Letter: ‘Lenin never said it’
November 15, 2013
To the Editor:
A Lie Told Often Enough Becomes the Truth? In Dr. William Hamilton’s case (from the Sky-Hi News on Nov. 8, 2013), that is definitely true, except that Vladimir Lenin never said it. Just a little bit of research (beyond the plethora of right-wing websites that repeat this quote endlessly in attacking President Obama as a socialist) will lead you to find that the closest attribution on a similar quote is actually to Nazi Propaganda Minister Dr. Joseph Goebbels (“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,” and he was talking about Winston Churchill. President Obama seems unique among political leaders in that he is accused of being both a Nazi and a socialist by the right wing and people like Dr. Hamilton.
The other quote in Dr. Hamilton’s essay attributed to Lenin is that “Medicine is the Keystone of the Arch of Socialism.” What a coincidence that the attribution to Lenin on this quote is also untrue. This quote too is used endlessly by the right wing to attack President Obama as a socialist by comparing him to Lenin. The origins of this quote go back to March, 1951, when the public relations firm of Whitaker and Baxter was engaged by the American Medical Association (the “AMA,” who opposed even private health insurance until 1949) to fight Truman’s then-attempt at health care and insurance reform. This PR firm issued a 15-page pamphlet that used this quote for the first time. No less of an authority than the Library of Congress (at the request of Sen. James Murray, then a Democrat from Montana, who sponsored the health care reform that was being attacked by the AMA) could find any reference to Lenin (or anyone else) ever making this statement or anything similar. This kind of tactic, then and now, is instructive since Republicans like Dr. Hamilton have been attacking, and lying about, medical insurance since the 1930s and have been attacking health care reform since the 1940s when less than 10 percent of Americans had any health insurance. It is really time for these factual missteps to stop, at least weekly in the Sky-Hi News, which seems to be the ONLY publication in which “nationally syndicated columnist” William Hamilton’s opinions are actually published. There must be some more credible conservative voice in the county. Then again, maybe not.
Stephen P. Mikol