“It was no wonder, then, that the [Port Huron] statement was inspired by participatory democracy. Participation is what we were denied, and what we hungered for. Without it, there was no dignity. Parents and professors lectured us, administrators ordered us, draft boards conscripted us, the whole system channeled us, all to please authority and take our place in line.” What must it be like to have lived as long as Hayden and Flacks and to have learned so little? Still no appreciation of all that parents and professors and authority have brought them. Leftists like Hayden and Flacks remind me of the punch-line to one of those jokes told on the edge of puberty: “I want what I want when I want it!” All the self-absorbed and destructive egotism of a five-year-old embedded in the truly destructive personae of adults.
So it is no accident, as we used to say, that this old pair of unreconstructed communists should have no wiser view of the challenges we face as a nation forty years later. Or that they should take pleasure in their present influence in encouraging the most destructive elements in our culture — the hate-America, corporation-phobic gremlins of the newest left. “There is a new movement astir in the world, against the inherent violence of globalization, corporate rule and fundamentalism, that reminds us strongly of the early 1960s….The war on terrorism has revived the cold war framework. An escalating national security state attempts to rivet our attention and invest our resources on fighting an elusive, undefined enemy for years to come, at the inevitable price of our civil liberties and continued neglect of social justice. To challenge the framework of the war on terrorism, to demand a search for real peace with justice, is as difficult today as challenging the cold war was at Port Huron.”
Here is a priceless confession. What was difficult for Hayden, Flacks and the New Left about “challenging the cold war,” was that the war they were challenging — America’s war — was a war on behalf of human freedom. One and half billion people liberated from the chains of the Soviet imperialism testify to that. What is difficult for Hayden, Flacks and the new New Left about challenging the war on terror is really the same — that their country is right and that they hate it nonetheless. What is interesting is that Hayden and Flacks, and the editors of the Nation would be so forthright in declaring their intention to weaken and undermine America’s war against terror, and to use “civil liberties” and “social justice” as the instruments for accomplishing it. Let’s hope the American people are taking note, and will mount an appropriate response.