A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 14, 2016
“America is a healthy body; its resistance is its patriotism, morality and spiritual life”

Russian leader Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) is frequently credited with saying:

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

However, there is no record that Stalin ever said this. The quote was first cited in print in 1983. Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson used the quote at the end of a debate in February 2016.

Two newspaper letters to the editor in the 1980s mention conservative author W. Cleon Skousen (1913-2006) and his book The Naked Communist (1958). One letter in 1986 identified a possible source for the misquote—the Intercessors for America Newsletter,


9 February 1983, Greensboro (NC) Record, “Letters to the editor,” pg. A10, col. 6:
Stalin once said, “America is like a healthy body, and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we (communists) can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.”
(...)
H. H POWELL
Greesnboro

Google News Archive
23 November 1983, Lawrence (KS) Journal-World, “Readers respond to ‘The Day After,’” pg. 9, col. 5:
Stalin once said, “America is like a healthy body, and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality and its spiritual life. If we (communists) can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.”
(...)
Cathy Bicksler,
102 Pine Haven Ct.

22 August 1985, Kokomo IN) Tribune, “Reader letters,” pg. 5, col. 6:
Karl Marx wrote it, Lenin practiced it in his country, and Stalin organized the world. Khruschev warned us about it.—“America is a healthy country, and its resistance is threefold: it’s spiritual life, its morality, its patriotism. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within”
(...)
Gerald E. Snow,
Kokomo, Ind.

Google News Archive
23 January 1986, Observer-Reporter (Washington, PA), “Letterbox,” pg. A-4, col. 4:
Stalin once said, “America is like a healthy body, and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we (Communists) can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.”
(...)
Mary Ellen Cochran,
Washington
(Credits Dr. Cleon Skousen’s The Naked Communist and an Intercessors for America Newsletter.—ed.)

Google Groups: alt.skinheads
GOVERNORS can issue EXECUTIVE ORDERS TOO !!
Helen Rehnke
1/21/97
(...)
Stalin said, “ America is like a healthy body and its resistance is three-fold: its patriotism, its morality and its spiritual life.  If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.”

Google Books
Storm Warning:
The Coming Persecution of Christians and Traditionalists in America

By Don McAlvany
Oklahoma CIty, OK: Hearthstone Publishing
1999
Pg. 267:
Even Stalin recognized that America’s strength was in its morality, its patriotism, and its spiritual life, and that if those three areas could be subverted, that it would collapse from within.

Twitter
Z
‏@HALO_7
America’s resistance is threefold: patriotism, morality, and spiritual life. undermine these areas and America will collapse. Josef Stalin
6:42 PM - 11 Aug 2009

Snopes.com
Last updated:  1 February 2016
Claim:  Joseph Stalin described America as a healthy body with three fold resistance.
FALSE
(...)
Searching collections of Stalin’s speeches, writings, interviews, and other statements (such as the Josef Stalin Internet Archive and the University of Pennsylvania’s online library of Stalin documents) fails to turn up any reference to this quotation.

If Stalin had truly made this statement, we would expect to find references to it dating back to his lifetime. However, although Stalin died in 1953, the oldest expression of the “healthy body” quotation we’ve yet located is from 1983 (in a letter to the editor of the Lawrence Journal-World).

The Hill
February 13, 2016, 11:15 pm
Carson quote attributed to Joseph Stalin said to be apocryphal
By Katie Bo Williams
Presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson cited a quote he said was from Joseph Stalin during Saturday night’s GOP debate that appears to be apocryphal.

“Joseph Stalin said, if you want to bring America down, you have to undermine three things: our spiritual life, our patriotism and our morality,” Carson said in his closing remarks.
(...)
The misattribution appears to have originated from a Facebook post circulated at least as early as 2011, citing Stalin as saying: “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.”

CNN.com
Ben Carson’s Joseph Stalin quote distraction
By Gregory Krieg, CNN
Updated 11:22 AM ET, Sun February 14, 2016
(CNN)Ben Carson referenced a line he said came from Joseph Stalin, a quote that’s believed to have gained prominence as a conservative social media meme, during his closing statement at Saturday night’s Republican debate.

“Joseph Stalin said if you want to bring America down you have to undermine three things—our spiritual life, our patriotism, and our morality,” Carson said, puzzling some observers, who couldn’t quite place the remark.

And for good reason. The mythbusters at Snopes.com, in a recently updated review, state that the line, which Carson is reported to have used before, have little evidence to back up that it came from Stalin. The CNN Reality Check team rated its attribution to Stalin as “false.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Sunday, February 14, 2016 • Permalink