“YOU LEFT THE FIELD OF IDEAS to people like me to be corrupted, while you went off to make money,” said Ellsworth Toohey to his former boss Gale Wynand in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. The Toohey character represents the liberal intelligentsia. Wynand represents the Rockefeller Republican.
This one statement by a fictional character articulates the present social, political, and cultural state of America. The liberal intelligentsia is predominant.
A few years ago a history professor published a book that received a prestigious award. The book claimed Americans did not own many guns in the early years of the republic and therefore the Second Amendment is not for individuals. This was well received by gun control zealots, which probably accounted for its acceptance and praise in literary, media and academic circles.
However, there was one problem. The claim was not true. Eventually, the prize was rescinded and the author resigned from his position as a professor.
How could such a book promoting abolition of gun ownership be lauded, while scientific studies and books such as John Lott’s "More Guns, Less Crime" are immediately demeaned?
Because the field of ideas has been deserted by the American right.
For about twenty years, leftwing academicians met at the annual Socialists Scholars Conference. The 2002 event brought in New York City Councilman and former Black Panther Charles Barron, Michael Cohen, editor of the Green Party USA newspaper, Mumia Abu Jamal attorney Leonard Weinglass, and Edward Said.
Michael Moore, Al Sharpton, Noam Chomsky, Cornel West, and Ron Dellums, one-time Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, as well as New York Congressmen Jerrold Nadler and Major Owens have attended past conferences.
There is nothing inappropriate about this. All ideas are welcome in America – although one must wonder if a congressman, famous filmmaker, or distinguished college professor attended say a Fascist or Nazi Scholars Conference what would happen.
However, it is emblematic of the influence of leftwing ideology in modern America. The pervasiveness of socialist thought among scholars is nothing new. The Intercollegiate Socialist Society (ISS) was established in New York in 1905 by some very famous scholars.
Among them were Jack London, Upton Sinclair, and Clarence Darrow. Each of these men were very influential in American society then and now.
Indeed, socialist ideas and propaganda from a hundred years ago is still disseminated today.
American socialist icon Eugene Debs said during a 1918 speech, “And here let me emphasize the fact -- and it cannot be repeated too often -- that the working class who fight all the battles, the working class who make the supreme sacrifices…have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that …alone declare war and they alone make peace.
They themselves did not go to war anymore than the modern feudal lords, the barons of Wall Street go to war…”
This claim has been repeated today, without knowing its origins, by journalists and politicians.
A 2004 Newsweek magazine article claimed, “American troops tend to be working-class or poor…”
New York Times journalist Chris Hedges ( an admitted socialist) said during a 2003 college commencement address, “(the soldiers he met in Iraq) joined the military because there were no job opportunities.”
Bill Maher remarked during a 2005 edition of his TV show that the military recruits the dregs of society.
The facts are quite different.
According to a Rand study of military enlistees, “…a high school senior was less likely to enlist, “The more months he’s been unemployed” and “If he has a low wage.”
The Defense Department’s own data states, “Practically all active duty and Selected Reserve enlisted …had a high school diploma or equivalent, well above civilian youth proportions …have higher cognitive aptitude than the civilian youth population…reading levels were higher in the enlisted military than in the non-military sector. FY 2001 …active duty enlisted …had a mean reading level typical of an 11th grade student whereas the mean for civilian youth was within the 10th grade range.”
Yet, socialist antiwar propaganda from a century ago survives today.
Another example of these anti-American falsehoods is that of blacks in the military during war.
General Pershing wrote in his book about World War I that African-Americans were being told that African-American troops were always given the most dangerous assignments, were sacrificed to save white troops, and were often left to die without medical attention, when in fact; at that point, black troops had not been in combat. Ironically, Pershing wrote, “It was not difficult to guess the origin of this sort of propaganda.”
This same propaganda was repeated by the liberals/leftists during the Vietnam War and all other wars since including Operation Iraqi Freedom.
During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1991, it was said African-Americans would be represented disproportionately among frontline units and casualties. However,
Representative Les Aspin, a Colorado Democrat and Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee stated, “The…Committee spent some considerable time on this [issue] and came to a rather surprising conclusion about it. It's not true.”
From the aforementioned Rand study, “…when compared to college graduates in the civilian workforce 21-49 years old (9 percent African American), African Americans are equitably represented in the officer ranks.”
The difference between the Vietnam War days and today is that then the media was pretty much in lockstep with leftism and the antiwar movement. Today there are alternatives.
Unfortunately, they seem to be limited to blogs like this one and talk radio. News organizations like the Fox News Channel, the Wall Street Journal also do not follow the liberal template. Other, smaller newspapers present the truth yet do not have much of an impact outside of their own regions.
Unquestionably, the leftists have corrupted the “field of ideas.” They have controlled the opinion shaping professions of the academy, the media, and the arts for a long time.
Unless more conservatives become members of what Robert Bork once called the “chattering classes,” America will become a totalitarian society. Public opinion, both foreign and domestic will turn against America.
The foreign policy of appeasement will continue to endanger America. If America does not defend liberty what nation will?
The idea that America must apologize for supposed transgressions - such as eliminating the threat of world communism – will continue erode America’s moral standing.
The idea of a socialist utopia will be an easy sell to those who know nothing other than that capitalism is evil.
Anti-Americanism will be an easy sell if all people know is that we had slaves without learning about the civil war or the abolition movement.
There is a saying that nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come and if conservatives do not respond, it could soon be the false, leftwing idea now taking root in our culture.