For us, the arguments against Britain’s membership of the European Union are strongly persuasive. They are political arguments: for British self-determination; for the continuation of the nation state as a good in itself; for throwing off the burden of dictatorship by corrupt bureaucrats.
But what of the economic arguments? Is it better for Britain to remain in the EU or to leave? Is it better for the world economy for Britain to be in or out?
George Freidman, who founded the private intelligence firm Stratfor, and is internationally recognized as an authority on world affairs, writes at Mauldin Economics:
In looking at Friday’s market decline, it is clear that the investment community was surprised at the outcome of the referendum in the U.K. What is most surprising is that they were surprised. There were two competing views of the EU. One view regarded the European Union as essential to British economic well-being. The other saw the European Union as a failing institution, and saw Britain being pulled down if it remained.
The European Union has been caught in long-term stagnation. Eight years after the financial crisis it is still unable to break out of it. In addition, a large swath of Europe, especially in the south, is in depression with extremely high unemployment numbers. An argument could be made that these problems will be solved in the long run and that Britain should be part of the solution for its own sake. The counterargument is that if the problems had been soluble they would have been solved years ago.
For a financial community, there is a built-in desire for predictability. It can make money in good or bad markets and economies. It has trouble making money in uncertainty. Therefore, the financial community was inherently biased toward Britain remaining in the EU because it gave them predictability. There was a subconscious assumption that everyone had the same bias toward maintaining the status quo. This was not just the view of the global financial community. It was one shared with other elites – political, journalistic, academic and the rest.
Someone I know, who has many friends in Britain, told me that she didn’t know anyone who favored a British exit. That was true. As the graduate of an elite college she is in touch with similar people around the world. This enclosure has profound social indications to consider, but in this case it created a psychological barrier to anticipating what was coming. When everyone you know thinks an idea is rubbish, it is hard to imagine that there is a majority out there that you haven’t met that doesn’t share your views.
There was also a sense of contempt for the opponents. The leaders, like UKIP leader Nigel Farage, were odd from the elite point of view. Their rhetoric was unseemly. And their followers by and large did not come from the places in London where the elite did. Their views were not the liberal, transnational views of the supporters of the EU. They led much narrower, harder lives and did not know the world as the pro-EU people did. So they were discounted. There was an expectation that the elite, who had governed Britain for so long, were dealing with an annoyance, rather than a peaceful rising against them. Thus, in spite of the polls indicating the election would be extremely close, the “remain” supporters could not believe they would lose.
The reporters of leading British media were talking to their European and American counterparts. The politicians were doing the same. And the financial community is on the phone daily with colleagues around the world.
The challenge that was posed in the U.K. referendum is present in many countries around the world, albeit in different forms.
What has become universal is the dismissive attitudes of the elite to their challengers.It is difficult for the elite to take seriously that the less educated, the less sophisticated and the less successful would take control of the situation. The French Bourbons and the Russian Romanovs had similar contempt for the crowds in the streets. They dismissed their lack of understanding and inability to act – right to the moment they burst into the palaces.
The analogy should not be overdone but also should not be dismissed. The distance between what I will call the technocratic elite and the increasingly displaced lower-middle and even middle class is becoming one of the major characteristics of our time. This elite did not expect “leave” to win because it was clear to them that the EU would work itself out. They didn’t know anyone who disagreed with them – a measure of how far out of touch they had become with the real world. And above all, they were dismissive of the kind of people who led their opponents.
Not understanding their own isolation and insularity; not grasping the different world view of “leave” supporters or that they couldn’t care less if the financial institutions of the City moved to Frankfurt; not grasping the contempt in which they were held by so many, the elite believed that “leave” could not win. …
In the end, the financial decline on Friday resulted from the lack of imagination of the elite. And it is that lack of imagination that led them to believe that the current situation could continue. That lack of imagination, the fact that the elite had no idea of what was happening beyond their circle of acquaintances, is a far greater crisis in the West than whether Britain is in the EU or even if the EU survives.
We are living in a social divide so deep that serious people of good will and a certain class have never met anyone who wants to leave the EU or who supports blocking Muslim immigration or perhaps even who will vote for Donald Trump. …
No one had the right to believe that this couldn’t happen. No one should believe that it will be confined to Britain. No one should believe that it won’t happen again. The days when the elite could assert that the EU is going to be just fine in the face of evidence to the contrary are over.
This new wave in politics, this force arising directly from the “silent majority”, is transforming the political scene not only in Europe but throughout the West.
As it is a movement that favors capitalism, it will bring greater prosperity to greater numbers of individuals if it continues to succeed. The next victory needs to be the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States.
The ruling elites will do their utmost to reverse the decision of the majority of British voters to take their country out of the corrupt dictatorship of the European Union.
So we learn from the great writer Theodore Dalrymple, whom we asked to comment on Brexit. This is what he told us:
When you read the French newspapers, which mostly air the opinion of the French political class or elite, you realise that the whole European project as they call it is about being large and powerful. It has nothing to do with the welfare of the people or even economic efficiency. It is megalomania pure and simple (and the Germans don’t want to be Germans any more). The result in Britain was a slap in the face for the elite, who never really expected it, and will now set about reversing the result. There are moves afoot to nullify the referendum.
It has yet to be revealed what moves those are. But it is a certainty that the powers, the principalities, the rulers of the darkness of this world will do their utmost not to let the British decision stand. They know that “the population got it wrong”, as Theodore Dalrymple sums up their stunningly arrogant belief.
Which side will win the battle, now growing hotter in Europe and America, between the common man and the dark powers?
Full of dread, but not devoid of hope, we back the common man.
Donald Trump’s statement on Britain’s EU referendum:
The people of the United Kingdom have exercised the sacred right of all free peoples.
They have declared their independence from the European Union, and have voted to reassert control over their own politics, borders and economy.
A Trump Administration pledges to strengthen our ties with a free and independent Britain, deepening our bonds in commerce, culture and mutual defense.
The whole world is more peaceful and stable when our two countries – and our two peoples – are united together, as they will be under a Trump Administration.
Come November, the American people will have the chance to re-declare their independence.
Americans will have a chance to vote for trade, immigration and foreign policies that put our citizens first.
They will have the chance to reject today’s rule by the global elite, and to embrace real change that delivers a government of, by and for the people.
I hope America is watching, it will soon be time to believe in America again.
While we tensely await the outcome of the British referendum which will decide whether or not the country leaves the EU (we hope it leaves*), here’s some British comedy.
PowerLine posted this clip from the marvelous British series Yes, Prime Minister.
We also pinch from PowerLine the American version of the joke about the newspapers:
The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country; the New York Times is read by people who think they ought to run the country; the New York Daily News is read by people who actually do run the country; USA Today is read by the wives of the people who run the country; the Wall Street Journal is read by people who own the country; the Los Angeles Times is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country; the New York Post is read by people who think that it is.
There is, however, no American newspaper equivalent of The Sun. It’s the one thing where Rupert Murdoch has let us down.
- Declaration of interest: Our editor-in-chief, Jillian Becker, is a member of the Council of the Freedom Association, a British organization that has been campaigning for years to bring Britain out of the European Union.
The government of the United States was intended by the Founding Fathers to be the servant of the people. But it has become the master of the people. The tyrannical master of the people.
And it is not only the statist, collectivist, Democratic administrations that have exercised and hardened the tyranny. Republicans, who oppose tyranny in principle, have done it too.
This is from PJ Media by Michael Walsh:
It was during the first Nixon administration that the hideous monstrosity of the Environmental Protection Agency came into being by executive order, along with its ugly twin, the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Seemingly innocuous and well-intentioned at the time, both agencies have metastasized, their original missions completed and now forever on the prowl for something else to meddle with. They’re both unconstitutional, of course, but what’s even worse is that they’ve turned into rogue agencies, issuing edicts, orders and regulations largely devoid of congressional scrutiny – pure instruments of executive power, with none to gainsay them. …
This week a young rancher in Wyoming, Andy Johnson, won a battle for private property rights against one of the bureaucratic entities that strikes fear in the hearts of farmers and ranchers nationwide, the Environmental Protection Agency. …
Johnson fought back against a mandate from the EPA to dismantle a pond that he had built on his own land with the required state permits. Fines totaling $16 million were imposed before they were finally overturned in the wake of his court victory. …
[He had] obtained a state permit before building the stock pond in 2012 on his sprawling nine-acre farm for a small herd of livestock. [Yet] not long after construction, the EPA threatened Johnson with civil and criminal penalties – including the threat of a $37,500-a-day fine – claiming he needed the agency’s permission before building the 40-by-300 foot pond, which is filled by a natural stream. … You can read all about the Johnson case, which ought to outrage every real American, here.
And another case:
To get an idea of just how obnoxious and intrusive these do-gooder agencies have become, get a load of this from Lou Ann Rieley, who owns a farm in Delaware:
A few years ago we received a notice that there was suspicious material piled behind our commercial poultry houses that looked like it may be illegally piled manure. Airplane surveillance photos showed large piles of material and had to be investigated by the powers-that-be. We got a letter informing us that inspectors would be coming on our farm and we could not refuse to extend our hospitality to them. We complied and they discovered, as we had told them, it was piles of dirt. Our sons were practicing moving dirt with the new front-end loader. After having gained entrance to our property they insisted on being granted complete access to every part of the farm even though there were no violations.
I looked outside one day to see two men that I did not recognize poking around our barn area. I watched them for a few minutes then went outside to question what they were doing. They informed me they were from the SPCA and had received an anonymous tip that someone in the area had a horse that was limping and it might be us. I told them there was none that I was aware of but they could look at the horses if they wished. They inspected the horses and found nothing wrong.
I asked who had made the complaint but was denied the information … I quoted the 4th Amendment to the Constitution and my right to be secure from unreasonable searches. Needless to say, that did not go over well and the investigators began to look for other things that could be violations of animal welfare since I dared to question their authority. I asked again who made the complaint that instigated their investigation and they told me that I could never know unless I was charged with something and went to court. I demanded that they charge me so I could have my day in court but they refused since they could find no violations, but not before threatening my property. These men demanded my vet records, which by law they had no right to access. It did not matter, they were the voice of government authority and I had to comply … or else.
… Faceless bureaucrats with guns arriving one fine day in order to investigate a citizen who is not even under suspicion. The Constitution doesn’t matter to them, nor do legalistic protestations, nor simple human decency. No … agents from EPA or OSHA or any other federal agency with a SWAT team (which is most of them) can simply make demands on citizens in the name of “regulations”.
This is the inevitable result of ceding representative government to cabals of empowered clerks. Recall that while Republicans talk a good game about “limited government”, in fact they’re almost as big proponents of Big Government as the Democrats, and promises to the contrary are just a ruse to sucker the rubes into voting for the junior wing of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party, so we all can pretend to believe in democracy.
But democracy is null and void in the face of faceless tyranny like the EPA, which cannot reform itself, and will never stop until it is put out of business, dismantled and its buildings pulled down around its ears.
The IRS not only penalizes conservative organizations and assists leftists, its also seizes large sums of money belonging to innocent people and keeps it.
This is from the Daily Signal, by Melissa Quinn:
For more than four years, Maryland dairy farmer Randy Sowers has been fighting the federal government, asking it to right what many say was a wrong.
In Feb. 2012, two federal agents told Sowers, who owns South Mountain Creamery in Frederick, Md. that the Internal Revenue Service [IRS] was seizing more than $60,000 from his farm’s bank account under a subset of civil forfeiture laws governing cash transactions.
According to the IRS, Sowers had committed structuring violations. Structuring is the act of making consistent cash deposits or withdrawals of under $10,000 to avoid government reporting requirements.
But the dairy farmer didn’t know he was doing anything wrong, and because Sowers and his wife sold milk at local farmer’s markets — where customers paid primarily in cash — they frequently made cash deposits into the business’s bank account.
Sowers and his wife tried to fight the government to get their money back, but ultimately decided to settle.
The IRS returned $33,436 to the Sowers and kept $29,500.
On Wednesday, Sowers and his lawyer, Robert Johnson of the Institute for Justice, will appear before a panel of lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee to detail Sowers’ lengthy battle with the federal government and discuss broader issues with how the IRS is using civil forfeiture.
“One of the main issues that’s going to come out of this hearing is the IRS still is holding tens of millions of dollars that it seized from people that it wouldn’t have seized under its policies today,” Johnson told The Daily Signal. “Those people deserve to get their money back, and Randy Sowers deserves to get his money back.” …
Civil forfeiture and structuring laws were put in place to curb drug trafficking and money laundering. However, in recent years, the government has taken money and property from innocent property owners who were never charged with a crime and were unaware they were breaking the law. …
In the last two years, the IRS and Justice Department changed their internal policies regarding structuring, allowing the agencies to pursue structuring cases only in instances where the money stems from criminal activity. Under the policy changes, a number of business owners, including Sowers, wouldn’t have had their money taken.
So a small beginning has been made to curb the arrogant powers of the IRS.
There’s still a long way to go to restore – or initiate? – government of the people, by the people, for the people.
Tiffany Gabay comments at Truth Revolt:
Film maker Ami Horowitz is perhaps best known for his college expose-videos. You might recall the one he did back in 2014 when he waved an ISIS flag at the UC Berkeley campus and students witnessing the scene were either unfazed or openly expressed support for the terror-outfit.
His latest video is just as disturbing.
Horowitz visited the campus at Portland State University where he posed as a member of Hamas raising funds to “wipe Israel off the map”.
Usually I refrain from posting these types of gotcha-videos as they can be edited to make anyone simply “look bad”. But given the egregious nature of the content here, we think it worth sharing.
Horowitz asked student passersby if they would consider donating to Hamas. He openly identified Hamas as a “terrorist” organization (in case the students were too dumb to know), and told students, at least in several cases, that their donations would fund suicide bombings and attacks on schools, cafes, houses of worship and other “soft targets”. He openly told several of the students featured that Hamas’s goal is to “wipe Israel off the map”.
Is the video edited to show instances in which students may have rejected his overtures? No doubt. But there is also ample footage showing enough students who were all too happy to reach into their pockets and support the murder of innocent Israelis, including children.
At the end of the day, Horowitz said he raised “hundreds of dollars” from these pro-Hamas students.
This is no laughing matter, because this isn’t about exposing how grotesquely ignorant students are these days. This isn’t even about their misguided politics, either.
This video illustrates how the minds of an entire generation have been completely and utterly poisoned — by the media, by Hollywood, through the words of presidential candidates (read: Bernie Sanders) and most of all by their professors.
Really consider this, for a moment. There are American students who don’t even flinch when approached by a so-called Hamas member. They don’t hesitate when told that Israel should be wiped off the map. They don’t blink an eye when told that children in schools will be murdered. In fact, they are even willing to fund such an effort.
This is anti-Semitism at its most blatant. This is utter lack of humanity. Barbarism at its basest. These students barely differ from the terrorists they openly support.
This is the left’s legacy. And once again, it is a disgrace.
We quote the whole article:
If Mitt Romney had given the speech that Donald Trump did today, and if he had followed its strategy during the third presidential debate with Obama on foreign policy, he would have won the 2012 election.
Trump’s themes were straightforward: Make America strong again, put America’s interests first. The Obama-Clinton-Kerry foreign policy has strengthened our enemies, disparaged our allies, and earned us global disrespect. It has led to disasters that include the rise of ISIS and the destabilization of the Middle East. The theme of the Obama-Clinton-Kerry years has been the weakening of America – point Trump made with maximum bite: “If President Obama’s goal had been to weaken America, he could not have done a better job.” And of course the Jeremiah Wright-Billy-Ayers-radical-Barack Obama did set out deliberately to do just that.
Obama’s agenda is American weakness, which leads to losing. Trump’s agenda: we must start winning. There were specifics.
First a rejection of the neo-conservative dream of democratizing the world, and in its place old-fashioned conservatism: limited foreign policy goals and stability, as the framework of peace: “We are getting out of the nation-building business, and instead focusing on creating stability in the world.”
And second, a rejection of liberal internationalism, and a defense of the nation state, in particular this nation state with its unique political culture: “Under a Trump Administration, no American citizen will ever again feel that their needs come second to the citizens of foreign countries. I will view the world through the clear lens of American interests. I will be America’s greatest defender and most loyal champion. We will not apologize for becoming successful again, but will instead embrace the unique heritage that makes us who we are.”
And the (accurate) justification for this nationalism: “The world is most peaceful, and most prosperous, when America is strongest.”
These were reassuring clarifications by Trump about his foreign policy views and should be a step towards satisfying his conservative critics although obviously a speech can also be only that – words to pacify critics. We’ll have to wait and see how he elaborates it further in response to specific events. But this was a very good beginning.
Our only point of criticism: Mitt Romney could not possibly have given such a speech, because Mitt Romney – as far as the American public knows – did not have these ideas.
Trump is saying now what has needed to be said for sixteen years. May he be given the opportunity to put the ideas into practice!
Here is a Christian conservative‘s statement about atheists:
It’s often remarked that atheism is simply religion by another name (as the officially atheist, now deceased Soviet Union demonstrated). Else why would atheists be so adamant and aggressive about their beliefs? Not only do they choose not to believe in God, or even a god, but they demand that their fellow citizens submit to their ideology and purge all evidence of the (Christian) religion from the public square.
The passage comes from The Devil’s Pleasure Palace by Michael Walsh.*
It may be “often remarked that atheism is simply religion by another name”, but the frequency with which the remark is passed doesn’t make it either true or intelligent. NOT believing is not believing-in-another-way, any more than NOT smoking is smoking-in-another-way.
We would agree that Communism is a kind of religion. We would also agree that the dogma of Communism often excludes belief in a divine being.(Not always.”Liberation theology” is Communism taught by Christian priests who have married St. Paul to Karl Marx.) But it does NOT follow that the non-belief is identical with the Communist faith, or is the essence of it, the vital active ingredient that generated all that was wrong with the Soviet Union.
Though all atheists might be “adamant” about their non-belief (just as all believers are adamant about their belief), very few are aggressive about it. Of the millions of non-believers in the free world, how many “demand that their fellow citizens submit to their ideology”? I’ve never met or heard of one who does. And “submit” to what “ideology”? There are some in America who demand that public displays of Christianity be removed from the public square. And a very silly demand it is too. A small number of silly atheists in America insist that if crosses or Christmas “nativity” scenes are placed on public sites, they should have the right to put some atheist symbol or tableau beside them. A symbol or tableau is then hastily invented, having meaning only for the inventors, none whatever to other atheists.
Because: Atheism is NOT a religion, or an ideology, or a system, or a tradition. It has no symbols or rituals. It has no orthodoxy or heterodoxy.
Atheism is a decision, made by individuals. A private conclusion they draw from thought. It’s a denial of dogmatic claims that they find have never been proved, seem to them unprovable, absurd on their face, and ever more absurd the more they test them against observation, experience, learning, coherence, intuition, taste, and common sense.
*Encounter Books, New York, 2015. Our quotation comes from page 136.
What is wrong with racial prejudice – before it is even acted on – is that it is a collective verdict. Individuals are seen primarily as belonging to this or that race, and the characteristics presumed to be those of the race are presumed to be those of each member of it.
To individualists, every human being is unique. Fair enough to judge him by the contents of his character (as Martin Luther King advocated), or the the contents of his mind (as we do), or his actions (as those affected by them inevitably will). He (or she, understood) may be – probably will be – first reacted to according to his perceived race, color, ethnic descent, place of origin, accent, physical build, manner and style; but to what extent do such facts about him have any significant effect on his social relationships and transactions? Impossible to know, and foolish to presume.
It is intensely unjust to select a person to be a specimen of a class and punish him for whatever its offenses are presumed to be.
It is what terrorists do when they inflict pain and death on someone because he is of this or that race, class, or occupation. In the 1970s young middle-class, affluent, educated, European terrorists seized businessmen and industrialists, held them to ransom, tortured and murdered them because they “belonged to the class” of businessmen and industrialists. The terrorists justified their actions as being blows against injustice – the injustice of racism, classism, and (especially) capitalism.
It is what Muslim terrorists do when they cut off an American’s head because he is American. And it is what Islam does perpetually to women. Muslim women are under a collective sentence of enslavement. The only thing that matters about any one of them is her sex.
It is what black racists do when they hold “whiteness” to be an offense that needs to be atoned for by every “whitey”.
It is what feminists do when they complain about “the patriarchy” and want revenge on every man for that ages-long male dominance (thanks to which we have a great civilization).
As stupid as treating others according to presumptions about their race or class or occupation, is setting oneself up as a representative of a race, or class, or country.
That is what Barack Obama does – has the breathtaking hubris to do – when he apologizes to other (often morally and culturally inferior) nations as the self-appointed spokesman for the American people, past and present, for something done that he personally disapproves of.
In all circumstances it is absurd and immoral to apologize for something you personally haven’t done. Just as it is absurd and immoral for you to forgive someone for something he did to someone else.
Obama, the Democratic Party, collectivists in general take an opposite view of course.
The Democrat-dominated government of Delaware provides a nice fresh example of this kind of nugatory group-think:
Gov. Jack Markell-D signed a resolution Wednesday apologizing for Delaware’s role in slavery and wrongs committed against blacks during the Jim Crow era. …
The resolution apologizing for slavery is a symbolic measure aimed at promoting “reconciliation and healing”. …
According to the resolution, legislatures in eight other states also have apologized for their roles in slavery.
Nationally, congressional resolutions apologizing for slavery were passed separately in the House in 2008 and the Senate the following year, but the two measures have never been reconciled into a single version to be submitted to the president for his signature.
Why not, we wonder. President Obama would sign the ridiculous thing for sure.
Today we have posted the last essay, number 18, in the series by Jillian Becker titled The Darkness of This World.
Find it in full under Pages in our margin.
Here is part of it:
America the Last Best Hope?
A multitude of enlightened Europeans cultivated reason, and built a culture that was innovative, prosperous, powerful, and humane. Other Europeans wanted to destroy all that, and succeeded. Rebels from and against the prosperous educated classes – philosophers and poets, artists and politicians – taught generations to intoxicate themselves with fantasies of destruction, spoliation, and atrocity that could, and at times did, inspire real events of vast horror, suffering, and death. From each of them Europe seemed to recover for a while. But at the time of this writing, the rebels have triumphed. The dark vision prevails. Europe is rotten. Multitudes of Europeans, seeing nothing in their culture worth preserving and no point in its survival, reluctant even to beget children, are yielding to immigrating hordes of aliens from the Third World who lust for conquest and are governed by laws devised in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula in the Dark Ages.
So must the greatness of Europe be altogether lost? Surely not! Surely in the states of America, united on Enlightenment principles of liberty, reason, tolerance, and participatory government, European civilization will be preserved and enhanced? There where every citizen is free to pursue his own happiness, to hold property securely, to have his say in a government of limited powers, the United States will continue to prosper and advance? America, it is said, is a forward-looking “can do” society – innovative, prosperous, powerful and humane. “The last best hope of earth.” [As President Lincoln said of his country in a message to Congress on 1 December, 1862.]
And for a while yet it may continue to be so. But the seed of the evil flowers of the culture – Marxism, political sadism, and most potently poisonous of all, the political philosophies of the New Left – have found as fertile soil in America as in Europe.
The mainly bourgeois “anti-bourgeois” terrorist groups that rose with the “sixty-eight” protest movement in America, did evil just as intentionally as their European counterparts. And went in for the same posturing and frivolity. The US was at war in Vietnam, and the anti-draft demonstrations on university campuses gave a serious aspect to the American rebellion, but the war and the draft were pretexts rather reasons for it, as two leaders of the young radicals, Peter Collier and David Horowitz, confessed years later in their book – the best I have found on the subject – Destructive Generation: “The war in Vietnam was a gift of chance that allowed radical leaders to convince others of a need for a social apocalypse and of the necessity for their destructive strategies.”
These authors, long since cured of the romantic radicalism of their youth, look back and “wince” at the “homemade hankerings for Armageddon”. The Sixties, they write, was a time of “monumental idealism”, when “dewy-eyed young people in the throes of a moral passion … sought only to remake the world”. They would do this by destroying “the evil empire of ‘Amerika’” and freeing “the captive peoples of the world”. It was a time, they say, “when innocence quickly became cynical “ and “when a gang of ghetto thugs like the Black Panthers might be anointed as political visionaries”.
The Black Panthers and many of the “dewy-eyed” rebels intended to do what they fully recognized as evil in pursuit of their ideals. For instance, a man known as J. J. – a member of the white middle-class group that became the terrorist organization called Weatherman and later Weather Underground – was notable for “his [drug augmented] high energy, his nonstop, almost demonic chatter, his ability to carry listeners with him by the sheer force of his words rather than their depth”. And J. J.’s idea “was not to create a perfect state operating by the clockwork principles of Marxist law but to promote a chaos that would cripple America and ultimately cast it into a receivership that would be administered by the morally superior Third World. Unafraid to pursue his theme to its logical end, J. J. would add that people shouldn’t expect the revolution to achieve a Kingdom of Freedom ; more likely, it would produce a Dark Ages.” J. J. “[laid] out the ‘White Devil’ theory of world history. ‘We’re against everything that’s “good and decent” in honky America. … We will loot and burn and destroy. We are the incubation of your mother’s nightmares!’”
As in West Germany, France and Italy, the terrorist bombers of America demanded their rights under the law that they broke, mocked, and abominated. “Despite their incessant complaints of police brutality, Sixties radicals lived for the most part in a no-fault system, demanding their constitutional rights at the same time as they were abusing and denouncing the Constitution. They knew they had the option, which many of them ultimately used, of diving back into the System [and their comfy bourgeois lives] when they tired of being extrinsic. (For this reason New Leftism, although discredited in politics, continues to thrive in the ‘academic work’ of former radicals who returned for postgraduate degrees to the universities they had earlier tried to destroy.) It was an example of the cynicism that marked the decade – counting on the fact that America was exactly the sort of flexible and forgiving society they were condemning it for failing to be.”
The evil was done not only to shock their bourgeois parents, as their drugs, promiscuous sex, and bombs were meant to do and did, but for a very much higher good, of course. The very much higher good: “social justice”; “ending oppression” in the forms of “ racism”, “sexism”, “homophobia”, “classism”, “imperialism”, “colonialism”; all of which required the destruction of “the capitalist system”.
Most of them did not, however, describe themselves as Communists. Without reading the works of Marx, or of Marxists, Trotskyites, or New Left political philosophers, they all – in harmony with their European counterparts – looked forward to a political apocalypse; a revolution that they considered themselves to be hastening, that would change everything and replace the earthly Hell of oppression and social injustice with a Heaven of … something yet to be defined.
Collier and Horowitz write of “the decade’s transcendental conviction that there was something apocalyptic lurking behind the veil of the ordinary, and that just a little more pressure was needed to pierce the last remaining membrane – of civility, bourgeois consciousness, corporate liberalism, sexual uptightness, or whatever else prevented us all from breaking through to the other side”. And: “Again it was that hunger to reach the apocalypse just beyond, the essential act that would make them real revolutionaries.” And “the Weatherpeople, like all parvenus, spent considerable time working on a genealogy that would connect them with noble [sic] forbears: Russian narodniki and European anarchists, Cuban fidelistas and Vietnamese guerrillas.”
A work of fiction that impressively conveys the real evil of the 60s rebels is American Pastoral by Philip Roth. A percipient discussion of it and the issues it raised was published in Commentary magazine by Carol Iannone. I summarize the plot and quote her most illuminating comments relevant to my theme:
An only child – cheerful, affectionate, charming as a little girl – of a business man who in his youth had been an athlete and a Marine, and his beauty queen wife, grows up to be “overtaken by the 60s”, sets a bomb in a post office and kills a local doctor. She goes underground and kills three more people in another bombing.
“In his manly way” (Carol Iannone writes) the father “ tries to see where his own responsibility lies for what has happened to his much loved daughter … only to be forced again and again to confront the blazing chaotic irrationality of it all. What he cannot understand … is her hatred of America. ‘How could she “hate” this country when she had no conception of this country? How could a child of his be so blind as to revile the “rotten system” that had given her own family every opportunity to succeed? To revile her “capitalist” parents as though their wealth were the product of anything other than the unstinting industry of three generations …’”
“The 60s, in brief, are not just about the bomber young and their war with ‘Amerika’; in the 60s, ‘the indigenous American berserk’, have entered the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, touching everything and everyone with their ‘mockery of human integrity, every ethical obligation destroyed’.”
It entered the academies, and through them the mind of the nation, until the counter-culture has become The Culture. Collier and Horowitz write: “[N]owhere is the entrenchment of the Sixties mentality more complete or more destructive than in the university. That the Left should now dominate the academy involves a savage irony, of course. It was only after failing in their intent to burn down the university in the Sixties that radicals decided to get on the tenure track in the Seventies. Unimpeded in their long march through these institutions by fair-minded centrists of the sort they themselves now refuse to hire, these Leftists have brought a postmodern Dark Age to higher education – “deconstructing” objective truths to pave the way for chic academic nihilism: creating a curriculum of contempt for American history and culture; and transforming many classrooms into chambers of inquisition and indoctrination.”
The demonic achievements of the rebels were crowned by the election, in 2008, to the presidency of the United States of one of their own: Barack Hussein Obama, the son of a 60s counter-culturist mother and an African father who was both a Communist and a Muslim; and was associated eventually in the son’s mind with “colonial and imperial oppression” of his ancestral land, Kenya, when it was under British rule.
President Obama acceded to the White House with all his ideological baggage intact: the credo of the New Left plus admiration of Islam. And this at a time when Islam was becoming the main enemy of the Western world, practicing terrorism on a large scale, waging open warfare in the Middle East, and launching a migrant invasion of Europe that European governments allowed, encouraged, and all too willingly submitted to. Obama’s policies facilitated the European calamity, and he took steps to help Islamic Iran, which constantly reiterates its intention to destroy America and conquer the non-Muslim world, to become a nuclear power. He has lowered America in the eyes of the world. He and his minions treat the Constitution with contempt.
In the universities the counter-culture has become the orthodoxy. A majority of instructors indoctrinate students rather than educate them, teaching them what to think rather than how to think. Some Leftist representatives in Congress have passed a resolution to curb free speech. And the spirit of free enterprise, which made America rich and mighty, has been all but crushed by tyrannical regulation. Wealth has been taken from those who have earned it and given to those who have not. In short, the New Left has triumphed – though without attaining its heaven on earth.
Can the harm it has done be undone? At present the dark stream of unreason flows strongly. The resistance to it should be the vigorous self-interest inherent in human nature, the desire in most of us to succeed; and the lure of science, technology, all they give us for the betterment of our lives. Only as long as free personal endeavor and innovation continue to characterize America, will there be hope – if not the last, certainly the best – for our splendid civilization to survive in this, our only world.