If it is a more authentic form of loyalty to attack the failings of one’s own house, then why are leftists, like Navasky and Chomsky, so zealous in covering up the crimes of the left? The Nation was perhaps the last media institution in America to admit the guilt of the Rosenberg spies, or the crimes of the Black Panthers, let alone of the monster Pol Pot. It has still not made its peace with the guilt of Alger Hiss. For decades Nation writers — and leftists generally — made pariahs of the Trotskyist critics of the Stalin regime and actively colluded in the coverup of Communist atrocities throughout the Cold War.
And they continue in the present to defame critics of the left, as (in the interests of full disclosure) they defamed me in a recent cover story. The purpose is always the same: to embargo discussion of themselves. It is hypocrisy of the very highest order to think of yourself as having a “social conscience” and as being a champion of dissent, while you shut off questioning in your own ranks and attempt to demonize those who disagree with you and turn them into unpersons and worse. “What of it?” you might ask. “Victor Navasky is a genial man. The left has no gulags in America. The Soviet empire is dead. So what if Noam Chomsky is the most influential intellect on American campuses? So what if ’60s leftovers like Jeffrey Blankfort are busily indoctrinating multiethnic American youth in suspicions toward their own country? America can survive this.”
Well, it is true that the Soviet empire is dead, and that the threat of treason which the old Communist movement posed is no longer a pressing concern. Yet the left still poses a danger to America’s future. This country is a unique experiment — virtually the only successful, large-scale multiethnic polity we know. It is to the fragile construction of this multiethnic community that the contemporary left poses its threat. It is immeasurably abetted in this task by the innocence (not to say ignorance) of Americans about the country they live in.
In a recent survey of seniors at 55 of the highest-rated American colleges and universities, including Harvard and Princeton, 80 percent of those questioned failed to get better than a D on a high school level history exam and could not identify Patrick Henry, for example, as the author of the phrase “Give me liberty or give me death,” let alone provide its context. None of the 55 schools in the survey required a course in American history for graduation, and only 20 percent required their students to take any history classes at all.
Into this vacuum the left has marched with its corrosive ideological acid. Consider this anti-American, anti-white and astoundingly ignorant statement by leftist historian Philip A. Klinkner in the July 3rd Nation: “Throughout American history, in nearly every instance in which they have been given a direct vote on the matter, the majority of white Americans have rejected any measure beneficial to the interests of blacks.”
Given the fact that whites have been the American majority throughout the nation’s history, it would be interesting to hear leftists like professor Klinkner explain how blacks have made any progress at all, if they have not made it through the expressed will of the white majority: how the slave trade was ended; how the slaves gained their freedom; how the Constitution was amended not only to outlaw slavery but to guarantee equal rights; how segregation was ended; how civil rights were enforced; how voting rights were guaranteed; how anti-discrimination laws were passed; how affirmative action was launched; how the welfare system was funded; and how African-Americans became the freest, richest and most privileged community of blacks anywhere in the world.
Far from being eccentric, Klinkner’s view of the American past is a clichi of the views held not only by white leftist academics, but by their disciples in the leadership of what passes for the “civil rights” movement in the African-American community today. By the way, Klinkner is not merely a history professor, but a specialist in American race relations and civil rights — a fact that speaks volumes about the politicized state of American universities and the toxic messages they disseminate in the guise of “education” to American youth.