In the last century, science has made great strides in understanding the world. For the first time in human history, scientists seem to have uncovered the basic laws that the universe runs on. There are however many mysteries not yet understood by science and perhaps they never will be. These include; how salmon can return to the stream they were spawned in, what lies in the middle of a black hole, and how can seemingly intelligent and progressive people be duped into supporting the most evil regimes in history.
Paul Kengor does not attempt to answer that question in his book Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.
Instead, he reveals the history of those dupes who often unwittingly contributed to the Communists efforts against their own country, and often against their stated ideals. We see the strange story of men and women who have fought tirelessly for civil rights in the U. S. justify the most horrendous human rights abuses done in the Soviet Union and other Communist countries.
Kengor is no mere red-baiter. He carefully distinguishes between actual members of the Communist Party of the USA, sympathizers who never actually joined the party, and well meaning dupes who helped the Communists without realizing it. His facts are backed up with careful research, including from the Soviet Communist archives, which were briefly opened for study after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Some of the dupes came to realize they had been fooled and tried to repair the damaged they had caused. John Dewey wrote a glowing book on the educational progress made in Russia after the Revolution, only to turn against Communism when he saw that he had been lied to during his visit to the Soviet Union. William C Bullitt was a radical who learned the truth while ambassador the Soviet Union and tried to warn President Roosevelt, who was a dupe, that “Uncle Joe” Stalin simply could not be trusted under any circumstance. Another dupe was a young actor named Ronald Reagan who joined a front organization. His experience with Communist deceit eventually served him well as president.
Unfortunately, all too many dupes never realized that the Communists were using them in the most cynical fashion.
One might think that this history might be interesting but irrelevant to the present day. After all, Russia is no longer Communist, and although a Communist Party rules in China, they do not seem to be following the teachings of Marx any more. However, as Kengor points out, too many of these dupes remain dupes and continue to give aid to America’s enemies, providing excuses support for Islamic radicals.
Also, there is a certain politician who has connections with left-wing radicals like William Ayers and Hawaii Communist Frank Marshall Davis, who just happens to be president. Is Barak Obama a radical, a sympathizer, a dupe? Who knows, but it is certain that many dupes and worse think of him as one of their own.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of the Cold War, and especially to liberals. If there is any lesson the liberal or progressive needs to learn from Dupes, it is that the Communists were never the progressives’ friends, only their useful idiots.