The Clare Spark Blog

June 17, 2019

Bad “Fathers”

patriotic tattoo/pinterest

This statement will be even more hostile than the first blog I wrote on the Wood prize-winning book: https://clarespark.com/2011/10/30/collectivism-in-the-history-establishment/

This particular blog is about the attacks on the American Constitution by liberal democrats, an attack facilitated by the renowned (and much honored) Gordon S. Wood, Professor Emeritus at Brown University. It is about the claims of his book, The Creation of the American Republic (1967), a lengthy work which might have raised the hackles of such as C. Wright Mills, a hero to the New Left (for the Gordon Wood book is repetitious, abstract, and possibly impenetrable for many readers (including me), and, I suppose, an apology for mainstream Democrats who laud “the living Constitution.” in favor of a dead letter.  For more about Wood, see https://vivo.brown.edu/display/gwood.

I will go on, since I have a clearer idea of the major players in this production of Democratic Party ideology. Attorney Mark Levin is surely not one of them, for he defends the republican-fathered Constitution weekly on (moderate) Fox News Channel, while (left-leaning moderate) Wood attacks modern-day Republicans who revere it. Make no mistake: Wood was out to get the Founding Fathers, but also to vindicate the Revolutionary generation that, unlike their elitist successors, responded to “the People.” The Federalists responded solely to “elites,” whose interests were opposed to real democrats attuned to the public interest, rather than “individualism.”

Indeed, self-identified “populist” Wood could have summarized his book with my opening sentences  .He is a very prominent academic, whose book was awarded  both the Bancroft Prize and the John H. Dunning Prize. and whose appearance at UCLA was honored with a reception at fellow-liberal’s Joyce Appleby’s home in Westwood, attended by much of the History Department. Professor Appleby’s  private office rant about “hating” Charles Beard is now explicable to me, for Appleby was a liberal, and definitely not a Marxist.

Charles and Mary Beards’ popular books, The Rise of American Civilization (1927) took a class-struggle view of The American Revolution and US development. (I have described it in two prior blogs.) Charles and Mary Beard thought that the Constitution was a “coup” engineered by the upper-class.

By contrast Wood frames his book as a struggle of Antifederalists (the real democrats) against elitist Fathers (—the Anglophile?) Federalists, whereas the Beards termed the British as the aristocrats whose stranglehold on America was interrupted by a  democratic uprising. So far Wood and the Beards partly agree, but Wood’s position is that “the critical period” leading up to the framing of the American Constitution was an imposition on the People. Now the Constitution is mistakenly revered as a testament to a pseudo-democracy. Wood thinks that this event was such a momentous conflict that he compares it to The American Civil War, a conflict which posed Union over States Rights. (Did Professor  Wood mean to stand with the South?)

Slavery (neither wage-slavery nor chattel slavery) was mentioned in the Index to this prize-winning book by renowned liberal historian, Gordon S. Wood

June 16, 2017

Populist “momentum”

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 7:57 pm

momentum1

Ministry127

Rereading Lawrence Goodwyn’s THE POPULIST MOMENT (1978), a must-read for graduate students in US history. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/05/us/lawrence-goodwyn-historian-of-populism-dies-at-85.html?_r=0.

I now may understand why the New Left veterans support what is obviously a petit bourgeois movement, devoid of working class identity, but nailing “finance capital.” There is a belief that “cultural” factors such as a loss of deference can lead to more searching critiques of society that could lead to transformational politics. This belief in momentum explains why Daniel Greenfield and other conservatives call social democrats “radicals.”

Goodwyn uses the phrase “cultural radicals” to characterize the Populists and Greenbackers. That aligns him with the cultural anthropology that has taken over economic determinism that characterized the writing of massive progressive histories of American history and that was foreshadowed by the Wilsonian progressives Charles and Mary Beard during the Jazz Age (The Rise of American Civilization,1927). https://clarespark.com/2009/12/12/switching-the-enlightenment-corporatist-liberalism-and-the-revision-of-american-history/.

Competition and individualism bad, cooperation and collectivism good.

Hence we can understand why New Left intellectuals would support “race” and “gender” black power or girl power collectivist movements, rejecting individual differences among the groups that the New Left academics support.

It is true that populism was the most radical movement in US history. But if my intuition is correct, the leftward momentum theory would explain the generational support for the Democratic Party that we can observe today.

We are all populists now, claiming the mantle of “the people.”

mobpopulism

Transl. from Japanese on WatchingAmerica.com

August 14, 2020

Invisible Man, (1952) reread

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I recently reread Ralph Ellison’s masterpiece, and was shocked by how current it was, in light of the BLM-led urban unrest, including looting. Was also surprised by how my memory of the initial read was mistaken. This blog outlines the discrepancies.

Of course, the book is written as a confession about despair that anything will ameliorate the awful racism following slavery. Ellison moves from material over the “battle royal” to a shocked white trustee of his college at the morality of a black man guilty of having sex with both his wife and daughter, to a bar having the name of the Golden Day, to his anti-hero moving to Harlem, to a dangerous job at a white-controlled paint company, to his misadventures with a leftist (Communist) movement, to shelter with a black woman (“Mary”) to a flirtation with black nationalism (Ras The Destroyer), to his confused identity with a look-alike named Rinehart, to a looting race riot in Harlem, and his life underground.

I was struck by my recollection of the novel: I had remembered it as follows: Ellison’s invisible man had left the communist party (as I had been forcibly separated from KPFK-FM. Pacifica Radio and the local “art world”); the “hero” had moved back with Mary; and of course had forgotten how current the ending was (the looting and burning). Also failed to remember the sexual encounters with white women. Be warned about my blogs, in which I relied on memory. And of course, the big item, was Ellison’s black nationalism (disavowed in the novel, along with despair). ( I have not consulted the internet entries on Ellison or his novel.)

Was “Invisible Man,” Ellison’s masterpiece? I don’t know. But was struck by how much Ellison rhymed with the current Democratic Party.

May 31, 2020

Fox News and the cover up of Western racism (including the USA)

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Every one at Fox News (with the exceptions of Ed Henry, Bryan Llenas– perhaps because is gay and a “person of color”- plus an unnamed mulatto academic whose name I don’t recall) has covered-up the shocking proliferation of Western racism, instead blaming the riots on police brutality, violence, and “outside agitators.”

The names of the chief perps in the West include famous names of Brits, French and (obviously) German, Including Brits like Locke, Frenchmen like Zola, and German (like, briefly Freud, and more obviously, Nietzsche). I was reminded of this by Peter Gay’s The Cultivation of Hatred….(1993).

May 14, 2020

Philip Wylie’s Generation of Vipers (January, 1943)

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alt=”Philip_Wylie” width=”200″ height=”201″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-8323″/> Philip Wylie, nature-lover[/caption]

I have written about Philip Wylie before (See Counter-Culture vs.the Establishment.)This time I read more than about his diatribe against “Cinderella.”Wylie amended his tantrum against upwardly-mobile middle-class women, but threw another tantrum against MOM, which lasted throughout his book, until his interview with Mike Wallace (It is important to note that this best seller was written during WWII, and though Wylie despised fascism and hated Hitler and the Germans who supported him; Wylie was critical about the military establishment, as well as statesmen, scientists (he doesn’t mention ecology or environmentalism), professors, businessmen, but not FDR, Wylie was a proud New Dealer who sort of believed in big government (See below)

Wylie’s father was a minister, but am not qualified to evaluate his view of Jesus Christ (which deviates from what I know about Protestantism and Christ’s depiction in the New Testament He wrote a whole chapter (“The Man on the Cross”)

He was also cavalier about his view of sex: the more partners (of either gender) the better. Wylie had no problem with abortion. Wallace took a dim view of “Momism” and Wylie caved, which he didn’t do in the book.

In fact, Wylie would also fit in the current Democratic Party, especially in the widespread adherence to Jung, as he mentions a global network of countries and trashes market economies. As for Jews (he wrote before the Holocaust)and “Negroes,” he deplores ancient orthodox Jews, but not modernJews and feels sorry for all Negroes. As such, he was an early purveyor of multiculturalism, and Jung (throughout he mentions “instincts).” (I suppose that all blacks were poor in Miami, hence Wylie’s adherence to collectivist discourses.)

April 19, 2020

James W. Ceaser attacks the academic left in Reconstructing America

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 4:34 pm

fascism

Published in 1977, I’m not surprised that Ceaser’s book has not attracted more attention, partly because academe is controlled by the left. Ceaser considers the left (and many social democrats) to be (unconsciously?) racist and generally reactionary: The left’s heroes are Buffon and Gobineau(the precursors of Thomas Jefferson), and stretching to Heidegger and Derrida and including Nietzsche, Heine, Spengler, and Junger. Most of these important thinkers reject technology (intrinsic to their analyses) and lead to Nazism.
Nazis gave “race” a bad name.

Ceaser is especially hard on the postmodernists. I love this book (Reconstructing America)and took copious notes on it.Needless to say, its critique of the academic left has been neglected.

April 12, 2020

Anticommunism, Ltd.

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political-correctness-is-cultural-marxism-men-s-t-shirt Nonconformist society[/The Enemy]

I have read three books since wrote my last blog. They are Kent Clizbe’s WILLING ACCOMPLICES(1988), Lindsay Chaney’s and Michael Cieply’s THE HEARSTS (1981), and Robert Gottlieb’s and Irene Wolt’s THINKING BIG (1977). Each book has a lengthy subtitle: the Clizbe’s How KGB Covert Influence Agents Created Political Correctness, Obama’s Hate-America-First Political Platform, and Destroyed America; Chaney’s and Cieply’s Family-Empire The Later Years; and Gottlieb’s and Wolt’s The Story of the LOS ANGELES TIMES Its Publishers and Their Influence on Southern California. I think that the first two books (revealing the anticommunism of the government or the publishers) were sent to me, and the third (pro-lefty book) given to me while at Pacifica Radio by Marc Cooper.

The Clizbe book did not show the origins of PC, though I expected it and was disappointed, but it did dwell upon George S. Counts, educator, Walter Duranty, and Dorothy Parker (a likely suspect); it was also antisemitic, supported “traditionalism,” but ignored Marx, Progessivism, abd the Depression of the 1930s, and failed to explain how political correctness “destroyed America.”

The Hearsts book, on its way to destroy the veracity of “Citizen Kane,”(did there was no Rosebud: the William Randolph Hearst parents were wealthy entrepreneurs, and there was a long-suffering first wife Phoebe Hearst, and the sort-of Marion Davies character, though somewhat disreputable, was well rewarded for her services)did succeed in establishing the anticommunist credentials of the five Hearst sons, along with its publications some of which persist today. It also gives lots of details of the Patty Hearst kidnapping.

The mammoth story of the LA TIMES (now acceptable to Democrats, though originally right-wing) is strongly pro-union, and includes many storied accounts of the growth of Southern California: its spectacular growth, its automobile culture, its water problems, and the condition of its black and brown inhabitants.

The book aroused my semi-latent socialist sentiments although I have moved to the Right since I was a KPFK-program-director in the early 1980s.

March 13, 2020

Henry Steele Commager, major Fabian historian

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Since one of my Facebook friends thought that Commager was an “unbiased” historian, I thought that I should spell out his liberalism. (I assume that many know about the leftist and social democratic takeover of academe.)

Commager also wrote about Charles Beard and admired Vernon Parrington, Thorstein Veblin, coopted Walter Lippmann (!, in The Good Society– left out Lippmann’s reading and current admiration for von Mises ), pushed pragmatism–especially William James, John Dewey, and Josiah Royce–, and the whole roster of liberal figures (particularly FDR, and including writers, assuming he actually read all those books), but he trashed the Constitution all except for  Founder and agrarian Thomas Jefferson, and very occasionally Alexander Hamilton, I assume that he masqueraded as a moderate.  He also claimed the contemporary American was “vulgar.” a word he deployed several times, though he admired the fighting men of the recent war. Never mentioned “the Bomb.”

But most shocking to me was his attitude toward women, asserting that the women of the 1920’s were [harridans]. and of course denigrated the Jazz Age and urbanization.

Commager was part of the New Deal coalition, which like all Big Government types, was disconcerting, even painful to read. Liberals took up identity politics during the 1960’s. But he  was au courant with the condition of blacks, in fact, used the phrase “white supremacy” at least once.  Of course he was down on Reconstruction. 

The 19th Century was comparatively good (unlike the 1920s), until industrialism spawned its horrid crop of magnates. Tell that to the Indians or to those who dissented from the Mexican War.

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 24, 2020

The American Revolution as told by two historians

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 7:40 pm

I doubt that many young (or older) people appreciate the gravity of our country’s founding, for it was an  innovation in many respects: for instance in the Constitution, but especially in the freedom of religion,  popular sovereignty, and free speech. This blog mentions two leftish books, one by John C. Miller, The American Revolution (1943) and the other by Gary B. Nash, The Urban Crucible (1979).  Nash is one of two formulators of the US History Standards, is a noted professor of History at UCLA,  and a specialist in the colonial period. (I studied with Nash in graduate school.)

I start with Professor Nash, who obviously was much affected by the 1960s New Left, with its emphasis on race, class and gender. Nash chose to emphasize class conflict and the focus on the class unrest in the northern cities of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. One would think that the working class was largely responsible for the Revolution and that the w-c  (the working class is abbreviated as “w-c” here and below) played a large part. Moreover, Nash’s History Standards did not share the same emphasis on the w-c but, rather, eliminated it. The US History Standards expected grade and high school students to master details that left out the w-c bias of his earlier work.. Is Nash a moderate, yet expecting much more of his projected grade and high school history students than even the graduate work that I accomplished at UCLA, or that media treatments of the appalling ignorance of young persons would expect?

By contrast, Miller, also a left-liberal (who else gets published these days?)Miller probably wrote his seemingly exhaustive study during the Red Decade, but looked at mostly the rising middle-class and upper classes. Miller, unlike Nash, treated the South, especially the upper-class planters. Miller also devoted much space to  the English side.  Miller was more favorable to Puritanism and to trade in general. In his  version of the Revolution, Tories in England and America played a bigger part, although he obviously was a student of the American Revolution in most of its facets.

I apologize for this blog, for it possibly features my own preoccupations, being a maven for the amazing and startling American Revolution, its dynamics,  a quality education and, above all, freedom of speech and expression (crucial items that seem to be disappearing from our public life). 

January 20, 2020

I spent a long time in wondering whether or not David Armstrong, the author of A Trumpet to Arms… (1981) was a liberal Democrat or a Red, and then I realized that it was my problem, for I have some difficulties with my conservative FB friends (around issues of feminism, etc.). This blog is about Armstrong’s book on the emergence of the counter-culture and alternative media, begun in the 1960s in the Berkeley Free Speech movement, and then the US involvement in Vietnam, but culminating in ecology (including nuclear power), multiculturalism (as contrasted to “imperialism”), anti-racism, New Age mysticism, anti-Puritanism, “subjectivity,” drug culture, the vogue for electric cars, high rises, “balance,” localism in the style of Woodrow Wilson, excessive wealth, feminism, gay liberation, and the preference for “Love” over “hate.” All these were issues with which I grasped during my short stint as Program Director for the Los Angeles Pacifica radio station, KPFK-FM. (I wondered then too, whether it was a social democratic vs. Marxist outfit. I found the same conflict during graduate work at UCLA). It is same fight for anti-capitalism vs. laissez-faire market forces that I have devoted much of this website to, whatever the topic.

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January 10, 2020

The Cold War, a moderate liberal version

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 6:47 pm

The Cold War, liberal version I have just finished Louis J. Halle’s infuriating accounting of the Cold War As History (1967), a book that was assigned to me at the UCLA graduate program in US History, a book that I had avoided until now, possibly because of “The Bomb.” I was only 9 years old when the threat of nuclear warfare commenced, and I still remember the headlines. But Halle minimized our trauma (shared by many, I surmise), by initially claiming that the USA had a virtual monopoly of nuclear secrets (ignoring the historical record, where the Soviet Union had been working on physics since early in the 20th Century, and certainly during World War II (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_atomic_bomb_project.) So there was no question about the importance of nuclear warfare early in the Cold War. Although the moderate man Halle changed his line in later pages, this blatant error changed my estimation of this historian, and I began to see Halle’s rendition as a liberal apologist, whose emphasis on “globalism” and other values was characteristic of the UCLA history department.

This blog is about his other claims, some of which were similarly startling, for instance that Ho Chi Minh was a nationalist, but not a communist (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ho_Chi_Minh.) Similarly, Chairman Mao is not a regular Red, but a unique figure, because the Chinese Revolution in 1949 pitted peasants, not workers, against Chiang Kai-shek. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mao_Zedong, also my review of Moreira’s book https://clarespark.com/2011/06/30/links-to-review-essay-on-hemingway-spy-mission-to-china/)

But the most egregious error was the typical liberal emphasis on McCarthyism as a factor in the Cold War, as if the Venona Project had never existed (though it may not have been declassified at Halle’s time of composition, so I can’t finger Halle for this error, though liberal historians blame McCarthy for messing up US history, see https://clarespark.com/2014/02/05/joe-mccarthy-and-the-warrior-spirit/).

Then there is the elevation of “white supremacy”, a typical liberal trope from the late 1960s. Finally, Halle came out against science and Enlightenment in his elevation of myth. (I have had this argument before, in a public fight with another liberal.)

January 1, 2020

The culture war over US and World History Standards

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 3:06 pm

https://www.hepg.org/her-home/issues/harvard-educational-review-volume-69-issue-2/herbooknote/history-on-trial_160. The culture war over the teaching of US History or World History has been much worse than anything in the art world. This blog tries to tease out the major issues in that still heated war.

First, the history wars polarized liberals and conservatives, although “soft Marxist” Gary Nash (with whom I studied at UCLA) was probably pushed to “moderation” by his collaborators.

Nash knew about antisemitism but limited it to “the Holocaust” and “The Emergence of the Jews” as a relic of the classical period (World History) As a social democrat (which incorporates populism) he avoided all talk about “the money power, as did his Stalinist colleague (my advisor Alexander Saxton).”

As expected, Nash, a veteran of the 1960s, emphasized class, race and gender (see https://clarespark.com/2011/03/26/race-class-and-gender/.) His book, Red, White and Black, but both Standards were focused on globalism, racial minorities, particularly blacks, Indians, and Latin Americans, Africans, Chinese, and Mexicans. In general, the Standards were way too advanced for most young folks and advanced students, even me. Like many other leftists, Nash’s book deploys a discourse of melodrama and multiculturalism throughout. (See https://clarespark.com/2013/08/09/melodrama-and-its-appeal/.)

Finally, throughout his book (History On Trial, 1997), Nash (along with Charlotte Crabtree and Ross Dunn) emphasizes that he will not elevate Western civilization above other cultures. This too is globalism.

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