Top Ten Skeletons in the Left’s Closet
By Daniel J. Flynn
FrontPageMagazine.com | 5/16/2008
When the Left writes its own history, the past gets rewritten to suit the needs of the present. This is why I wrote A Conservative History of the American Left, to conserve not only fascinating figures now forgotten but to retrieve from the memory hole all that the Left has tossed down it. What is the history of the American Left that leftists want you to forget?
10. Ayatollah Khomeini, Leftist Hero
Reflexive anti-Americanism initially moved the Left to embrace the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Mother Jones, for instance, in 1979 predicted that “if Khomeini or his followers take power” then “democratic reforms, freedom for political prisoners, an end to the astronomical waste of huge arms purchases, and a constitutional government” would follow. The Nation, Michel Foucault, and other pillars of the Left similarly projected their ideals upon Khomeini and company.
9. Manson Family Values
“I fell in love with Charlie Manson the first time I saw his cherub face and sparkling eyes on TV,” hippie guru Jerry Rubin professed. “His words and courage inspired us.” Weatherman hoisted “Charles Manson Power” banners, adopted a spread-fingered greeting to symbolize the fork with which the Manson murderers impaled a victim’s stomach, and even boasted a cell nicknamed “The Fork.” Weatherman matriarch Bernardine Dohrn infamously proclaimed: “Dig it: first they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach. Wild!”
8. Gay Activists Sue to Block AIDS Test
Today, homosexual activists blame Ronald Reagan and the clergy for the spread of AIDS. But in the mid-1980s, the National Gay Task Force and the Lambda Legal Defense, citing civil-liberties concerns, actually sued the federal government to stop the AIDS test. Thankfully, they lost and scores of lives have been saved as a result.
7. Murder Chic
The easiest way to become a hero on the Left is to kill another human being. John Brown, the Molly Maguires, the Haymarket Square Bombers, Joe Hill, Huey Newton, and Mumia Abu-Jamal—murderers all—have been venerated by the Left in song and on screen. The people they murdered are not even an afterthought.
6. Jonestown Kool-Aid
Before orchestrating the murder/suicides 900+ people in Guyana, Jim Jones was the darling of the San Francisco Left. Huey Newton, Angela Davis, and Willie Brown embraced a man who killed more blacks than the KKK. Democrats Rosalynn Carter, Walter Mondale, and Gerry Brown made campaign visits to the Peoples Temple’s “comrade leader.” The mayor of San Francisco even rewarded Jones for his activism by appointing him chairman of the city’s housing commission. “The temple was as much a left-wing political crusade as a church,” The Nation reported in 1978. Unfortunately, as the years progressed, more Americans gulped down the Left’s Kool-Aid that Jones was of the religious Right and not an atheist leftist.
5. Concentration Camps, American Style
A year before Hitler came to power in Germany, Margaret Sanger called for a vast system of concentration camps for the United States. The Planned Parenthood founder demanded “a stern and rigid policy of segregation or sterilization” for “dysgenic” Americans who “would be taught to work under competent instructors for the period of their entire lives.” The 1932 speech concluded that “fifteen or twenty millions of our population would then be organized into soldiers of defense—defending the unborn against their own disabilities.”
4. Heaven on Earth
American intellectuals looked upon the hell on earth that was post-revolutionary Russia and saw a heaven on earth. The New Republic credited the Russian Revolution with providing “the most democratic franchise yet devised in our world,” while The Nation found that “the franchise is more democratic in Russia than in England or in the United States.” Lincoln Steffens marveled after a visit to the Soviet Union, “The revolution in Russia is to establish the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth.”
Even before the progressive era when most states instituted eugenics laws, the American Left had agitated for state controls over procreation. John Humphrey Noyes’ Bible Communists lamented that freedom of marital choice “leaves mating to be determined by a general scramble, without attempt at scientific direction” and devised the first eugenic experiment in the U.S.—“stirpiculture”—that produced dozens of children and prevented hundreds more. In Looking Backward, Edward Bellamy dreamed of “race purification” to “preserve and transmit the better types of the race, and let the inferior types drop out.” Other proponents included Margaret Sanger, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, who famously decreed in Buck v. Bell, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” State governments ultimately sterilized upwards of 60,000.
2. Assassinating Presidents
Three of the four presidential assassins have been left-wing radicals. Bible Communist Charles Guiteau murdered President Garfield, anarcho-communist Leon Czolgosz murdered President McKinley, and Soviet Communist Lee Harvey Oswald murdered John F. Kennedy. Rather than own that history, the Left has invented conspiracy theories that absolve leftists from responsibility.
1. Nazi-Soviet Pact
The Left switched from pacifists to warmongers overnight once the Nazi attack upon the Communists dissolved the Hitler-Stalin Pact. Communist Party USA chief Earl Browder, who had dubbed WWII “the second imperialist war” during the pact, so thoroughly switched course when the Nazis attacked the Communists that he embraced conscription (after his opposition to it led to jail in WWI), endorsed a ‘no-strike’ pledge for labor unions (after encouraging strikes to impede the war effort), and kicked out Japanese Americans from the CP (after ostensibly championing civil rights). The Hollywood Anti-Nazi League ceased operations during the pact. The Communists’ New Masses panned the anti-Nazi Watch on the Rhine when it appeared as a play during the pact only to praise it when it appeared as a movie when Hitler and Stalin were again enemies.
Daniel J. Flynn is the author of Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas and A Conservative History of the American Left. He is also the editor of www.flynnfiles.com.