Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for the ‘hippie punching’ Category

American Politics published my hippie punching piece

Posted by Charles II on November 27, 2010

I was so preoccupied that I didn’t notice (and give thanks for) the decision of American Politics Journal to republish a post I had done on “hippie punching.”

Thanks, APJ, and Gene Gaudette who has been its publisher through some dark times indeed!


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Hippie punching, the 2010 elections, and the Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Posted by Charles II on October 5, 2010

Amid the favorable response to Susie Madrak’s well-aimed rebuke to David Axelrod over “hippie punching,” one wishes there were a little more introspection. “Hippie punching” is the denigration by one person of another for the purpose of distinguishing the one doing the denigration as a reasonable sane-left person, as opposed to the supposedly crazy-leftist hippie. But without understanding the history of conflict within the left and if approached without at least a modicum of humility, simple resentment of those who “punch hippies” is self-destructive. Since I first wrote about this issue almost a decade ago, I think that what I have to say might have some small merit.

Probably not even a better historian than I am could give a precise date for when the cycle of conflict within the left began. There’s no question that during the McCarthy era, the so-called “anti-communist left” joined with the rest of the political establishment to sacrifice not just the American Communist Party and other radical organizations, but the Constitution itself on the altar of loyalty to the state.

I only wish that leftists who talk but do not work constructively was only a myth. But for my entire life, I have walked the walk for social justice, and I know the territory.

Decrying this person or that as an enemy are an example of why the left is such an abject failure in the US that it has not elected a single congressman under the Green/Labor/New Party/etc. tickets.

This failure comes from an insincerity in seeking solidarity, solidarity not just with the people deemed to be worthy, but even with people who are adversaries on many issues.

It comes from a blindness, a failure to see that the battles last years and generations.

It comes from a failure to understand that the people who do good are often deeply flawed and that the people who do harm are not always the usual adversary.

It comes from a smallness of spirit, which demonizes potential allies only because it is so impotent to generate real change.

While we should feel free to criticize, let the criticism be directed at behavior, not–whenever possible–at the individual. Yes, leaders do have to be criticized by name and should be criticized whenever they do something wrong. But when criticism is directed against whole classes of people, it can become destructive. When it’s directed against potential allies, it’s self-destructive.

I don’t know what creates a generation as great as the one which endured the Depression. We had many financial crises that serious before it. I don’t know what creates a generation like the civil rights generation. There were moments in history before when it might have come together, but did not.

But I do know that only when there is a larger vision will it ever be achieved. Clearly not enough Americans are willing to pay the price to get what I think most of them see as good and desirable. Some of those unwilling to pay the price are on the left. Some are so perverse that they almost seem to be in the employ of the right (as, indeed, some have in the past proven to be). Yet I refuse to demonize even them.

Let every person search his or her conscience and decide on which side s/he stands: with destruction or with life. This generation—you and I—will decide the magnitude of destruction of global warming, the depth of the repression in the United States, the number of civilians to be killed in our failed wars. Unlike Milliways, there’s no time travel back after dessert. Will only one in five of us even register an opinion at the ballot box, and will only 1% of us make the difference in deciding between such extremes?

As for me, with eyes open and fully informed by history, I will vote. (adapted from a comment at The Sideshow)

Let’s be clear: during the Cold War, there was a threat to the United States, a threat which manifested itself in the late 1940s through the blockades of Berlin and Korean War. These were aggressive actions undertaken by the communist nations. However, like Al Qaida, the threat to the US was both smaller and of a different nature than the public was led to believe. There was absolutely no justification then, just as there is no justification now for the wholesale sacrifice of civil liberties. It was self-defeating, self-destructive, and morally reprehensible.

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Posted in Al Gore, Bush, Congress, DINOs, distractions, hippie punching, Obama Administration | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

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