Friday, September 18, 2009

Henry Ford: Evil Bigot

Yes, I've read Howard Zinn. Yes, I get that history is written by those with power who in turn construct myths based upon ideals that elevate their own interests and goals. But I am still at a complete loss as to why the name Henry Ford is celebrated and not vilified in American culture.

A successful captain of industry. A pioneer in transportation who changed the world. Creator of an eponymous brand that survives to this day. An innovator in business efficiency. O.k. But also a scumbag bigot.

O.k., I know Godwin's law. Yes, we carelessly and ignorantly throw around Hitler's name and call people Nazis for the dumbest things. But to say that Henry Ford was like Hitler is literally true. Hitler kept in his office a framed picture of Henry Ford. In all of Mein Kampf, there is only one American named. That American? Wait for it...

"Every year makes them more and more the controlling masters of the producers in a nation of one hundred and twenty millions only a single great man, Ford, to their fury, still maintains full independence."
"Them," of course, are the Jews. Hitler presented Ford with an award, the Verdienstkreutz des Ordens vom Deutscher Adler, the Grand Service Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle, the highest honor that could be awarded to a non-German. An award Ford proudly received.

He acquired The Dearborn Independent, a newspaper that would them give him a platform for his overtly anti-Semitic writings. He collected his hateful columns into a single volume, The International Jew. In the preface, Ford writes,
"We confidently call the reader to witness that the tone of these articles is all that it should be. The International Jew and his satellites, as the conscious enemies of all that Anglo-Saxons mean by civilization, are not spared, nor is that unthinking mass which defends anything that a Jew does, simply because it has been taught to believe that what Jewish leaders do is Jewish. Neither do these articles proceed upon a false emotion of brotherhood and apology, as if this stream of doubtful tendency in the world were only accidentally Jewish."

We know that this book was not only translated into German, but that Hitler owned a copy in which he left ample laudatory marginal notes. The Germans were the bad guys and Henry Ford objected to American entry into WWII because he supported Hitler. I know we worship money and those who gain a lot of it, but please explain to me how his name did not suffer the same fate as that of Benedict Arnold. Why do most Americans have a warm fuzzy feeling around the name of this horrible human being?