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Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Cultural Totalitarianism Of The Left

“Society is endangered not by the great profligacy of a few, but by the laxity of morals amongst all.” — Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Totalitarianism is usually associated with an omnipresent state which enchains the individual with iron manacles of edicts, orders, and regulations. The voracious appetite of government and its eager use of coercive power make citizens into slaves whose lives are the property of those who rule rather than serve the people.

This is a grim reality in most of the world. Government power is like gravity in a black hole: it relentlessly and mindlessly accumulates more and more mass over time. Moreover, because the rationale for this power is to protect the people -- and if people were doing well, that rationale would vanish -- totalitarian government makes sure that nothing it does really makes life better. So while public education is touted as a panacea for social ills, state education administrators and politicians in their pocket resist reforms which would make schools work and insist that more money and authority over the lives of our children is the policy allowed.

There is, however, another incarnation of totalitarianism, cultural totalitarianism, which is just as dangerous as government totalitarianism. We see cultural totalitarianism all the time, although it is harder for us to grasp because we assume that those cultural totalitarians are rational participants in the marketplace of goods and services. But this is not so.

A major factor of the left’s domination of the narrative is to control the culture through the media and our education systems. This all began with John Dewey, the acknowledged father of today’s progressive education industry. Dewey, like other progressive academicians of his time were followers of the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel whose historicist and idealist account of reality revolutionized European philosophy and was an important precursor to Continental philosophy and Marxism. His ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Dewey was an important early developer of the philosophy of pragmatism and one of the founders of functional psychology — moral relevance. He was a major representative of progressive education and liberalism.

In his advocacy of democracy, Dewey considered two fundamental elements — schools and civil society — as being major topics needing attention and reconstruction to encourage experimental intelligence and plurality. Dewey asserted that complete democracy was to be obtained not just by extending voting rights but also by ensuring that there exists a fully formed public opinion, accomplished by effective communication among citizens, experts, and politicians, with the latter being accountable for the policies they adopt.

While all of this may sound very utopian Dewey’s ideas when adopted by the academy resulted more in progressive indoctrination than in critical thinking — something our institutions of higher learning are dedicated to today.

In the 1930’s Dewey’s philosophy was further advanced with the influence of the Frankfurt School a Marxist think tank dedicated to a neo-Marxist interdisciplinary social theory. The school initially consisted of dissident Marxists who believed that some of Marx's followers had come to parrot a narrow selection of Marx's ideas, usually in defense of orthodox Communist parties. Meanwhile, many of these theorists believed that traditional Marxist theory could not adequately explain the turbulent and unexpected development of capitalist societies in the twentieth century. Critical of capitalism and Soviet socialism, their writings pointed to the possibility of an alternative path to social development.

Once again many members of the academy in the United States were and still are devotees of these schools believing in a socialist-based civil society and not ion the free market system. This has been the roots of the current tyranny imposed by the statist progressive-based education pervading throughout our education system today. If challenges these educators or their cronies in the media you will be labeled a troglodyte unworthy of recognition. As the great conservative writer William F. Buckley, Jr. once proclaimed:

“Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”

Two recent examples of this are from a university and a middle school. The example from the university is from a professor at the prestigious University of Southern California where a professor boldly indoctrinates his class on the evils of Conservatism and Republicans.

Click here to view the video

This is just one example of millions where the elite masterminds of academia indoctrinate the young minds paying thousands of dollars for a university education that in many cases will prove virtually worthless and not allowing any form of rebuttal their progressive rants. (The tuition at USC is about $45,000 per year)

The other example is more insidious and perhaps worse as it affects younger and more malleable minds in middle school in Racine, Wisconsin where an 8th grade crossword puzzle assignment claimed that said conservatism is for ‘restricting personal freedoms’. The Blaze reported:

“Tamra Varebrook, a Republican activist in Racine, Wis., told The Blaze on Thursday that her eighth-grade daughter showed her the crossword-style vocabulary sheet assigned to her at Union Grove Elementary School. Varebrook described the assignment as “indoctrination.”

In another example the father of a 4th grader found a hand-written note in his son’s backpack in response to a lesson on the Constitution that stated: “I am willing to give up some of my constitutional rights in order to be safer or more secure.” Once again a report in The Blaze stated:

“They’re the words that Florida father Aaron Harvey was stunned to find his fourth-grade son had written, after a lesson in school about the Constitution.

Harvey’s son attends Cedar Hills Elementary in Jacksonville, Fla. Back in January, a local attorney came in to teach the students about the Bill of Rights. But after the attorney left, fourth-grade teacher Cheryl Sabb dictated the sentence to part of the class and had them copy it down, he said.

The paper sat unnoticed in Harvey’s son’s backpack for several months until last week, when his son’s mother almost threw it away. The words caught her eye in the trash, and she showed it to Harvey, who said he was at a loss for words. He asked his son, who said Sabb had spoken the sentence out loud and told them to write it down. Harvey said he asked some of his son’s classmates and got a similar answer.”

I would remind Ms. Sabb of the words of Benjamin Franklin, whom she obviously is not familiar with, when he said: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

These examples are just a few of thousands that occur each month in the nation’s universities and K-12 public schools. This stuff goes on and on, usually without the knowledge of parents or parents who just don’t give a damn as long as the K-12 schools serve their function as a free babysitting service. This may be the plight of the low information voter.

As for the media, politicians, and government officials here are a few recent examples of the cultural intolerance of the progressive left when it comes to the Bill of Rights, especially the First Amendment:

These examples were added on April 14, 2013 to demonstrate a few of the issues I am talking about.

Many parents, with the exception of the homeschoolers, are giving up their children to a K-12 education totally imbedded with a progressive, and even socialist, agenda. Many public schools no longer teach moral or Constitutional values. They disdain any semblance of patriotism or love of county. They no longer say the Pledge of Allegiance or recite the Preamble to the Constitution as we did when I was in school back in the day. Children are not expected to excel and they are given good grades for participation rather than excellence. Of course this does not apply to all K-12 schools, but is certainly applies to many across the land. This all part of a foundation laid down years ago by the likes of John Dewey and the teachings of the Frankfurt School.

The latest example of this is the recent rant by MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry when she proclaimed that parents did not have the exclusive right to raise and educate their children — this right belonged to the community, i.e. the state. In a recent promo, MSNBC claims that investing billions more than many other industrialized nations hasn’t produced any real results because we aren’t viewing our children as community property.

In an ad on MSNBC, Harris-Perry calls for "breaking through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents." Instead, she says, we should "recognize that kids belong to whole communities."

Once upon a time, people were treated like people. Businesses didn’t have “Human Resources” departments; they had “Personnel” departments. People aren’t a resource, they’re human beings. A tree is a resource. Coal is a resource. Oil is a resource. People are individuals who have a right to be treated like people.

Apparently, MSNBC and Harris-Parry don’t believe that. They believe that children are somehow the property of the community.

“We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility,” the promo says, going on to add, “We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children. So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”

Clearly, we are entering a new phase in family breakdown. In the earlier phases, leftist policies cultivated unrestrained sexual license, abortion and single parenting. Those policies set the stage for new forms of child poverty as well as heightened social divisions along lines of race, class and sex. Their proponents, however, refrained from openly attacking the family in mass media.

Collectivists ignore a huge truth: Any child whose mother and father have committed to rearing that child together with a moral compass has already won the "lottery of birth." Those are intangibles that serve to defy poverty. Those intangibles always tend to trump material circumstances because they don't depend upon material wealth for their existence.

The left has long worked to collapse the family. This is a fact we must face. The obliteration of family influences on kids is essential to the collectivist vision of communitarianism espoused by the left.

The family serves as a buffer zone that shields individuals — particularly children — from the tentacles of its collectivist vision of centralized state power. Harris-Perry's vision is very likely in line with the agenda of Bill Ayers, founder of the Weather Underground and old colleague of President Obama's. For decades Ayres' career focus has been the transformation of K-12 education, especially early childhood education. His wife Bernadine Dohrn has specialized in family law with a strong focus on children.

This ideology has been expressed before by Hitler, Lenin, Mussolini, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Kim Il-sung, and the Jesuits.

Another aspect of the Culture Totalitarianism of the Left can be found in the entertainment and news media industries. Consider one of the most odious facilitators of cultural totalitarianism in American life: the news media. The owners and operators of these private businesses, if they acted from enlightened self-interest, the animating principle of the marketplace, ought to induce the various news corporations to compete with each other. They would seek niches of readers and audiences not served by their competitors. This would also mean exposing the blatant bias of notional rivals and offering a better "product" — that is, more reliable and objective news.

Instead, media outlets like the New York Times behave like cadres of Orwell's Inner Party in 1984, ignoring the failures of its news competitors as long as the competitors do not present genuine competition of ideas. When giant corporations behave as if they were one, then those on the left scream collusion and monopoly, but in the case of the news media, the stupefying fact that tens of millions of Americans literally never hear the different sides of social and political issues does not bother the left at all.

Perhaps more dangerous are the monopolistic practices of the left in the area of entertainment and recreation. Watch contemporary television programs or a new film or the pathetic meanderings of an establishment comic, and what do we see? There is a dull sameness to it all. The same groups who are safely mocked and the same groups made noble victims. The themes never vary, though often they are presented as revolutionary or radical or new.

In TV shows and theatrical films the bad guys are the corporations and Christian groups. On crime shows when there is a murder at an abortion clinic it is always done by some “radical” Christian group that is opposed to abortion. It’s as tough every person committed to the Constitution is a Timothy McVeigh and every person opposed to abortion is an Eric Rudolph.

A part of the Cloward-Piven Strategy is to control the narrative and dialog of the debate by constantly brining up issues that are anathema to conservatives and by using political correct terms to silence their opposition. If you are for traditional marriage between a man and a woman you are labeled as a homophobe. If you do not agree with the policies of a Black president you are called a racist. If you are pro-life you are considered anti-woman and a part of the war against women and wanting to control their bodies. If you are for the Second Amendment and against more gun control you are insensitive to killings in Tucson, Aurora, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook. If you are against illegal and uncontrolled immigration you are a xenophobe. And if you are against the welfare state you are a greedy person who does not care about his or her fellow man.

Frédéric Bastiat, French Economist said it best in his 1850 essay The Law when he stated:

"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain."

Bastiat saw arguments based on political correctness 163 years ago and predicted the damage it would cause a civil society.

To make the Cloward-Piven Strategy work the progressives needed Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. Saul Alinsky helped to establish the confrontational political tactics that characterized the 1960s and have remained central to all subsequent revolutionary movements in the United States. Obama never met Alinsky personally; the latter died when Obama was a young boy. But Obama was trained by the Alinsky-founded Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) in Chicago and worked for an affiliate of the Gamaliel Foundation, whose modus operandi for the creation of “a more just and democratic society” is rooted firmly in the Alinsky method.

In the Alinsky model, "organizing" is a euphemism for "revolution" — a wholesale revolution whose ultimate objective is the systematic acquisition of power by a purportedly oppressed segment of the population, and the radical transformation of America's social and economic structure. The goal is to foment enough public discontent, moral confusion, and outright chaos to spark the social upheaval that Marx, Engels, and Lenin predicted — a revolution whose foot soldiers view the status quo as fatally flawed and wholly unworthy of salvation. Thus, the theory goes, the people will settle for nothing less than that status quo's complete collapse — to be followed by the erection of an entirely new system upon its ruins. Toward that end, they will be apt to follow the lead of charismatic radical organizers who project an aura of confidence and vision, and who profess to clearly understand what types of societal "changes" are needed.

But Alinsky's brand of revolution was not characterized by dramatic, sweeping, overnight transformations of social institutions. As Richard Poe puts it in his book The Shadow Party, "Alinsky viewed revolution as a slow, patient process as did the Fabians. The trick was to penetrate existing institutions such as churches, unions and political parties." Alinsky advised organizers and their disciples to quietly, subtly gain influence within the decision-making ranks of these institutions, and to introduce changes from that platform. It should be noted that for several years Obama himself taught workshops on the Alinsky method.

It is Alinsky’s Rule No. 12 that is used most by the progressive left: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.” (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.) Demonization of the opposition is used almost daily in the media. Rule No. 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions works well too.

The final point of the cultural totalitarianism of the Left is the issue of abortion. No issue has torn this nation apart more in the last 40 years than the Supreme Court’s decision to restrict states from passing laws restricting abortion. Roe v. Wade has been captured by the Left as a primary issue in elections where those opposed to any form of abortion are demonized as perpetrating a war on the rights of women. Children as young as 14-years old can get an abortion at a Planned Parenthood abortion mill without their parent’s consent and in some states even notification of the parent.

The progressive left has used this issue for litmus tests on political candidates. If a candidate like Rick Santorum stands against abortion his political capital immediately drops as the media, women’s groups, teachers unions and academia begins to demonize him for his war on women. This is pure Alinsky. Even our current Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, the former Governor of Kansas, protected the abortionist Dr. George Tiller, known as "Tiller the Baby Killer", while he was performing late term abortions.

Consider the current trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell taking place in a Philadelphia courtroom where Gosnell is on trial for murder for killing live-born babies. I take the trial excerpts from the Philadelphia Inquirer rather than Hot Air so as not to be accused of using a conservative blog site. The Philadelphia Inquirer is far from a right-leaning newspaper. The PI reports:

“Ashley Baldwin, a 15-year-old sophomore at University City High School who was thinking of becoming a doctor, got a job at one of the busiest clinics in West Philadelphia. She was paid, and in no time went from answering phones to doing ultrasounds, administering intravenous medicine, and, ultimately, assisting in abortions performed by her mentor, Kermit Gosnell.

Now 22 and the mother of a 2-year-old son, Baldwin on Thursday told a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury hearing Gosnell's murder trial of her unusual hands-on medical apprenticeship.

Baldwin also told the jury about seeing at least five aborted babies20130412_inq_pgosnell12-a moving, breathing, and, in one case, "screeching" after late-term procedures at the clinic at 3801 Lancaster Ave.

In Pennsylvania, abortions are legal up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. After that, medical experts say, a fetus is capable of living outside the womb.

"They looked just like regular babies," Baldwin said.

Baldwin said one baby was so big that Gosnell joked that "this baby is going to walk me home."

She said the joke bothered her and she talked to her mother about it. Baldwin's mother, however, was also a Gosnell employee. Tina Baldwin had worked there since 2001.

Ashley Baldwin said she assisted Gosnell in abortions, applying pressure to the mother's abdomen, handing the doctor instruments and equipment.

She said she also saw Gosnell use scissors to "snip" the neck of newborns who were moving after the procedure.

Although she sometimes felt uneasy about what she saw, Baldwin said, Gosnell always had an explanation: "He told me that's how it was supposed to go."

Baldwin's tale of her teenage years in an abortion clinic was received calmly by the jury of seven women and five men who have already heard a four-week parade of horrible testimony.

Gosnell, 72, is charged with seven counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of seven infants born alive during abortions and killed by cutting their spinal cords with scissors. If the jury finds him guilty, Gosnell could be sentenced to death.

Gosnell lawyer Jack McMahon has argued that none of the infants was killed, that they were in death throes from the abortion drug Digoxin that Gosnell administered earlier.

Baldwin's testimony ended the fourth week of the trial. Testimony resumes Monday before Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart. The lawyers and witnesses are under a strict gag order.

Like other Gosnell workers, Baldwin testified that Gosnell taught her the rudiments of using an ultrasound, administering IV medicine, and some lab work. She said he told her she was working legally because, as a doctor, he had "grandfathered her in."

"We talked a lot," Baldwin said, and Gosnell gave her medical books so she could read more about what she was doing.

When it came to learning how to start an intravenous line, Baldwin said, Gosnell got a bag of saline solution and a "butterfly needle," rolled up a sleeve, and let her practice on him.

"How much training did you get?" asked Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore.

"Not much, just a little time," replied Baldwin, who described many of the procedures as "not that hard."

Baldwin said she could not remember how much she was paid. Other Gosnell workers have testified that workers were paid, under the table, $10 an hour, and $20 an hour on nights they assisted in late-term abortions.

By the time authorities raided the Women's Medical Society clinic in February 2010, Baldwin said, she had been there almost four years, and was going to school and working up to 50 hours a week, sometimes to 1 or 2 a.m.

Once, when it neared midnight, Baldwin said she told Gosnell she wanted to go home.

"It was a time when other people were leaving and he said he needed me to stay," Baldwin said.

Ashley Baldwin has not been charged with any crime. Tina Baldwin, 47, has pleaded guilty to racketeering, conspiracy, and corrupting a minor — her daughter.

Tina Baldwin also testified Thursday about working the clinic's reception desk.

Baldwin said her daughter's job was not unusual, because Gosnell often hired West Philadelphia high school students and students from his alma mater, Thomas Jefferson University.

Tina Baldwin was not asked about why she let her daughter work at the clinic. Ashley Baldwin said her mother was concerned by her late hours but deferred to her own judgment about the job's demands.

Gosnell also is charged with corrupting a minor, Ashley Baldwin, and with one count of third-degree murder in the Nov. 19, 2009, death of Karnamaya Mongar, 41, a Virginia woman allegedly killed by an overdose of Demerol by Gosnell's untrained staff.

Ashley Baldwin said she was in the clinic on the night Mongar went into cardiac arrest. She said Gosnell was pumping on Mongar's chest and called to her to plug in a defibrillator.

"I got a small shock when I plugged it in," Baldwin added. "It didn't work."

I think by now any human being reading this account of one day at this trial will be thoroughly disgusted. I can’t imagine what it is for the jurors hearing weeks of this stuff. But, that’s the problem. This goes on every day at Planned Parenthood abortion mills across the land every day and it has become so commonplace it is hardly reported. If it is reported as those young investigative reporters working with the late Andrew Breitbart did it is the reporters who are demonized or ignored by the mainstream media and the progressive lefty celebrities in Hollywood and New York.

Michael Vic received way more coverage for his dog fighting trail and PETA gets more support for their defense of catching harmless fish. Can you imagine the coverage if it were dogs? Had Kermit Gosnell killed dogs, HLN would be giving it wall to wall coverage as they do all sorts of sensational trials. Nancy Grace would be in full outrage mode every night. But this is not the case as Erick Erickson writes in Red States:

“In churches, local restaurants, and small town hair salons a lot of people across the country are talking about the terrible trial of Kermit Gosnell in Pennsylvania. It’s just not the people who interact with those who produce the news in New York City.”

It’s sad that a man who engaged in horrific acts of barbarism will never be as known to the public as Casey Anthony or George Zimmerman because Gosnell’s crime is viewed as less than a crime by the vast majority of the producers of American news and the progressive left.

It must be noted here that Kirsten Powers, a liberal contributor to Fox News stated in her column for USA Today:

“A Lexis-Nexis search shows none of the news shows on the three major national television networks has mentioned the Gosnell trial in the last three months. The exception is when Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan hijacked a segment on Meet the Press meant to foment outrage over an anti-abortion rights law in some backward red state.

The Washington Post has not published original reporting on this during the trial and The New York Times saw fit to run one original story on A-17 on the trial’s first day. They’ve been silent ever since, despite headline-worthy testimony.”

And yet, media mentions of the ongoing trial have been conspicuously few and far between. Could it be that the otherwise highly sensational story sheds just a little too much inconveniently negative light on a preferred narrative of theirs? Charles Krauthammer calls it out:

The progressive left does not want to give coverage to anything that might damage their narrative and agenda. This is the way it has been for the past 40 years and why the Cloward-Piven Strategy is working and why our progressive politicians are slowly changing the culture of the nation and destroying our Bill or Rights. Only the Third Amendment has yet to be tampered with. And when it came to academia and its progressive leanings William F. Buckley Jr. had this to say:

“I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.”

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