Because virtually all of the given explanations for the necessity for change in America center on economic inequality (some citizens have more money than others – a violation of PLDC orthodoxy where everyone must have the same amount of money – not economic opportunity, money – except, of course, the PLDC elite, who can have as much money as they want) and how that makes the progressive/liberal feel, it is the “feeling bad” about their condition when compared to their “rival’s” condition that leads me to believe that another feeling, “guilt”, is somehow the motivator. But, guilt about what? Since the elite progressive/liberal is overwhelmingly white and of European decent and the “victims” they champion are overwhelmingly people of color, the guilt must be about the European whites’ responsibility for the economic condition of people of color that is the source of the guilt. Mustn’t it? After all, “white privilege” is all the rage right now.
But, what about the economic “war on women” you ask? Don’t be deceived by that argument. Progressive/ liberals make a loud argument about America’s war on women and women’s inequality when it comes to “economic opportunity” – read “equal pay” – but, with women more likely to be progressive/liberals, the battle should have long been over. In fact, the progressive/liberal agenda doesn’t really contain any real passion for solving the alleged “women’s inequality” issue. In fact, our new friend – logic – dictates that if it is less expensive to hire equally qualified women, all employers would hire those women exclusively to help their bottom line. If the truth be told (a dubious outcome), employers will always pay for equal results or outcomes, not for equal résumés. The progressive/liberal arguments are all rhetorical and not factual because, as we’ll demonstrate, there is no “war on women”.
Rather, the white European progressive/liberal guilt about the condition of African-Americans likely goes back to the slave issue, even though no one living today has ever owned slaves (legally, that is) and few can, or want to, trace their roots directly to slave owners. Interestingly, most white European progressive/liberals don’t live in the South, where most of the slaves were held.
Another source of white European progressive/liberal guilt might be over the fate of the aboriginal peoples, first contacted by the original colonists over four-hundred years ago, even though those particular people were merely the latest to be conquered during millennia of conquests encompassing the march of human civilization. In fact, those aboriginals had conquered an earlier but probably militarily or technologically weaker group of aboriginals to control what territory they did when European settlers arrived.
A third source of white European progressive/liberal guilt may be the fate of the torrent of undocumented and illegal Mexican and Central American immigrants coming to America, mostly across the southern border, for economic opportunity. They reportedly provide virtually all of the menial, manual labor that is allegedly shunned by American workers – although, in truth, the fact that they will work for low wages without complaint because they are here illegally motivates employers to (illegally) hire them. They also severely and negatively affect the federal and State social safety net and educational system (think ELS) but, if a path to citizenship can be established, they will provide valuable votes for their progressive/liberal benefactors. So maybe, this time, it’s feigned guilt.
In fact, the apparent guilt-as-motivator I’ve been discussing is more like a weapon employed by the progressive/liberal leadership in this country to shame young Americans into supporting their agenda. The real motivation for the progressive/liberal cabal is to be found at the end of World War II so, let’s revisit and summarize those heady days.
First, let us summarize where we are, based on the facts and arguments presented above.
The end of World War II was followed by an uneasy transition from war to a peacetime economy. The costs of the war effort were enormous, and Democrat President Harry Truman was intent on decreasing government expenditures on the military as quickly as possible. Demobilizing the military and reducing the size of the various services, by as much as 90 percent, was a cost-saving priority. Government officials did not have consensus as to what economic course the postwar U.S. should steer. In addition to not doing any planning to transition a wartime economy to the peacetime environment, Franklin Roosevelt had not paid attention to Congress in his final years, and Truman faced a body where a combination of Republicans and conservative southern Democrats formed a powerful voting bloc.
“The president was faced with the reawakening of labor-management conflicts that had lain dormant during the war years, severe shortages in housing and consumer products, and widespread dissatisfaction with inflation, which at one point hit 6% in a single month. Added to this polarized environment was a wave of destabilizing strikes in major industries. Truman’s response to them was generally seen as ineffective. A rapid increase in costs was fueled by the release of price controls on most items, and labor sought wage increases. A serious steel strike in January 1946 involving 800,000 workers—the largest in the nation’s history—was followed by a coal strike in April and a rail strike in May.
The public was angry, with a majority in polls favoring a ban on strikes by public service workers and a year’s moratorium on labor actions. Truman proposed legislation to draft striking workers into the Armed Forces [Wow, what kind of army would that be?], and in a dramatic personal appearance before Congress, was able to announce settlement of the rail strike. His proposal passed the House of Representatives, but failed in the Senate. For commodities, where price controls remained, producers were often unwilling to sell at artificially low prices: farmers refused to sell grain for months in 1945 and 1946 until payments were significantly increased, even though grain was desperately needed, not only for domestic use, but to stave off starvation in Europe.
Although labor strife was muted after the settlement of the railway strike, it continued through Truman’s presidency. The President’s approval rating dropped from 82% in the polls in January 1946 to 52% by June. This dissatisfaction with the Truman administration’s policies led to large Democratic losses in the 1946 midterm elections, when Republicans took control of Congress for the first time since 1930. The 80th Congress included Republican freshmen who would become prominent in the years to come, including Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy, California Congressman Richard Nixon and Massachusetts Representative John F. Kennedy. When Truman dropped to 32% in the polls, Arkansas Democrat, Senator William Fulbright, suggested that Truman resign; the President said that he did not care what Senator “Half bright” said.
Truman cooperated closely with the Republican leaders on foreign policy, though he fought them bitterly on domestic issues. The power of the labor unions was significantly curtailed by the Taft-Hartley Act [which restricted the activities and power of labor unions, like “closed-shops”], which was enacted over Truman’s veto. Truman twice vetoed bills to lower income tax rates in 1947. Although the initial vetoes were sustained, Congress overrode his veto of a tax cut bill in 1948. The parties did cooperate on some issues; Congress passed the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, making the Speaker of the House rather than the Secretary of State next in line to the presidency after the vice president.
As a Wilsonian internationalist, Truman strongly supported creation of the United Nations, and included Eleanor Roosevelt on the delegation to the UN’s first General Assembly. With the Soviet Union expanding its sphere of influence through Eastern Europe, Truman and his foreign policy advisors took a hard line against the USSR. In this, he matched American public opinion, which all along (from the earliest Gallup polls in the mid-1930s) had viewed the Soviets as intent upon world domination while the nation’s elite policy makers, as we have seen, had been enamored with the Soviet experiment.
Although he claimed no personal expertise on foreign matters, Truman won bipartisan support for both the Truman Doctrine in March 1947, which formalized a policy of Soviet containment, and the Marshall Plan, announced by Secretary of State George C. Marshall in June 1947 at Harvard University, which aimed to help rebuild postwar Europe. To get Congress to spend the vast sums necessary to restart the moribund European economy, Truman used an ideological argument, arguing that Communism flourishes in economically deprived areas. As part of the U.S. Cold War strategy, Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 and reorganized military forces by merging the Department of War and the Department of the Navy into the National Military Establishment (later the Department of Defense) and creating the U.S. Air Force. The act also created the CIA and the National Security Council.”
The upshot of all of this turmoil was a growing dissatisfaction with his advisors and their replacement, as time went by, with men more to his liking and political philosophy – and certainly not Harvard educated elitists and fanatical FDR disciples that had dominated Roosevelt’s circle and who had misled him about the true nature of his growing nemesis – Josef Stalin and his Soviet Union. It certainly must have appeared that they were being dismissed from positions of influence to which they had become attached or – many could be excused from thinking – entitled.
Remember, these were people who had been hand-picked by, in many American minds, the greatest American ever (my own grandparents had pictures of Roosevelt and Jesus Christ hanging side by side in their house – not all that unusual) and had spent over twelve years together at the highest level of human endeavor – formulating and executing policy that, they believed, enabled America to survive the Great Depression and the most destructive war in history – despite the damage to our Constitution and despite a Supreme Court that had overruled most of their ideas. They were now much like a political “organism” – perhaps a “tribe” with purpose and loyalties baked into their genes? They wouldn’t go quietly. Again, some were Soviet agents. They would make America pay a price for the undoing of their efforts. (I fear a similar Democrat jihad is taking place since the unimaginable defeat of their “chosen one”, Hillary Clinton in 2016.)
What would they do? Where would they go? How could they regain their stature and influence over America? Over the next decade, they would enter (or reenter) academia, the press (and the new wonder – television and the media), the entertainment industry and “think tanks” – to lobby Congress as many had done during the “New Deal” or they would indoctrinate colleagues, students, press/media and the entertainment industry movers and shakers on the “problems” with an America that had caused their loss of power and prestige. In the end, they would have their revenge by tearing down the America that had torn them down from their self-important pedestals of power.
“Not all Americans however were tearing at the fabric of America during the ‘50s. William Frank Buckley, Jr. (1925 – 2008) was an American original – a real intellectual, author and commentator for the conservative side of the American political spectrum. He founded the conservative political magazine National Review in 1955, which had a major impact in stimulating the conservative movement. He graduated from Yale, worked for the forerunner of the CIA, hosted 1,429 episodes of the television show Firing Line from 1966 until 1999, where he became known for his transatlantic accent and wide vocabulary. He also wrote a nationally syndicated newspaper column as well as many books and numerous spy novels.
“George H. Nash, a historian of the modern American Conservative movement, states that Buckley was “…arguably the most important public intellectual in the United States in the past half century… For an entire generation, he was the preeminent voice of American conservatism and its first great ecumenical figure.” Buckley’s primary contribution to politics was a fusion of traditional American political conservatism with laissez-faire economic theory and anticommunism, laying groundwork for the new American conservatism of the historic Republican Presidency of Ronald Reagan.
Buckley referred to himself as either a libertarian or conservative. He was a passionate and practicing Catholic, regularly attending the traditional Latin mass near his home in Connecticut. Buckley founded National Review in 1955 at a time when there were few publications devoted to conservative commentary, serving as editor-in-chief until 1990. During that time, National Review became the standard-bearer of American Conservatism, promoting the fusion of traditional conservatives and libertarians.
Examining postwar conservative intellectual history, Kim Phillips-Fein writes:
“The most influential synthesis of the subject remains George H. Nash’s The Conservative Intellectual Tradition since 1945…. He argued that postwar conservatism brought together three powerful and partially contradictory intellectual currents that previously had largely been independent of each other: libertarianism, traditionalism, and anticommunism. Each particular strain of thought had predecessors earlier in the twentieth (and even nineteenth) centuries, but they were joined in their distinctive postwar formulation through the leadership of William F. Buckley Jr. and National Review. The fusion of these different, competing, and not easily reconciled schools of thought led to the creation, Nash argued, of a coherent modern Right.”
As editors and contributors, Buckley especially sought out intellectuals who were ex-Communists or had once worked on the far Left, including former Soviet spy Whittaker Chambers, William Schlamm, John Dos Passos, Frank Meyer and James Burnham. Buckley and his editors used his magazine to define the boundaries of conservatism – and to exclude people or ideas or groups they considered unworthy of the conservative title. Therefore he denounced my “Auntie Ayn”, the John Birch Society, George Wallacee, communists, racists, white supremacists (starting in the 1960s), and anti-Semites.
When he first met my “auntie”, according to Buckley, she greeted him with the following: “You are much too intelligent to believe in Gott.” (German for God). In turn, the Catholic Buckley felt that “[her] style, as well as her message, clashed with the conservative ethos…” and he decided that [her] hostility to religion made her philosophy unacceptable to hisunderstanding of conservatism. After 1957, he attempted to read her out of the conservative movement by publishing Whittaker Chambers‘ highly negative review of her magnum opus. [It was probably written at Buckley’s suggestion.]
In 1964, he wrote of “…her desiccated philosophy’s conclusive incompatibility with the conservative’s emphasis on transcendence, intellectual and moral, …” as well as “…the incongruity of tone, that hard, schematic, implacable, unyielding, dogmatism that is in itself intrinsically objectionable, …” Other attacks were penned by historian Garry Wills and M. Stanton Evans.
Nevertheless, her popularity and her influence on the political right, both religious and secular, forced the schematic, implacable, unyielding and dogmatic Buckley and his circle into a reconsideration of how traditional notions of virtue and Christianity could be integrated with all-out support for capitalism. In the end, my “Auntie” convinced Buckley of the wisdom and value of her cautionary tale.
In the August 24, 1957 issue of National Review, Buckley’s editorial “Why the South Must Prevail” spoke out explicitly in favor of white supremacy in the South. It argued that “…the central question that emerges… is whether the white community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas where it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is “Yes” – the white community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race.”
His answer was that white supremacy in the South was a good idea now (in 1957) (because) the black population (then) lacked the education, economic or cultural development for racial equality to be possible – claiming the white South had “…the right to impose superior mores, for whatever period it takes, to affect a genuine cultural equality between the races.”
This may seem to be an unenlightened, even racist, view from the 21st Century perspective but, at nearly the same time, the European colonial powers were turning over most African countries to their native, under-educated, inexperienced African citizens. Virtually all proved totally incapable of managing their own affairs which has resulted in more than fifty years of tribal strife throughout Africa, including millions of deaths, millions of refugees, child-soldiers, blood diamonds and now, radical Islamic terror. Insensitive yes but, there was a grain of common sense in what Buckley believed would be prudent.
“Continuing his evolution, Buckley changed his views and by the mid-1960s and renounced all racism. This change was caused in part because he became appalled at the violence used by white supremacists during the Civil Rights Movement, and in part because of the influence of friends like Garry Wills, who confronted Buckley on the morality of his politics.
In 2004, he clarified his comments, saying, “…the point I made about white cultural supremacy was sociological…” and, linking his usage of the word “Advancement” to its inclusion and usage in the name NAACP, continued, “…the call for the ‘advancement’ of colored people presupposes they are behind, which they were, in 1957, by any standards of measurement.” The shortcoming of his argument was that he did not provide a solution for the problem, tacitly leaving it in the hands of Southern segregationists.
In the late 1960s, Buckley disagreed strenuously with segregationist George Wallace, who ran in Democratic primaries (1964 and 1972) and made an independent run for President in 1968. Buckley later said it was a mistake for National Review to have opposed the civil rights legislation of 1964–65. He later grew to admire Martin Luther King, Jr. and supported creation of a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day national holiday for him.
During the 1950s, Buckley had worked to remove anti-Semitism from the conservative movement and barred holders of those views from working for National Review. In 1962, Buckley denounced Robert W. Welch, Jr., and the John Birch Society, in National Review, as “…far removed from common sense…” and urged the GOP to purge itself of Welch’s influence.
Buckley’s opposition to International Communism extended to support of the overthrow and replacement of leftist governments by non-democratic forces. Buckley supported Spanish fascist-leaning dictator General Francisco Franco who led the rightist military rebellion in its military defeat of the Spanish Republic. He called Franco “an authentic national hero,” applauding his overthrow of Spanish Republican “visionaries, ideologues, Marxists and nihilists.”
He supported the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet that led the 1973 coupthat overthrew Chilean president Salvador Allende‘s democratically-elected, but Marxist, government, referring to Allende as “a president who was defiling the Chilean constitution and waving proudly the banner of his friend and idol, Fidel Castro.”
For many Americans, Buckley’s erudition on his weekly PBS show Firing Line was their primary exposure to him. Throughout his career as a media figure, Buckley had received much criticism, largely from the American left but also from certain factions on the extreme right, such as the John Birch Society and its second president, Larry McDonald, as well as from Objectivists [normally a sure sign that you’re doing something right].
Buckley appeared in a series of televised debates with liberal author Gore Vidal during the 1968 Democrat National Convention in Chicago. In their penultimate debate on August 28 of that year, the two disagreed over the actions of the city police and the protesters at the ongoing convention. In reference to the response of the police involved in supposedly taking down a Viet Cong flag, moderator Howard K. Smith asked whether raising a Nazi flag during the Second World War would have elicited a similar response.
Vidal responded that people were free to state their political views as they saw fit, whereupon Buckley interrupted and noted that people were free to speak their views but others were also free to ostracize them for holding those views, noting that in the U.S. during the Second World War “some people were pro-Nazi and they were well-treated by those who ostracized them – and I’m for ostracizing people who egg on other people to shoot American Marines and American soldiers.
Later, Vidal’s criticism of the incumbent U.S. President, Ronald Reagan, as a “triumph of the embalmer’s art” [an early form of the now popular “politics of personal destruction”] communicated that Reagan’s provincial worldview, and that of his administration, was out of date and inadequate to the geopolitical realities of the world in the late Twentieth Century. Reagan, of course, then engineered the end of the Soviet Union and its empire to end the Cold War.
In 1991, Buckley received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George H.W. Bush. Upon turning 65 in 1990, he retired from the day-to-day running of the National Review.
Buckley began what led to Senator Barry Goldwater and his book Conscience of a Conservative that led to the seizing of power by the conservatives from the moderate establishment within the Republican Party. From that emerged Ronald Reagan…” and the conservative momentum within the Republican Party that broke the 40-year Democrat stranglehold on Congress in 1994.”
For all of his success and influence in American political history, the best thing about Buckley was his ability and courage to grow and mature intellectually as a most-public figure. That ability has vanished in today’s American political community.
Having experienced the 1950s as a child in and around New York City, the son and grandson of war-veterans, I had been exposed to all that was exceptional about America, especially the unbridled optimism that anything and everything was possible. The entire country had emerged from the war with an enthusiasm that only victory can bring and with the experience of self-sacrifice, courage, survival, dedication and determination that had triumphed in the greatest conflict in human history. By 1946, men and women in America were waking up to a new world – one in which they were determined be the playwrights of their own version of the future. The problem was; it is hard to script history.
“The affluence that Americans would come to expect was grounded in a handful of critical developments in the years following World War II. For starters, contrary to expectations, American defense spending remained relatively high after the end of the war. The Cold War, beginning in 1946, and the war in Korea, stretching from 1950-53, required enormous military spending.
With between 2 and 3.5 million men and women in uniform and defense industries consuming millions of federal dollars, the economy operated on a continuous wartime basis. Certain industries, like the aerospace industry, boomed after the war; companies like Lockheed and McDonnell Aircraft, GE and Westinghouse employed tens-of-thousands of people, many of them in high-paying engineering and technical occupations.
But postwar prosperity was rooted in more than military spending. New technologies boosted productivity in both the industrial and agricultural sectors. Farm income increased; yields of corn, wheat, and cotton at least doubled. American manufacturers also realized new levels of productivity as industrialists [financial decendents of the “Robber-Barons” of the late 19th Century] poured $10 billion annually into capital improvements.
Increased investment abroad also created jobs and generated wealth at home. Americans’ foreign investment was relatively static between the world wars, but in the fifteen years following World War II it increased 1000%; investments in raw materials and resources like oil played a large part in this boom.
But the real story of the new affluence was less the way it was earned than the way it was lived. The economic growth of the 1950s generated more than jobs, it created whole new ways of life. New synthetics, new production methods, and higher wages made a new type of consumption possible. Americans bought cars, televisions, and household appliances at record levels, and they borrowed money optimistically to do so.
Americans’ pursuit of consumer comfort was complemented by their growing demand for entertainment. Television, movies, and both professional and college sports filled the weekly routine—and the family vacation became an annual custom. By 1960, Americans spent $85 billion a year on entertainment, double the spending of the previous decade. American affluence also relocated during the ‘50s. It moved from the cities to the suburbs – the population of suburbs increasing by nearly 100% by 1960. Increasing car ownership, Eisenhower’s strategic Cold War plan to build the interstate highway system resulted in better roads, and affordable home loans encouraged a mass migration. By 1960, roughly one-third of all Americans lived in the “burbs.”
Nevertheless, with Americans eager to buy, the housing shortage remained. It took enterprising real estate speculators to break the logjam. None became more famous than builders William and Alfred Levitt. William, a salesman, and Alfred, an architect, wanted to apply mass production techniques to housing. They bought land in Hempstead, Long Island, New York, some thirty miles from New York City, then put together teams of non-union builders who erected simple two-bedroom, one-bathroom homes on sixty-foot by one hundred-foot lots. There the Levitts built 17,000 homes that would ultimately house more than 80,000 people [in one development right next door to the City of Brooklyn, population 800,000!]. They integrated parks and swimming pools, and buildings for schools and churches, into their neighborhoods. The first “Levittown” was born, offering mass-produced homes and prepackaged neighborhoods.
When the first Levittown houses went on sale, New Yorkers stood in line to get them. The average price for a two-story, Cape Cod–style home was $7,900. Down payments were about $90; monthly payments averaged $58; that at a time when the average family income was about $3,000 a year. The Levitts followed up their Long Island success with Levittowns in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
For the more than sixteen million veterans (12% of a population of 132 million in 1940) and their families there was the G.I.Bill, which sent over half to college and a quarter into their own homes in the next decade, to get them started on their roads to the American Dream. But, a large segment of the population was faced with a changed world – a technologically centered world that was accelerating away from them at the speed of the atom – for which they were not equipped and with no certain path for them to catch up.
They were women, African-Americans, the poor, the uneducated or untrained, the disenfranchised and other marginalized groups who had the same American Dream as any other. How would they join the parade? It would be a long, hard road, they would be exploited along the way but, in the end, a large percentage would prevail – although some would never accept that it was enough. They would want to win more. Instead, they lost their soul. The 1960s was about that fight.
In the fight, there were heroes and heroines, visionaries and villains, leaders and exploiters, good and evil – and crooks – as in any human endeavor. Oddly enough, the foot soldiers in most of the battles were not the poor or disenfranchised or uneducated or marginalized – they were the privileged children of America’s “Greatest Generation” – America’s college students! Next time: The post-war cultural revolution.