Sunday, October 5, 2008

French Anti-War Leftists, and Obama

It has always puzzled me that anti-War Leftists who came of age during the Vietnam war focus so completely on the deaths caused during the fighting, and not upon deaths caused by Communists for Communist purposes. They claim to abhor death in general. They claim to be a bit pacifistic, that is, death for any reason during war is wrong, and yet they concentrate entirely on deaths caused during wars fought by the U.S. These anti-War people were too busy protesting to study history. They knew nothing about the need to come to the aid of allies or to oppose Communism by resisting its attempted takeovers. They only knew that the U.S. was opposing Communism. Communism was good and American Democracy bad. Why didn’t they go the extra mile and claim, instead of their phony pacifism, that they approved of deaths caused by Communism?

When they refer back to those times, they mention the deaths caused by our bombing. Never have I heard any of them describe what the Communists did in South East Asia after the Americans were finally forced to abandon their allies. Estimates vary, but perhaps 500,000 were killed by the Ho Chi Minh afterwards to solidify his control. Another 500,000 or so died in attempts to flee Vietnam, mostly by boat. And then Pol Pot in Cambodia decided it was time, now that there was no worry about Americans returning, to institute a true workers paradise; so he killed perhaps 2,000,000. There was little outcry about this. After all, Communists need to kill people. It is okay because that is how Communism spreads, and as any anti-War protestor of the 60s can tell you, Communism is good and America is bad.

Communist sympathizers have always understood the need to kill off huge numbers of people, people who opposed, or potentially opposed, the dictatorship of the Proletariat. On page 139 of Past Imperfect, French Intellectuals, 1944-1956, Tony Judt wrote, “No one who reads the innumerable books, essays, articles, and polemical exchanges that studded French public life in the postwar years can fail to be impressed, in the midst of all that noise, by a certain silence. In the welter of verbal presences, there was, so to speak, one ‘great absence.’ This was a generation whose attention was incessantly directed at the responsibility of each person for his or her acts and their outcome, where humanism and the destinies of humanity were on every lip and where the untold suffering brought about by dictatorship and was the measure of all political choices. Yet the human cost in deprivation, pain, injustice, and death that was the openly acknowledged price paid for the establishment of Communist regimes in half of Europe provoked hardly any expression of concern or protest.”

COMMENT: Because of the nearness of our election, what occurred to me wouldn’t seem germane at some other time, but I reflected on the fact that we may be about to elect someone who shares the prejudices of those pro-Communist French Leftists in the 40s and 50s, and the anti-American Leftists of the 60s. Not that Obama would use any of their words, but his intellectual roots are in that Leftist milieu. Everything I read about him tells me he is a Leftist who shares the views of the Leftists I’ve been reading about.

Consider, we know that Obama’s voting record is to the Left of every other Senator. We know he was sponsored by Bill Ayres and Bernardine Dohrn, unrepentant former members of the Weather Underground. We have Obama’s own words telling us that Ayers is now respectable, but we have Ayers own words at a recent SDS reunion telling us that he is not. Added to this is that Obama for 17 years sat under the tutelage of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright who is an avowed Black Liberationist. Wright is a follower of the Black Liberation Theologian James Cone. You don’t get even a hint of traditional Christianity when you listen to Cone. I watched a video of Cone and he mentioned Jesus only once if I recall correctly, and that was to tell us that Jesus was really black. Cone’s theology is strongly influenced by Marxism. He takes Marx and gives him a little Black twist. And then there is Obama’s job as “Community Organizer.” I’ve been reading Bill Ayers, Fugitive Days, and he refers to Community Organizers as his radical allies. What was Obama’s purpose during his days as a Community Organizer?

We can take comfort, those of us who aren’t Leftists, in the fact that the American Presidency is a position of limited power. Furthermore, if Obama were elected, he would have enormous peer pressure urging him to do the typical things that presidents do. His ability to do something utterly radical would be limited. Then too, he has a well developed ego and may begin worrying about his legacy as soon as he enters his Oval Office.

Nevertheless I don’t respect the prejudices of someone raised in the shadow of the sort of Leftism I’ve been reading about. Maybe such a person can’t overturn our traditional form of government, but he will be no defender of it. Obama will look as longingly toward modern-day-French Leftism as it looks longingly toward him. It isn’t going to be the end of Americanism as we know it if Obama is elected, but it won’t do our way of life any good, and if he can make compromises with Leftism without incurring a political penalty, we can be sure he’ll do it.

Lawrence Helm

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