ABOUT THIS SITE
by Joel T. LeFevre
I learned of Keynes At Harvard from attorney William Flax, author of the Conservative Debate Handbook and a respected elder statesman of the Old Right Conservative school. Mr. Flax had written the Handbook over a 10-year period to help young Conservatives come up to speed quickly on a variety of issues—economic, social, constitutional; foreign and domestic—from an Old Right perspective.
Reading the Handbook was a fresh break from much that modern “mainstream” conservatism has to offer. Mr. Flax’s panoramic perspective, drawn from over 50 years of activism, brought issues into focus that I had never considered, and became a springboard for further study as well as an incentive to action. I finally made his acquaintance in 2003, and he has been my friend and mentor these years since.
High on Mr. Flax’s list of recommendations were Keynes At Harvard: Economic Deception as a Political Credo, and The Great Deceit: Social Pseudo-Sciences published in the 1960s by the Veritas Foundation, a group of disaffected Harvard alumni led by Archibald B. Roosevelt. I finally obtained a couple of beat-up copies from an online used book search.
John Taylor of Caroline had already piqued my interest in economics, but I was hardly prepared for the disturbing revelation experienced from reading Keynes At Harvard.
Like many today, awakening to the reality that the United States are on a very dangerous course, I wanted to do something. Making information such as that found in books like Keynes At Harvard available to a wider audience seemed the most important single task that one person could perform. I started by posting a series of essays by George Mason scholar R. Carter Pittman.
In 2007 I posted a full transcription of The Sovereign States: Notes of a Citizen of Virginia by James J. Kilpatrick, an excellent primer on the classical view of the State/Federal relationship, and followed up with Nine Men Against America: The Supreme Court and Its Attack on American Liberties by Rosalie M. Gordon. But I then decided to put the Sovereign States Web project on hold and focus instead on the Veritas books.
The question of publishing rights presented the only initial hurdle. Searching the Web, I found that Ludwig von Mises Institute now owned the library of Zygmund Dobbs, lead researcher for the Veritas Foundation (and its forerunner, The Alliance, Inc.) and author of Keynes At Harvard. After contacting the Mises Institute I received a call back with the name and number of the gentleman who had obtained and donated the Dobbs library to the Institute—and was informed that “he’s very anxious to speak to you.”
Leslie Hays had come across Keynes At Harvard in the mid-90s, and had been profoundly affected by its message. He too felt that this material needed to be more widely known and discussed. His interest in the book prompted him to contact author Zygmund Dobbs, then living in New York. Mr. Dobbs was delighted to speak to someone newly acquainted with his work, and a friendship developed that lasted until Mr. Dobbs’s death several months later. Mr. Hays also recorded several phone interviews with Mr. Dobbs and was thereby able to preserve some history that would otherwise have been lost.
Mr. Dobbs had long intended to reprint both Keynes At Harvard and The Great Deceit but had been prevented by the high cost of printing and binding. After his death, Mrs. Dobbs (who had done much of the work necessary to get both books in print to begin with) remained hopeful that they would be reprinted, and was concerned as well with final disposition of the Dobbs library. Mr. Hays offered to purchase the library from Mrs. Dobbs as a donation to the Mises Institute, which took place in early 1998. Included in this purchase were the rights to Keynes At Harvard and The Great Deceit.
Mr. Hays faced the same obstacle that had frustrated Mr. Dobbs—the prohibitive costs of printing and binding. Efforts to interest others in the project proved unsuccessful. These disappointments only increased his determination, and he had just begun to consider the Internet as a way to bring the books back to the public. He was enthusiastic over the approach I had taken with my previous transcription and layout efforts and gave permission to proceed.
The online version of Keynes At Harvard is adapted from the Revised and Enlarged Edition published in 1969 by Probe Research, Inc., which was the last version of the book and featured three additional chapters and a new preface. We have tried to retain a feel for the original formatting with one exception—the use of blockquotes (as were used later in The Great Deceit), which we felt enhanced onscreen readability. Several spelling and grammatical errors, most of which appear to be printing glitches, have been silently corrected for the HTML version. (An erratum sheet included in the original is also incorporated.) Otherwise, barring possible errors in transcription, the text is presented as in the original.
When I began this project, Keynes At Harvard had been out of print for nearly four decades, and used copies were often rather costly. I was not aware at the time that Stephanie Dobbs, daughter of the author, was also determined to bring this book back to the public’s attention. She contacted a gentleman in Austin, Texas, Peary Perry, through an online discussion forum, after he expressed interest in seeing the book brought back into print.
Mr. Perry had obtained a copy on the recommendation of one of his readers and wrote about it in his blog A Nation of Fools. Miss Dobbs enthusiastically endorsed his plan to bring back a facsimile reprint of Keynes At Harvard. I happened across his remarks on the book as this site was ready to post, and e-mailed to let him know of the project. I was as glad to learn of his effort as he was of mine, and he put me in touch with Miss Dobbs. She too was very pleased to see that her father’s work would be made available again both in hard copy and electronically.
So our concurrents projects have essentially converged. This site will take the lead in promoting Mr. Perry's authorized reprint, which became available in May, 2009. Copies can be obtained at www.pearyperry.com/keynesatharvard.htm. His reprint in turn provides readers with the URL of this Web site.
The HTML version serves as an introduction to the book, getting the text out on search engines and providing a searchable reference. Nevertheless, this is a separate version, and nothing will ever replace the actual book in hand. We highly recommend acquiring a copy of the printed version.
The recent candidacy of Ron Paul, and the phenomenal grassroots movement growing out of his campaign, sparked a renewed interest in economic issues among the general public. Many are learning for the first time the nature of the Federal Reserve System and the consequences of abandoning the gold standard. Now with the current economic meltdown unfolding, the role of John Maynard Keynes, and the disaster his economic theories have wrought, are also coming under greater public scrutiny.
We thus present the work of Zygmund Dobbs and the Veritas Foundation to a new generation, and hope that concerned and patriotic Americans will find it a useful tool in the struggle to preserve liberty under law in our Constitutional Republic.