John Thomas Flynn (25 October 1882 – 13 April 1964) was an American journalist best known for his opposition to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and to American entry into World War II. In September 1940, Flynn helped establish the America First Committee (AFC). He was also the first to advance the Pearl Harbor advance-knowledge conspiracy theory.
His books include Forgotten Lessons, Country Squire in the White House (1940), As We Go Marching (1944), The Epic of Freedom (1947), The Road Ahead (1949), While You Slept (1951), The Lattimore Story (1953) and The Decline of the American Republic (1955). Flynn's masterwork The Roosevelt Myth (1948) has gone through several editions, and the Fox & Wilkes 50th anniversary edition has a thoughtful introduction by historian Ralph Raico.
Journalist Flynn (1882-1964) was the among the most prolific American authors who carried the torch of liberty during the mid 20th century. This feisty Irishman is best known for his spirited (and lonely) critiques of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal and of American entry in World War II. ... Nobody has done a better job debunking the myth that FDR was a selfless, noble, wise and benevolent ruler. Flynn showed that his only enduring principle was to stay in power. ... You ought to see what Flynn reveals about Hillary Clinton's idol Eleanor Roosevelt.
Justice can hardly be done to Flynn's masterpiece in a review. One must read and savor for oneself the brilliance of analysis and of prophecy found in the pages of As We Go Marching. I am convinced that the Flynn book is one of the few truly great works of socioeconomic analysis written in this century. I would go so far as to contend that if one has not read and digested the analysis and prophecy contained in this book, it is highly unlikely that one would have much understanding of the essential nature of the American System. We are fortunate that As We Go Marching has recently been republished as an inexpensive paperback.
An Empire Built of Paper, by Lew Rockwell, The American Conservative, 27 Mar 2006
A review of Empire of Debt: The Rise of an Epic Financial Crisis (2006) by William Bonner and Addison Wiggin
... Americans live, said John T. Flynn, 'in the war-torn, debt-ridden, tax-harried wreckage of a once imposing edifice of the free society which rose out of the American Revolution on the foundation of the U.S. Constitution.' ... Paying tribute to As We Go Marching, John T. Flynn's great analysis of New Deal fascism, our authors understand the glorification of militarism and war that lies at the heart of right-wing statism. As Flynn quoted an Italian fascist, today's red-state fascists also see the mass death and destruction of war as 'the great anvil of fire and blood on which strong peoples are hammered.'
Forgotten Lessons, by Richard Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Mar 1996
Review of Forgotten Lessons: Selected Essays of John T. Flynn (1995), edited by Gregory P. Pavlik
One of those few who never became one of FDR's global New Dealers was John T. Flynn ... Like many of the conservatives of his generation, Flynn was not opposed to all economic intervention in the 1930s. He believed that there had been private-sector abuses in financial markets ... But rather than see this as an "antibusiness" policy, Flynn argued that the NRA was FDR's collaboration with segments of the "big business" community that wished to control and limit market competition for their own monopolistic purposes ... Flynn argued that there were few things exceptionally "new" in Roosevelt's New Deal.
It is remarkable that a journalist and legal scholar with Flynn's views became a regular contributor to Collier's and Harper's and a featured columnist of The New Republic. Despite his unfashionable stands as a critic of the New Deal and of American military involvement, Flynn remained a celebrated journalist into the post-World War II era. Major commercial presses brought out his books, and as a child, I recall hearing his feisty commentaries on the radio. .. Among his prescient observations, the most impressive are those dealing with the role of the military and technicians in the modern welfare state.
During the late 1920s and early 1930s, John T. Flynn made a name for himself as a liberal--perhaps even radical--expert on economics. ... Flynn wrote weekly columns for both the New Republic and the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain. ... Flynn founded along with socialist Norman Thomas the Keep America Out of War Committee (KAOWC), whose membership came to include many prominent left-wing intellectuals, writers, and labor leaders. Little did Flynn realize, however, that his hostility to Roosevelt and his agenda was destroying his reputation as a liberal journalist.
John T. Flynn: A Prolific Critic, by Justus Drew Doenecke, Literature of Liberty, 1981
Section of the bibliographical essay "The Anti-interventionist Tradition: Leadership and Perceptions"
One of the authors most lauded by McCormick's Tribune was John T. Flynn (1882–1964), and, among the anti-interventionists, probably no one contributed more books and articles than he. Flynn had become well-known among intellectuals in the 1920s and 1930s for his attacks on Wall Street manipulation, and he contributed a weekly column, 'Other People's Money,' to the New Republic. He backed Roosevelt in 1932 and helped staff Judge Ferdinand Pecora's investigation of high finance. He soon broke with the New Deal, claiming that such depression agencies as the National Recovery Administration (NRA) were simply way stations on the road to fascism.
As [Rothbard] explained, '... the intellectual right of that day ... opposed [militarism and conscription] as instruments of mass slavery and mass murder. Conscription ... was thought far worse than other forms of statist controls and incursions, for while these only appropriated part of the individual's property, the draft ... took his most precious possession: his own person. Day after day the veteran publicist John T. Flynn – once praised as a liberal and then condemned as a reactionary, with little or no change in his views – inveighed implacably in print and over the radio against militarism and the draft. ...'
The New Deal Made Them 'Right', by Damon Root, Cato Policy Report, Sep 2009
Discusses how various "prominent liberals" (Mencken, John T. Flynn, Al Smith, Burton K. Wheeler and Nock) found themselves categorized on the political right as a consequence of their opposition to Roosevelt's New Deal
Foremost among the members of this new 'right' was the muckraking journalist John T. Flynn. ... A graduate of Georgetown Law School, Flynn made his name in the 1920s and early 1930s as a left-leaning financial columnist and author whose books bore such titles as Graft in Business and Trusts Gone Wrong! ... Flynn's work earned him a prominent perch at the New Republic, then as now one of the country's leading left-liberal publications, where he wrote a weekly economics column from 1933 until he was dropped in 1940 for his increasingly harsh attacks on FDR's policies.
John T. Flynn's As We Go Marching ... remains one of the most brilliant analyses of the New Deal to have emerged from that period. Flynn—leader of the militant New York chapter of the America First Committee—traced the emergence of fascist economic systems in Germany and Italy and then noted their close similarities to the economic policies adopted by the United States during the New Deal. ... He argued persuasively that imperialism and militarism constitute essential elements of fascist economic systems since they provide the only channels for massive government expenditures ...
John T. Flynn was one of the first to stand up to the war hysteria, defy the atmosphere of political intimidation, and start asking questions. ... He wrote two scathing pamphlets, The Truth About Pearl Harbor (1944) and The Final Secret of Pearl Harbor (1945), that raised the question for the first time: did FDR have advance warning of the Pearl Harbor catastrophe? Flynn answer was yes. ... Originally a supporter of the President, Flynn became one of FDR's bitterest, most relentless critics ...
John T. Flynn was a successful and influential journalist with a reputation for candor and first-rate research. He was neither a shill for Big Government nor a puppet of Big Business. He railed against both when they conspired to undermine the Constitution, erode our freedoms, or suck the nation into foreign entanglements. He saw right through the public relations job depicting FDR as a valiant crusader for noble causes ... Flynn's critique of the Mussolini-inspired New Deal’s two main hallmarks – the National Recovery Administration (NRA) and the ... (AAA) – remains one of the most devastating ever penned.
Flynn, comparing the New Deal with fascism, foresaw a problem that still faces us today. 'But willingly or unwillingly, Flynn argued, the New Deal had put itself into the position of needing a state of permanent crisis or, indeed, permanent war to justify its social interventions. "It is born in crisis, lives on crises, and cannot survive the era of crisis.... Hitler's story is the same." ... Flynn's prognosis for the regime of his enemy Roosevelt sounds more apt today than when he made it in 1944 ... "We must have enemies," he wrote in As We Go Marching. "They will become an economic necessity for us."'
A Tribute to John T. Flynn, by Adam Young, 31 Jan 2003
Biographical overview followed by quotes from Flynn's writings on FDR, Roosevelt's monument, the New Deal and the Roosevelt myth
John Thomas Flynn was born in 1882 in Washington, D.C., into a middle class old Irish Catholic family, and went to school in New York City. During his formative years, the ramifications of the Spanish-American War created in him a life-long opposition to imperialism, whether European or American. He entered Georgetown to study law, but was irresistibly drawn towards a career in journalism. ... The quotes presented here are only a sampling of the wit and keen observations made by John T. Flynn about that period in American history when liberty almost died.
Of all the Old Right 'isolationist' attacks on the war policies of the New Deal, none was more trenchant, more incisive, and more brilliantly written than John T. Flynn's AS WE GO MARCHING. ... after the book was written, Flynn continued to oppose interventionism in the form of the Cold War and American imperial adventures in Asia. ... Flynn contributed an article to NATIONAL REVIEW in the fall of 1956, attacking militarism and military spending as a socialistic 'racket.' Characteristically, Buckley refused to publish the piece ...
The Final Secret of Pearl Harbor, Oct 1945
Written shortly after the release of the U.S. Army and Navy reports on the Pearl Harbor attack, Flynn claims it was the result of "three incredible blunders" and that President Roosevelt "personally managed the whole crisis"
By January 1, 1941, Roosevelt had decided to go to war with Japan ... But he had solemnly pledged the people he would not take their sons to foreign wars unless attacked ... He felt the moment to provoke the attack had come by November ... He was certain the attack would be against British territory, at Singapore perhaps, and perhaps on the Philippines or Guam ... he did not order Kimmel to take his fleet out of Pearl Harbor, out where it could defend itself ... He was completely sure the Japanese would not strike at Pearl Harbor ... Thus he completely miscalculated ... When the attack came he was appalled and frightened. He dared not give the facts to the country.
Perspective: The Road Ahead, The Freeman, Oct 1995
From Forgotten Lessons: Selected Essays of John T. Flynn, 1949; enumerates a set of principles that Flynn thought were crucial to reversing the direction the United States was in (mixing capitalism with socialism)
Since 1933 the Government has waged relentless war upon the capitalist system—at first ignorantly, but recently with a definite design to cripple and destroy it. The man who runs a business has been pilloried as a criminal, and the Government has taken measures to prevent him from accumulating those savings which make expansion possible. It has held him up to public scorn and hatred. It has taxed away his savings, and it has so choked the streams through which savings flow into investment that our system is wilting away.
The Decline of the American Republic and How to Rebuild It, 1955
Partial contents: The Tragic Retreat - Government and Freedom - Republics in History - The American Republic - The Great Depression - A New Name for Socialism - The Dark Alliance - The Assault on the Constitution - From Depression to War Room
Forgotten Lessons: Selected Essays by John T. Flynn
by John T. Flynn, Foundation for Economic Education, 1995
Partial contents: Whose Child is the NRA - The Case Against Deficit Spending - The Hand in Your Pocket - The War Boom Begins - Militarism: The New Slavery for America - Coming: A Totalitarian America - Eggheads through History - Two Rackets of the UN
ISBN 1572460156: Paperback, Foundation for Econ Education, 1st edition, 1995
While You Slept: Our Tragedy in Asia and Who Made It, 1951
Partial contents: The Red Deluge - China's Two Wars - Two Great Designs - Architects of Disaster - The Road to Korea Open - The Great Whitewash - The Pool of Poison - The Hatchet Men - Left Thunder on the Right - The Press and Pink Propaganda