March 23, 2019

The Goal of the Democratic Party: Overthrow of ‘The System’

The Democratic Party has morphed over time from being a party that was pro-labor; anti-greed; and, via the New Deal, a supporter of demand-side Keynesian economics to being the party that is against “The System” and anti-capitalist.  Instead of upholding national goals and national identity, it has taken the side of tribalism, where identity politics is the end-all and be-all.

The epicenter of this shift from being progressive or liberal to being neo-Marxist, neo-fascist, and subversive of too many established social, political, and economic norms began in the 1960s.  Conceptual and practical shifts, especially in the philosophy of education, merged with other developments both in the anti-Vietnam War movement and in the burgeoning drug culture.

During the sixties, Jonathan Kozol came out with a book Death at An Early Age, about his experiences teaching for one year in the Boston public schools.  His conclusion was that much more money had to be spent to uplift the schools.  This philosophy – if you can even call it a philosophy – became his personal hobby horse for decades.  And it still is a mantra among liberal circles, only now liberals have morphed into a radicalized leftist agenda that goes a lot farther than the liberals of that earlier period.  Throwing excessive amounts of money at social and economic problems has become a norm – and it has not worked.

Kozol’s call for reform became hooked into the human potential movement and built on the idea that a different attitude toward and relationship between the teacher and student could get results that “traditional education” could not attain.  So these two streams – throwing more money at the schools via per pupil expenditures and tinkering with traditional teaching modalities – began to merge.  Howard Gardner’s “multiple intelligences” found traction despite the lack of studies supporting it, and the realistic understanding that some people were smarter than others was gradually diluted by the centrality of self-esteem and need for more “cooperative learning” (presumably opposed to traditional “competitive learning”).

Fritz Perls was a leading spokesman for gestalt learning.  Here, the idea was to get away from discrete facts, and to develop our capacity to see reality as a whole rather than in a factual and limited way.  He succeeded marvelously.  There are now millions of students in high schools and colleges who will tell you that whites, especially white males, are inherently racist.  Ask them how they know this, and they will only be too happy to tell you: look how Columbus treated the Indians, and we had slavery for hundreds of years.  That’s gestalt!

Then throw into the mix the anti-authority and anti-American pounding the left was giving the USA during the Vietnam War.  This played on the fear of high school students in particular of being drafted into the army and being sent to risk their lives in the jungles of Vietnam.  Their basic fear – or shall we say unpatriotic cowardice? – now became rationalized as a righteous antagonism against a wicked, self-serving government.  The antiwar advocates portrayed the “hawks” of both parties as people whose irrational anti-communist agenda had caused them to lose perspective.

SDS and other antiwar groups claimed that the power-trippers of both parties were so obsessed with their rigid and irrational anti-communism that they ignored the legitimate need of the Vietnam people for unity and for self-governance after years of colonial subservience to the French.  For SDS and other activist groups, communism was not the threat our pro-war leaders proposed; instead, we had to recognize that Ho Chi Minh was a national hero of the Vietnamese people who had their best interest in mind.  Communism is just another name for freedom in the Vietnamese context, and not the political bogeyman our warlords were trying to make it.

From being the heroic saviors of Europe in WWII and of Korea in the early fifties, we found ourselves internally being portrayed by the antiwar militants as demonic exploiters of the Vietnamese people and a force for no good in Southeast Asia.

Thus, as noted, liberal blame of our educational institutions for student failure to learn, and blame of society for its unwillingness to sufficiently support education, expanded to connect with the human potential movement.  Then those two streams intersected with the intense anti-authority stream of the antiwar movement.  These three streams in turn converged with a fourth that also began in the 1960s – namely, the counter-culture embrace of the expanding drug culture.  In that culture, not only was “weed” king, but a new hallucinogenic drug, LSD, was being used by increasing numbers of high school students, as well as college undergraduates and graduate students.

Use of this drug was promoted by Richard Alpert and Timothy Leary.  Both had begun their careers as Harvard professors who promoted the use of LSD on the Harvard campus, at which point they were fired.  They were portrayed by their supporters as modern-day Socrateses – like Socrates, persecuted for corrupting the youth while actually freeing the youth from the bondage of their own middle-class, commercially oriented mindsets.

This writer was personally informed by a friend who had taken 75 “trips” on LSD that it freed one from his ego and fixed ideas of “reality” and opened the door to an alternate universe.  After his 75 “trips,” my friend had to be straitjacketed and forcibly removed from his apartment to be incarcerated for drug withdrawal and observation at Massachusetts General Hospital for 45 days.

As these four streams of antisocial and anti-authority ideology converged, they became a raging river, lasting until our very day.  That raging river is called “We Hate The System.”

What is “The System”?  The system is the entire legal and economic structure that can be designated as capitalism combined with the legal and political structures of law roughly called “constitutionalism.”  Constitutionalism includes (1) federalism, which balances the respective authority of the states and the federal government; (2) checks and balances among the three branches of government – legislative, executive, and judicial; and (3) the sociological unity founded on the more vaguely stated, yet nonetheless real, premises of one nation under God; protection of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and the abiding presence of natural and inalienable rights.  In this conceptual troika, personal liberty and responsibility are forever intertwined.  Both the law and the individual receive total respect, and each complements the other.

Thus, we can see over the 50 years, from the mid-sixties to the present, that we are facing an attack on our cultural, political, social, legal, and economic identity.  The attack has been embraced not merely by demonstrators or by an immature counter-culture.  Rather, it has been embraced substantially by one of our two political parties.  Dark and difficult days lie ahead as we struggle to maintain the viability of the institutions we need and love.

Source: American Thinker