Imitation is the sincerest form of leftism

I recall almost nothing from fourth grade except my teacher assuring us that communism in the Soviet Union was not the problem. No, the problem was merely the dictatorship.

I’d like to relive the moment to ask him if we should just ankle that Nikita Khrushchev fellow pounding his shoe on the podium. He further assured us that communism ensured fairness. I guess it’s all those unpredictable dictators that scuttle the end of history. 

Where were you when President Kennedy was shot, was a dinner group challenge back in the day. I remember I was in fifth grade waiting outside the principal’s office when he, Mr. Farmer, burst through the door and shouted, “Some right winger just shot the President.” I still wonder if Mr. Farmer was disappointed by those trips Lee Harvey Oswald took to the Soviet Union.

My junior high years were maybe too calm, so my parents moved us from Los Angeles to the Midwest. In my rural high school, I viewed my “social problems” class teacher with conservative skepticism. I once pressed him on his belief in the Soviets’ good faith intentions regarding nuclear arms control. I simply asked him why we should trust the Russians. His simple response—trust is all we have. 

With Iran’s uranium enrichment in mind, leftist thinking never evolves, does it?

My conservative upbringing suffered the most in college. Professors relished describing America as jingoistic and me and several classmates as reactionary. My cousin, bless her heart, littered her conversations with both words, most likely parroting her own professors. In pre-Yelp days, if students asked whether they should take professor so-and-so’s class, the five-star advice was to just say and write what the professor wants to hear. 

To gear up for graduate school, I attended a forum for the launch of a new progressive university in Illinois. The assembled panel of faculty members took questions about what their future students could expect. Someone asked about the university’s mission. A faculty panelist had the raw audacity and appalling honesty to admit, “We came here to teach these hicks how to think.” He chuckled knowingly playing to the room. All the suddenly former Midwest hicks laughed, too. 

There is a grifter mindset in the leftists’ reliance on brazenly borrowed glibness, rhetorical flourishes and intellectual gerrymandering. When people can so easily separate the dictator from the ideology, assume and shout that Lee Harvey Oswald was a right-wing nut and spend their educational years proving they aren’t hicks by saying only what teachers want to hear, it’s so much easier to work a room filled people exactly like themselves.

Photo credit: Chris Dodds (cropped) CC BY-SA 2.0 license

Spruce Fontaine is the pen name of an artist and retired college art instructor.

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