We will only make our struggle against the progressive’s “hive” mentality interminable by isolating him completely from influences latent in capitalism.
My wife urged me the other day to view a documentary posted on YouTube titled Grinding America Down. It was created by U.S. Representative from Idaho Curtis Bowers, and runs about ninety minutes.
As documentaries go, it isn’t a bad production—but I had, in fact heard most of this before from sources like Glenn Beck. Bowers fills me once again with determination to track down that ancient copy of The Naked Communist (by W. Cleon Skousen) that I can remember so well from my father’s bookshelf, its bright red dust jacket branded front-and-center with a menacing male shape—almost ape-like—in black silhouette.
Yet I suspect that I would raise the same objections to the book’s thesis that I entertain concerning Bowers’ argument. The honorable representative (two words that I would seldom use together these days) has a little too much Jack Bauer in him—as does Glenn Beck, for that matter. The conspiracy that these observers discern, while both real and evil, is also less potent than they believe. True, it’s very significant that the incestuous relationship between the Communist Party, the Fabians, the Students for a Democratic Society, ACORN, the labor movement, Cass Sunstein, Saul Alinsky, Frances Fox Piven, and the Blue Jackal are so numerous and tight. What does this really prove, though, other than that most normal people find politics boring in normal times, and that the twisted little Napoleons who like nothing better than redrawing lines of global power over absinthe or weed tend to have a wallet full of membership cards in subversive organizations? The notion that a harridan of bedlam like Janet Napoletano might actually be unleashed one day to ruin thousands of lives would have been laughably far-fetched if her boss hadn’t been pulled off the streets into the White House; and her boss would never have been awakened from his sweet-smelling dreams if he hadn’t been half black; and his semi-negritude would never have been parleyed into electability if it hadn’t been for white guilt; and white guilt….
Well, it goes on and on. My point is that the Red Mouseketeers may plan street riots and palace coups all they want—but that they can do little or nothing without the collaboration of the broader culture. Even when one of them appoints his fellow megalomaniacs to positions of arbitrary power, he is enabled by accessories in high places who have decided not to oppose him for their own sordidly ambitious reasons. And where does such sordid ambition come from? From the darkest depths of the human heart. No Marxist university professor made Marco Rubio attempt to saturate the electorate with so many tribal Hispanophones that the Republican Party would be forced to make him its Fürhrer. No Communist-mole priest or preacher convinced John Boehner or Paul Ryan that the Christian thing to do was strike compromises with the Party of the Abyss. These were all good men at one point—and they were perverted by a voice originating in their own breast. Credit the campus-revolutionary types with having the preposterous arrogance to take bows for the sexual revolution and its undermining of spiritual values and the nuclear family. If you’re looking for bonafide causes, however, don’t forget the Pill. I never heard that Alger Hiss smuggled in the formula for that.
And give a dishonorable mention to Hollywood, too, for teaching young people how square parents are, how much fun promiscuous sex is, and how boldly assertive an enslavement to the senses can be… only that dog, too, will not hunt historically. You will seek in vain through the fifties and the early sixties for any screened entertainment that subverts family values, especially on television. Even at the movies, for every one Otto Preminger, there were hundreds of would-be Disneys. To be sure, the industry was awash in avant-garde chic—at beach parties and boozy soirees. Yet these people knew which side of their bread was buttered, and their profession indeed consisted of nothing so much as replicating successes, aiming for the middle, and gauging areas of maximum profit. They whored their talents to an Eisenhower America in which few of them believed. Who knows, for that matter, if their daily routine of impersonation and duplicity did not drive stars, directors, and writers to weird, wild varieties of anarchy in their private lives as a passive-aggressive kind of corrective—a ”There, take that!” middle finger lifted in a dark, empty closet?
No, I’m sorry… but these were no spearheading terrorists from a script of 24. How, then, did they dare to start grinding out garbage like Baywatch, Family Guy, and Jersey Shores? Because the great American public rewarded them for their dumpster-diving: it was all mere stimulus and response. Television, especially, introduced us to an unwholesome truth about ourselves, because the TV serial had to return each week and renew its magnetism upon the audience. We grow easily bored, unfortunately. We want the new and different, or at least the same thing pressed harder and harder until it bursts its seams. What we enjoyed yesterday is predictable and trite tomorrow. Give us something more risqué: push the envelope. Show more skin; say a new obscenity; linger over the bullet hole; turn the murderer from an armed burglar into a psychotic child-torturer. Just as we demanded that our phones connect faster and our clothes dry quicker with fewer wrinkles, so we expected our entertainment to shake up its stock genres and scenes. Communist plants at MGM didn’t do this to us. Our basic nature cracked the door; and our culture of “wait, there’s more” appetite for “new and improved” titillation—our marketplace mindset about every value’s being negotiable according to demand—lured us away from the stable tastes that real culture breeds. In an irony that now appears quite grim, the very restlessness and hunger that made American capitalism so dynamic (and which stunned Alexis de Toqueville just a few years after our Revolution) eventually threw that cracked door wide open to moral degeneracy. Marx had said that we would bring about our own ruin; but then, the Old Testament had said the same thing long before Marx. Another case of armchair radicals taking credit for the bloody obvious… and then, too, Marx was so incredibly arrogant as to suppose that his brethren would NOT prepare their own destruction.
For make no mistake: the Communists, the Fabians, the progressives,,, they WILL lose. They always have. They’re losing right now, in that their very triumphs are turning them into rapacious authoritarian hypocrites—into damned souls—before the very eyes of anyone who isn’t blind. Their faithful standard-bearers are actually chanting, “Hail, Satan!” in the streets. So much for righting wrongs, promoting charity, and all the rest of the Socialist Superman mystique. And they will never quite eradicate common decency in performing their rites to the Dark Prince. Even if they execute him who writes this essay and them who read it, the very boy behind the rifle will feel something squirming within him, and another boy who bulldozes our mass grave will decide that he has lost his last ounce of self-respect.
Yet on the day that the pendulum irresistibly begins to swing in the other direction and the butchers start to fall at their own block, their excesses will be punished with counter-excesses… and the seed of the next progressive conspiracy will have been planted.
This will go on and on unless and until we understand that every social conspiracy is truly the “insidest” of inside jobs—that we ourselves hasten it along. It wasn’t the Communist professoriate that turned my generation against capitalism; it was the sight of our fathers dragging home late every night from work they detested, growling testily at their children, speaking of retirement as of the Golden Isles, and then suffering a heart attack within a year punching their last clock. It wasn’t the Communist plants in the ministry that convinced us to ignore our immigration laws and fashion some cuddly, nursery-rhyme version of brotherhood out of canned-food drives and cots for identity thieves in the rec hall; it was our own guilt that our ridiculous salary demands were actually met and our outrageous mark-ups of merchandise actually paid by the public. The closet Communists in Hollywood didn’t teach American youth that sex is to adolescents what ice cream is to toddlers and that marriage is legal prostitution; this we learned as adolescents through simple observation of the “finer class”, where marriage was often a society-page victory lap after Jane bagged a millionaire. Lately the New Woman has decided just to make and keep her own money—a renunciation of the “prostitute” strategy all but forced upon her by the disappearance of good jobs for young males; and this, too, is not the final stage of a Betty Friedan plot nearly so much as it is the sterile fruit of bourgeois America’s equating marriage with “getting settled” materially in life.
The fatal flaw in the dynamic American middle class—as Toqueville saw long ago—is its love of the salary over the job. If we cannot live the life we love each day, then we must necessarily oppose our taste, genius, and imagination to “the job” in an adversarial fashion; and the only thing we will then draw from “the job” will be a paycheck, which we will try to increase as much as we can as fast as we can in order that we may be the sooner rid of the job forever. Yet few of us retire early even if we strike it rich. Since we hate our job, we seek solace in extravagant playthings and exotic vacations away from the job; and since these indulgences are monstrously expensive, we end up being more subjugated to our loathsome yoke than ever. And it leaks out, that introverted misery… it leaks everywhere. It pollutes our family life, it corrupts our faith, it hardens our arteries… it acidifies whatever it touches.
Frankly, I don’t know if the deadly political pendulum of post-agricultural, high-tech society—the mad race to create and acquire gizmos followed by the nausea of having eaten too much candy—can ever be stopped. It hasn’t been yet; and as long as tock succeeds tick, progressive protests will wax and wane that our life as a collective has too much disorder, is too wasteful, leaves too many with too little, and (an ironic protest in an atheist, yet true) is too cruel to the spirit. It seems to me, though, that technology might hold the key to the exit, just as it certainly holds the secret of the prison’s impenetrable walls. Why can we not use—why, indeed, have we not yet begun to use—our technical genius to liberate people from vast, impersonal workplaces where they robotically suppress their identity every day? The potential for a society of self-sufficient neighborhoods, all creating their own food and clothing and shelter and security and amusement, has never been greater since the days when every household had a gun, an axe, a plow, a cow, and a banjo; and in fact, frontier independence came at a cost from which we could easily liberate ourselves. Why, instead, is all of our technology centripetal? Why can we not grow more like the idyllic communities on a child’s train board (remember those?) instead of more like an anthill or a hive?
A great deal of the answer lies buried in the hazy but critical distinction between free enterprise and corporatism. Somehow we shall have to defeat both the Democrat and the Republican establishment—both those who lust after unlimited power and those who lust after unlimited wealth. I don’t know if we can; I don’t know how we might. But until we do, that naked ape-man silhouette will always shuttle between our bookshelves and our highest offices.