecy of judgment which an Amos or Jeremiah pronounced upon their civilization.
H.M.: So flying cars are sinful?
VP: No. Nothing in and of itself is sinful, but the pursuit of that thing can be. The pursuit of a trump card in the form of Donald Trump can be, but so can be so much more and I was naïve in 1936 in Berlin, just as I have been many times since. I remember that in the 1930's in Michigan, Reinhold Niebuhr was a pastor to auto workers. Mostly union members. He would baptize a member of the parish who would go on to become an internationally known Old Testament scholar who looked fondly on his relationship to Reinhold Niebuhr who penned the "Serenity Prayer", which oddly was not initially about serenity for alcoholics, used by former Buchmanite and Oxford Group member Sam Shoemaker who founded AA, but as a challenge to people to stand up to Hitler's Germany. It would have been more aptly titled the "the prayer for impassioned resolve".....to change what I can change....and something much, much bigger than my need for Jack Daniels or Jim Beam.
But even Niebuhr is humbled by Bonhoeffer who paid the ultimate sacrifice and died with the people he was seeking to liberate. So in that vein even the Niebuhr brothers, Reinhold, teaching like William Sloane Coffin after him, at Union Seminary, New York, Coffin being a left-leaning member of Yales' Skull & Bones and giving credence to Anthony Sutton's assertions that the power elites use a doubled-down dialectic to stay in power, was guilty of "hoping to make contact with big men in the luxurious first-class quarters of ocean liners." If you see the names of the rich and powerful that Reinhold sought to influence....remember that Hitler and Mussolini had their powerful supporters in America....then you see them, both Niebuhr and Buchman, as a type of religious lion tamer seeking to put their whole head in the lion's mouth and hoping that it doesn't snap shut. The "Business Plot" was managed so the average American never heard about it and I have asked hundreds of U.S. Marines to tell who Smedley Darlington Butler was and up until a couple of years ago they had never heard of him. Astounding! Bonhoeffer, on the other hand, died attempting to cut off the lion's head, but in Germany, and two-time Congressional Medal of Honor winner Smedley Butler was too high profile in the U.S. in the 1930's to threaten him here even if you were Henry Ford or Harvey Firestone. Well, this is where the rubber really does hit the road. You don't REALLY know who the genuine prophets are until they have been swallowed.
For a while I thought I had found the answer in the alternative to Buchman's goal of converting the Big Chief in D.T. Nile's definition of Christian evangelism which he said "...is one beggar telling another beggar where to find food." That sounds pretty palatable except when you realize that the food at Hitler's table was much better than what Buchman had at Muhlenberg College's cafeteria. The food is better at Niebuhr and Coffin's Union Seminary in New York not far from Rockefeller Center than it ever was at Allentown. Then I realized that the food that Christians say they find satisfying is what Jesus fed them which was pretty Spartan...okay, Jewish.....bread and wine. At that table the beggars can't be choosers, but they can sure ask "who's the son of a bitch that set this table and what do I have to do to be here?
It's an old, old story and a seductive one. Take Rev. Lynn T. White who like Niebuhr, who was preaching not to Henry Ford's auto workers in the 1930's in Michigan, but to Robert Dollars' lumberjacks in California in 1919....a sermon titled "The Christian Attitude Toward the Organized Labor Movement in America" a sermon topic you will never hear Joel Osteen take on since he is in many ways like Buchman encouraging his followers to keep reaching for the gold ring. The Christian martyrs were reaching for something altogether different....a new world that they had little hope of creating themselves, but that their God would usher in and which they could welcome or resist...while tripping over the fact that their founder and leader said "my kingdom is not of this world."
When Rev. Lynn White had finished his California sermon in 1919 at the height of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, mega-wealthy Robert Dollar, listening from the congregation and who had sold a Redwood grove north of San Francisco to the Bohemian Club, would found the Margaret S. Dollar Chair of Christian Social Ethics and put Rev. White in its seat at San Francisco Theological Seminary. Was this threading a path along the inner ridges of a left-right divide? Probably, but when you are walking a tightrope what are the alternatives? It was better, I guess, than doing what Buchman was doing in Berlin in 1936 when he was blowing smoke up Hitler's Austrian ass when he said "I thank Heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler who built a front-line of defense against the anti-Christ of Communism."
The chieftains, the "business plotters" in the U.S. who supported Hitler's Germany, are more likely to support the far right from the right of the middle or what appears to be right of the middle, who really knows? Take the situation at Harvard Business School where the Koch Brothers offered to fund Dr. Kenneth Goodpaster as the chair of a non-existent Business Ethics Department. Harvard rejected the offer and so David Koch and his wife sent Dr. Goodpaster along with their money to St. Thomas University in Minneapolis and created a business ethics program there. Was that because Harvard students didn't give a flip about ethics or because Harvard was too sensitive about the contradictions of taking the endowment from the Koch's? You see the problem? That problem does not become well defined unless or until the whole of society comes flying apart as in Hitler's Germany.
There's a lot of godlessness everywhere, even hiding within the godliness, and I am planning on having sung at my funeral.....maybe tomorrow.....Hal David's favorite song: Alfie. What's it all about, Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live? What it all about when you count it out Alfie? Are we meant to take more than we give? Or are we meant to be kind? And if only fools are kind, Alfie, then I guess it is wise to be cruel. And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie, what will lend on an old Golden Rule. As sure as I believe there's a heaven above, Alfie, I know there's something much more. Something even non-believers, can believe in. I believe in love, Alfie. Without true love we just exist.
H.M: So you have left the Oxford Movement for the Love Movement?
VP: Is there anything else?