In 2008, Mark Skousen invited two men to speak at Freedom Fest, his annual conference: Larry Abraham and Marshall Fritz. Both men were dying. Both knew it. Abraham could not attend, but his daughter helped produce a video of the speech. He lived only long enough to view it. Fritz was the founder of the Alliance for the Separation of School and State, a worthy organization dedicated to a worthy cause. He lived for four more months.
What if you knew you had only days to live? What would you want to say for posterity? You should not expect more than a few people to watch a video for more than an hour. Half an hour would be better. The shorter the video, the larger the audience. But you would not consider two minutes, I think -- except as a promo. You cannot get much of a message across in two minutes.
These two videos made it onto C-Span, which was a good thing. They cannot be embedded, which is a bad thing. You can view the 45-minute video here.
I knew Abraham well. Before he died, we made an agreement. I would take over the fulfillment of his subscription obligations for Insider's Report. The subscribers would receive my monthly Remnant Review. (I still publish it on this site.)
In 1985, we co-authored an update of the book he co-authored, None Dare Call It Conspiracy (1971). He and Gary Allen wrote the original hardback edition. Larry and I wrote Call It Conspiracy. I wrote the Introduction and the Epilogue. His section of the book was based heavily on Carroll Quigley's Tragedy and Hope (Macmillan, 1966). Quigley taught Bill Clinton history at Georgetown, a fact that Clinton mentioned in his 1992 acceptance speech and also in his autobiography. There is a YouTube video of an interview with Quigley about Macmillan's suppression of the book. At the end of the interview, he mentions a radio show he did with Allen and Abraham. He did not think Allen knew "up from down," but he praised Abraham as an "immensely well-informed" researcher on the influence of the large corporations in American political and economic life. (Video, at 46 minutes.)
Abraham's last speech was on the power of ideas. He spoke of how he began in the 1960s, when the United Nations Organization -- he used the full term -- and the United States government supported the Marxist revolutionary Patrice Lumumba against Moise Tshombe in Katanga, in what had been the Belgian Congo. That set him on his path of investigating the leftist roots of American foreign policy.
He made this point: Mao was wrong when he said that all power grows out of the barrel of a gun. The power of ideas is greater. He also mentioned the example of the Italian Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci, who concluded in the 1920s that Communism had lost in the West. There would be no proletarian revolution unless the Communists could first undermine the West's culture. Gramsci was correct.
What Gramsci did not see is that the Communists would run out of gas before the West did. Their fervor died. Larry lived long enough to see this. It cheered him immensely, as he said.
Note: Gramsci ceased being a Marxist as soon as he adopted his theory. Marx was adamant: ideas are the superstructure of society that reflects the true basis of social change: the mode of production. The mode of production is the substructure: the foundation. It is what matters. He was wrong. In effect, Gramsci adopted this tactic: in order to give Communism final victory, he had to destroy Communists' faith in its theoretical foundation. He never said publicly that this was what he was doing, but it was.
Larry spoke of China. There, the ideas of liberty are spreading. He said he would not have believed this when he began in the 1960s. None of us old-timers did. I started in 1956 as an anti-Communist. We surely did not see this coming.
He believed that we live in a better world today than we did in the 1960s. That was his message in his last speech. It was a call to action, but a well-informed action. It was action based on long term optimism, which in turn was based on the righteousness of our cause. He believed that right makes might. Power does not grow out of the barrel of a gun.
For those of us who knew him, it is depressing to see his weakness. Watch two minutes of what he was capable of doing just one year earlier. Here, he was introduced by George Gilder.
Marshall Fritz had a similar message: the power of ideas. When he began his organization, the separation of school and state was not conceivable for most people. It is growing in popularity today. I see this as the central battle ideologically in the USA. Voltaire saw his battles as being anti-priestly. So are mine. The difference is, the priesthood is different today. In Voltaire's day and location, it was the Roman Catholic Church. Fritz and Abraham were Catholics. They lived long enough to see the French Revolution and its spiritual legacy, the USSR, fall. Then what is the new priesthood? The tax-funded priesthood of public school instructors. I wrote about this earlier this week: http://www.garynorth.com/public/10208.cfm.
You should think about your last speech. Then, at some point, you should record it. Have your heirs post it on YouTube.