The NewsMax Years #33
Still ON TARGET: October 20, 2000
Gus Hall, Arvo Kusta Halberg, was born in Virginia, Minnesota, in 1910, one of 10 children of Finnish immigrants. His father was a union organizer who headed the local chapter of the Communist Party.
Minnesota’s Mesaba Iron Range has plenty of good things, including water, trees, wolves, birds, eagles, moose, and iron ore. Composed of hard-working ethnics, the “range” is still home to some of the most socialist and liberal politics in the United States. At the moment, they call themselves “progressive Democrats.” But the progressives aren’t what concern me. At least we know where they are coming from; just like Gus Hall, they wear their politics on their sleeves and can readily be identified.
In his day, Gus Hall worked as a lumberjack and a steelworker and joined the Communist Party at 16 by organizing worker protests all over the upper Midwest. The CP sent him to the Lenin Institute in Moscow, where he studied from 1931-1933. When World War II broke out, Hall served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific from 1942 to 1946.
In 1949 he was convicted of conspiring to teach the violent overthrow of the federal government. After his arrest he jumped bail and went to Mexico, where he was arrested and sent back; he spent the next eight and a half years in prison. He was elected Communist Party chairman after his release from prison and received the Order of Lenin, the USSR’s highest honor. At its height, the American Communist Party had about 100,000 members; today it is down to around 15,000.
Before the Soviet Union imploded, Hall traveled to Moscow and gave talks on behalf of America’s poor and disenfranchised. According to an article in the Washington Post, in 1987 Hall received $2 million from the Soviets for Party expenses. Of course, after the fall of the USSR the payments stopped. Hall called former Soviet Chief Mikhail S. Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin “a wrecking crew.”
After Hall’s death from a heart attack on October 13, the current chairman of the Communist Party, Sam Webb, said, “Gus Hall will be greatly missed by the progressive movements and our party. … Hall helped our party to maintain a clear and stable focus in the working class, and the people’s movements, for peace, social justice and socialism.”
Unlike communism’s other “radical son,” David Horowitz, Gus Hall never had a conversion experience. To him capitalism, Christianity and democratic values as followed in the United States were an abomination for poor people, the worker, and any discontented or aggrieved minority.
For Gus Hall, all people should have the same approximate living standards regardless of their abilities or hard work. The only way to accomplish this circumstance was by bringing down Western-style democracy and capitalism.
He never could see or understand the results of the free market in creating rising living standards for everyone, including the working people. But he was blind to the fact that in communism, “some pigs are more equal than others.” That is the heart and soul of Marxism.
Since communism, socialism, nazism, fascism and most isms are born in the house of atheism and materialism, they rarely create the workers’ paradise that they promise. Marxism overlooks important aspects of human nature, like the tendency of people to break outside the bonds of whatever constrains them.
At their core, Marxism and socialism are totalitarian, anti-human and anti-intellectual. Throw in barbaric in the case of Russian and Chinese Marxism. Nonetheless, Gus Hall was one of its true believers. Like most of the American left during the rise of communism in Russia, he excused the excesses of Stalin and communism because it was part of the process of the “glorious revolution.”
Hall was no different from those today who have never given up on the philosophy of the 19th century Prussian thinkers from which the majority of today’s most despotic philosophies have evolved. This philosophy decries government, although it uses government against individuals, and is desirous of creating some kind of state where everyone is equal and all things fair. The problem is that this is NOT humanly possible.
Egalitarianism has never led to the brotherhood of all men. Most of the time it has led to a tyranny of the state as it destroys human beings and any effective forms of governance that seek to enhance individual liberty.
But Gus Hall only saw communism as an effective way to help the “working man” and whatever aggrieved minority who would buy into the philosophy of Prussian relativism.
Like most true believers, Gus Hall had tunnel vision. Even when the American worker succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, it was not good enough. Ideology took precedence over common sense. He died believing to the very end that the way for all mankind was through communism or some form of it. He wrote several books, and some of the titles should resonate with most Americans or anyone who is aware of the direction this country has taken for the last 35 years: “Fighting Racism” and “Ecology: Can We Survive Capitalism?”
Do these titles sound familiar? What current ideology does this suggest? If you guess the Political Correctness dogma, you win the prize.
The New Totalitarianism
Today the intellectual class and the left don’t talk about socialism or communism, because it would send people screaming from the room. Besides, their various causes would no longer be able to accumulate funds in the billions of dollars. The New Left doesn’t call itself by its real name; it has become very clever and by doing so has succeeded in achieving its goals far better than an open and honest guy like Gus Hall did. Though Gus Hall was a communist, there is more to admire in his activities than in those of the current crop of totalitarians.
Who are the new totalitarians? By what name do they call themselves, and what is their dogma and creed? Nowadays they call themselves radical feminists, environmentalists, multiculturalists and radical homosexuals. They are anti-Christian and anti-Orthodox Judaism, they are against ageism, sexism, racism, homophobia, species-ism, and any number of causes and conditions.
PC is the new American religion, and it is more fanatical than any fundamentalist religion ever thought of being. It is more dangerous than any fundamentalist religion because it now has control of the court system, the trial lawyers, the media, and one of the major parties. PC-ism is dangerous because it demands equal conditions and, more importantly, equal outcomes. It does so by taking money and tribute from one group and handing it to the government or to some aggrieved PC entity. When an individual rises to prominence or wealth, the PC philosophy says it is because of some unfair condition in society.
PC has succeeded for the most part because it got control of the language, revised history, created division, destroyed the Bill of Rights, made traditional, or Christian, Western culture and values the repository of all evils.
The soldiers of modern PC have successfully put the establishment of Western tradition on the defensive. Meanwhile, they have effectively killed free speech at the universities, in discussion, in the mainstream media, and among various groups of Americans, and stunted the growth of creativity and art, as well as political discussion. The result is the balkanization of America and the growing radicalization of various groups of Americans fed up with the fact that their free speech and their belief in constitutional government and the Bill of Rights are being destroyed.
PC is more dangerous than communism because it has taken the moral high ground through manipulation of the facts and denial of the truth.
Grounded in egalitarianism, PC is of the same milieu as that of the French Revolution. Maximilien Robespierre, the French lawyer and chief butcher of that revolution, was probably the first adherent of PC.
The bloody terror of that time was not nearly as cruel and bloody toward the rich and the noble in Paris as it was toward the people in the countryside of France. The blood of ordinary French people who dared speak against the “terror” ran freely in the streets of every province and town in France; ordinary people were massacred by the thousands.
To the first soldiers of PC, “liberty and fraternity” were concepts applied to citizens who went along with its excesses and supported completely the leaders of the massive bloodletting. Even those who followed the new regime in sheep-like fashion were not spared. They died like everyone else, rich or poor, screaming their allegiance to the Revolution and to the leadership of the Revolution.
Whether it is the PC mind-set of today or that of the French Revolution, free speech is only free when it follows PC notions of what is or is not allowed, and even then you might not be safe.
Today PC culture and philosophy are doing a much better job of creating the New Age totalitarian state than communism or the French Revolution were able to do. It is succeeding because it uses the language and the innate sense of decency of most Americans and of the Western tradition, which they have absorbed through their culture, religion, and the tenets contained in the Founding documents.
The sensible and fair American understands that the country has never been perfect. Most Americans know that various groups of people have been abused and treated unfairly, and America has turned itself inside out trying to address those injustices and grievances. However, the truth is that addressing those grievances is not what PC is about. PC is about destruction and tyranny.
The leaders and followers of PC want complete and total capitulation. They want Western culture and tradition to go away. Yet none of them are quite sure what will replace it except some ephemeral PC platitudes.
This phantom utopian state considers all humankind to be perfectible – if only there are enough rules, regulations and readjustment to new notions of right and wrong. The problem arises when the standard utopia varies from person to person, just as it did during the French and Russian revolutions. The American Founders gave us incredible concepts, in the basic documents of the Republic, that allow for anyone to believe what he will and for that belief to be allowed free expression. In the world of PC, communism, and fascism, the only “freedom” left is the decision to submit to the tyrannical state or die.
The great jurist Robert Bork defined what is happening in America very well: “… our culture is now politicized … our politics [are] culturized … the idea that everything is ultimately political has taken hold. … [I]t is [about] the oppression of women, Western imperialism, colonialism, and racism. Political correctness now assaults one’s opponent as not merely wrong but morally evil.”
PC is rampant even in the high culture of America. The Smithsonian Institution is not immune. At an exhibit in the 1990s that featured the American Frontier from 1820-1920, the Smithsonian’s historians mutilated historical interpretation so badly that historian and former librarian of Congress Daniel J. Boorstin wrote: “A perverse, historically inaccurate, destructive exhibit. No credit to the Smithsonian.”
Political correctness is neither objective nor inclusive nor fair. It condemns the brilliant and too often lauds the mediocre, inane and barbaric. Political correctness, in its demonization and vilification of traditional Western culture and philosophy, creates the eventual conditions for its own demise. Yet it does not recognize this as it glorifies non-Western cultures and conditions while totally ignoring their barbarisms.
The problem with PC is that what it seeks to replace Western traditional or classic culture with will not be egalitarian, fair or inclusive. What will fill the vacuum is a chaotic blend of banality, half-truths and political philosophy, based on primitive notions of good and evil, fair and unfair, justice and truth.
PC is more tribal and separatist than anything currently going on in the Aryan Nations, militia groups, skinhead cults and odd but still free associations of people in the United States and the world today. It will continue to do vast harm to the United States, which has been by far the most fair and inclusive civilization in the history of humankind.
If PC achieves final victory, American social, intellectual, spiritual and political life will become more tyrannical and diabolical than any yet invented by the dark side of human nature.
It wasn’t that long ago that the language of communism sounded pretty ridiculous. Remember laughing at such phrases as “running-dog capitalists” and “exploiters of the poor and downtrodden”? These and other inanities were easy to laugh off.
It is another circumstance, however, to laugh off phrases like “despoilers of the environment” and words like “racist,” “bigoted,” “homophobes,” “sexist,” “chauvinist.” It is much more difficult to laugh off such terms as “extreme right wing” or “white supremacist” or “patriarchal oppressors of women and minorities.” However, such use of language is absolutely no different from what communists did from the 1920s to the 1990s.
Inherent in accusatory language is a value judgment based on nothing but hatred for traditional values. These days it is a safe bet to target Western traditional culture and values and those rights as defined in the American Bill of Rights and the Constitution.
Those who honestly believe in the Bill of Rights would not for a second try to curtail the free speech rights of the proponents and followers of PC. I repeat, for the hardheaded PC types: Those who honestly believe in the Bill of Rights would not for a second try to curtail the free speech rights of the proponents and followers of PC. If such had been the case, Gloria Steinem, Tom Hayden, Jane Fonda, the Sierra Club, the Green Party, PETA, the National Council of Churches, members of the U.N. and all the other PC groups would be serving heavy-duty time in the slammer.
However, those of the PC faith in turn do not tolerate ideas or those who follow Western tradition, Christianity, or Orthodox Judaism. Intolerance is part and parcel of all dictatorial creeds, and PC is merely the most recent manifestation of that tendency of mankind to seek control over others through any means possible. Attacks by the PC crowd on targets from Dr. Laura to the Boy Scouts, from capitalism to farmers, from pro-life to Christmas displays, from guns to tobacco, from home schooling to parochial schools continues, and tyranny over these groups through legislation and the courts has been very successful.
The root of all stupidity, in all times, is pride, arrogance, disrespect and intolerance. Add a lack of forgiveness, envy, bitterness and self-pity, and PC is currently the ultimate in a pathetic religion of victimology and moral one-upmanship. It manipulates the facts and distorts the truth. Western society has seen this before, and each and every time it has led to bloodletting and tyranny.
If Gus Hall had been born today, he might have become a modern totalitarian. He probably would have been a disciple of PC or one of its subsets. PC is the most dangerous mind-set of our times because it is the modern replacement for communism and fascism. It has nearly won the cultural battle for the soul of America.
Gus Hall, however, was more admirable than today’s advocates and disciples of PC. The things he stood for were plain, clear and understandable. We knew who the opposition was.
Once upon a time in a different America, we all knew that communism was a despicable philosophy that was used to condemn billions to slavery, poverty and oppression. It was clearly the enemy of Western tradition, particularly Christianity and Judaism, as well as all the great world religions. The enemy was definable and therefore the plan of action against it possible.
Currently, the followers of the Western tradition have no such luck. PC is winning the minds of kids in schools and perverting the understanding of recent immigrants to the United States. It destroys the intent of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It takes our liberty and replaces it with the new totalitarianism couched in religious terms. It gives back a black hole that will suck up the best and brightest and destroy everything it touches.
The problem with PC is that it is the New World Order religion.
First published at NewsMax.com on October 20, 2000. Copyright © 2000-2011 Diane Alden
The Moral Liberal Senior Editor, Diane Alden, was one of NewsMax.com’s most popular and outspoken pundits ( 1999–2008), and before that, a wonk for The Nevada Policy Institute. A former DJ in Georgia, Diane of late has been a weekly guest on the East Coast hit program, The Marc Bernier Show. Diane is loved for her quick sense of humor, creative vocabulary, independence of mind, and her penetrating analysis of a wide range of political, economic, and cultural issues.