• Steven Heller

Been There, Read That

Right-leaning or so-called Libertarian Populism did not begin and will not end with Donald Trump. There have long been anti-liberal and anti-government spokespersons, many of whom are or have ties to millionaire businessmen, who have promoted themselves through magazines and later electronic media (Fox News comes to mind).


Russell Maguire, oil speculator, munitions maker, was an anti-Semitic multimillionaire businessman active in American conservative politics in the 1950s and ’60s, specifically as owner and chairman of the board of the venerable American Mercury magazine (founded by H.L. Mencken in 1924 as a “free-thinking” journal). Maguire owned the Auto-Ordnance Co., manufacturer of the Thompson Submachine Gun known as the “Tommy Gun.”


During his tenure, and in his own column “In The Mercury’s Opinion,” the American Mercury attacked pernicious Communism in the U.S., Zionism and the capture of Adolf Eichmann (of all people), as well as President Eisenhower’s liberal appointments to the Supreme Court headed by Earl Warren, which altered the course of Civil Rights in America. He opposed integration, criticized NATO, attacked immigrants, fought against gun control, supported States Rights and claimed “To Bear Witness to the Truth.”


These ideas never disappear forever. Only the participants and rhetoric change.


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