Flower Children and the Illiberalism of the Left

Sky-BG2by Brad Nelson
“In a nutshell, our love-in generation, in chasing some utopia imagined during an orgasm at a smoke-shrouded rock concert, created a world where the strong are punished for being strong, the weak are rewarded for not being strong, the failings of many are the fault of others, and the politics of failed states are preferable to those that made us who we are and afforded us this time to kill. We throw billions of dollars at projects in and out of our own countries that continuously fail, but we persist because it is the right thing to do.”

The above is from an American Thinker article by R.H.J. King. I think one of the author’s points is that the gullibility of the 60’s Flower Power generation is coming home to roost. I don’t disagree. It’s one of those good news/bad news things. There were good attributes to that time as well as bad ones. But I run into more and more ex-hippies (still sometimes bearing long ponytails) who are shockingly conservative in their viewpoints, at least towards those trying to tear down the country with debt and Marxism. But I don’t think many have rethought their liberal attitudes toward social issues. And perhaps regarding some of the 60’s stuff, this is fine. They did make progress regarding a few things.

Perhaps this is where the idea of the “socially liberal/fiscally conservative” conservative comes from. Many on the right don’t think that such diverse elements can peacefully coexist. But I think they can if it is understood who pays for it. If I were pressed to label myself I would say I’m absolutely fiscally conservative while tending toward a “If it feels good, do it” libertarianism with the caveat of “And don’t ask me to pay for your recklessness when you crash and burn.”

But, of course, our society does expect us to pay for everyone else’s recklessness or for stuff that they should have to earn for themselves. That’s why so many try to disingenuously turn everything into a “right.” I have a “right” to an affordable home. I have a “right” to cheap gas. I have a “right” to this, that, and the other thing. A “right” by that definition…you guessed it…means I have to pay for it. But true rights are things that the government can’t prevent you from doing (and has to thereby protect, such as free speech). Such rights are precious, but not everything good or that we prefer is a “right.” There’s not even a “right” to live in a safe world. We do what we can. We built up our military because deterrence, not weakness, works. But declaring something a “right” is what pilferers, pirates, and thieves do. We live in a world where trying to turn bad motives into Good Things has become an art. In many cases, just change the language and … Presto! … you have a Good Thing.

American-style freedom is a very good thing and was one of the most cherished principles of the 60’s generation. But this new generation of present-day leftists has duped the Flower Power generation and have redefined “freedom” to mean “freedom from” instead of “freedom to.” And as soon as that happens, hold onto your checkbooks…and your true rights, for in order to institute any kind of “freedom from” you have to insert government as the redistributor of goods and services in society. There is no other way. The right to free speech, for example, does not require taxing anybody. It requires simply enforcing the first amendment. But when something like “freedom from paying for health care” becomes a “right,” this is a “right” that is not an immaterial liberty but a material piece of property that the government declares everyone should have. And who pays for that? Well, enter Karl Marx, for he and others declare that “the rich” can pay for it all. But you might as well believe that leprechauns or Tinker-bell can pay for it, for this idea that “the rich” can pay for anything you can think of as a “right” is complete nonsense.

The very reason we are undergoing an extended recession and high unemployment right now is because “the rich” (and business in general) are being bashed over the heads with government debt, interference, threats, and bad fiscal policy. That dries up the job market like a noonday sun in Death Valley. This is the natural outcome when government deludes itself that it is the main driving force in job growth, not the private sector. Government does not create anything. It can only ever tax wealth and parcel it and repackage it. It is people pursuing their own best interests in the free market who are the engine of prosperity. And they can do this only if they are free and do not buy into the Marxist/socialist lie that “the rich” are like a bottomless piggy bank that you can rob anytime you want.

Our culture is now under assault, but that assault does not come from the political right despite the decades of propaganda from the left saying otherwise. And it is a very illiberal assault. But I do believe in liberalism in the old sense. I believe in the maximum amount of liberty one can have and still maintain a structured and civil society. That’s what liberalism is truly about. True liberalism supports free speech not the stifling Orwellian thought police of “hate speech” and such nonsense. True liberalism is in support of those fighting for freedom and against theocracies and thugs if it is within our reasonable interest and ability to do. True liberalism cherishes freedom from all but the most absolutely necessary state intrusions and would never make peace with a government that forced you to buy any particularly product (Obamacare, for instance). Liberalism is also very protective against cadres and organizations that threaten to corrupt our laws, whether talking about the military-industrial complex or the environmental-wacko coalitions. (The left not only turns a blind eye to such corruption, they actively finance it with things such as ACORN.)

But it is not only the 60’s Flower Children who need to understand that they are being scammed, that their principles are being perverted and re-named to support an entirely different agenda. We have all been fooled to some extent. And it’s not just the word “freedom” that has been redefined and corrupted. The left has also redefined “equality” to mean “equality of outcome” instead of what it has always meant and that is “equality of opportunity” or “equality under the law.” This is a pernicious and dehumanizing redefinition because there’s no way to guarantee equal results without destroying something that the left says they love so much, and that is “diversity.” True freedom will create that very thing because we all have different drives, talents, and circumstances. The best that any freedom-loving country can do, and should do, is to try to protect equality of opportunity.

But as soon as you try to enforce “equality of outcome,” you enter a world of hurt. That is the very thing Marxism/socialism wishes to achieve — at any cost, including your freedom. (And last century has a body count of over 100 million to show for this effort.) In order to try to achieve this mythical “equality of outcome” (how could we all every be equal in this way, even if we were clones?), government must punishing anyone who stands out a little more than someone else, or who is just a bit different. The left may try to justify these policies with a thousand squishy names (such as “social justice”), but it’s all just the tyranny of a very narrow and intrusive mindset.

The lying, misinformation, misdirection, and rope-a-doped demagoguery of the left has been loud and unforgiving these last few decades. Political correctness is the tip of its arrow. We’ve all been forced to either oppose this leftist beast or go along with it so that we wouldn’t be eaten by it. But with trillions of dollars of debt piling up, and our freedoms and pieces of the free market disappearing daily, this is no longer an option. Blame-shifting, scapegoating, and demagoguery should no longer move us or frighten us as it once did. We’re in a “Fool me once, shame on you…fool me twice, shame on me” situation. It’s put up or shut up time for those blaming everyone else for their failures.

But that is the left in a nutshell. The left is power-hungry, arrogant, and dismissive of the value of freedom itself. These are not your father’s liberals, so to speak. These are a most illiberal people and movement. • (649 views)

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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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2 Responses to Flower Children and the Illiberalism of the Left

  1. mplo says:

    I think that a perfect example of something that had unintended consequences and lack of equality of outcome was mandatory school busing, which, btw, was a total disaster in Boston, not only because of Boston’s overall make-up, but because it also consisted of mixing the have-nots with the have-nots (inotherwords, the poorest white kids with the poorest black kids.). All too often kids were taken out of really underfunded, educationally inferior, and physically run-down schools in their own communities and bused to schools that were little or no better than the schools that they’d been taken out of.

    The most disastrous part of the plan was the pairing off the poor white Southie (South Boston, MA), and Roxbury, the neighborhood that was regarded as the heart of Boston’s black ghetto, especially the high schools in those two areas. Despite warnings by prominent people such as Harvard Law School Professor Louis Jaffee, and South Boston native Eddie McCormack, who was an NAACP-affiliated attorney with a strong Civil Rights movement that won him accolades in Boston’s black community, Federal District Judge W. Arthur Garrity and his advisors disregarded the warnings, and ordered the plan, including the South Boston/Roxbury pairing, into affect for that upcoming fall.

    Many people in Roxbury, who were more aware than anybody of the extremely intense hostility that their children would encounter at the end of the bus ride into poor white Southie, were none too happy with the plan either, and greatly feared, with ample reason, for their children’s safety.

    As much as I feel that mandatory school busing was a disaster in Boston, however, I understand why mandatory school busing came in. Had Louise Day Hicks, John Kerrigan (no relation to ice-skater Nancy Kerrigan, btw.) and all their cronies on the politics/patronage/opportunism-ridden all-white Boston School Committee been more flexible and complied with the Racial Imbalance law, rather than engaging in the grand-standing they did, by deliberately keeping Boston’s schools racially segregated, the far-reaching, drastic, and more costly Federal Court order wouldn’t have been necessary. In fact, when the brand new Lee Elementary School was built, in a part of Dorchester that bordered on both the black and the white areas in that section, the School Committee at first voted to racially balance the school. One School Committeeman switched his vote at the last minute, claiming that busing would be needed, and the Lee School did not get racially integrated. As it turned out, however, busing wouldn’t have been needed, since kids of both races (white and black alike) could’ve still walked the 4/5 of a mile to the Lee School.
    Instead, the Boston School Committee of that time affectively pandered to the most bigoted, hateful and extremist elements among Boston’s white working-class and deliberately dragged its heals, refusing to desegregate Boston’s schools, like they were supposed to.

    It was at the point that the Black Community, led by the Boston chapter of the NAACP, realized that they’d exhausted all other avenues to desegregation of the Boston schools, and that filing a Federal lawsuit was the only recourse that they had, despite not wanting it due to costs, and the fact that many people were aware of what was going to transpire in its wake, especially from poor white Southie. It was, as then-NAACP President Thomas Atkins pointed out, literally the court of last resort.

    Yet, as guilty as Louise Day Hicks and her cronies on the all-white School Committee were of years of malfeasance, they were by no means alone in perpetrating de-facto segregation in the city of Boston. There were many other things that definitely came into play. Although white racism was a significant driving force in the fierce and organized resistance to mandatory school busing, especially from Southie, the issues were socioeonomic in origin as well. Many of the whites in South Boston, Charlestown and East Boston, as well as other parts of the city, were as poor as the blacks in Mattapan, North Dorchester, the South End and Roxbury. They, too, had been hurt by badly thought-out urban renewal policies, such as airport and highway expansion, which encroached upon and sliced through neighborhoods across the city, resulting in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. The total razing of Boston’s old West End (which was the only truly multi-racial/multi-ethnic neighborhood left in Boston), and the erection of not-so-attractive high-rise buildings, as well as the block-busting tactics of the B-BURG (Boston Banks Urban Renewal Group) program (which was ostensibly designed to help first-time low-income black home buyers break out of the ghetto and achieve the responsibility of homeownership for the first time.) also resulted in the displacement of thousands of people.

    Boston’s Jewish neighborhoods (i. e. Mattapan, parts of Roxbury, and North Dorchester) were chosen for the B-BURG program and affectively “redlined”, thereby restricting black homebuyers to the Jewish areas of the city. Black homebuyers who found housing that they liked, which was often just afew blocks outside the redlined B-BURG areas, were denied FHA (Federal Housing Administration)-insured loans, and therefore not allowed to buy those particular homes.

    With the advent of threats, break-ins, firebombing and other crimes, pre-existing white Jewish flight from the “redlned” neighborhoods increased, fueled, in part, by the racist campaigning of the consortium of 22 Boston-area banks and the Real Estate agents affiliated with the B-BURG program, thereby creating a ghetto that still stands, even today.

    Things were not good, even before the Federal Court order came down, however. The Boston pubic school student school drop-out rates were already quite high to begin with, flight from the city and its public schools had already been taking place, and the Boston schools were physically run-down and educationally prior to busing, as well. Racial tensions were already quite high prior to busing as well, as many white working-class people of Boston became alarmed at what was happening.

    Louise Day Hicks and her cronies on the Boston School Committee rode on the coattails of white working-class fears, frustrations and resentments along the lines of race and class, and coached much of Boston’s white working-class population into a position of belligerence and resistance by fighting the Racial ImBalance Law and all reasonable efforts to racially integrate Boston’s schools tooth and nail.

    Had the Boston School Committed acted on its own (which they had almost a decade to do.) and racially integrated the schools like they were supposed to, instead of engaging in all the political posturing and grand-standing that they did, the Federal Court order could’ve/would’ve been avoided, Southie (where the resistance to the Federal Court order was the most organized and the most vicious.) could’ve been kept in check somewhat, and things would’ve gone much more smoothly.

    Had the B-BURG program not been administered so maliciously (i. e. singling out Boston’s Jewish neighborhoods for the program), but instead allowed the first-time black homebuyers access to housing throughout the city, thereby creating integrated city neighborhoods, there would’ve been a better chance of derailing Louise Day Hicks’ crusade before it had a chance to really get off the ground, thereby eliminating the need for the Federal Court ordered busing and all the turmoil and upheaval in its wake, and which helped make many people more angry, fearful and suspicious of each other.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    One way of separating genuine freedoms from fake ones is the question of what each freedom requires others to do. Freedom of speech requires that others not commit crimes to block it (as the leftist mob did at the Chicago Trump rally a week ago). But “free” healthcare requires someone else to provide that healthcare (not to mention the money to pay for it).

    Somewhere around here, I have a book titled Freedom From “Freedom From” by a libertarian couple named Stauffer.

    The “socially liberal but fiscally conservative” term was especially popular among northeastern Republicans such as William Weld and George Pataki. The problem was that over time, they became steadily less fiscally conservative. Similar types from other states (such as Senators Hank Brown of Colorado and Paul Coverdell of Georgia) often held up better.

    The discussion of Boston busing (and I remember Judge Garrity as someone I disliked intensely back then; I think at one point he ordered the locals to support, not merely implement, his plan — much like the judge in the Yonkers scattered-site housing case) reminds me of the local busing furor. One friend of mine actually supported it on the grounds that it was the only way to get equal funding of each school, as was legally required already (nearly all of Jefferson County is a single school district). Busing has never been popular anywhere; a busing plan in the Detroit area led to George Wallace’s 51% vote in Michigan in the 1972 primary.

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