“The 1960’s: Fascism Takes to the Streets”
Favorite Chapter Quote: “Western civilization was saved when the barbarians were defeated, at least temporarily, in the early 1970’s. We should be not only grateful for our slender victory but vigilant in securing it for posterity.” Pg 199
First let me say how refreshing it is to find publications which dispel the current nostalgic patina of peace and love that surrounds the sixties today. Goldberg’s chapter five does a good job of it. Another is David Horowitz and Peter Collier’s “Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts about the Sixties”. It is a gritty reminder of the bloody violence and senselessness of the domestic front in those times. Because I lived through them as well, I have developed a hearty respect for the courage of the few who stand up to the faux umbrage and petty grievances of the mob.
While I may step on a few toes here, I really don’t care. Pseudo-intellectual 18 year-olds preaching about an “immoral war” and subsequently dodging the draft make me sick. This bunch of cretins, who couldn’t even earn a living, somehow believed they had greater moral insight than the country’s leadership – people who had to sleep with their decisions. The real moral they missed was that other 18 year-olds were going, fighting and dying in their place.
Even in conservative Alabama, a Vietnam Vet speaking in our high school auditorium in ’70 was interrupted with cat calls, obscenity and rudeness by a bunch of teen-aged “protestors.” Unfortunately, I knew that bunch of potheads personally and I wasn’t impressed by them or their so-called arguments. The rest of us rushed to the stage afterwards to apologize to the officer for our fellow students’ boorish behavior. I supported the war. I appreciated what we were trying to do over there. And I was disgusted by the disrespect shown to an authentic hero by a gang of twerps whose real motivation in protesting was to save their own sorry skins.
And Goldberg confirms my suspicion that fascism was at play in the sixties as he cites and supports an analogy of the New Left at that time and the German Youth Movement of the 20’s and 30’s. On page 165 he explains that fascism is a form of youth movement. Libs loved the youth culture of JFK then and of BHO now. On the same page he states, “A sort of youthful identity politics had swept through Germany, fired by the notion that the new generation was different and better because it had been liberated from the politics of corrupt and cowardly old men and was determined to create an “authentic” new order. “Their goal,” writes John Tolan, “was to establish a youth culture for fighting the bourgeois trinity of school, home and church.” Pg 166 In other words, it was “an effort to throw off the shackles of conservatism.” Remember, conservatives are not opposed to all change, they just realize that all change is not good.
And rather than old white guys, the Jews were German students’ target, demanding that the “Aryan paragraph” barring Jews from employment be adopted by the universities. Goldberg cites studies of the time which showed that 60% of all German undergraduates were members of the Nazi Student Organization and as such supported National Socialism. The Nazi’s believed that universities should be “an empowering incubator of revolutionaries first and peddlers of abstraction a very, very distant second.” Pg 167 Only three decades later, Colombia’s Mark Rudd was declaiming that the universities’ only authentic function was “the creation and expansion of a revolutionary movement.” Pg 167 And just like Rudd’s contemporaries, earlier German students were “rebelling against the conservatism” of the older generation’s higher education and “bourgeois materialism.” Pg 168 “Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can…”
Goldberg began the chapter with an unattributed description of the violent take-over of Cornell in ’69 by the Afro-American Society (Black Nationalists), showing clearly the parallel with, say, the University of Berlin in 1932. He continues this example on pg 168 while discussing the thuggery directed at dissenting professors during both periods – classrooms barricaded or occupied, attacks on student newspapers and heckling of lecturers. I guess we don’t have to ask why David Horowitz, Ann Coulter, et al must have bodyguards when they speak on most modern campuses (Rush’s campeye, campii, campae?) while left liberal speakers do not.
Cornell’s President Perkins lame response to black radicals taunting, “the pigs are going to die” is a classic of squishy leftist wormspeak. Said he, “…there is nothing I have ever said or will ever say that is forever fixed or will not be modified by changing circumstances.” Look no further for a textbook definition of moral relativism folks. Pg 169
Sixties era black radicals’ call for “black science” and “black logic” taught by black professors is more than reminiscent of German students insisting on being taught “German science” and “German logic” – none of that Jewish stuff, don’t you know. A weak-kneed Perkins officially ushered in the age of identity politics by offering “Black Ideology” as a pay-off to the racial rabble rousers. “Diversity is now code for the immutable nature of racial identity” says Goldberg. Of course, such Nazi-esque Neo-Romanticism, “forced on [American] higher education at gunpoint, is now the height of intellectual sophistication” among the academic left. Pg 169 Such warped minds as Andrew Hacker now hold forth on “white colleges”, “white logic” and “white learning” with a straight face. Thus is the post racial conversation on race so earnestly desired by Eric Holder. Hey, I’ve got an idea. If we want to stop discriminating by race, let’s just stop discriminating by race. Naaahhh, that would never work.
Goldberg goes on to unpack the Sorelian nature of the “1960’s conjured by the popular culture.” You know, the Summer of Love, Flower Power and Honk for Whirled Peas and all that. More like, AIDS, genital warts, epidemic divorce rates, date rape, reverse discrimination, drug abuse and over-aged deaf hippies w/bald heads and grey pony-tails. Yuck. Could we please go back to the fifties?
No no, of course I don’t mean returning to the days of Jim Crow. I think civil rights was an evolution whose time had come, indeed, was long since overdue. But the flower children took entirely too much credit for it. Most civil rights legislation was passed in spite of stiff opposition by the Democrats. More Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act than Dems. It was those old white guys who passed civil rights legislation, make no mistake. And no, I’m not taking away from the courage of Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers and the rest. MLK remains one of my heroes today, despite his communism and problems with marital fidelity. He knew he would be killed for his efforts and said so many times, but he went forward anyway. He exhibited a courage the country’s pampered, over-educated, under-worked, mostly white, flower-power generation of young bearded draft-dodgers lacked.
So Goldberg goes on to contrast the pacifist image of the anti-war New Left with its’ violent reality. As long as no one was shooting back, these hippies could be quite destructive physically. While Vietnam Veterans Against the War (John Kerry’s early tool for self-aggrandizement) was discussing who they might assassinate, Black Panthers were ambushing the police and the Weathermen, Bill Ayers’ former pals, were blowing up buildings (and occasionally themselves.) Pg 171
Ayers’ father, Thomas Ayers, was a philanthropist and former Chairman and CEO of Commonwealth Edison. Wow. What a tortured background boy-Ayers must have come from! Anyway, Ayers Junior personally participated in setting off bombs at the NYC Police HQ, the Capitol Building, the Pentagon, and charmingly, a statue dedicated to police casualties. Although he later married Bernardine Dohrn, if you read any of Horowitz’s contemporary accounts, these erstwhile revolutionaries really just slept around with whoever was convenient, sometimes resulting in a rape or two of one of the lesser female lights. Oh well, it’s all for the cause, right? Viva La Revolucion! This murderous crew truly exemplifies the decade’s supposedly defining themes of Peace and Love. It makes you want to take a bath just reading about it.
On page 173, Goldberg starts on the academic/intellectual antecedents of all that “Power to the People!” garbage. (The “people” already hold the power in this country. Maybe they should have studied American history rather than Jacques Derrida.) In any event, Derrida simply introduced a term coined by Nazi ideologues to the leftist academy in 1966 at a conference at Johns Hopkins. “Deconstruction” is a tortured literary concept which suggests more than one meaning can be applied to any text, supposedly vitiating whatever received truth might otherwise obtain in a given narrative. In fact, what it became was a handy bulldozer for pushing over any ideologically inconvenient meaning or interpretation, cutting a path for pure Nietzschean “will to power” and, from there, by crushing the centuries-old core-curriculum based on Western civilization, making a short road to, “according to Derrida and his acolytes,” reason itself being a “a tool of oppression.” Pg 173
One of his acolytes was former Nazi collaborator and scribbler of anti-Semitic fascist newspaper screeds, Paul de Man. He, along with Herbert Marcuse and others, were believers in “Heidegger’s brand of existentialism,” of which deconstruction was a putrid fruit. Pgs 174-5 Marcuse served up such pithy and fantastic gems as the idea that, “’liberal tolerance’ was ‘serving the cause of oppression.’” More idiotic gibberish ensued from this font of intellectual deceit. Frantz Fanon “preached about the ‘redemptive’ power of violence.” Michel Foucault chose to be guided by the “sovereign enterprise of Unreason.” Pg 175 Foucault, BTW, celebrated the Iranian mullahs’ take-over of that country in ’79 because it represented a fifteenth-century assault on Enlightenment reason. What a putz.
Goldberg takes this opportunity to mention that “no top-tier American conservative intellectual was a devotee of Nietzsche or a serious admirer of Heidegger” (with the complex exceptions of Leo Strauss and Allan Bloom, a putative enigma far too involved to parse here.) He goes on to say that all major schools of conservative thought hark back to the heroes of the Enlightenment, John Locke, Adam Smith, Montesquieu, Burke. Further, and perhaps more importantly for our discussion, none trace back to Nazism, Nietzsche, existentialism, nihilism or even Pragmatism for the most part. Pg 175 All of this may seem irrelevant until one considers Hitler’s “revolt against reason” meme. Now, in the ivory towers of academia, various nuances could be drawn and hairs split between, say, the finer philosophical strands of Foucault and Derrida. However, in the real world they would instantly be considered distinctions without a difference and dispensed with as so much pseudo-esoteric smoke wafting up from the pointy-headed, Ivy-covered denizens of a college faculty lounge. Pg 176
The chapter’s next section is “The Action Cult”, much of which has been discussed in previous chapters. The fascists (from both the 20’s and the 60’s) didn’t care as much for strict orthodoxies as for action, more action and more action now. Hitler wanted to destroy every vestige of the bourgeoisie and replace it with the Aryan Übermensch, the new culture, new art and new religion. Hitler’s order to obliterate Paris and his standing scorched-earth policy sound eerily like the popular ‘60’s radicals’ chant of “Burn, baby, burn!” And that required men, and women, of action.
Re-reading passages depicting the “Days of Rage”, the Chicago riots of ’68, the cross-burning which set off Cornell’s take-over (later found to be a hoax – the Black Nationalists burnt it themselves,) the bombings and all the rest makes me want to retch. Nonetheless, we need not dwell on it. Brownshirts, fascist sqadristi, the SDS, the Weathermen – they all “smashed windows, destroyed property and terrorized the bourgeoisie.” Pg 177 Mussolini wrote the script himself in 1908, “…The Superman knows revolt alone. Everything that exists must be destroyed.” Pg 179 Whether it was the Nazi “Cult of the Deed”, the French fascists Action Francaise or SDS chairman Mark Rudd’s “action faction”, the historical continuity of thought and action so far portrayed by the fascist-liberal-left is undeniable.
Goldberg’s next few pages introduce several more prime time players from the ‘60’s and the gaudy, quasi-intellectual accouterments which they bandied about to justify their adolescent tantrums. Take the Port Huron Statement for example. Supposedly positing a politics of meaning, it basically highlighted the insipid musings of a bunch of affluent white kids too stupid to realize how good they had it. They were trying to recreate a “community” which already existed but which they were summarily rejecting as not worthy of them. Todd Gitlin, former SDS president, in describing the Statement, longed for, in Yale psychologist’s Kenneth Keniston’s words, “the qualities of warmth, communion, acceptedness, dependence and intimacy which existed in childhood.” Gitlin goes on, “At least for some of us, the circle evoked a more primitive fantasy of fusion with a symbolic, all enfolding mother.” Sounds like somebody has mommy issues. Pgs 180-1
A striking resemblance to hippiedom is drawn from the German Neue Schar of 1919, right down to their long-haired appearance, un-bathed odor and fondness for free-love and guitars. And out of that cultural stew came the middle-class son of a Lutheran pastor named Horst Wessel. His idealized life, if you call living in a slum (by choice) and taking up with a prostitute ideal, and death became fodder from which Joseph Goebbels created the Sorelian myth which appealed to so many of Germany’s young activists in the early thirties. Pg 184
Tom Hayden is another good example of how someone with all the middle-class advantages can turn an idealistic dream into a totalitarian nightmare. After some admirable work in the civil rights movement, his behavior became a paradigm of Rebel Without A Cause violence. His meddling led to the Newark race riots, he was involved in the occupation of Columbia University, he helped instigate the Chicago riots – well, you get the idea. He was truly, “bringing the war home.” Pg 185
Hayden and Mark Rudd, another scion of middle class privilege, became indistinguishable from common criminals, fancy Marxist sloganeering notwithstanding. (Indeed, says Goldberg, strip away all the references to Marx and Lenin and the cheap patois of 60’s era radicals is indistinguishable from Mussolini’s ranting.) These Molotov cocktail hurling community organizers truly embodied the epitome of bourgeois self-loathing. Pg 187 Of the Tate/La Bianca murders, Bernardine Dohrn enthused, “Dig It! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, they even shoved a fork into a victim’s stomach! Wild!” Pg 188 Yes, quite wild. I think yet another rebel of affluent parentage, Abbie Hoffman, summed it up well with the title of one of his books, “Revolution for the Hell of It”. Pg 189
A certain pre-occupation with “the street” seems to find currency in fascist youth cults and the 60’s were no exception. (Remember Hillary’s obsession with picking up so many votes “on the street.”) There was street theater, street protests, dancing in the street, etc. And of course, infamous SDS radical Ted Gold wanted to turn the streets of “NY into Saigon.” He got his wish when he blew himself up, along with two other erstwhile New Left “Viet Cong” in the celebrated Greenwich Village explosion while playing amateur bomb-builder. Pgs 190-1 Goldberg cites one possible motivation for the wanton violence as their need to prove they were not cowards for refusing to go to Vietnam. Pg 192 Well, sorry, I’m still not convinced. People shot back in Vietnam, accidental bombings or not.
And your standard issue, big ‘D’ liberal of the time was not nearly violent enough for the New Left. Their heroes included such luminaries as Ho, Che, Mao and Castro. Goldberg marvels at modern lefties, movie starlets and the like donning apparel advertising the image of Che Guevara, a cold-blooded, natural born killer if there ever was one. He wonders, as do I, why these counter-cultural worshipers of Che don’t also sport tee shirts emblazoned with the likeness of Heinrich Himmler. Pg 192
Moving on, violence was O.K. for these dime-store revolutionaries as long as the victim was the “Great White Oppressor.” Martin Luther King had already won the moral victory when his civil rights movement was hijacked by Stokely Carmichael’s Black Power crowd. Pg 195 Goldberg spends several pages weaving together how the Black Panther’s affinity for a Separate Nation dovetailed into “a cordial relationship” between the Nation of Islam’s Elijah Muhammad and George Lincoln Rockwell, head of the American Nazi Party. Pg 196 Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows.
With Malcolm X insisting that blacks should use “any means necessary” to overcome “the pigs” and Black Panthers marching around in military garb, the violence of the 60’s was not at all surprising. Pgs 196-7 What’s surprising is that after all we’ve learned from that ridiculous fascist nationalist mess, Eric Holder’s DOJ still refuses to prosecute modern day Panthers standing in front of voting booths in Philadelphia spouting incendiary racist cant and intimidating voters. Patriotism is not fascist, but ethnocentric movements like the Panther definitely are. Say, what happened to that “national conversation on race” Holder wanted? He called us all cowards or something, didn’t he? I guess that went the way of all hot air after Obama shot his mouth off about the “stupid” police and ended up holding his own street theater in the form of a garden beer party.
Of course, not all leftist intellectuals of the time were willing to sign off on the radical hoopla and hysteria unequivocally. Revered leftist Irving Lois Horowitz, the literary executor of C. Wright Mills, put it bluntly, “Fascism returns to the United States not as a right-wing ideology, but almost as a quasi-leftist ideology.” Peter Berger, a left-wing sociologist and Jewish refugee from Austria said that when he saw the Rudd-Gitlin-Hoffman radical movement of the 60’s he was “repeatedly reminded of the storm troopers that marched through my childhood in Europe.” He found that the themes of 60’s radicalism formed “a constellation that strikingly resembles the common core of Italian and German fascism.” pg 198
Goldberg quotes Stewart Alsop’s review of Charles Reich’s Greening of America. Says Alsop, “…surely anyone with a sense of the political realities can smell the danger that these silly…irrational people, in their cushioned isolation from reality, are bringing upon us all. The danger starts with the university, but it does not end there.” Every character we’ve mentioned who fashioned themselves as New Left Radicals had never missed a meal, had never known want, had never gone without a roof over their head.
Kind of like Hillary, another middle class acolyte of radical fascist Saul Alinsky. Or worse yet, Hussein Obama. Here’s a guy who was raised by affluent grandparents, was handed scholarships he likely didn’t deserve (we don’t know, he won’t release his university records), was given the editorship of the Harvard Law Review without having published anything significant, was awarded the Nobel prize on the basis of what I-don’t-have-the-slightest-idea-and-neither-does-anyone-else and finally, was given the presidency in a sort of “benefit of the doubt” palliation of mostly media-generated middle-class white guilt. Oh yeah, and on top of that, he had to get his street cred and ersatz “black rage” by sitting around in the church of a shameless race hustler who calls himself a man of God. Danger? You betcha. (Apologies to Sarah Palin)
Your humble servant will be too busy next week to review Chapter Six, “From Kennedy’s Myth to Johnson’s Dream: Liberal Fascism and the Cult of the State.” If nobody else reviews it, I will do so the week following.