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Documentary Pays Tribute To A Man Who Hated America

Posted on October 14 2010 11:00 am
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The recently deceased Communist historian Howard Zinn described a new documentary about radical anti-American lawyer William Kunstler as “a wonderful, inspiring film.”

No wonder. The documentary “Disturbing the Universe” recounts the career of the so-called People’s Lawyer whose hatred of his own country burned brightly enough to earn him the lasting admiration of the Left.

Kunstler was director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) from 1964 to 1972. A grandstanding, media-savvy lawyer, he rose to national prominence by defending the angry radical defendants of the “Chicago Seven” in their 1969 riot-incitement trial.

A co-founder of the anti-American law firm known as the Center for Constitutional Rights, Kunstler claimed “the Constitution is my Bible,” but embraced lawlessness. Notable Kunstlerisms include “any criminal trial in this country is an oppression,” and “I don’t disagree with murder sometimes, especially political assassinations.”

He once told students, “You must learn to fight in the streets, learn to revolt, learn to shoot guns … You may ultimately have to take that final step. You may ultimately be bathed in blood.” An indignant Kunstler once upbraided singer and anti-war activist Joan Baez for violating leftist etiquette by daring to criticize the totalitarian Socialist Republic of Vietnam, professing that he would never join in a public denunciation of a socialist country.”

As commentator Mike Rosen noted after Kunstler died in 1995, the lawyer who depicted himself as a respectable civil libertarian was in reality “a classic, disenfranchised, anti-establishment America-hater of the left.” Kunstler represented notorious defendants “because he sympathized with their causes and because it gave him an opportunity to ‘get in the face’ of bourgeois society.”

The trailer for the documentary features a Kunstlerism I missed before: “I suspect that better men than the world has known and more of them have gone to their death through a legal system than all the illegalities in the history of man.”

This is the Marxist view of American society succinctly expressed. To radicals, America is not a bastion of freedom but a prison that oppresses all confined within its walls.

Note: This post has been modified to correct a Kunstler quotation. -MV

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