September 13, 2008
Daniel J. Flynn's A Conservative History of the American LeftBy Judith Reisman
A Conservative History of the American Left
by Daniel J. Flynn
To catch the current Obamania, we need to see its original old script. For as Daniel J. Flynn documents so brilliantly in "A Conservative History of the American Left," Obamaesqe "Change" and "Hope" rhetoric resurfaces with every generation.
Flynn's account puts the modern Obama movement in historical perspective. In fact, Chapter 21, "Meet the New Left, Same as the Old Left" introduces Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, sixties bomb-throwing fanatics from whose living room Obama recently launched his political career.
Says Flynn of these sixties "intellectuals" who now see Obama as the hoped for idol for whom they once bombed innocent people; "They dressed like Cowboys. They talked like brownshirts."
Mr. Flynn has several take-away lessons in his chronology of the American Left. First, the Old Left tried and repeatedly botched the ideas New Left radicals always see as innovative and revolutionary.
Old Leftists, largely a harmless parade of utopian, religiously based dreamers, would share the wealth, end private property, have free child care, education and health services, (no abortions) with the more hopeful and change oriented offering classless sexual hospitality.
In a "Front Page" interview, Flynn noted these communes were to be "on earth as it is in heaven,"
Kudos to Flynn for his diligent scholarship, pouring over musty, discarded books, and fading parchment paper-confessional letters and button holing graying New Leftists for first-person interviews. Wonderfully fresh, this massive tome is an imaginative, prudent critique of a belief system that shaped American history, and that no student will read elsewhere.
A spellbinding storyteller, Flynn is generally gracious and appreciative of many Old Left American reformers, finding culture heroes among the Bible wielding utopian Christian socialists, communists, prohibitionists, progressives, populists, anarchists, Wobblies, abolitionists, Suffragettes and other rebels.
Flynn's maiden chapter highlights schoolroom facts that should be known by all. In the 1620s, the Pilgrims of Plymouth colony had signed a collectivist-type contract, dictated by their British financers who thought the colony would profit if all worked as a unit. Instead, recalcitrant worker-factions were causing starvation.
Governor William Bradford, desperate to save the colony, assigned each family a parcel of private property that "made all hands very industrious." Despite this early example, "Man, again and again" says Flynn, "fell victim to the conceit of believing himself ‘wiser than God.'"
We meet a running procession of failed religious utopias, including but not limited to Labadists, Ephratans, Rappites, Zoarites, Shakers, Harmonists, Icarians, Modjeskans, Owenites, and Fourierists.
The Old American Left, says Flynn, was quoting Jesus in communal societies long before Marx was born.
The Very Big difference between later communist countries and our old American dreamers, notes Flynn, is that when early American communist communes washed out, folks just picked up their marbles and moved on.
No gulag here.
Flynn ambles through "Harmonie" (1814-1824), and "New Harmony" (1825-1829), where young children were taken from their parents "lest familial bonds corrupt the egalitarian experiment." This left those egalitarian experimenters free to sit ‘round the fire, waxing philosophical while first their crops and then their communes collapsed.
The Blithedale Romance, Nathaniel Hawthorne's dark fiction about Brook Farm (1841-1847) was one of many utopian warnings that merits classroom study.
Just so would fantasy save the world.
The "North American Phalanx," (1843 to 1855) commune disbanded after twelve years. The Oneida Community launched in 1848 lasted longest, 32 years. Founder John Humphrey Noyes, who Flynn calls "a creepy senior citizen," preached "Bible Communism" alongside "free love....obligatory, directed, monitored -- everything but free."
Careening through antebellum reformers, the sexually free Woodhull sisters and such, this delightful tutorial finds historically challenged hippies thinking they learned free sex and free living from Marx. In fact the American Left is rooted in American religious tradition and its unattainable do-gooder fantasies.
Flynn mentions that Karl Marx apparently chose the label "communism" because "socialism" was too closely associated with failed utopian Robert Owen. Marx never acknowledged the Leftists who preceded him.
Says Flynn, "Gods can't have ancestors."
Swinging Occams Razor, Flynn covers small and Great Depressions, the New Deal, minor and major civil and foreign wars, union strikes and strikebreakers, politics, the economy, health and welfare.
Rejected by an increasingly affluent American working class after World War II, Marxists turned to universities for less muscular recruits. A zoologist would energize the Left by scrapping America's protective sexual morality for a utopian sexual model.
Marxism's sexual hero, Indiana zoologist, Alfred C. Kinsey, burst on the global scene in 1948. The national press christened him "The K Bomb."
Says Flynn, "Kinsey's impact knew no bounds."
Ivy League professors immediately began teaching tomorrow's leaders that Kinsey's sexual revolution would bring heaven to earth.
Hiding his impotence, and perverse bisexual addictions (forcing his wife and others to sexually perform with and for him on camera), Kinsey's fraudulent sex data launched our legal and social sexual revolution.
Kinsey claimed infants and children enjoy "orgasms," (documented by his molesting pedophile team) thus, American children needed explicit classroom sex education.
Kinsey's child sex crimes allowed fools and fellow travelers to force feed six decades of children with promiscuous Leftist sex fallacies, eroding the family, and imperiling children and society.
Flynn gives no quarter to New Left utopians who betrayed, bombed, and murdered to hasten the coming of heaven on earth.
Flynn properly recalls that a liberal President Truman committed us to Vietnam, a moderate liberal, President Eisenhower maintained the war, a liberal President Kennedy prolonged it, and a liberal President Johnson escalated it. Inheriting a war from four presidents, President Nixon was tarred as a warmonger.
The American communist party, replanted among petulant, ahistoric white students of the New Left, was also welcomed by Huey Newton's violent Marxist/Maoist "Black Panther Party," and by the"Weathermen, a "white fighting force" that aped the Black Panthers.
The Weathermen sought a classless society, global communism and an end to US imperialism. Between 1969 and 1973, this "white fighting force" of utopians took credit for some twenty domestic bombings.
Flynn reports on panther leaders Eldridge Cleaver and Huey Newton's drug addictions, the latter shot dead in 1989 by dealer. Weatherman Abbie Hoffman committed suicide and terrorists Mark Rudd, Bernardine Dohrn, and Bill Ayers fled the law and got plumb faculty positions upon their return.
Spinning off of Flynn's book, Weatherman Ayers, now a University of Illinois Education professor, is quoted saying after the September 11 bombing, that the U.S. also conducted "comparable" acts of terror.
Professor Ayers said that targeting the Capitol, the Pentagon, federal officials, and law enforcement officers with bombs was no "big deal." He and wife Bernadine continue, unrepentant, to support the Change they hope Obama would bring about.
Flynn correctly observes that the history of the Left has been written "by partisans deeply involved in the causes they write about. This sometimes leads to historians hiding the truth rather than finding the truth."
After reading," A Conservative History of the American Left, send copies of Flynn's masterful and witty magnum opus to your college kids.
It is a great investment in their futures.