Sunday, July 19, 2015

The 1980s, the American Left, and Rubik's Bomb

Michael L.

{Cross-posted at the Elder of ZiyonJews Down Under, and The Jewish Press.}

rubik's cubeWhen I was a college student in the 1980s the American Left opposed nuclear proliferation.

Mainstream, regular Democrats often furrowed their brows at the American nuclear program during the Cold War and many called for a scaling back of the arsenal.

A popular book at the time, among idealistic, politically-inclined peace-loving Jewish left-dwelling Americans, and others, was something called The Hundredth Monkey, by Ken Keyes, Jr.

{Not to be confused with countercultural icon and author Ken Kesey of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest fame.}

The book's thesis was that in order to avoid a nuclear catastrophe the West needed to move beyond a zero-sum paradigm of political confrontation to a paradigm of cooperation, if not friendship, with international rivals.

It was as much a broad psychological analysis of the West, politically, as it was a specific criticism of U.S. nuclear policies.  In the 1980s, during the Reagan years, the American Left was down, but it was not out and it was motivated.  The kinds of students who embraced The Hundredth Monkey were also, just beneath the surface of Reagan's America, embracing feminism and the counterculture.  There was a sense of possibility in the air and nascent conservatives, such as Tucker Carlson - well before he put on his bow tie and got decked by Jon Stewart on Crossfire in 2004 - were still following the Grateful Dead around the country.

Although college students increasingly looked rightward at the time, feminism seemed to be on the rise and young women throughout the country were Taking Back the Night.  Feminists were also starting, in a significant way, to oppose Islamic oppression of women; a trend that reached a height in opposition to the Taliban in the 1990s but that crashed with the Two Towers in 2001.  There was also an interesting debate within American feminism between feminist countercultural libertarians, like Camille Paglia - who would now be considered a right-leaning figure - versus more traditional second-wave feminists, like Gloria Steinem.

There was something of a renaissance of counterculture literature at the time, as well.  Even as conservatism and the Evangelical movement and the Moral Majority were gaining within the mainstream American political landscape, many college students rediscovered Kerouac and the Beats, Richard Brautigan and the hippies.  Writers, and crazy people, like William S. Burroughs, Alan Ginsberg, Alan Watts, John Lilly, Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, Charles Bukowski, Hunter S. Thompson, and many other alternative figures, largely from the 1960s, came to the attention of many young people in my generation... including, yes, Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters.

In the 1980s there was a saying within certain dope-smoking, poker-playing quarters that "the 90s are going to make the 80s look like the 50s."  The idea, of course, was that we were going back to something that more closely resembled the 1960s.  The hope - at least among young, Left, radically-inclined white kids - was that after the business-oriented, closed-down, shut-up, Reagan 80s we would see a 1960s-style re-awakening of freedom and fun in the 90s.

{It did not happen.}

When William Jefferson Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush in the general election of 1992 many of us breathed a sigh of relief.  From a cultural standpoint the Clinton presidency seemed to promise considerably more elbow-room than did the previous twelve years of conservative Reagan-Bush.  And although, of course, the 1990s were nothing like the 1960s, there was at least a sense among many on the Left that the country was taking steps in a direction that suggested cultural openness and international cooperation under Bill Clinton.

80s conservatism was over.  The economy was booming.  The computer revolution was taking hold and new technologies, such as cell phone technology, were introduced to the general population.  Computers were everywhere and people were yammering at one another on email, prior to text messaging and twitter.  Pat Buchanan called for a "Culture War," Clinton had illicit sex in the Oval Office, and Jerry Falwell thought that the world was coming to an end because of Gay people.

However, if in the 1980s and 1990s the American Left opposed nuclear proliferation and zero-sum political stances, today it has embraced both.

The American Left, and the Obama administration, support an Iranian Jihadi bomb and a zero-sum effort against the Jews of the Middle East.

They may have opposed nuclear proliferation in the United States during the middle-end of the twentieth-century, but they definitely favor Iranian nuclear proliferation under the Ayatollahs in the beginning of the twenty-first-century.  They opposed a zero-sum resolution in the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, but often favor a zero-sum resolution in the Long Arab War Against the Jews.

Phases of the Long Arab War Against the Jews in the Middle East: 

Phase 1, 1920 - 1947: Riots and Massacres

Phase 2, November 1947 - April 1948: The Civil War in Palestine

Phase 3, 1948 - 1973: Conventional Warfare

Phase 4, 1964 - Present: The Terror War

Phase 5, 1975 - Present: The Delegitimization Effort

The Arab war in the Middle East against the Jewish minority is a zero-sum conflict.

The hostile Arab majority outnumber the beseiged Jews by a factor of 60 to 70 to 1.  The extent to which the western-left accepts anti-Semitic anti-Zionism as part of its larger coalition is the extent to which it accepts zero-sum resolutions to problems.  There is no amicable compromise between the anti-Zionist Left and the Jewish people.  Anti-Zionism represents the Arab-Muslim effort to undermine and eliminate Israel and BDS is its western-left outpost.

So long as "liberals" and Democrats provide venues for anti-Semitic anti-Zionists of the type that promote BDS, then they are engaging in a zero-sum aggression against the Jewish people as a whole.  So long as "liberals" and Democrats enable an Iranian nuclear weapons program, then they are twisting a Rubik's Bomb that quite possibly will go off in their faces... and ours, as well.

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