I was alive, though young, during the so-called Vietnam Era. The ranks of the Left were swelled by the aging Baby Boomers at this time as that enormous mass of population reached voting age. Like most young people, they looked for a way to find their adult identity by taking views opposite from their parents. Since their parents had come of age during WWII (when Nazism was defeated through overseas intervention) and the opening years of the Cold War (when the spread of communism was halted through armed conflict in Korea), the BB’s were almost compelled to embrace many lefty causes and parties. And the more radical and outrageous the better since it would provide a greater cry of outrage from shocked parents. (Sort of like the role that piercings and tattoos fill today.)
The stance that many of these kids took was simple enough to be easily understood, yet nuanced enough to lend the lie that they were deep thinkers. Foreign intervention was bad, particularly in the 3rd World countries being used by the superpowers as proxy battlegrounds. Communism was good, and any reports of massacres and mass graves were dismissed as right-wing propaganda while the tales of the excesses of anti-communist dictators were repeated ad nauseum in coffee houses and campus dorm rooms.
This would pretty much have resulted in nothing more than a few elections where the Democrat candidates had an advantage, if it wasn’t for the Vietnam War. Here was a case of a bungled proxy war on foreign soil, mishandled and mismanaged from the first, providing ample grist for the Left’s media machine. Many of these young BB’s had their first taste of adult responsibility when they marched in mass protests and risked arrest. These were heady times for young people.
But the radical Left would have still lost much of its support as its core aged and gained a more balanced view of the world. The Watergate scandals killed that hope, though. Here was an American President, a conservative, elected by an overwhelming majority, who eagerly took part in criminal activity.
This had the profound effect of convincing many people involved in hard-left causes that they were RIGHT!!! There really was a vast right-wing conspiracy! It wasn’t just a paranoid theory with no basis in reality, like your parents said! There really were people working for the Republicans who sneered at the law of the land even while swearing to protect it! And the fight against such forces was the fight of the angels.
This also convinced the radical Left that they were morally superior to…well, just about anyone. They could do no wrong, nothing said was out of line, as long as they fought the good fight and stood up against The Man! And, of course, thinking about it too much would take up valuable time better spent constructing giant puppets for the next protest.
In this post I discussed an effort by the anti-American, hard-left British newspaper The Guardian. They tried to influence the upcoming American election by urging their readers to write letters and email to undecided voters in my home state of Ohio. Although the paper was very careful to never actually come out in favor of any one candidate, they published 3 letters urging the election of Kerry as examples to their readers as the correct way to get it done.
A foreign newspaper indulging in partisan politics in an American election is bad enough, but the letters are perfect examples of what I was talking about above. Arrogant, condescending, clueless. No wonder they outraged the very US voters they were trying to sway. They eventually called a halt to the project even while claiming that they were the victims of right-wing hatemongering.
This refusal to wake up and smell reality is breathtaking, but at least the Left in general and The Guardian specifically could console themselves by claiming that the methods used were peaceful, their stated purpose the lofty undertaking to save lives. The moral high ground was theirs.
In the link above, a columnist for The Guardian named Charlie Brooker openly fantasizes for a whacko assassin to rid the world of George W. Bush. Before he does so, Mr. Brooker takes the time to list how he finds Bush’s mannerisms to be annoying. The rationale, near as I can tell, seems to be that anyone who comes across so poorly during a televised debate deserves to be killed.
Of course, we’re dealing with a Brit here. He’s not an American, and he has no power to influence the election except through his writings. This might very well be why he’s so shrill and (let’s face it) insane. The article in question is an act of desperation so deep, an indication of a sense of helplessness so profound, that his loved ones should initiate a suicide watch. But it’s not like anyone with a strong stomach can’t find numerous examples from Americans that are just as bad or worse. They just don’t crop up in the mainstream press.
I’m really curious to see how this will play out in the next 30 years. It could be that the Left’s odious and repugnant message will find willing supporters in the general population and it will become mainstream once more. (In which case they’d be vindicated in their claims that the average American voter is too stupid to be trusted with democracy.) Or it could be that there’s a backlash against such violent and irrational rhetoric, and the majority of voters a generation hence will treat most of the present Left the same way they do the guys who wear tin foil hats and screech about mind-control rays from CIA satellites.
The reason why I’m speculating about the future is because I recently was engaged in a debate with someone who claimed that the Republican Party was scheming to destroy the Democrats. The only thing I could say was that, should the Democratic Party close its doors for good in the next few years, it won’t be the fault of the Republicans.