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The Never-Eradicated Plague That Is The Red Menace UPDATED

27 June 2019 @ 18:55

Over at City Journal, Harry Stein has written a very insightful and sagacious article on the parallels between the 1930’s Left In America, as chronicled in Eugene Lyons’s book of 1941, The Red Decade [a link to purchase the book, through Stacy McCain’s Amazon Link, will be provided below].

As Mr. Stein puts it, the book describes ‘the Communist-dominated American Left of the Depression-wracked 1930s and 1940s’ and he believes it is timeless: ‘It may be that the best book that will ever be written about today’s progressive mind-set was published in 1941’.

And he makes a damn good case for this juror to vote ‘Guilty’ on all counts.

The following are some highlights from the article and my thoughts…¹

1) Mr Stein writes:

…Lyons was one of the most gifted reporters of his time, and among the bravest, and his story of the spell cast by Stalinist-tinged social-justice activism over that day’s purported best and brightest—literary titans, Hollywood celebrities, leading academics, religious leaders, media heavies—would be jaw-dropping if it weren’t so eerily familiar.

Indeed, looking backward from a time when, according to surveys, more millennials would rather live under socialism than capitalism, it’s apparent that Lyons was documenting not just a historical moment but also a species of historical illiteracy as unchanging as it is poisonous, its utopianism able to flourish only at the expense of independent thought. On a range of issues, alternative views were defined as not merely mistaken but morally reprehensible; and among the elites who dominated the cultural sphere, deviants from approved opinion were subject to special abuse. Of course, having lived and worked in Soviet Russia, Lyons made distinctions about relative abuses of power. Under Stalinism, dissidents were liquidated, or vanished into the gulag; the American Left could only liquidate careers and disappear reputations.

Which they did with the kind of malign intent that only a Fanatic could muster.

So far, the Leftists in The West have been practicing a Soft Despotism — so far.  If one has read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, you can see where that leads.  More than in the 1930’s, we are hardening that Soft Despotism in the 21st Century.

We conservatives and Classical Liberals are not labeled ‘Dissidents’ or ‘Enemies Of The People’; terms like ‘False Consciousness’ are rarely battered-about, but, though the lyrics have changed, the song remains the same.  And this time it’s fueled by Social Media and the owners of it, who are, at best, Dupes, at worst, they see themselves as members of a Western Politburo.

The West has, for all intents and purposes gone Corporatist.

2) Mr. Stein remarks on the 1930’s Red Movement and it’s attractions [emphasis mine]:

…As screenwriter Richard Collins would later recall of his time in the party, Communism was, for its devotees, “a cause, a faith, and a viewpoint on all phenomena. A one-shot solution to all the world’s ills and inequities.”

While CPUSA membership likely never exceeded more than 75,000—and even for many of them, the particulars of the Communist political program surely registered as mumbo jumbo—fellow travelers numbered in the millions, and Communist-backed special causes, each near-biblical in its moral sweep, brought multitudes to the streets. Sacco and Vanzetti. The Scottsboro Boys. Republican Spain. And the pageantry and the music—Woody Guthrie ballads and labor anthems like “Which Side Are You On?” and Paul Robeson’s Godlike basso profundo on the Victrola in every left-wing home, with his heartrending dirge to the murdered union man Joe Hill. It was a movement built on high-octane emotion and blind belief.

The Left has been very successful in hitting the right emotional buttons, especially with those groups labeled Millennials and Gen-X.  Of course, the Baby Boomers were dipped in the vat of Bolshevik stew, but they, at least, had a Sense Of History, so a good number of them helped make the modern Conservative and libertarian movements a force to be reckoned with — at least some of them did before they became Pod People of the Leftist Archons.

3) More from Mr. Stein:

…”The most dangerous people have always been those most ready to sacrifice themselves for a cause,” [Lyons] wrote on his return home, with the clarity of the chastened zealot, in his 1937 memoir Assignment in Utopia.  “The first expression of that disrespect for life is a readiness to sacrifice the lives of others.” Whittaker Chambers….

Once again, we see a connection between The Left and Islam.  As I have been saying since I first began blogging in 2008: both share a Totalitarian Impulse and encourage their Ignorant Minions to take the most Radical of actions, while they sit on their magisterial thrones in their walled castle-mansions.

4) Mr. Stein again:

Yet at least as troubling to Lyons as the reality of the Soviet paradise was the refusal to face it that he encountered in America on his return. To the contrary, he ran up against an almost perverse eagerness to embrace every fabrication in its defense and to cast doubters as hostile to all that was good and true. Stalinist methods, if even acknowledged, often met with tacit approval. Was it not true that foes of the Revolution were plotting on all sides—reactionaries, Trotskyists, other class enemies? As the New York Times’s Duranty famously summed it up, “you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.”

That during those Depression years, the legions of starry- and steely-eyed included a disproportionate number of what we’d now call millennials was unsurprising; for the idealistic, emotion-driven young, hard questions always have easy solutions, and even in good times, there’s no competing with the romance of the Left. But what Lyons found far more unsettling was the credulity of those in the vanguard of progressive thought: leading figures in academia, entertainment, publishing, media, and the highest councils of government, from New York to Hollywood and everywhere between. These were the powerful and influential, the men and women who shaped public attitudes and opinion….

Sound familiar?

Of course, those of us who have half-a-brain have known this for decades. What has changed since Obama took office is that The Long, Twilight Struggle against Leftism that we have been fighting has, at least since 2006 or 2008, come out from the shadows because The Leftists are full of Hubris now.²

5) On the influence of the Left in the 1930’s

Over the course of 400 pages, Lyons covers the cultural landscape, alighting in turn upon all the capitals of progressivism, at each point examining the behavior of its most celebrated denizens when it mattered most. There were the men and women of letters, almost all dedicated foremost to status within their own insular universe. “Small in number, their impact on a nation’s mind is subtle and incalculable,” Lyons wrote. “They set the styles in not thinking.” At one point, he details a petition signed by nearly 150 of the day’s most notable writers, artists, and composers asserting “the weight of evidence established a clear presumption of guilt” of the Soviet purge defendants and cheering the verdicts as essential to “the preservation of progressive democracy.”

Then there were the professors and administrators at esteemed universities, then, as now, given to political correctness in every particular: “College teachers slanted their lessons to match the latest views out of Moscow, and met with the communist faction among their students in conspiratorial caucuses.” Much as he faults young people for their susceptibility to socialism’s appeal, Lyons faults even more the grown-ups, observing that views of the young are always “crudely colored by undefined emotional urges,” which leaves them “perfect raw stuff for demagogic molding. . . . [T]he glorification of youth is a modern development, it puts a premium on lack of experience, mental fuzziness and intuition as against intelligence and maturity.”

The Indoctrination now starts in Nursery School or Kindergarten.  Our children’s Souls are being poisoned from their very birth as well by Brainwashed parents and those parents who do not keep a close eye on what their children are being taught each day.  The Me Generation has extended for three generations now, and shows no sign of ending.  There is no Virtue in an all-encompassing Selfishness.³

6) Echos:

…there were those in the left-of-center media who habitually assumed the worst about their own country. “Well, in America we executed people for murder and for holding unorthodox political opinions,” as he quotes The New Republic’s defense of the Moscow purge trials, but “in Russia they execute people for abusing positions of high responsibility. Are official rifle squads of the Cheka any more depressing to the morale of the workers than the hired Cossacks of the American mill towns? Are they any worse than the New York police?”

Replace a few words and you have a modern journalistic piece.

7) Regarding Hollywood, Mr. Stein writes:

,,,For while the film community had more than its share of those steeped in Communist Party doctrine, the Party’s great achievement was in making leftism fashionable. “I saw Social Consciousness quicken and come to a boil in actors, writers and directors whose names rival Rinso and Camels as household words,” he writes of witnessing the spectacle at close hand. “The political pig-Latin of class struggle, anti-fascism, and revolutionary tactics rippled around swimming pools and across dance floors. . . . They had not the remotest idea what communism was in terms of economic structures or political superstates. For nearly all of them it was an intoxicated state of mind, a glow of inner virtue, and a sort of comradeship of super-charity.”

Adhering to the right beliefs and supporting the right causes was not just how to fit in, but how to get ahead. For those on the rise, or hoping to be, it “became the shortcut to success. At ‘cause parties’ they rubbed shoulders and bosoms with big shots they could not have met otherwise. Those who tried to detour the revolution, unless they were stars well fixed in the firmament, found themselves slipping from favor. It was at once a movement and a lobby, a religion and a racket.”

The whole of the Entertainment Industry today thinks Socialism is ‘fashionable’. But, ask them to sacrifice their wealth to help the Proles and what you get is Ignored or dismissed as Evil [perhaps later on on Social Media].

The entertainers of the 1930’s who signed the American Communist Party-influenced [or maybe it was written by them] ‘New Declaration Of Independence’ in 1938, people like Henry Fonda and Joan Crawford, were as much Ignoramuses as DeNiro, Griffen, etc. are today.

As I’ve stated many times: There was a reason that, up until about 1900, entertainers had to enter through the back door.

8) More:

…At the time, especially in elite circles, the charge of “red baiting” was akin to that of racism, sexism, or homophobia today; whether made in anger or with premeditated intent, it was enough to halt any challenge to the Left’s worldview. It was a weapon deployed, [Lyons] wrote, by “literary critics, book reviewers and political commentators . . . a neatly contrived device for heading off free and uninhibited discussion of little things such as man-made famines, horrifying blood purges, forced labor on a gigantic scale.” In fact, in almost every meaningful arena of American life, those who “ran afoul of the revolution were made to feel the full weight of their crimes; they were ostracized socially, handicapped professionally and not infrequently stripped of their jobs as well as their reputations for ordinary decency.”

…“The part I cannot induce the uninitiated to believe is how effective the terror could be,” he writes. “When you first met a particularly far-fetched libel on your character, it merely seemed funny in its absurdity.” But continually repeated, he adds, the lies take their toll, for wherever one tried to make one’s way professionally, “there were manuscript readers, casting directors, book reviewers who—consciously or by a sort of pack instinct—took their prejudices ready-made from the Popular Front[4] comrades.”

It wasn’t funny then and it’s still not funny today.  Yes, Ridicule them — that’s an effective tactic — but always take The Left seriously.  They mean to Destroy you.

‘And one can only shudder at what might have happened
had their ilk achieved political power equal to their cultural influence.’

9) Mr. Stein on differences between todat with what went on in the 1930’s:

For all the Left’s capacity to shape opinion in Lyons’s time, the power wielded by today’s progressives is even more malign, for its heavy hand is all but unconstrained by countervailing forces. For one thing, 70 or 80 years ago, organized religion held such sway in America that even committed leftists understood that it could be derided only behind closed doors; and while there were some prominent clergymen who fell hard for the progressive line, they usually made sure to do so only as private citizens. Even they would have dismissed as lunacy the possibility that one day not only their congregants, but entire religious orders, might be widely characterized as dangerous zealots for adhering to traditional beliefs, or that agencies of government would compel them to violate their most deeply held spiritual convictions.

But behind closed doors, The Left released it’s deadly poison in smaller doses.

10) Mr. Stein writes:

…Yet today, with the Left driven by a different, if no less bizarre, notion of the ideal equitable society—one where individual merit is trumped by race, gender, and sexual orientation—CEOs of multinational firms cower, lest they be found insufficiently committed to diversity or otherwise fail to heed the harsh dictates of identity politics. Mozilla chief Brendan Eich gets fired for contributing to an anti-gay-marriage initiative; Google dispatches James Damore for a memo questioning the company’s ideological mono-culture; Papa John’s namesake founder is dumped after quoting someone else’s use of the N-word as a negative example in a public-relations session. We may not hear the word “Stalinist” much any more, but this is stuff right out of the intellectual red terror.

It is.  But let us not forget that most of these CEO’s and their Executive do not cower, but believe in, and, therefore, seek to implement The Party Line.

11) Further:

At least rhetorically, the Communists of the late 1930s were, in fact, far less hostile to the American idea than are today’s run-of-the-mill progressives. In an age where Americans were raised to revere their country’s singular history, they all but wrapped themselves in the flag. “Communism Is Twentieth-Century Americanism” went the party’s famous Popular Front slogan, and they did not hesitate to name their Spanish battalions for Lincoln and Washington or the Party school for Marxist instruction after Jefferson. The contrast with today’s Left, which sees American history as a cavalcade of oppression, could not be more striking. Little wonder that today’s Democrats, seeking to stay abreast of their fervent base, are as publicly invested in identity politics and collectivist economics as the denizens of any faculty lounge.

The Communists were always Anti-American.  The CPUSA always advocated the Overthrow of the government of The United States.  They never stopped embracing the Leftist Commandment: By any means necessary’.  They were smart enough back then to hide it with The Big Lie.

12) Comparing the political situation to today:

Indeed, this speaks to the most striking difference between the world that Lyons described and the one we contend with today: it’s no longer a tiny, if disproportionately influential, political entity waving the Left’s banner; it’s one of the two major parties….

And, let us never forget, Leftist Thinking has pervaded the Republican Party.  We’re slowly becoming like Great Britain where the Tories have become Left-Of-Center.

13) Of the later career of the actually blacklisted Eugene Lyons, Mr. Stein writes:

…For the rest of his life, he pressed on with the hard work of truth-telling and persuasion—notably, as a founding contributor to National Review, where he helped set the course of postwar American conservatism and, in one especially vital exchange with John Birch Society founder Robert Welch, powerfully made the case against the Right’s tendency to succumb to the same paranoia he’d seen operate to such destructive effect on the left….

Today, we on The Right confront the Alt-Right.  I highly recommend you read Jeff Goldstein’s 2016 article,The Alt-Right Is The Mirror Image Of The New Left, on them.  His views are mine.

Thank you Harry Stein for your very insightful article and thank you Eugene Lyons for your Bravery and Virtue.

[If you wish to purchase The Red Decade — and I urge you to do so — please click here, hit anyone of Stacy McCain’s Amazon Links, and look it up under ‘Books’].

UPDATE on 30 June 2019:

Stacy McCain has weighed-in on Mr. Stein’s article and provided a more direct link to the purchase of the book.

A highlight:

One of the reasons younger people — and by “younger,” I mean, under 40 — are so vulnerable to leftist “progressive” propaganda is because they aren’t old enough to remember the Cold War. Today’s 35-year-old was in kindergarten when the Berlin Wall fell, and thus has no personal memory of what it was like to live during the decades when we were faced with the possibility of annihilation by Soviet aggression. The permanent sense of terror inspired by the menace of Communism, a godless creed of murderous hatred, was so deeply embedded into American culture during my youth that my children (the oldest of which was born some six months before the fall of the Berlin Wall) can scarcely understand what it was like….


Can you remember remember my name
As I flow through your life
A thousand oceans I have flown
And cold spirits of ice
All my life
I am the echo of your past

I am returning the echo of a point in time
Distant faces shine
A thousand warriors I have known
And laughing as the spirits appear
All your life
Shadows of another day

And if you hear me talking on the wind
You’ve got to understand
We must remain
Perfect Strangers

Perfect Strangers, written by Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, and Roger Glover


¹ Please bear with me as I carry-on a bit: I have been study Leftism since I was a teenager in the 1970’s and now, finally, many are realizing the Danger posed by Leftist Thinking.

² As I wrote in my book, The Present Crisis:

It is now known that a certain element of the New Left decided to re-orientate — re-engineer — their Movement starting in the late 1970’s, and continuing through the 1980’s. No longer would it be as rude and rowdy and in-your-face and impatient as it had been in the past fifteen years or so. Instead, they would put on suits, pantsuits, and dresses, and then then blend-in within American Society. The Left would seek to destroy the existing Order from inside the Establishment.

So, the New New Left In America put on business attire, cut their hair, polished their shoes, shaved, and bathed. And they wormed their way quietly into every area of our Society that they could, never letting their fellow workers know of the Radical ends they sought. They were aided in their efforts at infiltration by Old Leftists already inside and by the usual suspects: Fellow Travellers, Dupes, and Useful Idiots.

They were patient, in most cases, not playing their fraudulent hand, waiting for the right moments to advance The Cause in small steps or, when Fortune shined on them, make larger leaps When this New New Left captured control of the House and of the Senate in 2006, they increased the pace of their efforts. But it was with the assumption of the Presidency by Barack Hussein Obama on January 21, 2007 that they kicked their Coup into high gear — and they haven’t slowed down since.

America was ripe at that moment for the Stealth Coup to transform into a more overt one….

With the election of Barack Hussein Obama, this new-fangled Leftist Movement believes that this is their moment, the one that Destiny! has called them to.

And, considering the many significant successes they have achieved since January of 2009, they appear to have been right in their judgement.

If anything did change with the inauguration of Obama, it was that the Big Lies were no longer subtle, just more Brazen, Shameless, Barefaced, and Bold. At some point, the Left stopped caring if their Lies were easily refuted — they just kept on repeating them over and over, like a meditation mantra, drumming the lies into the heads of the softened brains the various Leftist Movements had brainwashed in America so successfully over many generations. Since Obama left office, the Left has continued not caring and, in fact, has ramped-up it’s Madness.

³ Ayn Rand was wrong — dead wrong.

4 From the Oxford Dictionary: ‘Popular Front: A party or coalition representing left-wing elements, in particular (the Popular Front) an alliance of communist, radical, and socialist elements formed and gaining some power in countries such as France and Spain in the 1930s.’

  1. Adobe_Walls permalink
    27 June 2019 @ 19:55 19:55

    No longer would it be as rude and rowdy and in-your-face and impatient as it had been in the past fifteen years or so Well they’ve certainly gotten over that phase!
    Read that piece this past weekend, absolutely uncanny how current The Red Decade is.

    • 28 June 2019 @ 14:54 14:54

      The sad thing is that it appears to be out-of-print, although Amazon lists third-party stores that have it.

      • Adobe_Walls permalink
        28 June 2019 @ 19:19 19:19

        It better not be out of stock, I just ordered it yesterday in paperback.

  2. robert permalink
    28 June 2019 @ 02:31 02:31

    Great read! On #5: I put both of my boys through public schools, but told them over and over through the years that there was information they needed to learn (the reading, writing, arithmetic parts) and there were BS opinions those teachers were going to feed them. You don’t need to learn that, I told them, but sometimes you will have to regurgitate it on tests to make good grades. Sometimes, we’d talk about what they were told, but I discovered that just letting them know that I knew there was crap being fed them and that they didn’t have to feel obligated to follow it led to two fine upstanding young men of strong moral fiber who can think for themselves (we certainly don’t agree on everything and I approve!) coming out of the public school system. So it is possible to get kids through the leftist system without them becoming leftists. Just let them know they have a choice and how to recognize opinions from facts.

    • 28 June 2019 @ 14:56 14:56

      Congratulations for a battle well-fought and successful.

  3. Daria Anne DiGiovanni permalink
    28 June 2019 @ 08:49 08:49

    Thank you for this excellent post! I am grateful that my mom, who was born in 1931, was the daughter of a staunch anti-communist who emigrated here from Italy (in the legal way) as a young boy with his widowed mother and brothers. They assimilated, learned the language, and embraced the American ideals of individual liberty and sovereignty. My maternal grandfather became a pharmacist and owned his own corner pharmacy in the neighborhood. He taught my mother well, supported Joe McCarthy as a patriot, and railed against FDR and his big-government policies. Living in an area of immigrants (mostly from Italy and Ireland), his conservative political views were in the minority, but he never backed down.

    Thankfully, my mom (who pulled my dad to the right when they dated) educated my siblings and me about freedom. Although we went to Catholic school, many of the nuns and priests loved socialism and communism and almost always supported pro-abort Democrats in elections because they were for “poor people.” In elementary school, they scared us about an impending Ice Age, which decades later, became “Global Warming” and “Climate Change.” When Reagan ran for his second term, I recall nuns, priests, and some lay teachers deriding him as a “war monger” and wringing their hands over the choice between Mondale (a pro-abortion candidate) and Reagan. They subjected us to movies promoting nuclear disarmament. Thank God for smart parents at home who engaged us about politics, freedom, history, etc. all the time.

    My point is, that as much as organized religion may have been a shield against communism, at least in my experience as a Catholic school girl, if not for the education I received at home, I might have fallen into the same trap of believing in socialism as an ideal to be implemented over “evil” capitalism. The nuns used to lecture us all the time about poor, starving kids in Africa, yet somehow it was always in the context of making us feel guilty for being Americans…never did they condemn the despotic regimes who starved their own people. Ditto for slavery…Americans were responsible but yet we never heard a peep about Africans who sold their own people into slavery. Shouldn’t both sides of that equation bear responsibility? And what about all the men who suffered and died to end it?

    Anyway, in light of this week’s Democratic debates, this article is especially jarring and relevant. I am praying and working for the preservation of our freedom, and doing what I can to educate those who fall prey to the leftist tropes.

    • 28 June 2019 @ 15:06 15:06

      First: God Bless your Parents.

      Second: Thank you for the kind words, Old Friend-In-The-Ether.

      I suffered the same Post-Vatican II rubbish in my twice-weekly CCD classes, more so than in the public school I went to [although, of course, it was seeping in there in the late 1960’s / 1970’s].

      My Paternal Grandfather came here legally in the late teens, immediately signed-up for Civics and English classes, became a citizen in the early 1920’s, and registered Republican, which he stayed until he passed away in 1980.

      Unfortunately, my Father was an FDR Democrat, but, like Ronald Reagan, he converted to conservative right around the same time. My Mother was always a Rock-Ribbed Kansas Republican.

      • Daria Anne DiGiovanni permalink
        29 June 2019 @ 11:31 11:31

        Sounds like we have some things in common! Which reminds me, another false leftist trope concerns women. My mom and the women in my family were all pro-life conservatives, and my mom’s female cousin worked as a pharmacist in the 1940’s. In fact, she was the first woman to graduate from Temple Pharmacy School. Way before them, American pioneer women displayed real strength and courage, while others worked in factories as the Industrial Age swept the country.

        But if you listen to today’s lefties, women did not work and had ZERO rights in this country until ol’ Gloria and her cohorts came along. I hold her, Betty Friedan and others like them responsible for the ruination of courtship, chivalry and basic decency that used to be the norm. They are ultimately responsible for the war on masculinity the third wave feminists and SJW’s are now waging. I am praying for a return to sanity.

        • 02 July 2019 @ 15:20 15:20

          Spot-on, Daria. The Feminists demonized Motherhood, which is an essential part of keep our society Civil.


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