A writer who understands how the Left operates

I’m reading a very enjoyable novel right now that is completely tuned in to the way in which the Left operates, especially when it comes to the media and academia.

The writer is completely tuned into the name calling that substitutes for informed debate. For example, when the book’s protagonist, Paul, learns that Leftists starting submitted articles to a magazine that contained misstatements of facts in an effort to shift political sentiment (a la Climategate, although this book predates that effort), the following dialog ensues between Paul and Bill Weider, the magazine’s editor:

“But – Bill, why don’t you publish the story you told me? Just as you’ve told it to me? Let your readers know. Let the public see what is happening.”

Weidler’s frown came back. “You know what will happen? There will be a campaign against us. We’ll be called fascists, war-mongers, American imperialists, witch-hunters.”

“You’ve forgotten to add ‘hysteria-inciters,’” Paul said, smiling. “Strange how often they’ve been using hysteria recently – almost hysterically, in fact.”

On the subject of claims about hysteria, my sister, much impressed, sent me this Glenn Greenwald article deriding American hysteria about the Flaming Panties bomber.  I wrote her back that Americans would be less inclined to be hysterical if the Administration would identify and focus upon an enemy – that would be radical Islam, by the way. As long as the Administration (and this goes for the past Administration too) refuses to identify the enemy, all Americans are suspect, and all must be exposed to searches, stupid restrictions, and other limitations on civil liberties.

In a charming aside, the book tackles the root cause question. When the book’s heroine, Rona, and her sister, Peggy, talk about an unpleasant acquaintance, they have this to say:

“She isn’t a friend of yours, is she?” Peggy was now very much the elder sister.

“Not particularly,” Rona said, which was a miracle of understatement. “Scott says she’s a product of her environment,” she added.

“Strange how we never use that phrase when we are describing pleasant people,” Peggy said….

Do I need to remind you that one of the first things Obama did after the Flaming Panties bombing was to emphasize the poverty in Yemen? Yes, it’s true that poor, corrupt countries are great hosts for radical Islamists, but there is no doubt but that the bombers, whether they’re the fabulously wealthy founder of Al Qaeda, young dilettantes flying airplanes into the World Trade Center, ordinary Yorkshire youths blowing up British subways, educated psychiatrists shooting soldiers at Fort Hood, or fabulously wealthy Nigerians setting their underwear on fire are products of only one environment, one that the Left never dares to acknowledge: Islam.

Using a conversation between Paul and his friend, Jon, a professor, the writer has a long riff on the way in which the Left deliberately targets universities and newspapers – indeed, all media of mass communication – as a way in which to manipulate the public:

“You’re in education, Jon. Do you think propaganda is a powerful force? Could it be dangerous? Supposing an enemy of this country had its sympathizers carefully planted here? Supposing these propagandists were trying to infiltrate such businesses and professions as radio, the press, films, schools and colleges, the theater, publishing?”

“That’s a damned silly question,” Jon said almost angrily. “You ask how dangerous it might be?” He looked at Paul, unbelievingly, but Paul kept silent. “This is the twentieth century, with communication easier and more powerful than it’s ever been. The trouble with those who see no danger, who think we are perfectly safe if only we invent more hideous bombs is that they are still living with a nineteenth century idea of peace. Wars haven’t changed much except in bigger and better holocausts. But peace, as we are going to see it in this century, is something quite altered. A lot of new dangers are going to stay with us permanently just because we’ve invented a lot of peacetime conveniences that make life so interesting. It isn’t only armies we have to fear today: it’s words, words abused and corrupted and twisted.”

Still Paul said nothing.

“You see,” Jon went on patiently, “a hundred years ago, fewer people could read, fewer people were educated, and fewer people thought they could argue about international conditions. Also, in those days, propaganda spread more slowly and less widely. But now we’ve got a vast public who read their papers, discuss books and articles, go to the movies and the theater, listen to their radio, watch television, and send their children to schools and colleges.”

“And a public,” Paul interposed, “who have enough to do with arranging their own lives without analyzing all the things they read or hear. They’ve got to trust the honesty of those men who deal with the written or spoken word. Just as the journalist, or the movie director, or the teacher, has got to trust the honesty of the businessmen and workers whenever he buys a refrigerator or a car or a shirt. Isn’t that right?”

The above was written before the 2008 election – before the media completely abandoned its role of reporting and became an institution devoted to advocating a single party in an election. And, as Paul predicted, the public bought it hook, line and sinker, trusting as they did in the honesty of the written and spoken word pouring out over the airwaves. Nowadays, big lies get promulgated with warp speed, in myriad media, and they live forever, corrupting political discourse.

The author recognizes the way in which the Left is hostile to any wars that might conceivably advance American interests. In speaking of a college campus, she says:

“The colleges and universities were full of pickets with placards saying it was all an imperialist war. The students and faculties were deluged with leaflets denouncing war-mongers and reactionaries. Speakers were appearing on the campus, haranguing us all not to fight.”

There’s a universality to that description, since it aptly describes the Left’s anti-War tactics in 1940, 1968, 1991, 2003, and today. To the Left, the possibility of a good war, a war to maintain the line against totalitarianism and preserve freedom, is always impossible to imagine – and the easiest targets for that failure of imagination are colleges students, since it is they who must be convinced that they are fighting for something worth defending.

Speaking of fighting for something worth defending, the writer has no truck with the Leftist habit of moral relativism. Here are Rona and her boyfriend Scott having a debate about a guest at a party who Rona believes has a tiresome habit of painting everything in Left of center politics:

“His line is so old! Two years ago, or three, he could manage to get away with it. But not now.”

“What do you mean?” Scott looked across the room.

“Just that he wasn’t the least little bit the original talker he likes to imagine he is. He only succeeded in annoying most of our guests.”

“Because he thinks differently from them? Se we must all talk the same way, think the same things?”

“No, darling!” She rose and came over to him. “I don’t believe two of us in the room echoed any point of view, except in a general way – well, of believing that right is right and wrong is wrong.”

“That’s all relative,” Scott said. “Depends on each man’s frame of reference.”

“I don’t believe that,” she said, “except for the small things in life. You can find them as relative as you like. But in the big things, you’ve got to decide what is right, what is wrong. Or else you’ve no moral judgment, at all. Like Murray. He’s just a parrot, that’s all he is.”

Moral relativism, of course, is a chronic talking point for the Left, and a chronic problem for those educated and controlled by the Left. In the War against Islamists, for example, moral relativism is tightly entwined with the whole “root cause” that both the author and I mentioned above. After all, as Michael Moore said, one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. The Left never seems to understand that, while the act of fighting may be the same, the reason one fights determines whether one is morally right or wrong. Fighting for individual liberty is a good reason to fight; fighting to subjugate the world to a misogynist, homophobic, antisemitic, anti-Christian, completely totalitarian religion – well, not so good.

In the last section of the book from which I’ll quote, the writer also tackles the Left’s habit of targeting individuals by appealing to their sense of victim hood. Multiculturalism isn’t a means of preserving what’s special about a group’s ethnicity. Instead, it’s a political tool aimed at dividing Americans from each other, and making them dependent on the Left as their only savior.

While today’s victims are mostly blacks, Hispanics, gays, lesbians, women (when it’s still useful), Muslims, etc., in the book, the man targeted to be a victim who can be saved only by the Left is a Jew:

“I’ve a battle on my hands right now. They want us to keep different, and I’m telling them the hell with that, we’re Americans. That’s what we are. Stop building a wall around us, stop emphasizing differences, that’s what I keep trying to tell them. And they look at me as if I were some kind of traitor.” He looked at Jon Tyson. “But I’m building no wall, and no one is going to persuade me to do it.”

Obviously, I’ve been playing coy with you, keeping secret the book’s author, title and date of publication. Those of you who know my weakness for Helen MacInnes’ Cold War novels might already have figured out that I’m quoting from one of her books. The book in question is Neither Five Nor Three, published in 1951. It focuses on the Left’s infiltration of the media world and college campuses.

This was the beginning of the Cold War, of course, so Helen MacInnes couldn’t look ahead and realize how that infiltration would be completely successful. While we were challenging the Soviet Union abroad, it was taking over our institutions at home. And now, as Leftist Professor Ward Churchill would say, “The chickens have come home to roost.” All of the nascent tactics MacInnes described then – the moral relativism, the victim-based multiculturalism, the name-calling, the anti-Americanism – have become permanently entrenched in America’s media and education cultures. In those days, people saw these things and remarked upon them. In these days, people believe in the message and approve of the messengers.

Neither Five Nor Three Cover

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  • suek

    >>Yes, it’s true that poor, corrupt countries are great hosts for radical Islamists…>>
    The question is – which comes first …chicken or egg?  Radical Islam or poverty and corruption?
    Someone somewhere made a comment that s/he had seen it stated that all of the islamic countries combined don’t have the GDP that equals Spain – a country not exactly on the top of the list of the top ten economies in the world.    Whoever made the statement had figures to prove it – and if I ever happen by that website again, I’ll post a link…

  • Danny Lemieux

    Wow! You  had me going. I used to love reading her books as a teenager in Cold War Europe (when Europe was still relatively free). There really is nothing new under the sun, is there.

  • Charles Martel

    Islam, except in places where it has been tempered by more enlightened dispositions (Malaysia comes to mind) or more efficient thieves (the Turks) really is incapable of producing wealth. It can steal or commandeer wealth (which is why Marxists love Islam),  but it can’t actually create it.

    So poverty for the overwhelming mass of Muslims has been a given for 1,400 years. As long as Muslims did not live in direct contact with or knowledge of more advanced cultures, there wasn’t all that much to awaken their anger and envy. But oil made Muslim countries important, and the kleptocrats who rule them incredibly rich. It also made Islamia vulnerable to the realization that its civilization has utterly nothing of worth to offer the world besides oil and Iranian pistachios (and a handful of interesting lamb dishes), and that it lacks the military power to protect itself and so must seek the protection of the infidel United States. 

    That’s when poverty kicks in as a contributing factor to so-called radical Islam. Shame and dismay at being poor and puny among rich and powerful infidels soon turns into rationalizing one’s condition as being the fault of the infidels. From there it’s a quick trip to a strip joint, a hop on a plane, a quick hijack or mid-air detonation, and then blissful eternal priapism with six dozen of the dark-eyed ones in paradise.

  • Gringo

    Back in the 80s I read a number of MacInnes books. Good reads. The choice was not as clear-cut back then as some today may claim it was, just as many libs today praise Ronnie, lacking any recollection about  what they or their heroes used to say about the “amiable doofus.”  (Disclaimer: I never voted for Ronnie, voting third party both times, but grew to support his policy w regard to Central America and the “Evil Empire.” My extensive library research led me to support Reagan on Central America, in addition to my experience there.)
    My recent  retro-reading was an autobiography of Petro Grigorenko,   a Soviet General. Given his surname, I dare not say Russian. After making a speech in a party meeting warning about “cult of  personality” with regards to Kruschchev,  when he was a professor at the military academy,various cycles between working for human rights and being imprisoned in psychiatric hospitals ensued.  He ended up exiled to the US.  He made a point about the US speaking up for dissidents that ∅bama has forgotten or never learned with regard to Iran: oppressive governments can often be shamed into making concessions on human rights when powerful outsiders expose their treatment.

  • Gringo

    Suek, along that line, here is some information culled from the Arab Human Development Report, published by the UN, courtesy of World Press. This is from the 2002 AHDR. Perhaps affairs have improved since then.
    Interestingly, the report found that the total number of books translated into Arabic yearly is no more than 330, or one-fifth of those translated in a small country like Greece.
    Indeed, the total number of books translated into Arabic during the 1,000 years since the age of Caliph Al-Ma’moun [a ninth-century Arab ruler who was a patron of cultural interaction between Arab, Persian, and Greek scholars—WPR] to this day is less than those translated in Spain in one year. The report noted that Arab rulers stay in office all their lives and create dynasties that inherit power, and the peoples are unable to institute change.

    The AHDR had only Arabs working on it , so there could be no accusations of conspiracy etc. Given the Arabs’ propensity to blame others and avoid responsibility for their own failures, the bluntness of this report is amazing. ‘Tis not a breath of fresh air, but a tornado.

  • gpc31

    Charles, I might add that historically speaking, Islam is a religion of conquest, and has always viewed its rapid early spread as the proof and justification for its truth.  You put it well when speaking of modern times:  “the shame and dismay at being poor and puny among rich and powerful infidels” — a feeling that I would argue is doubly troubling to Muslims because it is an inversion of their world order as promised by the Koran.  The cognitive dissonance sticks in their craw.  The success of Israel next door is an unforgivable affront.

    The blogger “Spengler” was profound when he observed that in theological terms, the West cannot bear horror and the Islamic world cannot stand humiliation.  The Arabs seek to convert their humiliation into our horror via terrorism.   In a way it is a contest to see which side can withstand its own fears the longest.  Self-loathing leftists in the West are trying to deal with the horror of war by pretending that it doesn’t exist while trying to mollify the perceived hurt feelings of the Muslims!

    Finally, file these last few throwaway comments under “irrelevant-but-can’t-resist”.
    About the prospect of “blissful eternal priapism with six dozen of the dark-eyed ones in paradise”…it cracks me up every time I hear about the 72 virgins.   A brilliant scholar of Semetic languages, Christoph Luxenberg has tried to show that “many obscurities of the Koran disappear if we read certain words as being Syriac and not Arabic. We cannot go into the technical details of his methodology but it allows Luxenberg, to the probable horror of all Muslim males dreaming of sexual bliss in the Muslim hereafter, to conjure away the wide-eyed houris promised to the faithful in suras XLIV.54; LII.20, LV.72, and LVI.22. Luxenberg ‘s new analysis, leaning on the Hymns of Ephrem the Syrian, yields “white raisins” of “crystal clarity” rather than doe-eyed, and ever willing virgins—the houris. Luxenberg claims that the context makes it clear that it is food and drink that is being offered, and not unsullied maidens or houris.”

    One can only pray that God’s sense of wicked irony comes into play here.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Good suspense work there, Book ; )

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    If Obama was worried about poor conditions creating terrorism, he’d give his poor brother some cold hard cash, but he doesn’t, does he.
    As always, the Left are hypocrites. World wreckers that are educated in nothing but poison, deceit, and theft.