August 07, 2007
The avalanche of criticism encountered by my blog concerning Ann, Rush, and the GOP’s unsuitability for combating the Left, has generated this rejoinder. One of my less than friendly critics scolds me for suggesting that I don”t see any way to create an effective Right in the US without first finding some way to dump the neoconservatives. This critic read my intention correctly. Neoconservatives have brought about not an alliance of those with shared conviction, but a takeover carried out with a club. The leaders of the “conservative movement” arrive at consensus not by talking out issues democratically but by browbeating their opposition. When that doesn”t work, they run to their friends in the liberal media and smear the dissenters as anti-Semites and racists. The behavior of David Frum, whose swinishness has become proverbial, is not atypical. Frum’s smear tactics are an extension of the ones used by an older generation of neoconservatives, who took over the American Right and then purged whomever they disliked.
Talk about “cooperating” with such types has all the plausibility of the assurances once given by pro-Communist or very naÃ¯ve Americans that Eastern Europeans after the Second World War would be able to build “democratic governments” with Soviet agents. Having researched a number of books on the postwar conservative movement, I would like to assure Cassandra (who presumably is not the daughter of Agamemnon) that neoconservatives have no desire to include paleoconservatives in a grand alliance against the “cultural Marxists.” They would like to make sure that hapless dissenters on the right suffer the fates of Sam Francis, Mel Bradford, and other victims of neoconservative outreach. At the time that the neocons went after me personally while I was under serious consideration for a professorship at Catholic University of America (in a telephone campaign that reached as far up in their chain of command as Norman Podhoretz, Thomas Pangle and Harvey Mansfield), I had hardly lifted my glove against them. What I had produced as critical commentary had been almost entirely academic. And I was known to be a sharp critic of the cultural Left, and one who had never criticized the Israeli government in print. I suppose one can”t be careful enough in setting out to please certain allies in a war against “cultural Marxists,” a term Cassandra might know that I strongly dispute in my book The Strange Death of Marxism.
Multiculturalists, if that is what “cultural Marxist” refers to, are post-Marxist radical egalitarians and universalists. They are not especially hostile to market transactions but do favor massive social engineering and an expansionist immigration policy. Although those who oppose such tendencies are called in Europe “fascists,” these opponents of multiculturalism have no more to do with interwar European fascism than the multiculturalists do with Marxist Leninism. Orthodox Communists were interested in state-socialism”and not in creating open borders for Muslim occupiers of Europe or for Latin American proletariat swarming across our Southern border. Although old-fashioned Marxist-Leninists were atheists, they felt no special animus against the Western world, until Western European neo-Marxists came along in the postwar years and preached a virulent brand of anti-colonialism. Most communist societies have jailed or killed homosexuals, as opposed to post-Marxist leftist ones which celebrate their lifestyle. Feminism, special sensitivity to non-Christian religions, and a joyous receptiveness to alternative lifestyles are all characteristics of the post-Marxist Left, but certainly not of traditional Marxists. These features are however the hallmarks of our “democratic capitalist” contemporary world, together with the availability of an increasing number of consumer goods.
In a real sense neoconservatives are the legatees of the post-Marxist Left and of the culture and society it has shaped. The neoconservatives” heroes in Europe, typified by Tony Blair, have been in the forefront of revolutionizing their country by favoring hate speech laws, encouraging the removal of Christian culture from public life, and, at least before 9/11/01, persistently ignoring or soft-pedaling anti-Christian Islamicist propaganda among Third World immigrants. A development in Europe that neocons seem to hate almost as much as Islamic excesses is white European nationalism, which they repeatedly identify with anti-Semitism and rightwing extremism. As a daily reader of the New York Post, I am struck by how often Ralph Peters, Victor Davis Hanson, and John Podhoretz attack European anti-immigrationists, and particularly the hated German ones, as impenitent fascists”or as psychos who if they were around then would have collaborated with the Nazis. The neocons have nothing to say against the post-national and multicultural Left in Europe, providing it supports their positions on Israel and their global democratic projects. But because these interests do not often mesh, the neocon press is likely to denounce Europeans as “decadent” or “anti-Semitic.” While the contrast that neoconservatives draw by what one correspondent of mine calls “their spluttering against Old Yurup” may delight some not very bright Republicans, this spluttering does not come from any recognizable Right.
Illustrative of the kind of group that neoconservative benefactors do finance and publicize in the Old World are the authors of the Euston Manifesto, drafted by among others Fred Siegel and Jeffrey Herf. This statement calls for a secular, post-Christian welfare-state Europe, which shares the Wilsonian vision of presumably all right-thinking progressives, and it invokes the traditions of the “antifascist democratic Left.” I wonder how many of my paleo critics would be happy to append their names to this document, which has been played up in Jerusalem Post and in other neoconservative-affiliated publications. I”m also not sure that much difference exists between leftist PC and European “antifascism” and the selective victimology and compulsory Martin Luther King worship that the neoconservatives have bestowed on the American Right. Although the neocons would like to place more stress on discovering and fighting anti-Semitism and a bit less on boilerplate black grievances, their worldview fits the victimological politics that has come to characterize our society since the 1960s.
Let me however reiterate that I would have nothing against cooperating with antifascist progressive global democrats on certain well-defined projects, as long as I were not forced to become a recruit in their army of zombies. Plainly neither Republicans nor movement conservative journalists have much of a problem paying that price for cooperation. Cassandra, who boldly asserts that Wilsonianism is fading from the scene without offering proof for this remarkable statement, considers my position to be unreasonable. He/she also believes that I may be exaggerating the force of the whips that the neocons have applied to our backs without being aware of how much worse the lashes might be that will come from the American Left. That is exactly the case. I couldn”t imagine that the official Left would treat us any more despicably than the unofficial Left has done.
As for Wes’s claim that I misquoted his “nuanced” views on Rush and Ann, not only has he extolled both of these worthies in my presence but fourteen years ago he organized a busload of “Dittoheads” to go to New York in order to hear Rush live. For weeks before and after this event, my colleague was oozing with enthusiasm for the conservative personality whom he could not say enough good things about. If Wes has since developed a more critical view of his once favorite postprandial listening hero, I shall take his word for this change of heart. For the sake of full disclosure, I must admit to having found Ann a fetching young lady in the early years of her TV career, and one who showed a lot of spunk. The fact that my late friend Sam Francis thought she was “a good-looking, real right-winger” allowed me to persist in my illusion longer than I should have. Ann, I have now come to believe, is a very crude Republican entertainer, although one who used to be attractive. By contrast, I could never stand Rush, who from the time of my first exposure to his surly manner made me queasy. By now I have begun to feel nausea each time that my neighbor, who is an ardent Rudy supporter, turns on Rush while doing yard work.