If Stalin said America is “a healthy body,” why can’t anyone find the source?


Joseph Stalin, via Chicago Boyz

Joseph Stalin would have to have been drunk to call the U.S. “healthy,” and to have complimented America’s patriotism, morality and spiritual life. Even then, it would be unlikely. Why does this quote keep circulating?

This has been floating around Tea Party and other shallow venues for a while, but I’ll wager Stalin did not say it:

“America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold:  Its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life.  If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.”

I can’t find any source for it; it’s mostly quoted on right-wing sites where people marvel over what a prophet Stalin was.  All requests for a citation in five or six different forums I’ve checked, are unanswered.  Nothing like it appears at the often-checked Wikiquote.  The Stalin Archive holds nothing close to the claimed quote.

Perhaps more telling:  Is it likely that Joe Stalin ever would have called the U.S. “a healthy body?”  Stalin was of a school that claimed capitalism was diseased, and America was infested with a soon-to-be terminal case.  If he called America “diseased” by patriotism and religion, it would be consistent with other statements, but his calling America healthy for patriotism and spiritual life, it’s inconsistent with other claims he made, about America and about capitalism (see Stalin’s 1929 remonstrance to the U.S. Communist Party, for example).

So, Dear Readers, my request to you:  Can you offer the source of this quote, Joseph Stalin or not?

Why would a false claim from Stalin get such a life on the internet?

Update, March 15, 2012:  I’m calling this one:  It’s a bogus quote.  Joseph Stalin didn’t say it.  Not as many comments here as e-mails and comments on other discussion boards and Facebook — no one has come even close to anything like the line above from Stalin.  No source quoting the line even bothers to give a decade, let alone a year, a location, and a citation that would pass muster in a sophomore high school English class.  Tea Partiers, you’ve tried to twist history again — stop it.

Update March 1, 2013: If you’re checking in here studying for a DBQ for an AP class, please tell us in comments, which AP class, and what city you’re in.  Thanks.

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16 Responses to If Stalin said America is “a healthy body,” why can’t anyone find the source?

  1. JamesK says:

    To quote: If Stalin is your hero you must be a big fan of forced famine, forced labor camps, c

    Funny, I’d argue that you conservatives think Stalin is a hero.

    After all..you’re the ones who have made this statement true:

    Everything we feared about communism…that we would lose our houses and savings and be forced to labor eternally for meager wages with no voice in the system……has come true under capitalism.

    And your party is the one willing to let people suffer and die due to hunger, homelessness and lack of health care…everyone from man, woman and child.

    Apparently the only freedom you pseudo fascists believe in is “The freedom for the middle class and the poor to die”

    Like this

  2. JamesK says:

    To quote: . . . if I don’t pay the fine I will have my assets seized, if I resist I will be arrested, if I resist arrest I will be killed. That is what the government is “giving” it’s people.

    prove where it says that in the actual law.

    And if you guys have such a problem with an insurance mandate then why in God’s name did you come up with the idea 20 years ago?

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  3. Ed Darrell says:

    At FunnyJunk, nospyonme said:

    Because to give, they must first take.

    The basis of the legal system in the United States is the threat of death. Once a law is passed, it can and will be enforced with lethal force.

    Bulls***. The founders, and all of our leaders, and our legal system, assume most people will happily comply with wise laws. Most laws cover civil matters — no criminal penalties. The vast majority of criminal laws provide fines only; a tiny portion allow jail; a minuscule portion of US criminal laws allow execution as a penalty.

    Once a law is passed, if it’s a good law, most people will simply comply, and we go happily along building a greater nation.

    If I don’t sign up at healthcare.gov I will be fined,

    If you don’t have health insurance (doesn’t have to come from healthcare.gov), you will be taxed. Not fined, taxed.

    . . . if I don’t pay the fine I will have my assets seized, if I resist I will be arrested, if I resist arrest I will be killed. That is what the government is “giving” it’s people.

    Are you in Colorado, or Washington? Man, you need to lay off the dope — your paranoia is way out of control.

    Under the Affordable Care Act, if you don’t pay the tax, you get a letter saying you owe the money. The law specifically disallows asset seizures for non-compliance; there is no criminal penalty, so you can’t be arrested.

    Clearly you don’t understand the law. Your paranoid worries run exactly the opposite of what the law says.

    Pay, or we will take from you, resist and be killed. That is what I resent.

    Ultimately, that is why I will die.

    I didn’t know you could die of Drama Queen syndrome.

    Bad news: If you’re hoping the federal agents will come kill you because you don’t sign up for ObamaCare, you’re going to be stuck on your doorstep waiting for black helicopters and SWAT teams that will never come.

    Lay off the dope for a while, see if that helps. Maybe for the rest of your life.

    (Good news is that ObamaCare covers mental illnesses, such as overpowering paranoia. You could get help under any insurance plan.)

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  4. Ed Darrell says:

    Hitler’s orders were written down — the path of his treachery is well established. Who told you otherwise?

    If you think showing hoaxes on Stalin’s views makes one a fan of Stalin, perhaps you should read some real history. Gullibility is generally the result of ignorance, but ignorance is a disease that is readily treated, with good information.

    Manners, to avoid making false accusations, may be something else.

    In the meantime, it is still true that Stalin did not say what the Tea Partiers claim. As you note, both Hitler and Stalin are known for their enormous false tales — why would anyone want to join that company?

    If you’ve got a citation, the source of Stalin saying what is alleged, provide the link. Why would you want to even be in the company of people who tell falsehoods?

    P.S. — you totally missed the point of my selection of THAT photo of Stalin? History, man. You need to read it, and study it.

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  5. shafawn says:

    Hitler had 6 million Jews murdered. Why can’t we find one single shred of evidence that he ordered even one murder? Perhaps he didn’t write it down…..

    If Stalin is your hero you must be a big fan of forced famine, forced labor camps, concentration camps and the murder of 20 million people. He made Hitler look like a chump beginner.

    Your education has extended beyond the boundaries of your intellect

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  6. Ed Darrell says:

    I mean he didn’t say it.

    When someone offers a quote from a figure in history as notorious as Joe Stalin, either the provenance is known, or it’s bogus.

    There is a Moscow snowball’s chance in Dallas in August that it’s a verifiable quote, but no more chance than that.

    Melissa, the source of the claim figures into this, too. Tea Party people are all about polemic, and not much on accuracy. If a Tea Partier claims something, you should assume most of the claim is bogus. They claim to be experts on the Constitution, but then led the national groans against the census — apparently overlooking the Constitution’s requirement that the census be taken. This is another case where the smell of error is strong. How better to indict something they don’t like than by claiming that Joe Stalin said it, you know? On the other hand, you’ll never see a Tea Partier offer Mao’s accurate quote, about political power growing out of the barrel of a gun, in their hasty and often historically wrong claims about the Second Amendment.

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  7. Melissa says:

    Pretty odd how a made up quote is implemented to pin point accuracy. Do you mean he didn’t say it? Or you don’t have it on tape? Or do you mean to say that you have all things Stalin EVER SAID and you’re able to prove he never said it?

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  8. shalivar bognasty says:

    so what if he didnt say it ? he most assuredly would have if he had thought of it. and in a way it is indeed prophetic as far as i am concerned. that is pretty much what has happened to America over the last ~50 years. who really cares where it came from or if it is totally made up to fit the circumstances. seems fairly accurate to me

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  9. Ed Darrell says:

    Thanks. Catherine Sherman called that to my attention yesterday. Entertaining stuff. Not on a scale of putting wholesale lies in the mouth of Joe Stalin to indict American politics, but interesting nevertheless. Working on it now.

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  10. Ed Darrell says:

    Brilliant! I agree. I regret the loss.

    Like this

  11. Porlock Junior says:

    Wow, I wrote a really really clever commentary on this, then put in my name and address and submitted it, forgetting that I had to LOG IN on WordPress beforehand — not that their interface mentions such a requirement — and was politely informed that I would have to log in in order to use that name. Of course, my posting was irretrievably lost.

    FYWP with a chainsaw.

    Not your fault. Mine, in fact, because I KNOW that I must always drag my draft text to a safe place before attempting to post anything anywhere, but it’s late and I didn’t. I just have to gripe when someone is wrong on the Internet — or, as in this case, right — and then my brilliant prose gets wasted. At least no one can challenge my claim that it was brilliant.

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  12. Nonstick says:

    Sounds fake.

    Like this

  13. Ed Darrell says:

    Something Stalin actually did write:

    What are these allies?

    The first ally, our principal ally, is the proletariat in the developed countries. The advanced proletariat, the proletariat in the West, is an immense force, and it is the most faithful and most important ally of our revolution and our regime. But, unfortunately, the situation, the state of the revolutionary movement in the developed capitalist countries, is such that the proletariat in the West is unable to render us direct and decisive assistance at the present moment. We have its indirect, moral support, and this is so important that its value cannot even be measured, it is inestimable. Nevertheless, it does not constitute that direct and immediate assistance that we need now.

    The second ally is the colonies, the oppressed peoples in the under-developed countries, which are oppressed by the more developed countries. Comrades, they constitute an immense reserve for our revolution. But they are very slow in getting into their stride. They are coming directly to our help, but it is evident that they will not arrive quickly. For that very reason they are unable to render us direct and immediate assistance in our work of socialist construction, of strengthening the Soviet regime, of building our socialist economy.
    [page 27]

    We have a third ally, intangible, impersonal, but for all that an extremely important one, namely, the conflicts and contradictions between the capitalist countries; they cannot be personified, but they certainly render our regime and our revolution very great support. That may seem strange, comrades, but it is a fact. Had the two chief coalitions of capitalist countries not been engaged in mortal combat during the imperialist war in 1917, had they not been clutching at each other’s throats, had they not been busy with their own affairs and unable to spare time to wage a struggle against the Soviet power, it is doubtful whether the Soviet power would have survived. The struggle, conflicts and wars between our enemies, I repeat, constitute an extremely important ally for us. But what is the situation with regard to this ally? The situation is that world capital after the war, after passing through several crises, has begun to recover. That must be admitted. The chief victor countries — Britain and America — have now acquired such strength that they have the material possibility not only of putting capital’s affairs in more or less tolerable order at home, but also of infusing new blood into France, Germany and other capitalist countries. That is one aspect of the matter. And as a result of that aspect of the matter, the contradictions between the capitalist countries are, for the time being, not developing with the same intensity as was the case immediately after the war. That is a gain for capital, and a loss for us. But this process has also another aspect, a reverse side. The reverse side is that, notwithstanding the relative stability which capital has been able to create for the time being, the contradictions at the other end of the
    page 28
    inter-relations, the contradictions between the exploiting advanced countries and the exploited backward countries, the colonies and dependent countries, are becoming sharper and deeper and are threatening to disrupt capital’s “work” from a new and “unexpected” end. The crisis in Egypt and in the Sudan — you have probably read about it in the newspapers — also a number of key points of contradiction in China, which may set the present “allies” at loggerheads and wreck the strength of capital, a new series of key points of contradiction in North Africa, where Spain is losing Morocco, towards which France is stretching out her hands, but which she will be unable to take because Britain will not permit France to gain control over Gibraltar — all these are facts which are in many ways reminiscent of the pre-war period and which are bound to imperil the “constructive work” of international capital.

    Such are the gains and losses in the total balance-sheet of the development of contradictions. But as, for the time being, capital’s gains in this sphere are bigger than its losses and as there are no grounds for expecting that armed conflicts between the capitalists will break out in the immediate future, it is evident that the situation as regards our third ally is still not what we would like it to be.

    “CONCERNING THE QUESTION OF THE PROLETARIAT AND THE PEASANTRY”
    Speech Delivered at the Thirteenth Gubernia Conference of the Moscow Organisation of the R.C.P.(B.)[15], January 27, 1925 (Marx2Mao.com/Stalin)

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  14. Ed Darrell says:

    The Internet Archive has about 14 volumes of Stalin’s collected works — I can’t find the quote there. Can you?

    http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A%22Joseph%20Stalin%22

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